Dear Praying Friends,
After 26 years as a U.S. Treasury agent, John P. McTernan became co-founder and Chaplain of Cops for Christ and a pro-life leader. In 2001, he and White House Correspondent Bill Koenig co-authored Israel: The Blessing or the Curse. His 2008 book, As America has Done to Israel, analyzes our nation’s relationship with the Jewish people and the State of Israel in light of Scripture. He points to evangelist William Blackstone (1841-1935) as the progenitor of modern Christian Zionism:
America had several powerful spiritual revivals that touched the entire nation. The Great Awakening of the 1740s… 1800, a great revival started in Kentucky and spread eastward until it affected the entire nation. The Second Awakening began in 1820… and shook the nation. Toward the end of the nineteenth century, huge segments of American Christianity began focusing on the second coming of the Lord Jesus and the rebirth of the nation of Israel… Powerful evangelists like D. L. Moody and William E. Blackstone were proclaiming this as were hundreds of lesser-known preachers. Blackstone’s book Jesus Is Coming (1878) affected millions of people.
Amid this revival, Russian Jews began pouring into America. The horrors of the Russian pogroms touched the hearts of American Christians, who began to help by providing food, clothes, and medical attention. The crisis awakened the church to the need for a Jewish homeland. Blackstone became the leader of this movement and traveled extensively throughout America promoting a Jewish homeland in Palestine… In 1890, Blackstone chaired a conference called, “The Past, Present and Future of Israel.” Some of the most influential leaders in the Jewish and Christian communities attended… Blackstone felt resolutions they produced were not strong enough, and met with President Benjamin Harrison and Secretary of State James Blaine to present to them a document, later called a Memorial, entitled “What Shall Be Done for the Russian Jews?” It helped spearhead the Zionist movement. Modern Zionism actually sprang from the church in the United States. The church… believed it was time for Jews to go back to their biblical homeland… six years before world Jewry initiated the first Zionist Congress.
More than four hundred leading Americans signed the Memorial. Religious leaders [including] D. L. Moody, leading members of Congress and mayors, powerful industrialists and bank presidents including John D. Rockefeller, J. P. Morgan, Cyrus McCormick, and Charles Scribner, editors and publishers from ninety-three leading national newspapers and religious periodicals… Most of America was behind protecting Jews and the creation of a Jewish nation… Cyrus H. McCormick, president of McCormick Harvester accompanied the Memorial with a letter declaring his deep belief in the Bible as the literal word of God. Quoting Isaiah 49:22 and Ezekiel 34, Blackstone requested that the President and Secretary of State take a personal interest in this matter expectant that God would bless (per His covenant in Genesis 12:3). While Harrison mentioned the plight of the Jews in his State of the Union Speech, he did not further follow through. But the spiritual force of the church was now engaged in a real way for God’s restoration of Israel. This awakening never died in America and remains alive to this day. (John McTernan, As America Has Done to Israel, 2008; edited for space).