In this report, what is being called Evangelical Zionism is just a sociological way of describing Dispensational theology, the system Huckabee and most Evangelicals have embraced.
Almost unknown in America just a century ago it now dominates the Christian Right. The story mentions that it has been weakened as of late by Progressive political inclinations among younger Evangelicals. We might also hope that its patently false hermeneutic and long track record of failed predictions would also contribute to this. One thinks of the bevy of false teachers such as Van Impe, Lindsey, LaHaye, Jeremiah and Robertson and their countless pseudo-prophecies and falsified proclamations.
I do believe there are more people today that are moving away from that system. It has not stood up very well to criticism and certainly has been modified more than once. There are very few who hold to the classic Dispensational hermeneutic and structuring of Scripture that is found in the Scofield Reference Bible. Even though the whole of the system has been defeated, the sensational element, the seemingly exciting and pertinent eschatological system holds and retains many within that faction.
The system is of course premised on two main points...
God has two people and two plans, one for Israel and one for the Church.
This view is totally contradicted by the New Testament but that's part of Dispensationalism's problem. It rejects the authority of the Apostles. They would deny that, but it's easily demonstrated. Theologically they are guilty of Judaizing, and consequently have an understanding of the Kingdom very similar to the view of the Pharisees, the same perspective utterly rejected by Christ and the Apostles.
The second point critical to the system's integrity is the fiction of the Pre-Tribulational Rapture.
There are some Dispensationalists that have modified this position but with difficulty. The whole model begins to collapse once the Israel-Restoration paradigm is abandoned and that includes the Seven Year Tribulation model which they have derived from a misunderstanding of Daniel 9. The Pre-Tribulational Rapture which separates Christ's Return into two phases, one a part-way/mid-air coming that raptures up the believers and then the actual Second Coming approximately seven years later (the so-called Seven Year Tribulation) is still largely embraced.
It is easily demonstrated that the passages they refer to as referencing the Rapture in fact represent the Second Coming itself. What they really have is a Second and Third Coming though they do not appreciate this when it is pointed out to them. In addition they have multiple resurrections and judgments contrary to the one general resurrection and Judgment taught by Scripture that will occur when Christ returns. Their hyper-literalism literally causes them to miss the forest through the trees and any time a word or turn of phrase demonstrates a slight variation in language they add an element or event to the overall model.
It becomes so complex that no one can possibly hope to discover the system apart from the large body of literature developed by the scholars. It ends up being like the Kabbalah or a Bible Code. To embrace Dispensationalism is to all but reject the Perspicuity of Scripture, the idea that it is clear enough to be understood by the average ordinary reader.
The average reader would never derive this system. Again, it is premised on those two key points... the Disunity of Scripture, two separate plans for two separate peoples and the Pre-Tribulational quasi-secret or partial return of Christ before the actual Second Coming.
Minus this lens, the system cannot take shape.
It collapses on so many points. Few realize the whole concept (so deeply imbedded in Evangelical culture) of a Seven-Year Tribulation is based on their understanding of Daniel 9, but an understanding rooted in the above mentioned principles. Once they disappear, Daniel 9 and the whole of Old Testament take on a different meaning. The sum and substance of all prophecy is in reference to Christ, not the Jewish nation.
Tribulation is something that characterizes the whole of the age between the First and Second Comings of Christ. It is something that will constantly increase and if following prophetic examples it will run in cycles. It is not limited to a Seven-year epoch, nor is it something the Church escapes.
Their reading of Daniel is completely off-base as the New Testament demonstrates. The whole of their hermeneutic is flawed. But it has become so widely accepted that for many (I was one of them) any alternative is immediately suspected of being heretical. This is believed even though the system did not exist for the bulk of Church history. It's a product of the 19th century England and 20th century America.
All that said I recall many in Reformed circles still wanting to embrace them as slightly erring brethren. After all they still have the Gospel. Well, some do and some do not. Some embrace rather perverted and watered down versions of the Gospel that must be classified as little more than a Cheap Grace Decisionism. I was a victim of that as well. For many years I was deceived into believing I was kind of/sort of a Christian, though I never really believed it. Deep down I knew I was not. It was liberating to discover that I had been largely deceived.
The system is destructive. I grew up in it. I knew all about the USSR and Israel but knew precious little about what the Bible teaches and in the years since I've encountered so many still caught in that same trap. Their Christianity is American politics and Eschatology. That's a generalization but only a slight one.
But despite that, many of the Reformed appreciate them, especially their political power. The Dispensationalism didn't really matter. In terms of the 'Culture Wars' they have proven critical if not essential allies.
It doesn't matter? It's not that big of a deal? Look at the political influence they have. They've got legislators basing decisions on the theology. In this case of this report, support for Israel is being based on the Dispensational reading of Genesis 12, an understanding of the Jewish people that is completely rejected by the New Testament.
They are supporting a Middle-Eastern paradigm that has led to endless warfare, much of it financed by American dollars. Dispensationalism has played no small part in all of this.
They quite literally have blood on their hands.
I have to agree with Arthur Pink who also was rescued from that wretched system, that its ultimate influence, its fruit has been nothing less than 'demonic'.
It is not the system or hermeneutic of Scripture and therefore must be condemned.
In terms of the Kingdom it must be said that in many ways they are enemies. We are therefore to love them, but the truth must be told and when I hear foolish and ignorant men like Huckabee speak, I am reminded of the poison of this theology and its great danger.
There are no Christians running for president. The present batch of frauds is an evil lot. Because of this and the fact that most of them seek to utilize their pseudo-Christianities for political gain, from the standpoint of the Kingdom... I'd rather see Bernie Sanders win than someone like Mike Huckabee.
I won't be voting for either.