IFAS | Freedom Writer | November/December 1999 | review.html

Forcing God's Hand

By Skipp Porteous

Grace Halsell's new book, Forcing God's Hand is a timely shocker. While it reveals nothing new to those well-versed in Endtime theology, the author presents complex Christian fundamentalist theology in a simple, fresh and interesting way. Even someone as jaded as I found the book gripping. Halsell didn't merely look for outrageous quotes from Jerry Falwell; she traveled to the Holy Land with him. Her interviews with Christians, Muslims, and Jews offer lucid and vivid presentation of the real and present danger we face from radical fundamentalists of the world's three great monotheistic religions.

Anyone who wants to understand where the Religious Right is really heading ought to read this book. The author shows the dangers of religious fundamentalism. She explains the "rapture," the "Antichrist," and the negative influence the Scofield Bible has had on Christianity.

The main premise of Forcing God's Hand is that Christians want the Holy Temple in Jerusalem rebuilt, knowing full well that it may bring on a world war. In fact, that's what they hope for, or more precisely, what they yearn for. They call it the Battle of Armageddon, which would end civilization as we know it. Of course, they believe that Jesus will rescue the faithful, and to hell with the rest of us.

Halsell interviewed American Christians who were involved in raising $100 million towards rebuilding the Holy Temple. According to her interviews, that money is earmarked for Israeli terrorists, who have the demolition expertise to remove the Muslim Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, which currently stand on the Temple site. She asked the Rev. James E. Deloach, of the Second Baptist Church of Houston, if he and his friends would be responsible if their actions trigger World War III and a nuclear holocaust? "No," he said because what they are doing is "God's will."

Although the author elaborates on cooperative efforts between extremist Christians and extremist Jews, she doesn't hesitate to offer evidence of Christian anti-Semitism. On anti-Semitism and the Religious Right, Halsell writes, "Generally, fundamentalists today remain anti-Semitic many from a 'love' of Israel that makes Jews different and destined for extinction."

She adds, "However, not all Christian fundamentalists have been, or now are, anti-Semitic. As with any group, there are personal and political differences among its members that make generalizations inaccurate and dangerous.

"Nevertheless, many fundamentalists, well-connected and respected in their own circles, have an established history of having taught their followers that Jews were behind all of the world's troubles."

I found the author's viewpoint on Israel disturbing. Her sympathies lie with the Arabs concerning the state of Israel. True, there may have been, and there may still be, iniquities suffered by the Arabs. Yet, Forcing God's Hand practically ignores historical reality, and how and why the United Nations partitioned Palestine to create the state of Israel. It appears as if the author believes that things would be better in the Middle East if Palestine had remained in British hands. The reality is that Israel is here to stay, and now we must hope that the status quo will be maintained, leaving the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock intact, while simultaneously promoting religious liberty for all its citizens. To do otherwise would court disaster.

Forcing God's Hand, by Grace Halsell, 1999, Crossroads International Publishing, $14.95, paper, 132 pages, index, glossary, bibliography.

© 1999 Institute for First Amendment Studies, Inc.