Creation and Manipulation of Popular Religion: the case of Christian Zionism. Christianity as taught by televangelists such as Billy Graham, Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell, is one of America's most widely held religions. It is also as close as Constitutional decorum will permit, to becoming an official state religion. It's been openly professed by successive Presidents and by prayer meetings and song at John Ashcroft's justice department. Yet this fundamentalist, pentacostal, pre-millenialist, dispensationalist version of Christianity (referred to in this article as Christian Zionism because of its political affinity to Judaic Zionism) has almost no resemblance to the religion of the Protestant Reformation, much less the Roman church, or the mysterious Christianity of the first century AD. At every step to the creation of this potent new religion, we can see the psychopathic hand of secret societies.
In a column entitled "Israeli Extremists and Christian Fundamentalists The Alliance", Grace Halsell wrote:
What is the message of the Christian Zionist? Simply stated it is this Every act taken by Israel is orchestrated by God, and should be condoned, supported, and even praised by the rest of us.
"Never mind what Israel does," say the Christian Zionists. "God wants this to happen." This includes the invasion of Lebanon, which killed or injured an estimated 100,000 Lebanese and Palestinians, most of them civilians; the bombing of sovereign nations such as Iraq; the deliberate, methodical brutalizing of the Palestinians-breaking bones, shooting children, and demolishing homes; and the expulsion of Palestinian Christians and Muslims from a land they have occupied for over 2,000 years.
My premise in Prophecy and Politics is that Christian Zionism is a dangerous and growing segment of Christianity, which was popularized by the 19th-century American Cyrus Scofield when he wrote into a Bible his interpretation of events in history. These events all centered around Israel-past, present, and future. His Scofield Bible is today the most popular of the reference Bibles.
Scofield said that Christ cannot return to earth until certain events occur. The Jews must return to Palestine, gain control of Jerusalem and rebuild a temple, and then we all must engage in the final, great battle called Armageddon. Estimates vary, but most students of Armageddon theology agree that as a result of these relatively recent interpretations of Biblical scripture, 10 to 40 million Americans believe Palestine is God's chosen land for the Jews.
Jesuit roots of Christian Zionism. Halsell is correct to indicate that Scofield was the most significant populizer in the history of Christian Zionism. However, the origins of the movement date back much earlier. The Verlag Traugott Bautz (www.bautz.de/bbkl), vol IV (1992) columns 965-966, by Klaus Reinhardt (as translated by the Google search engine) reveal the interesting phenomenon of a Jesuit (Roman Catholic secret society) priest, pretending to be a Jewish convert to Christianity. He wrote a text which was first published ten years after his death, but was then translated into four additional languages and produced in many editions -- even though it was banned (various times?) by the Catholic hierarchy. Biblical-theology.com adds the following information:
Manuel Lacunza was banished from Chile in 1767 with other Jesuits. Shortly after, he fancied himself to be a converted Jew and changed his name to Rabbi Ben Ezra. Lacunza began writing a book entitled "The Coming of Messiah in Glory and Majesty" under the name of Ben Ezra, and finished the book about 1791. In his book, Lacunza taught the that Jesus would return two times for the Church. His first return would be to get His Church out of the world so that God the Father could pour out His wrath. This may be the portion from which came the idea of a pretribulation rapture. Lacunza died before the book was published in Spanish about the year 1812. The book never became very popular. In fact, it would probably have slipped into oblivion as so many unpopular books have done throughout the years. However, Lacunza's book somehow made its way to England, where Edward Irving found it in the library of the Archbishop of Canterbury in London.
The concept of a pre-Tribulation rapture is central to our story, because it is at the root of the idea that the Jews must re-build the Temple in Jerusalem before the Rapture can occur -- thus leading to the uneasy alliance between Christianity and Zionism which is at the heart of the Christian Zionist political identity. It is difficult to say whether Lacunza could have forecast the tremendous ramifications of this conceptualization, which was latent in his work. It is remarkable, however, that so much energy was invested in translating and then banning this book with its rather obscure topic -- what better means to attract attention?
A boost from the world of the Occult: Edward Irving was a charismatic preacher who was building a spiritual, pentecostal church. There are some indications that he and his church were involved with spiritual occult philosophy, although the details are far from clear. "The Last Trumpet" (Tim Warner) cites a letter by Irving in which he mentions "visions or revelations" given to Mary Campbell and Margaret MacDonald: "The substance of Mary Campbell's and Margaret Macdonald's visions or revelations, given in their papers, carry to me a spiritual conviction and a spiritual reproof which I cannot express. " These psychic visions, of course, gave substantial reinforcement to the radically new theological content of the "pre-Tribulation" church. The anonymous author of the Larouchite web site "econcrisis.homestead.com" quotes Robert Norton and Andrew Drummond as further sources for the belief that Mary Campbell and Margared Macdonald may have had some interest in occult skills such as would typically be learned in an occult secret society.
Scofield brings along the psychopathic tendency: In a critique of Scofield's Reference Bible and other manifestations of fundamentalism, the modernist Protestant Christian author Bruce Bawer wrote (in Stealing Jesus, 1997):
The Scofield Reference Bible looks like a lot of Bibles: Each page contains two columns of scripture separated by a narrower column of cross-references. What distinguishes it from most Bibles is that it also contains extensive footnotes. These footnotes add up to a highly tendentious dispensationalist interpretation of the Bible. There are whole books of Scofield's Bible in which the annotation is minimal, almost absent; but in other books there are pages on which the annotation takes up far more space than the text. Like Jefferson's Bible, then, Scofield's Bible is an extraordinary act of audacity. But the two men came at Scripture from utterly opposite directions. Jefferson sought to preserve Jesus' moral teachings and to remove materials (including accounts of miracles and prophecies) that seemed to him ahistorical and thus, as Jaroslav Pelikan has written, to "find the essence of true religion in the Gospels." Scofield also sought "the essence of true religion", but he located this essence not in the moral teachings of the Gospels butin the miracles and prophecies, most of them located outside the Gospels. Jefferson's chaff, in short, was Scofield's wheat.
The Scofield Reference Bible was a brilliant idea. Over the centuries, countless theologians had written learned books in which they grappled with the complex, ambiguous, often contradictory meanings of scripture. But Scofield plainly knew two important things about the people he wanted to reach. One: They didn't read books of theology, but they did look at their Bibles (if only occasionally). Two: they didn't want to grapple with complexities and ambiguities and contradictions: they wanted certitude, orthodoxy.
This Scofield gave them in spades. His footnotes never offer up different possible interpretations of a text; instead, they set forth, with an air of total authority, a detailed, elaborate, and consistent set of interpretations that add up to a theological system that few Christians before Darby could have conceived of -- and that, indeed, marked a radical departure from the ways in which most Christians had always believed. Yet Scofield brazenly proferred his theology as if it were beyond question. And he presented it as if it were traditional, and as if every other way of understanding the true nature of Christian belief marked a radical departure from the true faith.... The chutzpah here is mind-boggling.
Clearly a major propaganda coup for the fundamentalists, the Scofield Bible became possibly the most important and well-remembered instrument for spreading the Christian Zionist faith. Yet it did not occur in a vacuum, and Scofield was no innocent seeker after the true subtleties of theology.
The anonymous website historicist.com posted a sermon allegedly by Rev. Nord Davis, and apparently based on the book "The Incredible Scofield and his Book" by Joseph Canfield. This sermon describes Scofield in terms which (if correct) would unmistakably identify a very serious psychopathic syndrome. Davis claims that funding and support for Scofield's Reference Bible project came from a group called the "Secret Six" which had earlier been involved in organizing the John Brown slave rebellion which touched off the American civil war -- and from prominent Jewish attorney Samuel Untermeier through a New York literary society called the Lotus Club.
C. I. Scofield, deserted his first wife, Leonteen Carry Scofield and his two young daughters Abigail and Helen.... he never sent them any financial support even though he became very wealthy. They never got a dime. A woman in the 1880s did not have government welfare. And good paying jobs were not usually available in those days. He treated his wife and children as though they did not exist.
According to every reference I could find about him and his background in the areas from which he came I found that he was in love with 2 other women. Running with both at the same time. A young lady from the St Louis Flower Mission, whose name I have not yet been able to discover, and a Helen Van Wark a woman he later married. After his wife, stayed abandoned for many years, she would not divorce him for Scriptural reasons. Finally, when she found out about his activities, she had no choice and divorced him....
You know, every time you see a Scofield Bible, think about that lady. As a Christian Mr. Scofield entered the legal and political career. After he was alleged to be saved he stole thousands of dollars from his Christian and secular friends. One of his financial scams was quite serious and he got convicted of forgery, and spent 6 months in the St. Louis Missouri jail. He defrauded his mother in law of 1,300 dollars in gold, and never paid her back even though his finances were such he could have done so....
Out of [...] Massachusetts society came a man born in Middleton in 1833 named John J. Ingalls. He was a graduate of Williams College. Then well endowed with Esau and his clan, he became a lawyer. He was a spokesman for a Boston Group known as the "Secret Six". Isn't it interesting they picked six? Mr. Ingalls was sent to Atchison Kansas, and it is enough to say right here that he associated himself with a young lawyer Cyrus I Scofield.
Actually Scofield never attended any college even for one day as a student. Scofield however fancied himself as a lawyer. He assumed all sorts of phony credentials. From that of a minister to that of a Bible scholar, to that of a lawyer, Nothing seemed to hinder him. And of course he was not admitted to the bar as he could not pass the examination. However through the influences of the Secret Six men in Kansas Scofield was admitted to the Bar. Thought he had never attended any school, and with no formal training whatever, he gave himself a theological doctorate degree, in the same way.
Scofield, went on with the help of the Secret Six, to be appointed United States Attorney for Kansas, only to be forced to resign after six months when he and his friend Ingalls were caught trying to blackmail the railroads out of some money.
Now with the Secret Six, Scofield, and some of his associates, such as Dwight L. Moody, things were going to change. On July 23, 1901, Scofield confided in his friends the he intended to develop a reference Bible that would bring about "this new beginning and new testimony". Of course such tremendous efforts takes a lot of money, and a lot of time. Scofield had the time and he needed the money. While he was talking like a Christian out of one side of his mouth he was taking money and doing the bidding of his socialist communist friends of the secret six.
In 1901 the alleged offers of the Scofield reference notes which were not entirely written by him was admitted to the Lotus club in New York much to the embarrassment of his holier than thou Christian friends. It was restricted to "a social intercourse between journalists, artists, musicians, friends of literature, science, fine arts etc.". Scofield was at this time no more than a Kansas con man. With no background in these particular fields, and a man with some highly placed friends. His reference notes had not been written yet. Much less published. So his qualifications for entrance into this group was of particular interest. Here it is. This clubs literature committee which passed on "Dr. Scofield" was no other than Samuel Untermeier - who was at that time the notorious criminal lawyer. Untermeier was, as his name suggests, one of those kinfolk of Esau-edom and his accomplishments on behalf of the Socialist communists in America takes up two columns in Whose Who in America. Untermeier thought theology as one might suppose would be far removed from that of a fundamental Bible believer.
No, my friend Scofield was no such believer. It was directed by the Secret Six. to the Lotus club and their associate Samuel Untermeier, who saw to it he was admitted without credentials. Scofield was just a casual member they say, but listed it as his residence for 20 years while his wife languished in Kansas without any support.
The purpose of Samuel Untermeier, and those associated with him was to find a way to get fundamental Christians to have an interest in and support for the international Zionist cause. Which had been one of Untermeiers life long projects. Samuel Untermeier died in 1941 but records I have in my office proves beyond a shadow of a doubt he was a dedicated communist all the time. They prove he worked for communist causes all of his adult life. In the 20 years of membership in the Lotus club Scofield had a long association with him. And had to know about his un American activities and his synagogue of Satan.
Jewish Zionists join the bandwagon, and Oxford too: The attempted link of Scofield to the Secret Six is not fully credible -- the attorney Ingalls was not considered a member of the Six, which had its heyday in Civil War times. However, Scofield's connection with Untermeier may have been quite fruitful, as discussed at Jackie Patru's "Sweet Liberty" web page. Ultimately the Reference Bible was published by Oxford University Press, a prestigious arm of the British financial elite. An analysis written by an anonymous author (possibly Patru) states:
Upon his release from prison, Scofield deserted his first wife, Leonteen Carry Scofield, and his two daughters Abigail and Helen, and he took as his mistress a young girl from the St. Louis Flower Mission. He later abandoned her for Helen van Ward, whom he eventually married. Following his Illuminati connections to New York, he settled in at the Lotus Club, which he listed as his residence for the next twenty years. It was here that he presented his ideas for a new Christian Bible concordance, and was taken under the wing of Samuel Untermeier, who later became chairman of the American Jewish Committee, president of the American League of Jewish Patriots, and chairman of the Non-sectarian Anti-Nazi League.
Untermeier introduced Scofield to numerous Zionist and socialist leaders, including Samuel Gompers, Fiorello LaGuardia, Abraham Straus, Bernard Baruch and Jacob Schiff. These were the people who financed Scofield's research trips to Oxford and arranged the publication and distribution of his concordance.
At this same link, Patru also documents an incident in which Untermeier was able to blackmail US President Harry Truman to influence him to appoint the Zionist judge Brandeis to the Supreme Court. The story is credited to The Hidden Tyranny, by Benjamin H. Freedman.
The pamphleteer from Big Oil (and tobacco): Scofield's Bible appeared in 1909. Remarkably, the very next year, another major propaganda thrust for the newly canonized Christian Zionist religion took form on the other side of the American continent. According to the "Web Therapy" website by Dani Treweek, Union Oil (California) founder Lyman Stewart spent $250,000 to distribute a series of pamphlets called "The Fundamentals" which advocated the dispensational pre-millenialist (Christian Zionist) viewpoint. The pamphlets, three million copies altogether, were distributed free to churches throughout the United States. Stewart was apparently inspired by the successes of the tobacco industry, which was giving out free samples to addict young people to their products: he wrote to his brother Milton, "… the American Tobacco Company was spending millions to distribute free cigarettes to give people a taste for them and that Christians should learn from the wisdom of the world". (George M Marsden 'The Fundamentals: A Testimony to the Truth' p.vi, as quoted by Treweek.)
A grand plan? This story -- the creation of a politically malevolent, theologically fraudulent, and tremendously popular and influential new religion -- has the appearance of a grand conspiracy operating across continents and over a time span of a century. Initiated by a Jesuit masquerading as a Jew, the plot gets an endorsement from the world of occulted spiritualism, crosses the Atlantic and takes root in America, and becomes a major propaganda darling of Zionist and American industrialist interests.
While it is tempting to argue that Christian Zionism is simply a (successful) attempt by Zionists to hijack American Protestantism for their own political purposes, this theory does not explain the complicity of so many other factors. More than likely, if this represents a coordinated conspiracy, the Zionists could be playing a role designed for them by the Anglo-American elites, represented in this story by contributors such as Oxford Press and the Union Oil fortune.
We must also consider the possibility that this coordination may be illusory, a more or less coincidental result of actions taken by independent individuals and societies, each choosing to participate in the drama because of distinctive goals and needs. But regardless of whether these machinations are covertly organized across time and space, or whether they occur in spontaneous self-organization, their thoroughly fraudulent nature is unmistakable. By this mechanism, the humble, naive piety of the average citizen is harnessed to the goals of the psychopathic tendency of the elite classes.
Links -- This same pattern of secret society and/or psychopathic involvement in the formative stages and the promotion of popular religions may be seen in several other significant movements in the 19th and 20th centuries -- for example, Scientology, Mormonism, and the Unification Church of Sun Myung Moon.