Speakers, including Reggie White, to address cause of Christian Zionism

Philadelphia Inquirer/April 3, 1999

A traveling lineup of preachers and prophecy teachers will be in Philadelphia next weekend to promote the millennial theology of what is known as Christian Zionism. The "All USA-Israel Convocation" will be midway through its 10-city tour when it stops at Deliverance Evangelistic Church.

The speakers -- who include former Eagles great Reggie White, a Tennessee preacher -- will proclaim "God's continuing purposes in the Jewish people," said Jeffrey Lowenthal, a Messianic Jew who is the local coordinator.

That belief, that modern-day Israel will be ground zero for Christianity's end-times drama, is of keen importance to millions of Christian evangelicals and Pentecostals, and particularly to Lowenthal's community.

Not all Christians buy it, though, which only adds to the Messianic Jews' embattlement. Lowenthal's brethren are repudiated left and right. The Jewish world spurns them because they proclaim that Jesus is the messiah. And many Christians reject their belief that as the Last Days near, that Christianity will regain its Jewish character, and that Jewish believers will be the actual agents of the Second Coming.

The Christian adversaries hold that the church has become the "spiritual Israel" in the divine plan. The Christian Zionism road tour challenges that view.

Lowenthal said the convocation is the brainchild of Tom Hess, who operates a prayer ministry in Jerusalem. The tour is timed to run from Palm Sunday to Israel Independence Day, April 16, and its sermons and prayer sessions aim to "open the eyes of the church to stand in alliance with God's purposes for Israel."

The roster of national authors, preachers and revivalists includes Hess; Lowenthal, a Wynnewood lawyer and elder of Congregation Beth Yeshua in Overbrook Park; and the Rev. Benjamin Smith, senior pastor of Deliverance Evangelistic Church.

More than 400 churches have been invited to the free event here, Lowenthal said.

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