Church leaders blast “Christian Zionism”
|Tuesday, August 29,2006 00:00|
|By Khalid Amayreh, Ikhwanweb|
The heads of major churches in Jerusalem this week blasted “Christian Zionism,” as incompatible with the teachings of Jesus Christ and detrimental to a just peace within Palestine and Israel.
A statement by the Local Heads of Churches in Jerusalem, dubbed as “The Jerusalem Declaration on Christian Zionism,” called Christian Zionism a “modern theological and political movement that embraces the most extreme ideological positions of Zionism.
“The Christian Zionist program provides a worldview where the Gospel is identified with the ideology of empire, colonialism and militarism. In its extreme form, it places an emphasis on apocalyptic events leading to the end of history rather than living Christ’s love and justice today.”
The signatories, who included Bishop Munib Younan of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, Bishop Riah Abu El Asal of the Episcopal Chruch, Patriarch Michel Sabbah of the Latin Patriarchate and Archbishop Swerios Malki Mourad of the Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate, rejected the Christian Zionist dispensationalistic doctrine as false.
The dispensationalistic doctrine considers the creation of Israel in Palestine in 1948 a fulfillment of Biblical Prophecy and a precedent to the second advent of Jesus.
“We categorically reject Christian Zionist doctrines as false teaching that corrupts the Biblical message of Love, Justice and reconciliation.
“We further reject the contemporary alliance of Christian Zionist leaders and organization with elements in the government of Israel and the United States that are presently imposing their unilateral pre-emptive borders and domination over Palestine.
“We reject the teachings of Christian Zionism that facilitate and support these as they advance racial exclusivity and perpetual war rather than the gospel of universal love, redemption and reconciliation taught by Jesus Christ. Rather than condemn the world to the doom of Armageddon we call upon every one to liberate themselves from the ideologies of militarism and occupation . Instead, let them pursue the healing of the nations.”
The signatories called on “all churches that remain silent” to break their silence and speak for reconciliation with justice in the Holy Land.
They said they affirmed their religious convictions that all people were created in the image of God and are called to honor the honor and dignity of every human being .
Furthermore, the signatories affirmed that the Palestinians are one people, both Muslim and Christian.
“We reject all attempts to subvert and fragment their unity.”
Evangelical Christians in the United States make up a significant chunk of President Bush’s constituency and are believed to have played a key role in his election and re-election.
The evangelicals consider Israel “God’s people” and are vehemently against any peaceful settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict involving Israeli withdrawal from any parts of the occupied territories Israel seized from Jordan in 1967.
The more extreme segments of Christian Zionists openly support the physical extermination of non-Jews in Israel, especially Palestinians, if necessary to create a pure ethno-religious Jewish state.
During the past few years, Christian Zionists have come to consider Islam their central enemy.
Some Christian Zionists, like Pat Robertson of the 700 Club, even teach that Muslims don’t worship the true God, but a moon-god. The canard, comical as it is, is disseminated through numerous anti-Islamic hate sites run by Christian Zionists and fanatical evangelical circles.
Two years ago, Robertson told a conference in Herzliya near Tel Aviv that “the conflict in Israel was between the biblical God and the moon-god.”
A spokesman for the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem rejected criticisms accusing his group of deviating from the true teaching of Jesus and becoming a propaganda tool in the hands of Zionism’s extreme rights wing.
“We believe that Christians ought to stand alongside Israel because God said He would bless those who bless Israel and curse those who curse Israel.”
The American-accented spokesperson said the Christian Embassy didn’t necessarily agree with all Israel’s actions and policies.
However, he hedged when asked why no evangelical leader has criticized Israel’s latest campaign of murder and terror in Lebanon and Gaza which killed and maimed thousands of innocent civilians.
Christian Zionists opposed vehemently last year’s Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, arguing that the withdrawal was against the Bible and incompatible with the will of God.