The Most dangerous religious movement in America: might not be who you think

1 04 2011

INTERNET RESOURCES

• Christian Action for Israel (

 

This website promotes Christian Zionism.  

BOOKS

• Irvine H. Anderson,

 

  

• Paul Boyer,

 

  

• Elias Chacour,

 

  

• Colin Chapman,

 

  

• Victoria Clark,

 

  

• Dan Cohn-Sherbok,

 

  

• John Hagee,

 

Jerusalem Countdown (This book promotes Christian Zionism.  

  

• Mitri Raheb,

 

  

• Timothy Weber,

 

  

• Jean Zaru,

 

  

For more information, contact:

Office of Interfaith Relations

National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA

475 Riverside Drive, Suite 880

New York, NY 10115

Phone: 212-870-3403

http://www.ncccusa.org

Why We Should Be

Concerned About

Christian Zionism

• It can lead to the dehumanization of Israelis and Palestinians

Because Christian Zionism bases support for the State of Israel on its supposed

role in the end of history, its adherents tend to treat Israelis and Palestinians not

as neighbors to be loved, but as pawns in a cosmic drama of divine vengeance and

retribution. The conclusion of this drama involves the death of all non-Christians,

including Jews, through apocalyptic warfare or divine judgment. Given these

beliefs, even many Jews wonder if the movement promotes proper Jewish-

Christian relationships and question the nature of the movement’s support for

Israel.

• It is not based on traditional teaching or doctrines of the Church

Christian Zionism and its theological presuppositions are nineteenth-century

innovations in Christian doctrine. The most prominent spokesperson for these

beliefs was John Nelson Darby (1800-1882). Although the advocates of Christian

Zionism and its underlying theology sometimes claim to base their beliefs on

ancient understandings, generally scholars recognize these to be recent

innovations.

• Evangelical Christians are concerned

Ideological Christian Zionists sometimes claim that they speak on behalf of all

American evangelicals. This is not so. Many evangelicals in the US do not want to

be identified as ideological Christian Zionists. Several prominent evangelical

spokespersons have spoken out strongly against this ideology, recognizing how it

contradicts the central commitments of Christianity to justice and peace-making.

Many question its theological assumptions.

HOW SHOULD WE RESPOND?

Christians in the West must ask themselves questions about

the influence of Christian Zionism on US public opinion. It

grieves the member communions of the National Council of

the Churches of Christ in the USA to note that many

Christians visiting the land of Jesus’ birth, death, and

resurrection are not even aware of the existence of Arab

Christians, and do not have opportunities to interact with

local Christian communities. One step toward addressing this

concern is for Christians in the West to become better aware

of Christian Zionism and its effects, including the history,

theology, and forms of biblical interpretation underlying this

ideology. Please take the time to learn what this movement

is all about, get involved, and continue to “pray for the

peace of Jerusalem” (Psalm 122:6).

Christians are troubled when injustice is committed. We are especially troubled

when it is perpetuated through the appropriation of Christian theology for

ideological purposes. One such misappropriation is commonly referred to as

Christian Zionism.

WHAT IS CHRISTIAN ZIONISM?

Christian Zionism may be defined either broadly or narrowly. Broadly speaking, it

designates any Christian support for the national revival movement of the Jewish

people realized through the establishment of the modern State of Israel

(historically known as Zionism). More narrowly defined, Christian Zionism is an

ideology grounded in beliefs which consider the State of Israel to be divinely

ordained and scripturally determined with a central role in ushering in the end of

history, where unconverted Jews and unbelievers (including Christians who are

considered to be of questionable status) are judged by God’s wrath. It is the

narrower form that causes immediate concern.

WHY SHOULD WE BE CONCERNED?

There are a number of reasons why this narrow ideological form of Christian

Zionism raises concerns for the member communions of the National Council of the

Churches of Christ in the USA. Among these are the following:

• It is a movement with negative consequences for Middle East peace

Christian Zionism, in its narrow ideological form, encourages political advocacy

committed to preserving control over all of historic Palestine for Jewish people

alone, including the West Bank and Gaza strip, to ensure the realization of the

movement’s own end-times hopes. This ideological approach rejects any peace

process built on a negotiated settlement towards a two-state solution to the

conflict. Leading advocates of this ideology have formed themselves into

oftentimes very public and well-funded political action groups whose aim is to

prevent any negotiations that may lead to a two-state solution to the conflict.

• It fosters fear and hatred of Muslims and non-western Christians

Prominent spokespersons for Christian Zionism are known for promoting negative

stereotypes of Muslims and Middle Easterners, including Middle Eastern Christians.

They often accuse these Christians of siding with Muslims against the US and the

State of Israel in a cosmic battle of good and evil, thus questioning their Christian

faithfulness. Rather than fostering understanding and cooperation with neighbors,

ideological Christian Zionism often teaches Christians in the US to harbor suspicion

and enmity towards Muslims and non-westernized Christians. When it does so, the

movement negates Christ’s command to love our neighbors as ourselves (Matthew

22:39).

Occupied with Nonviolence: A Palestinian Woman Speaks

On the Road to Armageddon: How Evangelicals Became Israel’s 

Best Friend

I Am a Palestinian Christian

Christians and a Land Called Holy: 

How We Can Foster Justice, Peace and Hope

)• Charles P. Lutz and Robert O. Smith,

 

The Politics of Apocalypse: The History and Influence of 

Christian Zionism

Allies for Armageddon: The Rise of Christian Zionism

Whose Promised Land?

Blood Brothers

When Time Shall be No More: Prophesy Belief in 

Modern American Culture

Biblical Interpretation and Middle East Policy: 

The Promised Land, America, and Israel, 1917–2002

): 

http://christianactionforisrael.org

• Churches for Middle East Peace: http://www.cmep.org

• Dar Annadwa: http://www.annadwa.org/en

• Holy Land Trust: http://www.holylandtrust.org

• Institute for the Study of Christian Zionism: http://www.christianzionism.org

• Peace Not Walls (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America):

http://www.elca.org/peacenotwalls

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