National Lutheran News

Jerusalem’s Christian leaders denounce Zionism

Four Christian leaders in Jerusalem, Palestine, have joined voices to condemn a religious theology and political philosophy driving much of current policy in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Latin Patriarchate for Jerusalem, the Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate for Jerusalem, the Episcopal Bishop for Jerusalem and the Middle East and the Bishop for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan have co-signed a letter declaring Christian Zionism “detrimental to a just peace within Palestine and Israel.”

According to “The Jerusalem Declaration on Christian Zionism,” the Zionist program “provides a worldview where the Gospel is identified with the ideology of empire, colonialism and militarism.” The document claims that Zionism in its extreme form “places an emphasis on apocalyptic events leading to the end of history rather than living Christ’s love and justice today.”

Zionism in its secular form is championed by many Jews in Israel, while its religious expression is popular with fundamentalist Christians, especially in the United States.
Some conservative Christians believe that Israel has a divine right to all the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea because, according to their reading of the Old Testament, God gave it to Abraham’s descendants. They also believe that, once Israel expels the Palestinians from the West Bank, Jesus will return.

Said the four Christian leaders, “We categorically reject Christian Zionist doctrines as false teaching that corrupts the biblical message.”

The statement, signed on August 22, also condemned “the contemporary alliance of Christian Zionist leaders and organizations with elements in the governments of Israel and the United States” that, they declare, promotes policies leading to “unending cycles of violence.”