Response to Christian Zionism

On August 22, 2006 the highest ranking Christian leaders of Jerusalem* issued a statement of concern about the rising popularity of modem Christian theologies and political movements that embrace the extreme ideological positions of Christian Zionism. It said in part

"The Christian Zionist programme 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. We categorically reject Christian Zionist doctrines as false teaching that corrupts the biblical message of love, justice and reconciliation."

The Interfaith Relations Commission of the National Council of Churches brings this concern to the attention of NCC member communions, noting that this theological stance adversely affects:

· justice and peace in the Middle East, delaying the day when Israelis and Palestinians can live within secure borders

· relationships with Middle Eastern Christians

· relationships with Jews, since Jews are seen as mere pawns in an eschatological scheme

· relationships with Muslims since it ignores the rights of Muslims

· interfaith dialogue, since it views the world in starkly dichotomous terms

Christian Zionism is flourishing in part because of the lack of knowledge and popularly accessible alternative Christian theologies of the end-times.

Therefore, the Interfaith Relations Commission of the National Council of Churches asks:

1. That the Governing Board establish a special task force drawn from all five commissions to address this theological challenge.

2. That print and electronic resources explaining various theologies of end-times be made available to member communions on, and linked to, our website.

3. That the Interfaith Relations Commission offer a Rotation Forum on this subject at the General Assembly to raise awareness of the importance of end-times theology and to educate members and church leaders.

*His Beatitude Michel Sabbah, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Archbishop Sweros Malki Mourada, the Syrian Orthodox Partiarch, Bishop Riah Abu El-Assal, the Episcopal Bishop of Jerusalem and the Middle East, Bishop Munib Younan, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in' Jordan and the Holy Land