“Let us work together to replace despair with HOPE, fear with human SECURITY and humiliation with DIGNITY”

Christian Zionism

A Presentation given at the HCEF Symposium San Antonio, TX on 26 April 2003

I. Introduction
It is a great pleasure to be with you this weekend, and to partake in your fellowship and in the important work of the HCEF.  As member of the board of Evangelicals for Middle East Understanding I bring you greetings from its members and partners, and wish you well in your endeavors to solidify and strengthen the Palestinian Christian communities in the Holy Land. 

As one who has had the good fortune to experience the richness, diversity and strength of Palestinian Christianity, I can attest to the importance of your work.  In a personal way,  I am related to the  community.  My wife, Hilary Rantisi, comes from a long line of Palestinian Christian clergymen.  Her family can trace their roots to Lydda, from the Fourth Century A.D. up to 1948, located just near the present day Ben Gurion airport of the state of Israel.  Hilary knows of her family connection to such early days of the faith due to the cathedral of Lydda, in which the names of her family were written as being priests.  
The tradition of serving the community through the church continues with her family.   Her father, Audeh Rantisi, recently deceased, was a pastor who with his wife began a home for needy boys in Ramallah, West Bank.  Despite years of toil, including being dispossessed from his ancestral home by gun point, suffering homelessness as a refugee, living under the heel of Israeli military occupation, championing the rights of children, in addition to the challenges of building up the body of Christ that all church leaders  face, he was above all a Palestinian Christian.  Audeh’s  identity was of being rooted in the land of Palestine and the issues that its people, Jews, Muslims  and Christians,  faced.  He was above all, a man of Jesus, who spoke the truth to Israeli occupation power to such a point that he was put under house arrest.  He defied  the power of political factions to be a community leader, a pastor to Muslims and Christians alike in Ramallah. 

Audeh saw his calling as a disciple of Christ as one of service to the community. In that way, he was led to start a boys home for needy children, to serve as vice mayor of Ramallah, to speak for solidarity among people of good will without regard to religion, and to walk, always, with an unflinching zeal forward in life with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  As he lay dying in Ramallah in October 2001, he could hear the rumble and roar of Israeli tanks as they re-occupied  the town by force.  Not so different then was his death from the reality of his dispossession at age 12, from his family home, by Israeli soldiers in July 1948.  These two book ends, then, on a life of service in Palestine.

Why am I running through this story?  What relevance does it have to a short discussion on Christian Zionism?  I am running through this short story to give you an idea of the  other side of the story.  When we think of the Holy Land we do not usually think of  Christians, let alone indigenous Palestinian Arab Christians.  It is instead, usually dominated by ideas of holy places, and confusion over violence and fighting.  Many of our theologies, our ideas of God in Christ, are clouded with some form of belief that the events on-going in the Holy Land are crucial to the end times of redemption that we look forward to.  Perhaps, we even believe that the state of Israel is a tool to be used to usher in God’s final return. 

No  matter the beliefs we hold, they are usually always lacking the story of  Audeh Rantisi and those of the Palestinian community.  This group of faithful is simply gone.  A large reason for this is the presence in our  perception of the area in terms of  Christian Zionism.  The idea, that is, that the Old and New Testaments contain a theology that necessitates the destruction of Palestinians and the exultation of Israel to evoke  a coming return of God to the benefit of  Christians.

In our short  time together, I will try to lay out an understanding of Christian Zionism and its biblical evidence.  From this, I will present some contrary interpretations of biblical passages to the ones used by Christian Zionists that center on the person of Jesus Christ as a response to what I feel is a Christian heresy.  Finally, I will close with an understanding of what our role might  be as American Christians to  the events on going in Israel and Palestine.

II. What is Christian Zionism?
Christian Zionism predates Zionism and is linked to it.  Zionism, as we know it in its present form, began in the second half of the 19th century.  It is rooted in the idea that anti-Jewishness in the world can be stopped only by the establishment of a state for Jews exclusively in the area known as historic Palestine.  At its heart, Zionism is a secular ideology of Jewish nationalism.  Like other national movements, whether it is Chechen, Quebecois, or Tamil, Zionism seeks to equate the destiny of the Jewish people with a specific parcel of land over which they achieve complete sovereignty.  In the development of Zionism, the political goal of sovereignty over a parcel of land, led the development of a theology to match.

Christian Zionism is similar to Zionism and can be defined in a number of ways.  In all of them, however, there  is the motivation that says, to be a Christian means to support the state of Israel, namely its political policies.  This support, Christian Zionists believe, is warranted for two main reasons: 
* First, it is the way to be faithful to what they see as Biblical mandates for understanding how the world functions;
* Second, supporting Israel will lead to the return of Jesus to earth (“Christian Zionism:  a British Perspective” 1998).

Christian Zionism, unlike Zionism, developed first as a theological interpretation of the Bible and was followed by its application to the modern state of Israel and its political policies. This application is seen clearly by statements of the Rev. Jerry Falwell, who says that “Anyone who truly believes in the Bible sees Christianity  and the new state of Israel as inseparably connected.  The re-formation of the state of Israel in 1948 is, for every Bible believing Christian, a fulfillment of Old Testament and New Testament prophecy” (MECC, 2).  In general then, Christian Zionism links the redemption of Christians, meaning the Second Coming of Christ, to the settling of Jewish people in significant numbers in Palestine.  Make no mistake, this theology has little space for Jews.  It is really a selfish theology rooted in the idea that by having Jews in the area of Palestine in significant numbers, God will be forced to gather Christians together, which will usher in the end of the world.  Jews then, in Christian Zionist understanding, are tools of Christian redemption.

Christian Zionism goes farther than a theological understanding of the end times. It directly applies this theological understanding to today’s situation in Israel-Palestine.  One definition of Christian Zionism by a leading proponent of it, Walter Riggans, explicitly shows this political nature.  He says that Christian Zionism encompasses, “… any Christian who supports the Zionist aim of the sovereign state of Israel, its army, government, education, etc., but it can describe a Christian who….supports the state of Israel for any reason.”  This definition, clearly political, is an aspect that must be kept central to our understanding of the entire Christian Zionist thinking.  It will lead to advocating political views that have to do with the Palestinian Christian church, namely not recognizing it as a partner in the work of the Gospel of Jesus in the world (Sizer).

To wrap up, Christian Zionism refers to the incorporation of the views of Zionism from a Christian and Biblical interpretative perspective.  This theological understanding is then tied to the political struggle in Israel – Palestine today.  But how did this all come about?  And, is it an orthodox understanding of Christian scripture?

Historical Progression
Historically, Christian Zionism was conceived by Protestant theology following the Reformation in Europe.  It rests on three points:  reading the Bible literally, the idea of Dispensationalism and Rapture, and the idea of Restorationism.

After the Protestant Reformation in Europe, there was a general desire to have all people – not just the clergy — read the scriptures and elaborate on them for their meaning to themselves.  Martin Luther called this Sola Scriptura.  While this is a good thing, it has created some very bad theology, chiefly because of its emphasis on a literal reading of the Bible.  That is, the belief that what the Bible literally says, is what is literally to be done by the believer, to be believed occurred in history, or to be understood as what will happen in the future.  One of the bad fruits to ripen from this type of Biblical literalism has been the theology of Christian Zionism. 

Specifically, a literal reading of the Bible by Christian Zionists changed the understanding of biblical “Israel” and the biblical Judaism.  Historically, the Christian church has seen both of these as allegorical ideas to be applied as forms for the guidance of the Christian church in its relationship to God.  Christian Zionism, however by reading the Bible literally, saw both of them as actual actors in the world, and that Christians should see their movements as part and parcel of God’s hand at work.  Because of this focus, as the theology of Christian Zionism developed it necessitated an ever more literal reading of scripture and rigid application of it to the political world.  This carries to the point where now, some Western Christian Zionists see the Old Testament as the entire history of the Middle East.  In the words of Grace Halsell, “Bible loving Christians

[have come] to regard the Old Testament as the only history that matter[s] in the Middle East” (Anderson, 3-4).

Dispensationalism and Rapture
Another part of Christian Zionist reading of scripture is the development of the idea of dispensationalism and the concept of rapture.  Dispensationalism in Christian Zionism says that the Bible lays out history in ways that conform to specific periods.  In dispensationalism, history is an evolving pre-ordained plan that has certain marking points.  John Darby, a leading developer of dispensationalism in the mid 1800’s, said that the Old Testament, Israel and the Jewish people were part and parcel of Christian salvation.  Because of this, their movements were a key event for what dispensationalists called the rapture of the church, which Darby developed from I Thessalonians 4: 5-19 (MECC, 7).  Specifically, rapture means that moment when God will gather the church together and save it from the trials of earthly terror.  The event Christian Zionists believe  will trigger this is the settling of Jews in significant number in the Holy Land.  Because this marking point in Christian Zionist theology is so important to salvation and is seen to be part of Biblical prophecy, Israel, as one of those markers, is important (Awad). 

It is worthy to note that the idea of dispensationalism and rapture of the church has occurred before in Christian theological development.  When it did, it was ruled a heresy.  Between 170-190 AD the Montanist Controversy occurred over the development of a form of dispensationalist pre-millenialism (i.e. the idea that history folds into stages and that the Christian church will be raptured prior to the end time of turmoil).  While it flourished for a while, some 20 years, it was ultimately condemned as outside the pale of theological orthodoxy (MECC, 5).

Restorationism:  Unqualified Support for the State of Israel
The end times of dispensationalism are seen by Christian Zionists as dominated by the need for Jews to control the land of Palestine, the Holy Land.  This understanding is a centerpiece of Christian Restorationist theology, a corollary to dispensationalism.  Restorationism is the heart of the political agenda of Christian Zionism, and is, contrary to how it sounds, decidedly anti-Jewish.  Restorationism says that in order for the Second Coming of Christ to happen, a significant number of Jews must live in historic Palestine.  Support for Israel, then, by Christian Zionists, is often said to be in the name of love of the Jewish people.  In reality, it is due to the Christian Zionist belief that by “investing” in having Jews live in Palestine, they will usher in God’s return through Christ.  Simply put, the Jews in this theology are the triggers for ushering in the end of history.  That is, their only purpose, and after they have triggered the rapture, the Jews are cast aside, converted to Christianity or killed (Anderson, 5-6). It is horrific theology. 

Specific verses that Christian Zionists use to justify their claims center on the Old Testament texts.
Foundational texts for Christian Zionist claims to land in Palestine in history and how it relates to the development of dispensational and restorationist theology.
(all must be  literally translated to be sound)

“God Gave the Land to the Jews Only Through an Eternal Covenential Relationship”
Genesis 12:  1-3:  “The Lord had said to Abram, ‘leave your country, your people and your father’s  household and go to the land I will show you.’  ‘I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you;  I will  make your name great, and you will be a blessing.  I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse;  and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.'” (NIV)

Genesis 15:  18-21:  “On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram and said, ‘to your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the  greater river, the Euphrates — the  land of the Kennintes, Kenizzites, Kadomonites, Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites, and Jebusites.'”  (NIV)

Exodus  23:23-24  “My angel will go ahead of you and bring you into the  land of the  Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hivites, and Jebusites, and I will wipe  them out.  Do not bow down before their  gods  or worship them or follow their  practices.  You must demolish them and  break their sacred  stones to pieces.” (NIV)

Genesis 50:  24:  “Then Joseph said to his brothers, ‘I am about to die.  But God will surely come to your aid and take you up out of  this land to the  land  he promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.'” (NIV)

“Oops!:  Strings attached to the Land Claims”
Leviticus 18:  (speaking about sexual laws), vs. 28:  “And if you defile the land, it will vomit you out as it vomited out the nations that were before you.” (NIV)

Deuteronomy 30: 15-20:  vs. 17:  “But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed.  You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess.” (NIV)

“Troubling Texts:  Where Is Jesus Here?” Genocidal Mandates?”
Numbers 33: 50-56:  “On the plains of Moab by the Jordan across from Jericho the Lord said to Moses, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them:  ‘When you cross the Jordan into Canaan, drive out all the inhabitants of the land before you.  Destroy all their carved images and their cast idols, and demolish all their high places…..vs. 55:  But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land, those you allow to remain will become barbs in your eyes and thorns in your sides.  They will give you trouble in the land where you will live. And  then I will do to you what I plan to do to them.'” (NIV)

“Biblical Prophecy Shows Markers for the End Times” 
Daniel 7:  19-28:  Discusses the interpretation of a dream Daniel has, about the rise of world powers and the crushing domination of one of them.  This domination will be evil, and will oppresses the “saints.”  Then, it will fall, and the “saints” will rule.  (NIV)

Daniel 9:  Describes the destruction of humanity in an area.  It is fairly clear that it is speaking about Jerusalem, and about the abomination to the way things were by a power. (NIV)

Revelation 6-20

Based on this elementary understanding of Christian Zionism, I would like to share with you why I feel it does not work.  While it surely is a neat little package in and of itself, it is my understanding that when Christian Zionism encounters the Risen Christ and his message it is doomed to irrelevancy.  It simply does not  hold up.

III. What Is Needed To  Make These Texts Work
1. In order to make sense of Christian Zionism the person of Jesus Christ must be forgotten.  One author  puts it that, “the Christian Zionist program, with its elevation of modern political Zionism, provides the  Christian with a world view where  the Gospel is identified with the ideology of  success  and militarism.  It places its emphasis on events leading up to the end of history rather  than living Christ’s love and justice today.”  (“Christian Zionism:  a British Perspective.” 1998).  Certainly, the Jesus of Matthew 5 (The Beatitudes), John 4 (Jesus and the Samaritan Woman at the Well), and others, are not present in the understanding of God in Christian Zionism.

At its core, the notion of dispensationalism in Christian Zionism violates the human centric approach to salvation that Jesus Christ taught.  Through it, the person of Jesus Christ and his message for individuals is lost.  God, in dispensationalism, is not concerned with the suffering and pain of others.  There is no discussion in it of the realities on the ground in present day Palestine for instance, or the need to care for those suffering there, let alone for the indigenous local Palestinian church.

Curiously, at first glance, Jesus in the New Testament seems to abide by some precepts of Christian Zionism.  For instance, he consistently upholds the idea of the Law, laid out in the Old Testament, as part of the covenantial process that God had with the relations of Abram through Isaac.  Jesus was very clear on the role of the Law, and the promises of the covenant.  Throughout his ministry he is asked about them, but his understanding of them is quite different from those of Christian Zionists.  In Matthew 5: 17-20, Jesus says that he intends to see that all the laws of the Old Testament are kept.  What comes out however, is that Jesus’ reading of the law is re-defined from the Old Testament interpretation.  He says that the laws of God are about two things:  love of God and love of neighbor (Mark 12:28-34).  Jesus continues in Matthew 23: 23-24 elaborating on what this law is all about.  Here he castigates the keeping of law away from the intention of it, which is loving God with all of one’s being.  Clearly here, ownership of land is not the sign of closeness to God, but the pursuit of justice, mercy and faithfulness.  This verse paraphrases the prophet Micah, in Micah 6: 8.

Micah 6:8:  “He has showed you, O man, what is good.  And what does the Lord require of you?  To act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” (NIV)

From a reading of the New Testament, Jesus and his idea of maintaining the law, go far beyond any physical idea of purity and completely refute the Old Testament claims of a tribal Jewish focused God.  In its place, is a revised, expansive understanding of God, one who seeks the salvation of the whole world, based on the knowledge and faith in God’s son Jesus.  Hebrews 8 and 10 clearly show the Christian theological belief that with Jesus the old convenants are washed away and are replaced.  Now, God’s grace is given to all who trust God now, without regard to tribes, races or histories (Sizer).

Hebrews 8: 7-10; 13: “For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another.  But God found fault with the people and said:  ‘The time is coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.  It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not remain faithful to my covenant, and I turned away from them, declares the Lord.  This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord.  I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts.  I will be their God, and they will be my people.’….vs. 13 By calling this covenant ‘new’ he has made the first one obsolete;  and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear.”  (NIV)

Hebrews 10:  1; 5:  “The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming-not the realities themselves.  For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship…..vs. 5 Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said,:  ‘Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me;  with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased.’  Then I said, ‘Here I am – it is written about me in the scroll – I have come to do your will, O God.'” (NIV)

2. For Christian Zionism to work, a literal interpretation of scripture must be used that allows the historical books of the Bible and parts of the  prophetic texts to be used as road maps for future human – divine relationships.  In other words, sections of historical texts are to be the controlling reality of God’s dealings with humans, not the human centric ideas of Jesus.  But a literal interpretation damns Christian Zionism to a place of heresy because it twists the scripture to the political realities of today.  While these texts were written thousands of years ago, Christian Zionists find them literally applicable to today’s world.  In Christian Zionist theology, the work of Jesus, the Apostles and other writers in the New Testament in interpreting the Old Testament scriptures are simply ignored. In their place is the idea that,  “…promises  made in the Hebrew scriptures that have not been yet fulfilled literally must therefore await future  fulfillment….despite a 2500 year gap”  (Sizer).

In the words of the Middle East Council of Churches, “the Christian Zionist program, with its elevation of modern political Zionism, provides the Christian with a world view where the Gospel is identified with the ideology of success and militarism.  It places its emphasis  on events leading up to the end of history, rather than living Christ’s love and justice today.  The Christian Zionist tendency is, therefore a dangerous reduction  of the Christian faith and one that would advance the political cause of a state or particular people at the expense of other people within God’s creation, even the living church” (MECC, 13).

3. For Christian Zionism to function it must disregard the local Palestinian community (Christians, Muslims and Jews) and specifically the local church in Palestine.  Christian Zionism can only avoid the “love thy neighbor” claims of the New Testament, by pretending that there is a greater reason to allow the suffering of Palestinians and Israeli civilians in the Israel-Palestine conflict.  That reason, as we see, is the rapture of the church and the redemption of history.  However, in no place in the Bible does it say that the needs of our “neighbor” are superseded by anything but a love of God, which we know from scripture is personified by loving our neighbor.  With that in mind, because Christian Zionism uncritically supports the state of Israel, it also uncritically supports the fruits of the Israeli government’s policies, such as those caused by the continued Israeli military closure of the Occupied Territories that include:
* The creation of over 350 Israeli Jewish only settlement/colonies and settling over 400,000 Israeli Jewish settler/colonists in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem who are occupiers by force over the indigenous Palestinian population;
* The violence of the Israel-Palestine conflict that has killed nearly 3200 Palestinians and Israelis, the vast majority of them Palestinians, since the year 2000;
* Dire living conditions, which the World Bank says has produced a life for Palestinians where nearly 60% (or roughly two million persons) are living in poverty, on  roughly $1.32 per person per day (Two Years of Intifada, Closures and Palestinian Economic Crisis, 1; 3);
* A Palestinian unemployment rate of nearly 53% with per capita income levels cut in half from their September 2000 levels (Two Years of Intifada, Closures and Palestinian Economic Crisis, 1).

4. For Christian Zionism to work, the Old Testament idea of Jewish only chosenness must remain valid.  To Christian Zionists, the Old Testament relationships set up between God and Abram, through his son Isaac, are as valid today as they were four thousand years ago.  Some contemporary voices of Christian Zionism such as Christian Friends of Israel say that, “The Bible teaches that Israel (people, land, nation) has a divinely ordained  and glorious future, and that God has neither rejected nor replaced His Jewish people” (Sizer).  Chosennenss then, is not just to the people of the Old Testament, to Abram’s tribe, to his sons and daughters, but to all Jews.  And, in exclusion of all others.  As well, there is no mention of Christ’s role in establishing a new chosenness.  Galatians 3-4 argues quite the opposite.  Here it is clear that in Christ Jesus all are equal, there is no more chosenenss based on race or ethnicity, but rather on faith in Jesus alone. 

While Christian Zionists may believe that the Old Testament idea of choseness is Biblically sound, from a closer examination I would say they are wrong.  The New Testament is clear that the conventional relationship of the Old Testament is altered completely by the coming of Jesus Christ.  Hebrews 8:  8-13 shows Paul giving considerable time to the idea of a new covenant.  Based on a post-Christ reading of Jeremiah 31, Paul ends Hebrews 8:13 by saying, “he [God] has made the first one [covenant] obsolete;  and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear.  He continues in Hebrews 9: 15, saying “For this reason, Christ is the mediator of a New Covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance.” (NIV)

Paul is saying here that the person of Jesus Christ shatters the idea of an Old Testament chosennenss.  To base a redemptive quality then on an invalid idea of what chosenness is, such as is done by Christian Zionism, is to create a theology that is false.

As Christians, we believe that God died for all people without care for ethnicity, skin color or gender. Salvation, the Gospels say, comes through knowledge and faith in God in Christ. 

5. Finally, for Christian Zionism to work, the focus of the Christian faith must be on figuring out when the end times are coming.  With dispensationalism, Christian Zionism is obsessed with understanding when the return of Jesus Christ is coming.  This is done to such an extent that, Jesus’ own words to the contrary are dismissed.  As Bible believing  Christians we are to be obedient to Christ, including the provision that says we are not to worry about the end times of history, such as in Mark 13:  32 where it says:  “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” (NIV)

In addition to this, Jesus continues to emphasize in the New Testament that the new route to the Kingdom of God he provides is through keeping a right relationship with God.  In Luke 18:  20-21 it says, “Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied:  ‘The Kingdom of God does not come through your careful observations, nor will people say, ‘here it is, or there it is, because the Kingdom of God is within you.'” (NIV)

IV. What Can You Do?
With all of this in mind, we need to ask ourselves at this time, what we can do, as individuals, to work in situations of Christian Zionism?  I would like to offer some suggestions for what I feel are possible ways that people of goodwill can do to counter Christian Zionism.

First, Use Your Head
As Christians we can use our heads to become educated on the real situation facing Palestinians and Israelis in the Holy Land today.  Become educated about the local church in Palestine.  In Acts 2:  we are told of the incoming of the Holy Spirit, and that it touched the heads of many peoples, of whom were the Arabs.  The church of Palestine/ Israel is the Mother Church, from which we in the West received our faith.  We must learn more about these communities and their lives of faith, and support them through our prayers, solidarity visits and donations.  We cannot allow ourselves to think of the Holy Land as an unreal place where real people, a real church, are not really suffering.

Second, Use Your Heart
As Bible believing Christians we must approach the issue of the Israel-Palestine conflict with Christ like eyes.  This means with an abiding love for all peoples without regarding for race, ethnicity or religion.  We must adopt the Christ values of all people being created in the Image of God (Genesis 1:27) meaning that violence, oppression and degradation of one group over the other is not permissible.  This means, looking at the situation through the eyes of Jesus Christ, with eyes concerned for suffering and fear, and the belief that as Christians we are called to do something to end suffering.  In using our heads, we need to read scripture with a critical eye.  We must go back to the Sola Scriptura doctrine of the Reformation, and demand a Christ focused understanding of Biblical texts.  Always, we must ask ourselves, “can I see Jesus agreeing to what this verse says?”  Using our heart will ultimately mean becoming involved.

Third, Use Your Hands
As we see the Israel-Palestine conflict through the eyes of God in Christ, we will need to become involved.  We will need to pray, daily for peace and for ways to work to bring it about.  We will need to become activists, in confronting bigotry, mis-information and hatred about the situation in Israel-Palestine.  We will need to contact our political representatives to urge them work to pressure the Israeli government to end its 36 year military occupation to make it possible for life to return for both Palestinians and Israelis.  We will need to visit the local church in Palestine, and support them and their work to sustain themselves in the Holy Land.

Finally, and in closing, I return to the story from which I started.  As we continue along the road of Emmaus after Easter, we need to remember the story of Audeh Rantisi.  Our fellow Christians who are, with their Muslim and Jewish brothers and sisters, part of one nation in the Holy Land.  This is the nation that Christian Zionism does not want to see.  To them, the local church in Palestine and Israel is not a partner in the Gospel, but rather is an impediment to the return of Jesus Christ.  From our discussion here today, I think it is clear that from the Old and New Testament perspectives, nothing could be further from the truth.  As Christians we are called to be salt and light to the world, showing love, justice and compassion to all.  We are not called to be conquers or dominators, to use Jesus in a profane way.  For the Palestinian Christian community, who along with their Muslim brothers and sisters continue to endure suffering and hardship of military occupation we must counter the destruction of Christian Zionism, with the love of the Resurrected Jesus.  As always, we do not walk alone, but in the light of the Holy Spirit guiding our steps.

Anderson, Andrea.  N.D. “Improbable Alliances in Uncertain Times:  Christian Zionism and the Israeli Right.”  Paper attained by kindness of the author. 1-22.

Arbogast, Marianne.  N.D.  “Christian Zionism:  An Interview with Michael Prior.” 

Awad, Bishara.  N.D.  “Christian Zionism.”  Presented at the HCEF Third International Conference:  The Forgotten Faithful:  Arab Christians Suffering in the Holy Land.  [On-Line].  https://www.hcef.org/events/3conference/AwadSpeech.htm Accessed:  8 April 2003.

N.A.  1998.  “Christian Zionism, A British Perspective:  Sabeel International Conference.”  Presented at the Third International Sabeel Conference Bethlehem University – February 1998.  [On-Line].  https://www.christchurch-virginiawater.co.uk/ Accessed:  8 April 2003.

Prior, Michael.  1999.  Zionism and the State of Israel:  A Moral Inquiry.  Routledge:  New York.

Sizer, Dr. Rev. Stephen.  N.D.  “Christian Zionism and Its Impact on Justice.”  [On-Line].  https://www.aqsa.org.uk/journals/vol3iss1/zionism.html Accessed:  8 April 2003.

The World Bank.  2003.  Two Years of Intifada, Closures and Palestinian Economic Crisis.  [On-Line].  Http://www.worldbank.org/. Accessed:  21 April 2003.

Working Group on Christian Zionism:  Middle East Council of Churches.  1988.  What is Western Fundamentalist Christian Zionism?  Limassol:  Middle East Council of Churches.



2016-10-24T07:32:25+00:00 May 6th, 2003|Categories: News|