The final session of the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation’s (HCEF) 10th International Conference, which was held on Saturday, October 25, 2008, featured a controversial topic for many Christians: “Christian Zionism: Theological and Political Views.”
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Rev. Dr. Stan Moody, of the Christian Policy Institute, and Rev. Dr. Donald Wagner of North Park University will address this growing phenomenon in a much anticipated panel that concluded HCEF’s day-long program. The panel was moderated by Pastor Russell O. Siler of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America.
The American Christian Zionist movement is led by Texas-based Pastor John Hagee, under the banner, “Christians United for Israel,” an organization with thousands of neoconservative Evangelical followers. An apocalyptic visionary and Biblical literalist, some call Hagee the most dangerous man in the Middle East. Yet he is one of the most influential people on U.S. foreign policy toward Israel and Palestine.
Opening the panel, Wagner said: “Christian Zionism is a theological heresy… It takes selective verses out of the Bible, places great emphasis on these verses, and constructs a theology that really creates a certain idolatry out of the modern state of Israel. It argues that the modern state of Israel is a fulfillment of Bible prophecy – which you cannot prove Biblically.
“It really drops out many of the Torah obligations that should apply to Israel and to all people: Thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not covet; thou shalt not steal. It really is antithetical to the gospel of Jesus Christ of love and reconciliation. Plus it adds to scripture this end-time eschatology, which is modern invention… There is no mention of the Rapture in the Bible, but it creates a theology that is very much centered on that… Jesus rejects this kind of apocalyptic end time theology over and over.”
Pastor Russell O. Siler, Rev. Dr. Stan Moody and Rev. Dr. Donald Wagner
Taking a more ministerial tone, Moody opened by saying: “In every corner of the world, not the least of which are the tragic places we call Gaza and the West Bank, we’re witness to a grim reality and that is that Jesus Christ is missing from the most self-conscious wing of the Christian church in America: the Evangelical Christian right. He’s been replaced by a God who acts as a whimsical real estate agent. In the words of Christian Zionist, John Hagee, ‘This God, the grand surveyor, set the original stakes into Judean soil and decreed that no one should ever change those property lines. This real estate contract and land covenants were signed into blood and stand to this very hour.’”
Rev. Dr. Donald Wagner
He added: “You and I, however, have not been innocent bystanders to all of this drama and this drift toward the self-fulfilling prophecy of Armageddon that John Hagee has just shared with you. By our silence and our pre-occupation with the mundane, we’ve permitted this movement to spread its tentacles into domestic and international policy. I’ve coined a phrase to describe this belief in dominion theology, and that is Christian Atheism. Christian Atheism is a Christianity that seeks converts rather than seeking to make disciples. It tires of waiting for God to act in human history and decides to take matters into its own hands.”