‘Christian Zionism’ The World’s Most Urgent Mission Field

Mainline Christians are beginning to realize that “Christian Zionism” is a misnomer, a sort of faith based oxymoron, an impossibility to those who follow Christ. As of yet, we do not know of a denomination that has declared the Zionist leaning church down the street to be an open mission field, but they should. If “Christian Zionism” cannot be said to be a denomination, an offshoot, branch, or subset, it must then be about world politics, a radical departure from following Christ that is better described as “Israel following.”

Increasingly, mainline or traditional churches are speaking out refuting the bizzare interpretive biblical foundations of the John Hagee’s, the late Jerry Falwell, and thousands of other proud professing “Christian Zionist” leaders. Christ following churches should do as Project Strait Gate did, declare “Christian Zionism” to be an apostate pretense at Christ following that has fallen away from truths. Missionary organizations should declare it an distorted beliefs, with no basis in Christianity.  The next vital step must be for “Christian Zionist” churches in the US to be viewed as a mission field, as much as any animist tribe in a mountain valley of the Andes or China was once considered a mission field. Firm words need to be said to every one of the 50-70 million or more Americans who allow themselves to be associated with the likes of John Hagee and the late Jerry Falwell and many others. The right words are, “you are following something, but you are not following Jesus,” Project Strait Gate set this standard almost 10 years ago, and through it we have learned to relate to pastors and congregations, and have uncovered the incredible frailty of their argument in support of the occupier State. Israel is a far more brutal occupier than were the Romans, of Jesus’ day, as can be witnessed to by thousands who have lived in Israeli prisons. It is our prayer that church groups like the Church of Scotland (COS), will take this next bold, but obviously correct step, and we offer suggestions from mistakes we have made.

The (COS) is the latest, but not the only church organization to recognize that Israel is an occupier and flagrant abuser of the natives in the land of the Philistines. Its statement entitled “The Inheritance of Abraham? A report on the ‘Promised Land’,” (1) clearly called attention the the role of “Christian Zionists” and their scriptural error, if not deliberate, distortion and abuse of Christian scripture. This report when released a few weeks ago brought down condemnation and wrath from the Israeli Zionists who stoutly defend its much larger American brother, “Christian Zionism”. The COS report correctly reminds its members that it is no stranger to the land of the Philistines, having a continuous mission presence there, and a 10 year history of warning its members that they should reject “Christian Zionism,” stating clearly in a 2007 plea from their church leaders in Jerusalem, “endorsing their criticism of Christian Zionism and warned their members to reject it.” The 2013 report challenges the basic core belief of “Christian Zionists” and indeed all Zionists, stating it, “refutes claims that scripture offers any people a privileged claim for possession of a particular territory.” In other words, God did not give any real estate to the state of Israel.

Project Strait Gate began by definition “Christian Zionism” as the belief that “The modern State of Israel is the fulfillment of Biblical prophesy.” We learn from the COS report the Palestinian member of the COS started taking this exact same position at about the same time we did a decade ago. There is much more in this COS, 2013 Report we could talk about, and thankfully the Church of Scotland is not the only church to take this position.  Fifteen US denominations have made a very similar statement in a protest to the US Congress. (2)

One obvious difference between those Protestant churches, including the COS, that has long opposed the acts and the theology of “Christian Zionism,” in contrast to those who support it, is that those who oppose Zionism include those few that have stayed in the land of the Philistines and suffered along with the Philistines throughout the current occupation. They have worked with the Philistines in their tragedy, where in contrast the Zionist leaning denominations, such as the Southern Baptist Convention, have long ago pulled out, leaving the Palestinian Christians side by side with Muslims, to struggle against Occupation on their own. American churches who support Zionism have taken a comfortable, see no evil, speak no evil approach to mission work. A case in point was my own March, 2002 discovery in Gaza City, that the Southern Baptist Convention which then owned a church and office buildings in Gaza, had not only pulled out but had forced the withdrawal of its missionaries from Gaza, even those who wanted to stay among the Philistines; In contrast I found Orthodox and Mainline Protestant churches had stayed on to mission, and send back the few accurate reports we received. Christian Zionist churches do not want to witness Israel’s occupation and abuse of the Philistines, so they switch from participants to tourists, taking Israel sponsored and controlled junkets, which carefully and expertly avoid sights and sounds of the occupation. The Southern Baptist leadership in the person of Richard L Land, said officially in 2002, God gave the land to Israel, so for the Palestinians, “it’s God’s way or the Highway”. (3)

In contrast, Church of Scotland challenged the most basic spiritual belief of “Christian Zionism,” this being that the ancient Chaldean, Abraham, received the land now known as Palestine from God and passed it along to the present day occupiers, never mind that the occupiers came from Europe only 65 years ago and chose the name “Israel” for themselves. The COS firmly states that no tribe or nation, pointedly Israel, can claim land rights from God based on Scripture. Conversely, the basic tenant of “Christian Zionism” is the belief that the present day state of Israel is the fulfillment of Biblical Prophesy, with a right to the land given by God, therefore, the historic occupants have no right to be there. Every follower must believe this, it is the only argument they can find to justify the immorality of the Israeli occupiers.

At this point I must stop to explain why you will find “Christian Zionism” in quotes in this report. We Hold These Truths was one of the first, if not the first, to apply this term to churches who previously had called themselves, dispensational or sometimes evangelical or “fundamentalist.” But Zionism, as practiced in church, is such a radical departure from the words of Jesus as to make the term “Christian Zionism” an oxymoron, an impossibility of meaning. We have explained to those entering several Christians United For Israel, Night to Honor Israel meetings that they will not find Christ inside the doors, for there is not a “jot or tittle” of what Jesus or His disciples taught being heard inside. We often ask attendees to count on their fingers every utterance of Jesus’ name inside such meetings. Our own friends who attend and observe tell us Jesus is all but forgotten inside. Christian Zionists are so far outside of practicing Christianity as to be a bad joke. One does not have to be a Bible scholar to see this, children can see that the occupation does not equate with “Blessed are the Peacemakers”, “Love your neighbor as yourself”, or a hundred other teachings of Jesus and those who followed him. There is simply not an ounce of Christ taught in “Christian Zionist” services. We Hold These Truths has practiced our teaching, sponsoring upward to a hundred vigils at “Christian Zionist” leaning churches, and that is why we now put quote marks around that impossible phrase. It would be more accurate to call those who follow this false leadership, apostate Zionists or Gentile Zionists.

Christ following churches should make reclaiming “Christian Zionist” neighbors a first priority, for it is without a doubt the largest apostate group in America, more than all the atheists, Mormons, Jews, Muslims and minor sects in America combined.  And these confused professing believers in Christ need to be reminded that Jesus, and not political Israel, is the fulfillment of Biblical Prophesy. They may not know they are responsible for and implicit in the deaths or many of Jesus’ “little children” (not to mention their parents) in the land of the Philistines.  Don’t they need to know it?  There is no faction, religious or political, that is larger or more influential in the push for war, death and destruction than the millions who flock in and out of the Zionist friendly churches every week. Only Jesus knows the responsibility of each ignorant or knowing one. But we who claim to follow Jesus need to recognize our responsibility to correct these, not at the level of the giant mega church leaders, but by first educating our own neighbor about Zionism.  It is, therefore, the World’s Most Urgent Mission field.

Next: the “Church” that knows, but will not speak:

Notes:
1) The Inheritance of Abraham, a report on the ‘Promised Land’: http://www.churchofscotland.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/14050/The_Inheritance_of_Abraham.pdf

2) “Churches Call For Congressional Investigation Into Aid To Israel”:

http://blogs.elca.org/peacenotwalls/files/2012/10/12oct5letteraboutaid.pdf

3) “In Front Of A Church That Will Not Take A Stand”:
http://whtt.org/newwhtt/main.php?mm=155&ncateid=1

2 comments

Bonnie Jones Shinneman
June 1st, 2013

Thank you, thank you for your excellent statement on Christian Zionism. It will be helpful in future conversations which I have with “Christian Zionists”.

Michael Cecil
June 10th, 2013

The Zionists of today are equivalent to the Sadducees at the time of Jesus, those who hated Jesus the most. But the anti-Zionists of today are equivalent to the Pharisees at the time of Jesus, those who differed with Jesus in their denial that the Doctrine of “resurrection” was taught by Isaiah, Daniel and Jesus as a Doctrine of ‘Rebirth’.

Peace in the Middle East will not be accomplished by either the Zionists or the anti-Zionists, but only by returning to the fundamental Revelation of the “resurrection”.

Michael

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