Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
News, July 2009
Mideast Churches Slam Christian Zionism
By Khalid Amayreh
ccun.org, July 11, 2009
Occupied Jerusalem -
"It has nothing to do with true Christian teachings and ideals. It is actually a heresy," Bishop Younan.
Christian leaders in the Middle East and the Al-Quds (occupied East Jerusalem) are on a holy mission to expose Christian Zionism as a pseudo-religious movement that twists Christianity for its own political purposes.
"We donít consider these people [Christian Zionists] a legitimate Christian sect or denomination," Munib Younan, Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land, told IslamOnline.net.
Younan co-signed the landmark Jerusalem Declaration on Christian Zionism along with leaders of seven other major churches in the Middles East.
In the document, the Christian clergy denounce so-called Christian Zionism as a heretic movement whose ideas and ideals are incompatible with authentic Christian teachings.
"[Itís a] false teaching that corrupts the biblical message of love, justice and reconciliation."
Christian Zionism, also referred to as Evangelical Zionism, teaches that the creation of Israel on the rubbles of Palestine in 1948 was a fulfillment of Biblical prophecy.
Its doctrine, popularized by the 19th century American Cyrus Scofield, claims that Israel is an important catalyst in the second coming of Jesus Christ and that the Israeli-Arab conflict is a battle between good and evil that will play a pivotal role in this.
They claim that Jesus canít return until certain events occur, including Jews gaining control of Jerusalem, destroying its Islamic holy places and building their alleged temple.
According to Christian Zionism, the final battle of Armageddon will then precipitate the second coming of Christ.
"It has nothing to do with true Christian teachings and ideals," insists Bishop Younan.
"It is actually a heresy."
Jerusalem Declaration on Christian Zionism signatories include Patriarch Michel Sabbah, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Archbishop Swerios Malki Mourad of the Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate and Bishop Riah Abu el Assal head of the Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East.
Bishop Younan says their declaration is to communicate certain messages to all those concerned with what happens in the occupied lands, including Christian Zionists themselves.
"To the Americans and the world at large, we would like to say that the Christians of Palestine stand firmly with their people for freedom and justice and deliverance from the Israeli occupation."
In the declaration, the eight church leaders reiterate opposition to alliance between Christian Zionists and the right-wing Israeli government.
They warned that the alliance would inevitably lead to unending cycles of violence all over the Middle East.
Organized Christian Zionism has long been rooted and mobilized in the US.
American Evangelicals, who are usually linked to the Christian Zionism movement, believe they have a biblical and moral obligation to support and protect Israel because it is "God's foreign policy".
A research by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life found that evangelical Christians were more likely to support Israel than any other religious group in America besides Jews.
"To the Palestinians and the Arab world, we say do not lump Christian Zionists with true Christianity which stands with the oppressed and the weak against the oppressor," says Bishop Younan.
"And to Christian Zionists we say, you are not welcomed here. Donít come to our country to dupe and mislead people with your money and poisoned ideology."
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