Papist Orthodoxy

September 20, 2009

How Christians (Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant) – Our Brothers in Christ – view Israel and Zionism

Filed under: Uncategorized — Antiochian-Thomist @ 3:59 am

The first articles is from Zenit.org.

Religious Leaders’ Statement on Christian Zionism

“We Stand for Justice. We Can Do No Other”

JERUSALEM, AUG. 30, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Here is “The Jerusalem Declaration on Christian Zionism” released Aug. 22. The statement was written by Latin Patriarch Michel Sabbah of Jerusalem and other local heads of Churches in Jerusalem.

* * *

“Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God.” (Matthew 5:9)

Christian Zionism is a modern theological and political movement that embraces the most extreme ideological positions of Zionism, thereby becoming detrimental to a just peace within Palestine and Israel.

The Christian Zionist program provides a worldview where the Gospel is identified with the ideology of empire, colonialism and militarism. In its extreme form, it laces 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.

We further reject the contemporary alliance of Christian Zionist leaders and organizations with elements in the governments of Israel and the United States that are presently imposing their unilateral preemptive borders and domination over Palestine.

This inevitably leads to unending cycles of violence that undermine the security of all peoples of the Middle East and the rest of the world.

We reject the teachings of Christian Zionism that facilitate and support these policies as they advance racial exclusivity and perpetual war rather than the gospel of universal love, redemption and reconciliation taught by Jesus Christ.

Rather than condemn the world to the doom of Armageddon we call upon everyone to liberate themselves from the ideologies of militarism and occupation. Instead, let them pursue the healing of the nations!

We call upon Christians in Churches on every continent to pray for the Palestinian and Israeli people, both of whom are suffering as victims of occupation and militarism. These discriminative actions are turning Palestine into impoverished ghettos surrounded by exclusive Israeli settlements.

The establishment of the illegal settlements and the construction of the Separation Wall on confiscated Palestinian land undermine the viability of a Palestinian state as well as peace and security in the entire region.

We call upon all Churches that remain silent, to break their silence and speak for reconciliation with justice in the Holy Land.

Therefore, we commit ourselves to the following principles as an alternative way:

We affirm that all people are created in the image of God. In turn they are called to honor the dignity of every human being and to respect their inalienable rights.

We affirm that Israelis and Palestinians are capable of living together within peace, justice and security.

We affirm that Palestinians are one people, both Muslim and Christian. We reject all attempts to subvert and fragment their unity.

We call upon all people to reject the narrow world view of Christian Zionism and other ideologies that privilege one people at the expense of others.

We are committed to non-violent resistance as the most effective means to end the illegal occupation in order to attain a just and lasting peace.

With urgency we warn that Christian Zionism and its alliances are justifying colonization, apartheid and empire-building.

God demands that justice be done. No enduring peace, security or reconciliation is possible without the foundation of justice. The demands of justice will not disappear. The struggle for justice must be pursued diligently and persistently but without violence.

“What does the Lord require of you: To act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8)

This is where we take our stand. We stand for justice. We can do no other. Justice alone guarantees a peace that will lead to reconciliation with a life of security and prosperity for all the peoples of our land. By standing on the side of justice, we open ourselves to the work of peace — and working for peace makes us children of God.

“God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” (2 Corinthians 5:19)

Patriarch Michel Sabbah
Latin Patriarchate, Jerusalem

Archbishop Swerios Malki Mourad,
Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate, Jerusalem

Bishop Riah Abu El-Assal,
Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East

Bishop Munib Younan,
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land

And the following article can be found here.

Mideast Christian 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 don’t 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.

“[It’s 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 can’t 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.

Messages

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. Don’t come to our country to dupe and mislead people with your money and poisoned ideology.”

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