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Dangers of 'Christian Zionism'
New York, December 12, 2008 -- "Christian Zionism" is a dangerous movement that distorts the teachings of the Church, fosters fear and hatred of Muslims and non-Western Christians, and has negative consequences for Middle East Peace.
A new brochure, Why We Should Be Concerned About Christian Zionism, by the Interfaith Relations Commission of the National Council of Churches (in English and Spanish) is now available as an educational tool for communions, congregations and other groups who want to share these warnings with their members.
Christian Zionism, while ostensibly a Christian movement in support of Israel, actually has the opposite effect. This brochure shows Christian Zionism to be a misguided ideology that considers the State of Israel divinely ordained with the role of ushering in the end of history, where unconverted Jews and Christians of "questionable status" will be judged by God's wrath. In fact, the brochure points out, many evangelical Christians and Israelis reject the notion.
"The danger of this ideology is that it is a manipulation of Christian scripture and teaching," said Dr. Antonios Kireopoulos, NCC Senior Program Director for Interfaith Relations. "Unfortunately it has influence in American churches, to the point where many well-meaning Christians are swayed to support particularly destructive directions in U.S. foreign policy with regard to the Middle East."
In its narrowest form, Christian Zionism advocates preserving control of historic Palestine, including Gaza and the West Bank, for the Jewish people alone, rejecting any peace settlement based on a two-state solution.
An effect of the Christian Zionist ideology is that Christians in the Middle East and Muslims are viciously stereotyped. Many scholars have concluded that the Christian Zionist ideology has no roots in the traditional teachings of the church. The National Council of Churches has historically and consistently supported the security needs and rights of both Israelis and Palestinians.
The brochure was introduced during recent meetings of the National Council of Churches Governing Board and the General Assembly of the NCC and Church World Service.
NCC News contact: Philip E. Jenks, 212-870-2228, NCCnews@ncccusa.org
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