Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Christian Zionists vs Replacement Theology

Sectarian warfare is alive and well in Israel. Moslems vs moslems? No. Moslems vs Jews? No. How about Jews vs Jews? Nope. This time out we have Christians vs Christians.

The bitter inter-Christian tiff followed an August 22 "Jerusalem Declaration on Christian Zionism" signed by the outgoing Latin Patriarch Michel Sabbah, Archbishop Swerios Malki Mourad of the Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate, Bishop Riah Abu El-Assal of the Episcopal Church and Bishop Munib Younan of the Lutheran Church, was indicative of the deep discord and resentment within the Christian Church over the Evangelicals' support for Israel.
Note that the mainline churches are losing members while the Evangelicals are gaining members. The Lutherans have never been friendly to the Jews. Something about that Martin Luther guy.
"It is with concern that we note the negative opinions about Christian Zionism voiced by certain church clerics in Jerusalem... using inflammatory language they have expressed views that are far from the truth," read a joint response by the heads of the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem, Bridges for Peace and Christian Friends of Israel.

"We find the paper unbalanced and notably one-sided. It totally ignores the jihadist goals of the Hamas Government and turns a blind eye to terrorism perpetrated by this regime," the statement read.
Why was the paper so unbalanced? One of the signers of the paper is Michel Sabbah the Latin Patriarch, a Palestinian.

The Evangelicals are made of sterner stuff:
"A Christian Zionist believes in a literal interpretation of the Bible, and rejects replacement theology which played a pivotal role in the persecution of Jews through the centuries and under-girded the Holocaust," the Evangelical leaders wrote in their six-point response. "Christian Zionism is not heretical; in fact, Christians from all traditional backgrounds have held such a view for two thousand years.

"We pray for peace but we note with sadness that the present Palestinian government is totally dedicated to the destruction of Israel."

The assault on Christian Zionism, which also included an attack on their alliance with Israeli groups, were the clearest signs to date that the ever-growing friendship between the two sides is increasingly worrying to non-Evangelical Christian groups.
I had some evangelical friends a long time back (who were co-workers at a defence plant) who celebrated Passover the Jewish way. I always thought they had the right idea. Christianity is a Jewish sect, not a new religion. I think a selective return to the Jewish roots of Christianity would do wonders for the church. I'd start with the Jewish doctrine of forgiveness. Summed up in the words of Jesus: "Go and sin no more". i.e. forgiveness is not unconditional. Funny thing is the evangelicals, who mostly get it, are gaining ground and the old churches who are losing ground do not. Sound theology must be grounded in human nature or it will not work. It must also have a place for man's aspirations (the brotherhood of man) or it will not inspire. Or the inspiration, because of its sectarian nature, will be still born.

The evangelicals because of their multiple sects must offer what the congregation wants or go out of business. America, with no state religion, has been an incredible labratory for designing religions that meet people's needs. Competition improves the breed faster.

Update: 07 Sept '06 1834z

Live from an Israeli bunker discusses the topic.


Anonymous said...

I dont think the wirter at the Jpost has the foggiest idea as to the different Crhistian churches and movements.

Firstly the STONGEST believers in replacement theology are not the "mainline churches" -- the strongest replacement theology believers are the Evangelicals.

I know this, I was brought up Evangelical.

It is infact the "mainline churches" (eg, Catholic, non Evangelical Protestants and E. Orthodox) who have left replacement theology.

You are confusing Christian Zionists, a very VERY small group with Evangelicals.

The Evangelical movment is fully vested in replacement theology and as a core tenent the covenant bein OVER with Israel and passed onto them.

When they and the Christian Zionists celebrated Passover and you were flattered you missed the point that they would have explained -- you, as a Jew are no longer properly celebrating passover and no longer choosen.

The Evangelicals do beleive in Israel -- but because the destruction of Israel will bring about their "end days." Christian Zionists take this one step further -- they do believe in Israel, unending conflict -- and that the todays Israelis are no longer the choosen of the Torah!

linearthinker said...

They should all attend an ecumenical service at the Triple Rock Church. See The Blues Brothers.

M. Simon said...


You have your theology correct. Mostly.

The point I wish to argue is proportions.

Evangelicals make up a huge block of support for Israel in America. It is one of the political forces that maintains the American - Israeli alliance.

Yaakova said...

Re. Anon's comments: Yours are very outdated views of Evangelical thought. As Israel has matured, all the evangelical churches that I know of have become increasingly supportive of Israel, and they definitely spurn Replacement Theology.
The Church has MUCH to repent of in respect to Israel and Jewish people, but I do believe that now it is finally on the right track, at least. (The Evangelicals are, anyway.)
Yaakova, a Christian Zionist and Evangelical