Friday, September 01, 2006


Christian Zionism can mean the Zionist Churches which began in Zion, Illinois (see this Wikipedia entry. More often it means Christians, usually of those labeled as Christian Right. Sadly, many of them know little about the context and history of the Christian scriptures--although they can readily cite chapters and verses--and the development of the foundational convictions of christian belief.

[Read a long summary of a paper that considers the development of doctrine and a more expansive look at scripture if you have time.]

Worth reading, and not too lenghty, is The Jerusalem Declaration on Christian Zionism. The statement was written by Latin Patriarch Michel Sabbah of Jerusalem, the Syrian Orthodox Patriarch in Jerusalem, the Episcopal Bishop of Jerusalem & the Middle East and the Evangelical Lutheran Bishop of the Church in Jordan and the Holy Land. They released it released 22 August.

These leaders do us a great service by informing us in clear and accessible language about one of the thorniest matters, which has much to do with misshaping our foreign policy. Activism of any brand can grow excessive if a person is not attentive. Christian Zionism is a dangerous form of activism.

Pope Benedict warned that excessive activities--activism is one form of activity which so easily becomes excessive--
often lead to "hardness of heart," "they are no more than suffering for the spirit, loss of intelligence and dispersion of grace" (II, 3).
The Pope cited St. Bernard of Clairvaux, whom the Pope remembered on the day the Church sets aside in his honor.

Pope Benedict and the authors of the The Jerusalem Declaration on Christian Zionism remind us with concrete examples (human occupations and standing against Christian Zionism for justice) that authentic Christian witness is countercultural in the places it is most needed.

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