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Christian Leaders' joint-response to 'Just Peacemaking' letter

Narrow theological perspectives a cause for concern

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26 Oct 2011 (All day)
Christian Leaders' joint-response to 'Just Peacemaking' letter

CHRISTIAN SCHOLARS & LEADERS’ RESPONSE TO:
An Open Letter to America’s Christian Zionists’ published by
Fuller Seminary’s ‘Just Peacemaking Initiative’
 
(download pdf version)
 

October 26, 2011
 

We, the undersigned Christian scholars and leaders, wish to express our deep concern about the narrow theological and political perspectives that were expressed by two of our evangelical colleagues in their “Open Letter to America’s Christian Zionists’. While we appreciate the concern for the Palestinian people exhibited by the authors, we are disappointed that those who term themselves “just peacemakers” would make such a one-sided and simplistic portrayal of a very complex situation. Few situations in history have been as complex and difficult as the Arab-Israeli conflict and true peacemakers will doubtless decry injustice, inhumanity, and loss of life in both the Israeli and Palestinian communities.

The authors of the “Open Letter” demonstrated a lack of balance when they expressed their own uncritical support for the Palestinians while blaming Christian Zionists for “uncritical support” of Israel. Any analysis that does not recognize failed Palestinian leadership and the clearly antisemitic stance of most of their supporters is unacceptable. To bring Christian Zionists into this one-sided blame game obscures the real issues.

Not only do these scholars exclusively blame Israel for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict but they actually go so far as to justify Iran’s nuclear build-up and plans to annihilate Israel as being in response to “sinful” Israeli policies rather than a manifestation of sinful and antisemitic Iranian ideology. Then, they characterize evangelical Christians who support Israel as being sinful as well.

The authors of the “Open Letter” are right to be concerned for the justice of the Palestinian people, but they are clearly wrong to blame fellow evangelicals instead of the Arab leaders who are more committed to the eradication of Israel than to bettering the lives of their own people. Justice will only come to the Palestinians when their leaders lay aside their ideology of hate and negotiate peace with Israel.

Christians, particularly evangelicals, support Israel for a wide range of theological and political reasons while recognizing their role as “peacemakers” who are supporting the Jewish people whose ancestors experienced centuries of injustice and violence that was often supported and carried out by leaders and people who purported themselves to be Christians.

We, therefore, encourage our evangelical colleagues who authored the “Open Letter to America’s Christian Zionists” to undertake a truly academic study that is serious and balanced by engaging both sides of these historical, political and theological issues before issuing such one-sided attacks on both Jews and fellow Christians in public forums.

We also concur with the conclusions reached in the well-balanced “Response by the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem,” and we commend this document to all Christians.

Signed,

Dr. Tony Crisp

Executive Director, Center for Holy Land Studies
Tennessee Temple University

Dr. Kenyn Cureton
Vice President for Church Ministries
Family Research Council

Dr. George Giacumakis
Director, Museum of Biblical & Sacred Writings, Irvine, CA;
Professor of History, California State University, Fullerton

Dr. John D. Garr
President, Hebraic Heritage Christian Center

Dr. R. Hollis Gause
Professor, NT and Theology
Founding Dean and Director, Pentecostal Theological Seminary

Dr. H. Dean Haun
President, Tennessee Baptist Convention Pastors Conference
Executive Board, Tennessee Baptist Convention

Dr. Jack W. Hayford
President, The King’s University Los Angeles

Dr. Richard Land
President, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission
Southern Baptist Convention

Dr. John Swails
Director, Center for Israel and Middle East Studies
Oral Roberts University

Mark Tooley
President, Institute for Religion and Democracy

Dr. Joseph Umidi
Professor of Practical Theology
Regent University School of Divinity



View the detailed ICEJ Response to the ‘Open Letter’ at: www.icejusa.org/openletter »

 

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