Standing Up to State Theology | Sojourners

Standing Up to State Theology

The global reach of Christian Zionism.

The Middle East Council of Churches, in a working paper published in 1988, condemned Christian Zionism as a heretical interpretation of scripture that exalts one particular people over other people in God's creation, and sacralizes Israel as a Jewish state as the fulfillment of prophecy and the instrument of God for world redemption. The Western Christian churches, from which this aberrant theology has originated, are called upon in the document to join the churches of the Middle East in examining and condemning this biased misinterpretation of Christian faith.

Christian Zionism is part of a global phenomenon of right-wing Christianity, emanating mostly from the United States, with ties to militarist national security states such as South Africa, Guatemala, and South Korea, as well as Israel. Right-wing Christianity not only shores up these regimes by sacralizing them as instruments of God against Satan, identified with national liberation movements, but also forms a religious network that parallels the military and economic ties of these repressive regimes with one another.

Although Christian Zionism has its roots in Jewish apocalyptic thought, its modern development began with the Protestant Reformation, particularly among the English Puritans, who built on the long-standing tendency of British Christianity to see the British as the "New Israel," the elect people of God in a religious-nationalist sense. This Anglo-Israelite nationalism was taken by the English Puritan colonists to North America and became the basis of a parallel identification of America as the New Zion.

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