An Alternative Theology of the Holy Land: A Critique of Christian Zionism

By Stephen R. Sizer

There are two essential questions which this article will seek to address: one political and one
theological. They are multifaceted and interwoven.

The political question is this: How should Christians view the situation in Israel/Palestine
today, where two peoples claim the same territory? How should they regard the State of
Israel? As a democracy or apartheid state? Should the Israeli authorities and Christian
Zionists continue to resist Palestinian aspirations to autonomy and statehood? Should they
continue to occupy, settle and annexe more and more of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and
Gaza, creating small urban Bantustan reservations for Palestinians living under military
occupation within an exclusive Jewish state? Or, do Palestinians have fundamental human
rights and freedoms enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights? For example,
to live in the land of their birth, to freedom of movement, to work, education and religious
practice. and collectively to the right of self-determination, political expression, autonomy
and nationhood? That is the essential political question.

The central theological question is this: Does possession of the Land by Jewish people today,
and the existence of the State of Israel, have any theological significance in terms of the
fulfilment of biblical prophecy or within the purposes of God? Or, should we believe that this
understanding of the Land is inconsistent with the gospel proclaimed by, and summed up in,
Jesus Christ? The question is whether we have good biblical and theological reasons for
giving whole-hearted support to the Zionist vision? Or, do we find in Scripture grounds for
criticizing and rejecting this ideology as sub-Christian or even heretical?  Read more

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