Leading Evangelical Organization Indicts Christian Zionism

January 27, 2015

by: Brian Schrauger

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Waterfront south of Lausanne, Switzerland Tuesday, 27 January, 2015 | The Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization, aka the Lausanne Movement, is one of the most influential organizations in global evangelicalism. Its stated vision is “the whole church taking the whole gospel to the whole world.”

Today that vision includes harsh condemnation of Christians whose faith compels them to stand with the Jewish state of Israel.

The cover story in this month’s issue of the Lausanne Global Analysis is called, “All of Me: Engaging a World of Poverty and Injustice.” Its author is Steve Haas, “Vice President and Chief Catalyst for World Vision US.”

Forbes names World Vision as the 11th largest charity in the United States with total revenue of $981 million.

Writing on behalf of World Vision, Haas asserts that Christian Zionism is a “very narrow theological narrative.” As such, the author writes, it has “backed the largest and longest occupation of another people group in modern history, an oppressive Israeli legal system which Tutu and many other church leaders have called ‘apartheid on steroids’.”

Comparing Christian Zionism to “ill-conceived” theologies that justified the Spanish Inquisition, medieval crusades and South African Apartheid, the essay implies it is a militaristic and oppressive theological aberration that fails “to integrate personal faith and social action in ways that help people better understand who Jesus is.”

Two seeds, two fruits

Arguably, Haas’s essay is fruit from two seeds planted in the Lausanne Movement when it began. At least in part, it was birthed by Billy Graham. In 1974, Graham headed a committee that called for an International Congress on World Evangelization. More than 2,300 evangelical leaders responded. They met in Lausanne Switzerland in July that same year.

The conference resulted in The Lausanne Covenant. In the soil of its rich evangelical affirmations, two seeds were planted. Today one of those seeds has grown into rejection of God’s unique and ongoing plan for His uniquely chosen human tribe, the Jews. The other seed changed the Gospel from reconciliation with God to justice for fellow men.

Regarding the Gospel, the Covenant began by asserting the accuracy and “authority of both Old and New Testament Scriptures in their entirety as the only written word of God, without error in all that it affirms, and the only infallible rule of faith and practice.”

Accordingly, it also defined the Gospel in biblical terms, calling it “the good news that Jesus Christ died for our sins and was raised from the dead according to the Scriptures.”

But it also added a component, a seed that today has changed that definition. Asserting God’s “concern for justice and reconciliation, for the liberation of men and women from every kind of oppression,” it confessed “penitence for having sometimes regarded evangelism and social concern as mutually exclusive.”

The authors of that 1974 Covenant saw the danger of this assertion and tried to avoid it.

“Reconciliation with other people is not reconciliation with God,” they said, “nor is social action evangelism [or] political liberation salvation.”

Arguably the next word, nevertheless, undid these caveats.

“Nevertheless,” the document continues, “we affirm that evangelism and socio-political involvement are both part of our Christian duty.” Implying that these tasks are, in fact, one and the same, the next sentence declares, “both are necessary expressions of our doctrines of God and man, our love for our neighbour and our obedience to Jesus Christ.”

The other seed, the one that has now grown into rejection of God’s unique plan for Jews today, was the assertion that “the Church is at the very centre of God’s cosmic purpose and is his appointed means of spreading the gospel.” Claims that “the Church” is God’s ultimate and singular expression of His eternal plan is the very heart of Replacement Theology, a diversely expressed conviction that all of God’s promises to the Jews, including the land and nation of Israel, are now superseded by “the Church.”

Today these two seeds have grown into cardinal tenets of the Lausanne Movement. The result is a cover story that, apart from due consideration of biblical and historical facts, simply asserts that the modern state of Israel is an illegal occupier imposing apartheid on Palestinians, including Christians, causing them to suffer and to flee.

For such a time as this

Lausanne’s Movement’s 1974 Covenant included a call for readers in the next millennium. The authors warned, “We detect the activity of our enemy, not only in false ideologies outside the Church, but also inside it in false gospels which twist Scripture and put people in the place of God. We need both watchfulness and discernment to safeguard the biblical gospel.”

The time has come to discern and safeguard the Gospel as God’s redemptive plan for man, a plan that affirms God’s irrevocable covenants with the Jewish people—and for whom that redemptive plan is always first. This is the heart of Christian Zionism. It is time to say so. It is time to stand. For such a time as this.

Posted on January 27, 2015

Source: (Bridges for Peace, January 27, 2015)

Photo Credit: Julius.kusuma/www.wikipedia.org

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