Sunday, May 28, 2006

Christian Zionism is NOT a Jewish position

The Jewish Press featured a front page essay by Kathryn Jean Lopez, not on Judiasm, but endorsing a particular minority viewpoint within Christianity:


http://www.jewishpress.com/page.do/18155/Understanding_Christian_Zionism.html


Rov Soloveitchik, in his famous essay, "Confrontation", warned Jews against theological diaglogue with non-Jewish religions:


http://www.bc.edu/research/cjl/meta-elements/texts/center/conferences/soloveitchik/


The Jewish Press itself had recently criticized Rabbi Avi Weiss for actions that they claim cross the line set by the Rov:


http://www.jewishpress.com/page.do/17888/Warm_And_Fuzzy_%22Halacha%22.html


So I was particularly surprised to see something that went far beyond dialogue, but an open endorsement of a particular theological position that is a subject of major disagreement among Christian sects today. Indeed, it is this theological dispute that is related to interpretation of end times prophesies, rather than anti-Semitism, that may be at the root of the divestment movements within some Christian sects; here is a position paper from one.


http://www.pcusa.org/worldwide/israelpalestine/christianzionism.htm


In addition, Ms. Lopez brushes off the fact that many of those same Christian Zionists are spending huge amounts of money to convert Jews to Christianity and have not rejected the idea that Christianity has replaced Judaism in God's eyes. The largest Protestant sect in the United States, the Southern Baptist Convention, has through its International Mission Board targeted over five million Jews for conversion just outside North America and openly admits such on its internet site. The sect supports "messianic" congregations and publishes aids to help missionaries. Ms. Lopez also defends Pat Robertson, a Southern Baptist minister whose statements can at best be described as bigoted, as pointed out by blogger DovBear:


http://dovbear.blogspot.com/2006/05/casual-anti-semitism.html


In addition, Ms. Lopez blurs the differences between evangelical and Jewish positions on abortion, a point described in detail by Rabbi Barry Freundel as quoted by Rabbi Gil Student:


http://hirhurim.blogspot.com/2005/03/abortion.html


We do ourselves no good by taking positions on Christian theological positions, particularly when they are held by people whose institutions are actively trying to destroy the Jewish people. There are Christian Zionists who disavow such; I blogged about one, Pastor John Hagee, recently:


http://charliehall.blogspot.com/2006/05/evangelical-leader-accepts-jews-as.html


I see no reason not to accept Pastor Hagee's support. But I see no reason to get involved in the intra-Christianity arguments between evangelicals Christian Zionists and their opponents by taking a position. There have been many liberal Protestants in the past who were very supportive of Israel and Zionism such as Rev. Reinhold Niebuhr, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Bishop John Shelby Spong. Open endorsement of their theological opponents is a slap in their face as well as a violation of Rov Soloveitchik's strong admonitions to keep out of such disputes.

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