Christian Zionists Called to Take Stand on Jewish Evangelism

A task force consisting of leaders in the field of Jewish evangelism is calling on leading proponents of Christian Zionism to be transparent with other believers on whether Jewish evangelism is present in their theology.

"We believe that calling the Jewish people to accept Jesus (Y'shua) as the Messiah both of Israel and all nations is the biblical mandate and natural loving response to the belief that there is salvation only through personal faith in Jesus Christ," stated a resolution passed at the 26th annual meeting of the Lausanne Consultation on Jewish Evangelism (LCJE) – North America.

"Yet, we recognize that some aspects of Christian Zionism as practiced today, work to the detriment of the Jewish people inasmuch as they undermine Jewish evangelism," it added.

Zionism, or the movement that today primarily supports the modern state of Israel, has long been backed by Christians who believe the return of the Jews to the Holy Land and the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 is in accordance with biblical prophecy. Though the belief is primarily held by dispensationalist Christians, who maintain that the nation of Israel is distinct from the Church, it is not exclusive to that group and has been accepted by some supersessionist Christians, who view God's relationship with Christians as being either the "replacement" or "completion" of the promise made to the Jews.

A large majority of the former group, however, has been noted and criticized for their "blind" unconditional support of Israel and for withholding the gospel of Jesus Christ from Jews and the Jewish nation to keep the peace. The Knesset Christian Allies Caucus – a group in the Israeli parliament that seeks to build cooperation between the parliament and Christian leader – does not associate with groups that share the gospel.

"We believe they (some Christian Zionists) can dilute the gospel message by offering comfort apart from Christ, discourage evangelical Christians from witnessing to their Jewish friends and divert gospel resources which could be channeled toward Jewish evangelism," the LCJE noted after its Mar. 2-4 meeting in Phoenix, Ariz.

"Therefore, we call on the leading proponents of Christian Zionism today to be transparent with Christians on whether Jewish evangelism is present in their theology," stated the task force whose roots trace back to the 1980 Consultation on World Evangelisation (COWE) sponsored by the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelism (LCWE).

"We also call on the evangelical Christian press to provide informative reports on those Christian Zionist organizations, who identify as representatives of evangelical Christianity, yet work to discourage Christians from bringing the gospel to Jewish people," the LCJE added. "We also call on all those who count themselves as evangelicals to demonstrate their love for the Jewish people by bringing the good news of Y'shua the Messiah to them."

A similar, though longer, statement had been released late last year by the Theological Commission of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) and drew the rebuke of the Anti-Defamation League, which accused the WEA's theological arm of issuing a call that it saw as "disrespectful to Judaism's own teachings" and a "serious affront to the Jewish people."

"The Berlin Declaration on the Uniqueness of Christ and Jewish Evangelism in Europe Today," released on Aug. 29, 2008, reminded Christians that they are "called to share this good news, with sensitivity and humility."

"We believe that genuine love cannot be passive," concluded the document, which the task force said was distributed for study and consideration and not considered an official document of the WEA.

"Christians everywhere must not look away when Jewish people have the same deep need for forgiveness of sin and true shalom, as do people of all nations," they added. "Love in action compels all Christians to share the gospel with people everywhere, including the Jewish people of Europe."

In a response, however, ADL leaders said the evangelical document was "not an offer of love, but a prescription for hate."

"Though the World Evangelical Alliance claims it seeks to convert Jews out of their 'love' for Jews, we believe that if the WEA really loved Jews, they would respect Jewish teachings and recognize the integrity of Jewish tradition," expressed ADL National Director Abraham H. Foxman and ADL Director of Interfaith Policy Rabbi Eric J. Greenberg in a statement.

Since 1913, the Anti-Defamation League has been working to stop the defamation of the Jewish people.