Magazine article The Christian Century

Reformed Church Calls Christian Zionism 'Distortion' of Scripture

Magazine article The Christian Century

Reformed Church Calls Christian Zionism 'Distortion' of Scripture

Article excerpt

A Popular reading of scripture embraced by evangelical giants Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, and played out in the top-selling Left Behind books, was declared a "distortion of the biblical message" by leaders of the Reformed Church in America.

The RCA's annual General Synod, which met in Wheaton, Illinois, adopted a resolution June 8 that calls Christian Zionism--the belief that Israel must control the Holy Land before Christ returns to earth--an obstacle to Middle East peace.

"When it's assumed that Israel has a divine right to the land, then [it] can't be criticized," said Jim Brownson, academic dean and professor of New Testament studies at Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Michigan. "There has to be compromise, understanding and cooperation. [Christian Zionism] is a trump card that undermines that process."

Some delegates voiced concern about alienating supporters of Christian Zionism, which influences the popular Left Behind book series. But Brownson said it is important for the church to speak against a harmful understanding of the Bible. "People are dying as a result of what we believe is a false interpretation of scripture," he said. …

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