Evangelical Leaders Break with Christian Zionism

In an open letter to President Bush published in The New York Times this past Sunday, nearly three dozen influential evangelical leaders countered the fairly conventional viewpoint in the U.S. that most of the nation’s Christians favor pro-Israeli foreign policy over pro-Palestinian policy.

The leaders stated they sought “to correct a serious misperception” held by the public and some U.S. policymakers that “all American evangelicals are opposed to a two-state solution and creation of a new Palestinian state.”

The letter asserted: “Nothing could be further from the truth.” It was signed by 34 evangelical leaders, including Richard Stearns, president of World Vision; Gary Benedict, president of the Christian and Missionary Alliance denomination; Richard Mouw, president Fuller Theological Seminary; and Berten A. Waggoner, president of the Vineyard USA denomination.

In response to the letter, John Hagee, founder of Christians United for Israel (CUFI), told The New York Times “Bible-believing evangelicals will scoff at that message.”

Thousands of evangelicals who strongly support Israel joined Hagee in Washington D.C. just two weeks ago for his annual Washington-Israel CUFI Summit, an organization that he told the Times is “opposed to America pressuring Israel to give up more land to anyone for any reason.”

Alluding to Israel’s disengagement from Gaza two years ago, Hagee asked: “What has the policy of appeasement ever produced for Israel that was beneficial?”

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