In a statement on Christian Zionism released on 30 October, the Church of Norway Bishops Conference said Christian Zionism is “theologically unacceptable and incompatible with human rights.”
A just and sustainable peace in Israel and Palestine must respect international law and safeguard the security and rights of both peoples, the statement notes.
“There is disagreement about how the land promises in the Bible should be interpreted,” reads the statement. “But we find it unacceptable to interpret the Bible without regard to the ethical consequences.”
It is problematic to read ancient prophecies so that all political events today are predetermined by God, the statement notes. “In this way people are deprived of responsibility for the course of history at the same time as God is diminished,” the text reads. “Not least, Christian Zionism complicates the situation for the churches in Palestine and Israel.”
This calls for solidarity from the Church of Norway, the statement continues. “The promises of the Old Testament concerning the Jewish people and the land, cannot be used to legitimize the expulsion of Palestinians from their homes or their rights,” the statement reads. “They also have historic roots in the country and belong there.”
The Church of Norway Bishops Conference “therefore finds Christian Zionism theologically unacceptable and incompatible with human rights,” the text reads. “The Church of Norway will continue to seek dialogue with Jews about how we, as believers, can contribute to just peace in the area.”
Bishop Emeritus Munib Younan, a Lutheran church leader from the Middle East, expressed gratitude for the timely statement.
“It is very important that the Church of Norway takes such a lead at this time in history,” said Younan. “Christian Zionism is not only harmful to Christians but also to Jews and Muslims as well as all humanity.”
Younan was grateful that the Church of Norway addressed this subject in a Christian way. “Christian Zionism uses our Holy Bible to develop their own unfounded scenarios of injustice and challenging Christ’s message of love and justice to all humanity,” he said.