General Synod Statements: Christian Zionism

In 2004, the Commission on Christian Action presented a paper to the General Synod entitled "Addressing Christian Zionism for the Sake of a Just Peace." The paper stated:

Christian Zionists utilize a narrow, distinctive, and recently developed interpretation of Scripture that puts particular emphasis on parts of Scripture rather than on broad scriptural revelation with Jesus Christ at the center. Through this interpretive lens they understand history as unfolding in seven epochs or periods, called “dispensations.” The sixth dispensation is the one in which God’s chosen people, the Jews, return to Zion. The seventh dispensation is the thousand-year reign of Jesus Christ, a dispensation that will only start when the Jews have returned to the land that was given to them…The establishment of a Jewish state in 1948, the seemingly “miraculous” military victories won in the decades after nationhood, and the possession of the Temple Mount in 1967’s Six-Day War, are all taken as literal examples of the fact that the sixth dispensation is underway. 

From a Reformed perspective, Christian Zionism and dispensationalism are not only faulty readings of Scripture, they have proven to be great hindrances to a just peace and stability in the Middle East. The Reformed Church in America has consistently called for a “two-state” solution in Israel/Palestine—strongly recognizing the right of Israel to exist and to have security, as well as strongly affirming the Palestinian desire for a secure and independent homeland of their own. (MGS 2004: 307-308)

The 2004 General Synod voted to adopt the following recommendations:

  • To declare the ideology of Christian Zionism and the extreme form of dispensationalism that undergirds it to be a distortion of the biblical message noting the impediment it represents to achieving a just peace in Israel/Palestine.
  • To urge pastors, consistories, and congregations to study [the 2004 report to General Synod on Christian Zionism] and the paper “Christian Zionism: A Historical Analysis and Critique” in order to develop a more Reformed response to Christian Zionism.
  • To direct the general secretary and all RCA staff to continue working with the Middle East Council of Churches, Churches for Middle East Peace, and other ecumenical groups that seek to address Christian Zionism. (MGS 2004: 311)