Beliefs RNS Press Release Service wp-export

Evangelicals deeply concerned about U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as capital of Israel

As followers of Christ, we share a hope that the Holy Land–the birthplace of our Lord and Savior and the Promised Land of the Israelite Patriarchs–will be a land of peace where divine justice, as expressed through the Jewish prophets, can reign. We recognize the historical significance of this land to the Jewish people, who after generations in exile looked to return to the land to secure their physical safety and spiritual redemption. We also affirm the presence of an indigenous Arabic speaking community in the land that has been present since the time of Pentecost (Acts 2:11). It is therefore with the deepest concern that we are witnessing unprecedented actions by the United States government that–while supported by many good-meaning people within the Church–may inadvertently jeopardize the lives and future security of the peoples of the Holy Land. We therefore cannot support President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel absent a comprehensive peace agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians.

As biblically-minded Christians, we take seriously the Psalmist’s words that we are to “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem” (122:6) for the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is the Gospel of Peace (Acts 10:36). We desire that Israelis and Palestinians should come to see each other through the eyes of compassion, loving not only their neighbors but also their enemies and praying for those who persecute them, as Jesus called us all to do (Matthew 5:43-44). Achieving peace in the Holy Land requires a mutual acknowledgment of the harms inflicted upon each other by Israelis and Palestinians and a recognition of the historical traumas faced by both. Unilateral actions taken by either party go against this spirit of mutual acknowledgment. By recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel without an agreement first being reached between Israelis and Palestinians, the United States has placed a stumbling block upon the road to peace, which jeopardizes the lives of everyone in the Holy Land.

We, as Christians in the United States, dearly hope that our nation can play a constructive role in bringing about the reconciliation of these two peoples. We worry that our current administration’s actions will reduce the United States’ credibility as a peace broker and make the resumption of meaningful negotiations more difficult. However, we fervently maintain the hope that someday the Israeli and Palestinian peoples will be able to agree on the final status of Jerusalem. Given the rich heritage of this city and its spiritual significance to the Jews, Christians, and Muslims of the Holy Land, we hope that Jerusalem will be able to serve as the capital for both Israel and Palestine. Until that day, we urge our politicians and church leaders to exercise prudence and refrain from actions that imperil this future hope.

Dr. Gary Burge
Calvin Theological Seminary
Grand Rapids, MI

Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon
Executive Director
Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP)

Rev. Dr. Rob Dalrymple
Senior Pastor
Northminster Presbyterian Church

Dr. Scott Dudley
Senior Pastor
Bellevue Presbyterian Church

Dr. Lynne Ellis-Gray
Pastor, Serve the World Ministries
Overlake Christian Church

Lisa Sharon Harper
Founder and President
Freedom Road

Daniel Hill
Pastor
River City Community Church
Author of White Awake: An Honest Look at What it Means to be White

Dr. Daniel White Hodge
Associate Professor of Intercultural Communication
North Park University

Angie Hong
Creative Director
Willow Chicago

Mike Howerton
Senior Pastor
Overlake Christian Church

Jon Huckins
Co-founding Director
The Global Immersion Project (TGIP)

Carolyn Custis James
Author, Finding God in the Margins

Prof. Russell Jeung
San Francisco State University
Asian American Studies

Kathy Khang
Writer and Speaker

Larry Kim
Senior Pastor
Cambridge Community Fellowship Church

Pablo Otaola
Writer, Speaker, Activist

Rev. Dr. Liz Mosbo VerHage
Quest Church
Seattle, WA

Dr. Paul Louis Metzger
Professor of Christian Theology & Theology of Culture
Multnomah Biblical Seminary
Author of The Gospel of John: When Love Comes to Town

Rev. Dr. Soong-Chan Rah
North Park Theological Seminary

Rev. Alexia Salvatierra
Founder Faith Rooted Organizing UnNetwork
Co-Author of Faith Rooted Organizing: Mobilizing the Church to Service in the World

Ronald J. Sider
Distinguished Professor of Theology, Holistic Ministry and Public Policy
Palmer Seminary at Eastern University

Jer Swigart
Co-founding Director
The Global Immersion Project (TGIP)

Rev. Dr. Al Tizon
Affiliate Associate Professor of Missional and Global Leadership
North Park Theological Seminary
Chicago, IL

Nikki Toyama-Szeto
Executive Director
Evangelicals for Social Action (ESA)

Sandra Van Opstal
Executive Pastor
Grace and Peace Community

Please note: Organizations are listed for identification purposes only.

###

This story is available for republication.

ADVERTISEMENTs