Toying with the Bible is like a game of Jenga: Rejecting one scriptural doctrine leads to the collapse of a truly biblical worldview.
Many of America’s mainline denominations began playing this theological Jenga in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Having rejected fundamental Christian doctrines, they pulled down many denominational towers. What’s left of their milquetoast doctrine is motivated more by trending notions of social justice than “thus saith the Lord.”
In reality, their rejection of biblical doctrine and efforts to be on the “right side of history” oppose God’s Word on most fronts, including what He has to say about Israel. Several mainline denominations even work actively against Israel.
In July 2021, the United Church of Christ (UCC), long unmoored from the Bible, condemned Israel alone for the conflict in the Middle East. Its declaration asserted, “The continued oppression of the Palestinian people . . . represents a sin in violation of the message of the biblical prophets and the Gospel.”1
Despite its appeal to Scripture, the resolution interprets figuratively passages like Genesis 12:3 that support Israel’s right to the Promised Land. The UCC believes interpreting literally such passages enables Israel’s alleged sin of repossessing its land. The denomination condemns Christian Zionism “as a theology and an ideology that legitimize the right of one people to deny the human rights of another” and as “a grave misuse of the Bible.”2
The declaration further accuses Israel of abusing the Palestinians for more than 70 years. The problem, in the UCC’s view, stretches back to the State of Israel’s birth in 1948. Their issue is not with specific Israeli policies; it’s with Israel’s very existence.
The denomination even compares Israel’s alleged maltreatment of Palestinians to “conditions . . . in force under Jim Crow in the United States south.” It also labels the Jewish return to the land “a current-day form of settler colonialism, actively engaged in the removal and erasure of the indigenous Palestinian population.”3
That a denomination rooted in New England Puritanism became so disengaged from Scripture that it turned on God’s Chosen People is astonishing. But, sadly, the UCC is not alone.
In 2022, the Presbyterian Church (USA) (PC[USA]) also sided against Israel, declaring the nation an apartheid state and condemning Christian Zionism. The PC(USA) decried Jerusalem’s change “in the direction of a heightened Zionist-Jewish identity.” It charged that the Israeli military exercises an “increasingly apartheid-like control over Palestinians” and that Christian Zionism is built on doctrines that “tend toward idolatry and heresy.”4
The denomination directed all PC(USA)-affiliated agencies, representatives, and congregants to avoid Jewish Zionist narratives about Israel by including “encounters with the stories and concerns of Palestinians in any travel itinerary to the Holy Land, and to make use of Palestinian providers of services whenever possible, given the obstacles they face.”5
Other denominations, including the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Alliance of Baptists, the Mennonite Central Committee, and the Episcopal Church, have issued similar anti-Israel statements or divested from companies that do business in Israel.
Unfortunately, these denominations not only ignore Scripture and history but also engage in a key manifestation of modern antisemitism: holding the Jewish state to a double standard.
Nowhere in their statements do these denominations condemn or even mention Palestinian terror tunnels, incendiary kites and balloons sent from Gaza to destroy Israeli land and property, or the murder of Jewish people by Arab terrorists.
Before preaching to Israel about its alleged “sin” of existence, these denominations should examine how far they have drifted from the Word of God. Within its pages, they would find that God’s calling and gifts, including that of the land of Israel to His Chosen People, “are irrevocable” (Rom. 11:29).
- Shalom United Church of Christ, New Haven, Connecticut, Declaration for a Just Peace Between Palestine and Israel (globalministries.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/General-Synod-2021-Resolution-I-P.pdf), 5.
- Ibid., 4.
- “Jerusalem 3, 2, 1: Three Faiths, Two Peoples, and One Human Family—From the Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy,” 225th General Assembly (2022) (pc-biz.org/#/search/3000780).