Evangelicals deeply concerned about US recognition of Jerusalem as capital of Israel

The Old City of Jerusalem. (photo: G Adventures)

Multiple Christian organizations express their opposition to recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Press Release|Religion News Service | Feb 22, 2018

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.

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.

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