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This Kind of Language is Unhelpful

This is cross-posted from Calvin Smith’s blog. Calvin Smith is the Principal of King’s Evangelical Divinity School

An Anglican priest who recently attended a Palestine conference organised by the Federation of Islamic Student Societies today blogs of his participation in the conference. Revd Stephen Sizer also refers to the Jerusalem Declaration, a document he helped draft and which he says “repudiates Christian Zionism as a deviant heresy”.

This is strong language indeed. Of course, it is no secret Revd Sizer has widely publicised his intense dislike of Christian Zionism, which he has every right to do. But surely labelling millions of fellow Evangelical Christians deviant heretics goes too far. There is a time to speak out against genuine, grave heresy, and those destructive false teachers repudiated in the New Testament usually have a major trait in common. Whether the Galatian heresy which denies the power of Christ’s salvific work through the cross, the Colossian heresy, incipient Gnostic dualism in the Johannine writings, or the heretics Jude warns against who “deny our master the Lord Jesus Christ”, the heresies roundly condemned in the New Testament tend to deny the person and work of Jesus Christ. In short, they Christologically defective. Thus, it is quite one thing to challenge particular doctrines and teachings one may disagree with (including Christian Zionism or for that matter supercessionism), but quite another to label millions of fellow Christians who have accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal saviour are deviant heretics, a label generally reserved for those whose teachings and beliefs in some way deny the person of Christ.

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