Beware of the "Christian" zionist cult. . . . Grace Halsell, who regards the movement as a cult, asks: What is the message of the Christian Zionist? Simply stated it is this: every act taken by Israel is orchestrated by God, and should be condoned, supported, and even praised by the rest of us.' (17) Stephen Sizer, Christian Zionism: Road-map to Armageddon? (Leicester: 2004), Page 21. The Middle East Council of Churches (MECC), drawing together the historic as well as evangelical churches of the Holy Land, rejects, Christian Zionism 'as representing a heretical interpretation of Holy Scriptures',(19) while John Stott has described it as 'biblical anathema'. (20) Stephen Sizer, Christian Zionism: Road-map to Armageddon? (Leicester: 2004), Page 22. The distinction between Israel and the church and the literalist hermeneutic upon which it is based, inexorably leads to a reductionist eschatology in which Jesus is devalued, salvation and judgment redefined, and Israel sacralized. Stephen Sizer, Christian Zionism: Road-map to Armageddon? (Leicester: 2004), Page 201. He [Edward Irving (1792-1834)]insisted that missionary work especially in Southern Europe, where the Continental Society concentrated its ministry, was futile because God's judgment was about to fall on the lands of the former Roman Empire who would align themselves with the Antichrist. Some walked out of the meeting in protest while the leaders of the society accused Irving of undermining their ministry. (52) Stephen Sizer, Christian Zionism: Road-map to Armageddon? (Leicester: 2004), Page 42. [Benjamin] Newton eventually came to recognize Darby's elevation of Israel above the church as heresy, and repudiated the idea that the Jews could be blessed apart from the faith in Jesus Christ. It was 'virtually to say there are two kinds of Christianity, two Gospels, two ways, and two ends of salvation'.(96) Stephen Sizer, Christian Zionism: Road-map to Armageddon? (Leicester: 2004) p. 53. There is a new religious cult in America. It's not composed of so-called crazies so much as mainstream, middle to upper-middle class Americans. They listen-and give millions of dollars each week-to the TV evangelists who expound the fundamentals of the cult. They read Hal Lindsey and Tim LaHaye. They have one goal: to facilitate God's hand to waft them up to heaven free from all trouble, from where they will watch Armageddon and the destruction of Planet Earth. This doctrine pervades Assemblies of God, Pentacostal, and other charismatic churches, as well as Southern Baptist, independent Baptist and countless so-called Bible churches and mega-churches. At least one out of every 10 Americans is a devotee' of this cult. It is the fastest growing religious movement in Christianity today. - Dale Crowley Jr., religious broadcaster, Washington D.C. Grace Halsell, Forcing God's Hand: Why Millions Pray For A Quick Rapture - - - And Destruction Of Planet Earth (Beltsville: 2003) Page 5. While Calvin and Luther understood the word Israel in Romans 11:25 to refer to the church of Jewish and Gentile believers, as had the Roman Catholic Church, Theodore Beza and Martin Bucer preferred to apply the word to unbelieving Jews and Judaism. The various editors of the Geneva Bible, influenced both by Calvin and Beza, increasingly favoured this interpretation. In the 1557 and 1560 editions, a short note on Romans 11 defined 'Israel' as the 'nation of the Jews'. In later editions, this was amplified to suggest a future conversion of the whole nation of the Jews, though not everyone particularly, shall be joined to the church of Christ.'(4) Through the notes accompanying this translation, which became the most widely read translation in England and Scotland prior to the Authorized Version of 1611, together with the writings of Puritans such as William Perkins and Hugh Broughton, the idea of the conversion of the Jewish people spread in Britain and the American Colonies. (5) Stephen Sizer, Christian Zionism: Road-map to Armageddon? (Leicester: 2004), Page 27-28. It is clear that Jesus was often misunderstood by those who took his words too literally. John's Gospel contains several instances. For example after he had cleansed the temple and was asked by the Pharisees for a sign, Jesus replied, 'Destroy this temple and I will raise it again in three days' (John 2:19). They thought he meant their temple, but Jesus does not correct their error. In the next few chapters, Nicodemus wonders how he can enter his mother's womb again (John 3:4), the Samaritan woman believes Jesus is offering her water on tap (4:15), and the religious leaders fear Jesus is advocating cannibalism by insisting they must eat his body and drink his blood (6:51-52). It is ironic therefore, that one of the most common mistakes made by people in the Gospels, who erroneously deduced a literal interpretation when Jesus intended a spiritual one is repeated today. Stephen Sizer, Christian Zionism: Road-map to Armageddon? (Leicester: 2004), Page 123.