The conclusion of the US-hosted Middle East peace summit in Annapolis, Maryland has further highlighted a growing rift within the Evangelical Christian community over the degree of support for Israel's biblical right to the lands between the Jordan River and Mediterranean Sea.
A day after the summit, the leaders of the three most prominent Jerusalem-based Evangelical ministries told The Jerusalem Post that the re-division of the holy city and the surrender of Israel's biblical heartland - an effective reversal of prophecy - are unacceptable concepts for Bible-believing Christians and Jews.
"The sanctity of Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish State is something very sacred which has both historical and religious associations for the Jewish people going back thousands of years," said International Christian Embassy Jerusalem director Rev. Malcom Heading. "We view any attempt to divide the city as a tragic wedge that is unacceptable."
Ray Sanders, executive director of Christian Friends of Israel, called Muslim claims to sovereignty over these lands, and especially Jerusalem, "preposterous," and said Israel was doing itself a great disservice by failing to more aggressively counter such allegations.
US-based Evangelical heavyweights such as John Hagee and Pat Robertson share the position of the Jerusalem ministries, and vigorously oppose any surrender of Israel's biblical birthright to its Islamic foes.
But another group of lesser known American Evangelical leaders who have taken a position previously described as humanist, rather than biblical, are again urging US President George W. Bush to rapidly divide the Land of Israel.
In a joint statement released this week, the over 80 Christian college and seminary presidents, denominational heads, and other ministry leaders declared:
"We...resolve to work for a viable permanent, democratic Palestinian State... We believe that the way forward is for the Israelis and Palestinians to negotiate a fair, two-state solution. ...We call on all evangelicals, all Christians, and everyone of good will to join us to work and pray faithfully in the coming months for a just, lasting two-state solution in the Holy Land."
The full statement and a list of the Evangelical leaders who signed it can be found here: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2007/novemberweb-only/148-33.0.html