The Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams said that the theology of Christian Zionism has no historical base and is a recent Protestant addition, according to Petra, the Jordanian state media agency.
Williams, who is on a four-day visit to Jordan, Israel and Palestine from Feb. 19-23, was reported by Petra as saying that the belief by some Protestants that the establishment of the Jewish state is a prerequisite for the return of Christ doesn’t have a historical basis and only appeared as a result of “some biblical studies in the nineteenth century.”
Christian Zionism is a belief among some Christians that the return of the Jews to the Holy Land, and the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, is in accordance with Biblical prophecy. Some Christian Zionists believe that the gathering of Jews in Israel is a prerequisite for the Second Coming of Jesus. This belief is primarily associated with Christian Dispensationalism and the idea that Christians should actively support Israel.
In the same Petra report, Williams said the Amman Message aims to clarify to the modern world the true nature of Islam. The Amman Message is a statement that was issued in 2004 by King Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein of Jordan, calling for tolerance and unity in the Muslim world. A three-point ruling was issued by 200 Islamic scholars from over 50 countries, focusing on issues of defining who a Muslim is, excommunication from Islam (takfir), and principles related to delivering religious edicts.
Williams was quoted by Petra as saying not only that the Amman Message is a constructive initiative launched by Jordan for the coexistence of people of different faiths, but also that suspicion “against Muslims comes from those who stay away from church.”
Additionally, in an interview with Petra, Williams said that relations between Muslims and Christians in Britain are very good. He added, according to Petra, that the challenges facing those who attempt to achieve peaceful coexistance is to reach people who avoid attending church.
Williams plans is meeting with Christians in the Holy Land, including Anglicans in the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem, and is accompanied throughout by Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem Suheil Dawani. The archbishop will also meet with local heads of state and government and lead the Anglican delegation in the fourth round of discussions with the Chief Rabbinate of Israel.
The archbishop is being accompanied for the duration of the visit by Church of Ireland Bishop Michael Jackson of Clogher, the Anglican chair to the Anglican Jewish Commission.