UNISON Northern Ireland

KAIROS IRELAND - ‘Promised Land’: an actual place or a divine metaphor?

Event Date: 
13 Sep 2019 - 10:00 to 14:00

Exploring the theology that underpins the Israel-Palestine conflict

Palestinian Christians are offended by the way the Old Testament has been used politically to
support a Zionist narrative - that God has given the Jewish people a divine right to biblical Israel
because of the covenant that He made with Abraham and his descendants. Many religious Jews
who have emigrated to Israel have claimed this privilege in their hearts and on the land: in the
words of an American Jew who has returned to live in Jerusalem: “The God who creates the world
can decide to give this land to the Jewish People.” Many Reformation Christians have supported
this theological narrative since the 16th century and continue to affirm the special right of the
Jewish people to historic Palestine. This narrative has also been embraced by politicians, who have
used religious arguments to make way for the Jewish homeland project and legitimise the
confiscation of Palestinian land.

Today, having suffered from a dispossession process underway since 1947, Palestinian Christians
have begun to see the political misuse of the Bible as the Faith Nakba [Rev Naim Ateek]. When
they read the New Testament, they see the teachings of Jesus, Peter and Paul providing another
perspective that rejects the notion that God chooses one people to worship Him on one particular

• What does the Old Testament actually say about the Promised Land and for whom?
• Are God’s promises to ancient Israel unconditional and never ending?
• How does God have a special plan for the Jewish people different from His plan for other
peoples who have kept the same covenant?
• How do New Testament teachings relate to Zionist understandings of entitlement?
• What has been the impact of the Christian Zionist narrative locally among Palestinians?

These are the kind of theological questions we will be exploring with a specially invited panel of
speakers. They have thought about these questions for some time in the light of the systematic
land dispossession. They will also address issues such as the Battle of Narratives and how the
Kairos movement within the churches has responded to the challenge. Active dialogue will follow
between the panel and participants.

Download the event information here

Event Location: 
Wesley House, Leeson Park D6, Dublin