7 Comments

The Threat of Christian Zionism, Politics, and John Hagee (2)


continued from part (1)

What Are the Potential Results of Christian Zionism?

In light of what has previously been said, it should be apparent that Christian Zionism has the potential to shape the beliefs and practices of its adherents in a great many arenas. Some of these will now be designated more clearly:

First, a fervent adherence to the ideologies of Christian Zionism may very possibly lead to outright heresy and anti-christian doctrine. Consider once again John Hagee, perhaps the most outstanding representative of influential Christian Zionists. In his recent controversial book, In Defense of Israel, Hagee made several statements that clearly denied that Jesus came to be the Messiah, and that the Jewish people had rejected him as the Messiah. For example:

If God intended for Jesus to be the Messiah of Israel, why didn’t he authorize Jesus to use supernatural signs to prove he was God’s Messiah, just as Moses had done? (p. 137) Jesus refused to produce a sign … because it was not the Father’s will, nor his, to be Messiah. (p 138) If Jesus wanted to be Messiah, why did he repeatedly tell his disciples and followers to “tell no one” about his supernatural accomplishments? (p. 139) The Jews were not rejecting Jesus as Messiah; it was Jesus who was refusing to be the Messiah to the Jews. (p. 140) They wanted him to be their Messiah, but he flatly refused. (p. 141) He refused to be their Messiah, choosing instead to be the Savior of the world (p. 143) Jesus rejected to the last detail the role of Messiah in word or deed (p. 145) [John Hagee, In Defense of Israel, Frontline, 2007].

Consider also the text of a commercial Hagee produced to advertise his book:

This book will expose the sins of the fathers and the vicious abuse of the Jewish people. In Defense of Israel will shake Christian theology. It scripturally proves that the Jewish people as a whole did not reject Jesus as Messiah. It will also prove that Jesus did not come to earth to be the Messiah. It will prove that there was a Calvary conspiracy between Rome, the high priest, and Herod to execute Jesus as an insurrectionist too dangerous to live. Since Jesus refused by word and deed to claim to be the Messiah, how can the Jews be blamed for rejecting what was never offered? Read this shocking expose, In Defense of Israel.

Hagee did later issue a statement to clarify the “misunderstanding” of his intentions, with such explanations as the following:

I am writing to share with you some important news pertaining to my latest book In Defense of Israel. It has come to my attention that my choice of language and some of the interpretation being given that language in Chapter Ten has caused some confusion and actually led some readers to question whether I believe that Jesus is the Messiah. If people are reaching such a conclusion, then I have clearly failed to communicate my views as well as I should have….

Over the centuries, Christians have been quick to condemn the Jews for failing to recognize Jesus as Messiah. This approach led to replacement theology and the viewpoint of some that God has rejected and broken covenant with the Jewish people. These ideas, in turn, opened the door to a vicious Christian anti-Semitism that led to the Crusades, the Inquisition and countless pogroms.

I tried to challenge this view by highlighting a distinction that has been long recognized in Christian theology between the role Jesus played in His first coming, and the role He will play in his second coming. Jesus came the first time as the suffering Messiah, as exemplified by His persecution, rejection and crucifixion. Jesus will come back as the reigning Messiah, who will rule the world from His throne in Jerusalem as King of Kings and Lord of Lords….

[the rest of the letter can be read here: http://cufi.convio.net/site/PageServer?pagename=learn_teachings#special_message%5D.

However, this letter of retraction remains unconvincing on several fronts. First, the statements made in the book and commercial were too clear and too numerous to be the product of an unintentional slip of words. And then, in the letter, Hagee in no way retracts the content of what he had said, he just attempts to clarify a misunderstanding of what he had meant. Which means that, whatever the statements from Chapter Ten of his book actually mean, Hagee still believes and endorses them. Is it really likely that Hagee did not actually mean what he had seemed to state so clearly, but was simply the victim of a misunderstanding? Or is it not much more believable that he let his true theology, which drives his Zionist movements and organizations, come out into the open, so that it was no longer veiled behind the catch phrases of popular Evangelicalism, which by overuse have largely been derived of any meaningful content anyway?

But let’s consider even the amended statements a little more carefully: for argument’s sake, we will grant that Hagee didn’t intend to say that Jesus had not come to be the suffering Messiah (Moshiach ben Yosef), or that the Jews had not rejected him in that role; but he certainly intended to say that he had not come as the conquering Messiah (Moshiach ben David), and that the Jews had not rejected him in that capacity. And therefore, since they had not rejected him in this conquering role, which he would play in the eschaton, immediately after the rapture of the Church, then they had not in any way rejected or disqualified themselves from receiving the blessings which Christ as the conquering Messiah had been sent to give them. That this is in fact Hagee’s intended meaning may be substantiated from statements he has made elsewhere, such as the following:

GROSS: So where does that leave the Israeli Jews who don’t believe in Jesus
Christ when the Rapture comes?

Pastor HAGEE: Where that leaves them is that during the tribulation, the book
of Revelation says in the 14th chapter that God is going to send angels who
will preach the everlasting gospel across the face of the earth so that
everyone will have the opportunity of knowing who Jesus Christ is. Now, when it
comes to the Jesus people, Zechariah very clearly says that they are not going
to believe that Jesus Christ is the Messiah until they see him. Zechariah says
in the 14th chapter `and when they, the Jewish people, see him whom they have
pierced’–and the word pierced there actually refers to his rib and side–`when
they see him whom they have pierced, they will weep as one weeps for his only
son for a period of one week. They’re simply not going to believe he is the
Messiah until they actually see him, and that’s at the Second Coming. Then, at
that point in time, there is the judgment of the nations in which all nations
are judged for the way in which they have treated the nation of Israel and the
Jewish people, and the Jewish people and that will be an eternal kingdom
[http://www.jewsonfirst.org/06c/hagee_fresh_air.pdf].

Here, Hagee clearly states that the Jewish people will reject Christ and disbelieve the gospel even after the rapture of the church and until the final appearing of Christ to establish his kingdom. However, at that time, after their rejection of Jesus, they will enter into the reward of an eternal kingdom, where they will rule the earth, and all the nations who had mistreated them will be judged. So then, for the Jewish people, there is a very different way of salvation than belief in Jesus as the Messiah. However you look at it, Hagee has indeed denied the salvific exclusivity of belief in Jesus as the Christ, by positing a different type of salvation, namely eternal physical sway over the earth, which is not connected to Jesus’ Messianic task of suffering. If one is a Gentile, he must believe in the suffering Messiah to be given the spiritual inheritance of eternal life. If one is a Jew, he can reject the suffering Christ and forfeit his spiritual inheritance – but he will still get the consolation prize of a physical inheritance, by virtue of his ethnicity, his rejection of Christ notwithstanding. This idea has derived directly from Hagee’s Christian Zionist ideology, and the two-peoples-of-God/two-prophetic-agendas theology which drives it. Consider well: if the leading proponent of Christian Zionism has gone down the path of heterodoxy in pursuing it, is apostasy and heterodoxy not a very real danger for the whole of the church that is in favor of the Christian Zionist ideals? Is heresy not a danger intrinsic to the very nature of the movement, and are not the seeds of it worked into the very fabric of the whole philosophy? If this is indeed the case, then the need for a warning call from the leaders of the church is most pressing indeed.

Second, and conversely, not only does the extreme ideology of Christian Zionism offer a free acquittal to unbelieving Jews, falsely guaranteeing them a hope of salvation to a glorious earthly kingdom in spite of their rejection of Jesus as the suffering Messiah, it also obscures the true riches that ought to be proclaimed among them, in the free gospel offer of grace in Jesus Christ. The New Testament teaching is that all who believe, whether Jews or Gentiles, are heirs of every promise made to the fathers (Galatians 3:28-29; Ephesians 2:12-13, 3:6) and possessors of every spiritual blessing in Christ (Ephesians 1:3), the one to whom all the promises were made (Galatians 3:16), and in whom they all find their fulfillment (2 Corinthians 1:20). Christian Zionism teaches them that, if they accept Christ now, they become a part of a different body (the Church) which is not in continuity with their own heritage and which does not guarantee the fulfillment of the promises made to their fathers. To accept Christ is to denounce the Abrahamic promise, for from the point at which they accept him, they become a part of God’s spiritual people, which does not inherit the physical promises. If they reject him, then, although they forfeit their spiritual inheritance, at least they are still properly considered ethnic Jews, in God’s sight, and so they can still hope to possess their land in peace and fruitfulness. Although most Christian Zionists would no doubt say that it would be of benefit for any modern Jew to embrace Christ, do not their own actions undermine the genuineness of their claim? If they are expending so much effort and energy to see that the modern state of Israel retains hold of her land, are they not saying in effect, “Do not give up your place in God’s eschatological program as an ethnic Jew! If you become part of the Church, where there is no Jew or Greek, you will be raptured away, and the land will not be yours in the millennial kingdom – but it is an invaluably great thing for the land to remain yours, and hence we are spending so much effort to keep it in Israeli hands.” How much better than this false dichotomy is the true gospel that says, “You will certify yourselves to be genuine Jews and Abraham’s seed indeed, and you will be given the full and eternal possession of every blessing ever made to the fathers, if you only embrace the Jewish Messiah, Jesus Christ, who came once to suffer and fulfill every promise, and is coming again to bring his inheritance with him”!

Third, as we have already noted, the ideology of Christian Zionism carries the very real danger of distracting believers from their true and most pressing tasks as Christians on this earth, whether it be spreading the gospel throughout the nations or just living lives of simplicity, hope, and virtue before the watching world, by focusing their attention on a divine agenda which, by their own confession, has nothing to do with themselves as part of the Church, but only serves to indicate the approximate time when God may snatch them up to be out of the way of what he has begun to do again with his other people.

Fourth, the impact that Christian Zionists have on international politics may bring about some very tragic results in the diplomacy of the Middle East, including very real bloodshed and bereavement which might have been avoided if the idea of Israel’s divine entitlement to the land had been abandoned (or rather, if it had been put in its proper perspective as that which guarantees that all of Abraham’s true children will inherit the new earth through much meekness and patient endurance). This effect of a wrong ideology, having such a vast and widespread capacity to do much harm, has no doubt been grossly underestimated by a great many Christian theologians who disagree with the basic premises underlying the Christian Zionist movement.

Conclusion

The Christian Zionist movement is the result of an aberrant theology, and is dangerous on several fronts: it tends to distract and confuse true believers in a vast segment of worldwide evangelicalism; it tends to obscure the true message of the gospel from the Jewish people, by presenting to them a false dichotomy which demands that they forfeit the Abrahamic promises if they should come to Christ (who actually fulfills them – tragic irony!); it tends towards greater doctrinal confusion and heresy, which has been seen even in the most respected and influential leaders of the movement, and not just on the radical fringe; and it tends to work against the preservation of peace in the Middle East, by obstinately refusing any sort of compromise. Any movement that has such a destructive potential, and that has in fact already had many such harmful effects, is no small issue. Perhaps it is time for the leaders of the worldwide Church to present a united front of opposition to a very widespread and alarming threat.

More on this topic
Christian Zionism: Road-map to Armageddon? book by Stephen Sizer

7 comments on “The Threat of Christian Zionism, Politics, and John Hagee (2)

  1. Good post PJ. i put it on my site also. People are fed so much of the other stuff that we need to keep bringing this subject to the forefront. The more I learn about this subject the worse it seems to get.

    Blessings,
    Cathy

  2. The author did an excellent job in this essay…

    What he did was take all the many issues which point out the dangers of Christian Zionism/dispensationalist teachings, and put them in one compacted essay.

    One thing he said early-on really caught my attention, mainly because i have been puzzled also: That being WHY the Church does not speak out on this as being false and dangerous…while they’ll speak out boldly on other deceptions and false teachings?

    In my opinion its one of two reasons why we are not seeing this happen:

    -Either the pastor or leader secretly believes it is correct…

    or,

    -Its become a ‘sacred cow’..and not many want to or dare ‘touch’ it. Why? because its so heavily ingrained in churches in the USA.

    The other issue he brought out, which i thought was true and excellent, was how this type of hyper-dispensationalist teaching, (when one believes it) ‘touches’ or determines how the person ‘reads’ or sees or interprets sooooo many other scriptures and doctrines.

    As he wrote: its an erroneous theological view held by those who reject a Christocentric reading of scripture (especially prophecy) and instead embrace an Israelocentric view of the bible.

  3. ————–
    -Either the pastor or leader secretly believes it is correct…

    or,

    “or, -Its become a ’sacred cow’..and not many want to or dare ‘touch’ it. Why? because its so heavily ingrained in churches in the USA.”
    ————–

    I have asked this same question. “Why don’t they say something?” Then I say “because they believe it themselves.”

    Then there’s the “sacred cow” issue.

    Years ago I remember hearing or reading that if a minister did not believe in a “secret rapture” they would be excluded from preaching. I did not understand at the time why that would be true, but now I do. the “secret rapture” is a product of dispensational teaching.

    I have also heard the “sacred cow” phrase applied to Roman Catholicism. I know this is true from first hand experience. My husband and I have spoken to many pastors on this subject.

    The bottom line is that if you don’t go along with the crowd you’re excluded from organized church ministry. Being in “the church” and having an active part in ministry can be very seductive. For a moment you forget who you’re supposed to be following. Been there. Praise the Lord that he opened my eyes.

    Cathy

  4. Thats true Cathy, many times people go along to get along.

    I was thinking about this ‘sacred cow’ example this morning, and remembered the excellent post from last year, over on SoulRefuge: THE STRONG DELUSION OF CHRISTIAN ZIONISM. (i would recommend to anyone to read it)

    From the post, a quote:

    Beware of the phrase “replacement theology” because it is a term used by Christian Zionists. It paints a picture that portrays people who do not agree with their false theology appear anti-semitic. Do not be intimidated by that term, because the Lord Jesus Christ is the searcher of hearts and he knows what is going on inside your heart.

    Thats one reason this sacred cow continues to not be addressed, but by very few. Most Christians who do have questions [and doubts] about Christian Zionisn/hyper-dispensationalism are afraid of being branded anti-semitic if they DARE dispute this false teaching.

    In most of Hagee’s books [all of them, in the ones i’ve read] he uses this tactic to silent people. He even uses it on his website when telling people WHY WE HAVE to support Israel regardless….

    Some months back i copied his statement, and stuck my own observations in it after certain statements he claims are truth and ‘biblical’…

    ————————-

    FROM JOHN HAGEE’S WEBSITE-

    Why Christians Should Support Israel
    T h e A p p l e o f H I S e y e…

    Everything Christians do should be based upon the Biblical text. Here are seven solid Bible reasons why Christians should support Israel.

    -Genesis 12:3 “And I will bless them that bless thee and curse him that curseth thee; and in thee shall all nations of the earth be blessed.” Point: God has promised to bless the man or nation that blesses the Chosen People. History has proven beyond reasonable doubt that the nations that have blessed the Jewish people have had the blessing of God; the nations that have cursed the Jewish people have experienced the curse of God.

    -St. Paul recorded in Romans 15:27 “For if the Gentiles have shared in their (the Jews) spiritual things, they are indebted to minister to them also in material things.”

    (REALLY? Read Romans chapter 15—what is this talking about–does it really say we are to support Israel financially? “…….25 But now I go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints. 26For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem. 27It hath pleased them verily; and their debtors they are. For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister unto them in carnal things.)

    -Christians owe a debt of eternal gratitude to the Jewish people for their contributions that gave birth to the Christian faith. Jesus Christ, a prominent Rabbi from Nazareth said, “Salvation is of the Jews!” (St. John 4:22) consider what the Jewish people have given to Christianity:

    a) The Sacred Scripture
    b) The Prophets
    c) The Patriarchs
    d) Mary, Joseph, and Jesus Christ of Nazareth
    e) The Twelve Disciples
    f) The Apostles

    It is not possible to say, “I am a Christian” and not love the Jewish people. The Bible teaches that love is not what you say, but what you do. (1 John 3:18) “A bell is not a bell until you ring it, a song is not a song until you sing it, love is not love until you share it.”

    While some Christians try to deny the connection between Jesus of Nazareth and the Jews of the world, Jesus never denied his Jewishness. He was born Jewish, He was circumcised on the eighth day in keeping with Jewish tradition, He had his Bar Mitzvah on his 13th birthday, He kept the law of Moses, He wore the Prayer Shawl Moses commanded all Jewish men to wear, He died on a cross with an inscription over His head, “King of the Jews!

    -Jesus considered the Jewish people His family. Jesus said (Matthew 25:40) “Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren (the Jewish people… Gentiles were never called His brethren), ye have done it unto me.

    (AGAIN, REALLY? Is this really who Jesus was referring to…the Jewish people? OR was he referring to those who ‘do his will?” Who are the brethren of Jesus?

    “….Luke 8: 19Then came to him his mother and his brethren, and could not come at him for the press. 20And it was told him by certain which said, Thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to see thee. 21And he answered and said unto them, My mother and my brethren are these which hear the word of God, and do it. )

    “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, they shall prosper that love thee.” (Psalm 122:6) the scriptural principle of prosperity is tied to blessing Israel and the city of Jerusalem.

    (that is a lie: saying that our ‘prosperity’ is in any way tied to our ‘blessing’ any nation financially is untrue)

    The rest of this below, from Hagees website is the most severe twisting of scripture i’ve ever seen, coming from one who is looked upon as a ‘Christian leader’…to state that Cornelius was chosen because he gave ‘alms’ to the Jews, instead of the truth which shows us in the Word Cornelius was a:

    …”devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God always.”

    Why did Jesus Christ go to the house of Cornelius in Capernaum and heal his servant, which was ready to die? What logic did the Jewish elders use with Jesus to convince Him to come into the house of a Gentile and perform a miracle?

    The logic they used is recorded in Luke 7:5; “For He loveth our nation, and He hath built us a synagogue.” The message? This Gentile deserves the blessing of God because he loves our nation and has done something practical to bless the Jewish people.

    Why did God the Father select the house of Cornelius in Caesarea (Acts Chapter 10) to be the first Gentile house in Israel to receive the Gospel? The answer is given repeatedly in Acts 10.

    Acts 10:2 “a devout man, (Cornelius) and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God always.” Who were the people to whom Cornelius gave these alms? They were the Jews.

    Again is Acts 10:4 “… thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.”

    Again in Acts 10:31 “… and thine alms are had in remembrance in the sight of God.”

    The point is made three times in the same chapter. A godly Gentile who expressed his unconditional love for the Jewish people in a practical manner was divinely selected by heaven to be the first Gentile house to receive the Gospel and the first to receive the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

    These combined Scriptures verify that PROSPERITY (Genesis 12:3 and Psalm 122:6), HEALING (Luke 7:1-5) and the OUTPOURING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT came first to Gentiles that blessed the Jewish people and the nation of Israel in a practical manner.

    (that last statement says it all—the ‘practical manner?’ ….its financially in Hagrees mind, and only continues to show me the spiritual dangers of Christian zionism. They would rather ‘bless’ the state of Israel today with money and their political clout, then bless those there who are lost, with the Gospel)

  5. […] status as a voting member. THE OTHER GOSPEL OF JOHN HAGEE: CHRISTIAN ZIONISM AND ETHNIC SALVATION The Threat of Christian Zionism, Politics, and John Hagee (2) In light of what has previously been said, it should be apparent that Christian Zionism has the […]

  6. […] OTHER GOSPEL OF JOHN HAGEE: CHRISTIAN ZIONISM AND ETHNIC SALVATION The Threat of Christian Zionism, Politics, and John Hagee (2) In light of what has previously been said, it should be apparent that Christian Zionism has the […]

  7. […] OTHER GOSPEL OF JOHN HAGEE: CHRISTIAN ZIONISM AND ETHNIC SALVATION The Threat of Christian Zionism, Politics, and John Hagee (2) In light of what has previously been said, it should be apparent that Christian Zionism has the […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Rooted and Grounded In Christ

Teaching Sound Doctrine & Glorifying Christ

Music from Broken Chords

Down in the human heart, crush'd by the tempter, Feelings lie buried that grace can restore; Touched by a loving heart, wakened by kindness Chords that were broken will vibrate once more. From the Hymn "Rescue the Perishing" by Fanny J. Crosby

I Was a Teenage Dispensationalist

It's the end (of the end) of the world as we know it...

%d bloggers like this: