Three in four adult Americans believes Jesus Christ was born of a virgin. Since so many Americans respect the Bible, I wonder why they aren't more jaws dropping over Christians United for Israel (CUFI)--a "Christian" Zionist group that totally lacks Christian priorities.
The following testimonial is from a Jewish student who attended a CUFI rally:
"The room essentially turned into a Mega-Church, with thousands of Christians shouting and praising God, praying for the protection, safety and prosperity of Israel and the Jewish people, and for the destruction of the enemies of America and Israel, while waving American and Israeli flags and listening to the sound of shofars being blasted. And yet the name "Jesus" was not mentioned once the entire night (emphasis mine)By the end of the night I had met so many people who just were hugging me because I was Jewish, giving me their names and asking me to pray for them (emphasis mine), telling me I was blessed by God."
CUFI's head, John Hagee, speaks for a "50-million strong movement". He says his TV and radio ministry reaches 99 million homes.
Hagee's followers believe he preaches a Biblical message toward the Jews. They believe that by sending millions to Israel, they are obeying God's command to "bless" the Jews. It's likely that most of these churchmen and women sincerely believe they're doing the right thing. But they have been so blinded by the platitudes and false premises of Christian Zionism that they can't even recognize Hagee's grave apostasy.
This supposed "Christian leader" believes Jews can be saved without accepting Christ. "I believe that every Jewish person who lives in the light of the Torah, which is the word of God, has a relationship with God and will come to redemption" ["San Antonio fundamentalist battles anti-Semitism," Houston Chronicle, April 30, 1988, sec. 6, pg. 1.].
In his recent book, In Defense of Israel, Hagee went even farther. In an ad for the book, he says shockingly, "Jesus did not come to earth to be the Messiah."
There was outcry over this heresy. Michael Brown, a Jewish Christian and theologian, says Hagee's book explicitly states the following heresies, "The Jewish people, as a whole, did not reject Jesus as Messiah. Jesus did not come to earth to be the Messiah. Jesus refused by word and deed to be the Messiah. The Jews cannot be blamed for not accepting what was never offered." Brown says "some believers and even leaders! are buying into this error hook, line, and sinker, and some have begun to teach and preach it as well."
The Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations responded to Hagee's book with "serious concerns," saying his teachings contradict biblical doctrine, undermine the testimony of Jewish followers of Jesus, and weaken the cause of Christian supporters of the Jewish people.
There was enough controversy over the book that Hagee is releasing a revised edition. He wrote a letter to address the "confusion," saying that while Jesus is the true Messiah, Christians can accept Him as the "suffering Messiah" whereas Jews will not recognize Him until He comes as the "reigning Messiah." We shouldn't judge them for their mistake.
Hagee says he hopes "we can return our focus to what I had anticipated to highlight all along, the fact that we Christians must shift from condemning the Jews for what they missed to thanking them for what they gave."
This emphasis is shared by Hagee's many followers, who increasingly idolize and romanticize Jews and Judaism, exalting Jewish law and Jewish blood perhaps even more than Israeli settlers do!
Blind to Injustice
f Christians can recognize that Hagee is wrong to say Christ is not the Messiah and that Jews do not need His saving redemption, they should also be suspicious of Christian Zionism's other premises. They should take a closer look at the real situation in Israel.
In mid-December, the Red Cross broke its normally neutral silence to speak out on life in Gaza. The Red Cross said no amount of humanitarian aid can solve the crisis, and pled for political action. "In Gaza the whole Strip is being strangled, economically speaking, life there has become a nightmare," said the director of Mideast operations.
But the United States will do nothing to force Israel to dismantle settlements or stop oppressing Palestinians--not while the Israel lobby can exert so much political pressure on Capitol Hill.
The time is long past since Christians should have started analyzing their role in this lobby. American evangelicals should question their reading of the Bible, and their definition of how to "bless" Jews. Listening to John Hagee, you'd think there was just one easy interpretation of the Bible. That's hardly true.
In December, Christian Leaders from the National Council of Churches in Australia visited Israel. Their organization includes 17 diverse member churches. The leaders reported that they "were distressed to hear Palestinians, both Christian and Muslim, relate the suffering and fear experienced daily by large numbers of their people." The church leaders "saw and heard evidence of systematic harassment, physical and psychological oppression, widespread unemployment, poverty, and economic deprivation, resulting directly or indirectly from Israeli military occupation of the West Bank."
Christians, more than any other people, are obligated to disregard power and convention and seek the truth. Without truth, there can be no justice or mercy. It's high time Christians return to the Biblical truth that no group can be called "God's chosen people" unless they practice the obedience of the father of faith, Abraham.
The term "Christian Zionism" is a lie. It is Zionist. There's nothing Christian about it.