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John Hagee, who pastors a church in Texas with an active membership of over 19 000 and who has a radio and television ministry that reaches 99 million homes, has written a book, which, by his own admission, is an attack on the very foundations of the Christian faith! In a video promoting his new book, Hagee makes the following claims:
“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 exposѐ, In Defense of Israel.”
Hagee tries to suggest that Jesus was not the Messiah of Israel because he did not fulfil their (false) messianic expectations, but he does not deny that Jesus came to be the Saviour of the Gentiles. As we have endeavoured to show in the first section by setting forth what the gospel is, the promise of the coming Messiah was given through the Jewish prophets to the Jewish people. The same prophets revealed that the Messiah would also be a light to the Gentiles. If Jesus is not the Messiah to the Jews then neither can he be the light to the Gentiles. These roles cannot be divorced since his very purpose was to create one new man out of the two, comprising both Jews and Gentiles, and this he accomplished through the cross (See Eph. 2:15).
And now the LORD says—he who formed me in the womb to be his servant to bring Jacob back to him and gather Israel to himself, for I am honoured in the eyes of the LORD and my God has been my strength—he says: “It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth” (Isaiah 49:5-6).
Hagee makes several statements in this book that are completely heretical. “Heresy” is the transliteration of a Greek word meaning sect. The root means ‘to choose or select’. Heretics overemphasise one aspect of Biblical revelation without reference to the whole, thus distorting the truth.(4)
Using Hagee’s own perverted logic, one could propose a heresy of the opposite extreme by quoting Mark 15:24 where Jesus says, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” This, without reference to other passages, would imply that Jesus is only the Messiah of Israel and not the Saviour of the world. But Jesus also said, “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd” (John 10:14-16).
- Source: Peter Cohen, In Defense of the Gospel-- a response to John Hagee’s “In Defense of Israel”
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