Apologetics Index

John Hagee

Estimated reading time: 20 minutes

Note: This entry is in need of updating. But just in case you’re wondering whether Prosperity Gospel preacher John Hagee might be a Christian teacher whose wisdom and insight can help you get to know Jesus better, we have this simple, firm answer: No.

November 16, 2021 — John Hagee’s Cornerstone Church is in the news:

Who’s Who of New Christian Right Rally in Texas to Curse Biden

You don’t come to the Rev. John Hagee’s church only to hear about the amazing grace of God. On Saturday, a crowd packed the sanctuary of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas, to listen to a Who’s Who of Christian nationalists, anti-vaxxers, Trump loyalists, and conspiracy theorists euphemistically swear at Joe Biden.

While it made headlines thanks to former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn urging the United States to “embrace one religion,” the three-day event and the latest stop of the “Reawaken America Tour,” was remarkable in itself for its collection of election conspiracy theorists. These included My Pillow CEO Michael J. Lindell and Flynn, alongside Alex Jones of Info Wars and anti-vaxx champion Sherri Tenpenny.

Attendance was filled out by Q-Anon true believers and pro-Trump preachers and activists, all of whom periodically filled the air with chants of “Let’s Go Brandon” — a workaround for an obscene anti-Biden chant. 
[…more…]
According to the Associated Press, the slogan is a stand in for “F— Joe Biden” and became popular among Republicans after a post-NASCAR race interview in October. During an interview with NASCAR driver Brandon Brown, the crowd could be heard chanting the vulgar phrase. The reporter, however, believed the crowd was chanting “Let’s go Brandon.”

The video that emerged from the popular San Antonio church was recorded some time during the three-day “ReAwaken America” conference that took place Nov. 11-13.
[…]

PatriotTakes, an organization that exposes far-right disinformation, shared the video on Twitter with the caption “The Q-Anon crowd is at televangelist John Hagee’s Cornerstone Church in San Antonio. They are chanting, “Let’s Go Brandon” from the church pews.”

second video posted by PatriotTakes shows that the chants may have been led from the stage and not spontaneously from the crowd.
[…]

In a statement to MySA, Cornerstone Church said its facilities were used by an outside organization and do not endorse its views.

Apparently, money trumps principles.

Oh, and in 2016, Hagee endorsed Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election.

That sure doesn’t sound like someone who has a good grasp of the spiritual discernment Christians are supposed to develop.

Who is John Hagee?

John Hagee is the founder and pastor of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas. The congregation counts over 17,000 people.

Hagee is the President and C.E.O. of John Hagee Ministries which telecasts his national radio and television ministry carried in America on 160 T.V. stations, 50 radio stations, eight networks and can be seen weekly in 99 million homes.

Hagee is also the founder of Christians United for Israel, “a national association through which every pro-Israel church, Para-church organization, ministry or individual in America can speak and act with one voice in support of Israel in matters related to Biblical issues.”

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Most people who see and hear the Rev. John C. Hagee are impressed. He is rotund, strident, authoritative (and could well pass for Rush Limbaugh’s older and more serious brother). His delivery alone gives the impression of one who really knows what he is talking about. However, careful evaluation of the teachings of Hagee, pastor at the San Antonio-based Cornerstone Church, reveals false teaching and a defective view of a basic and essential issue regarding salvation and the Gospel. Hagee preaches another way of salvation for the Jew, which is in direct violation of Paul’s warnings in Galatians 1:6-9.

This theological concept, which has many forms, is primarily referred to as the “Two Covenant” or “Dual Covenant” theory.

Hagee’s web site tells us that his “vision is for world evangelism. The burning passion of his heart is to win the lost to Jesus Christ in America and around the world.” That statement is not altogether true since he will not evangelize Jews and teaches salvation on another basis than the Gospel for the Jewish people.

Hagee has become extremely popular since the 1987 dedication of his Cornerstone Church (an event that featured an appearance and a blessing from W.A. Criswell, then pastor of First Baptist Church of Dallas) and because of the daily programs from Global Evangelism Television of which he is president. His best-selling books have also made him a celebrity. He associates with the likes of Benny Hinn and appears with him from time to time at crusades and other Charismatic congresses.
The Christian Research Institute panned Hagee’s 1996 book, Beginning of the End, not only for its premise that Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination triggered prophetic events and set the prophetic clock ticking somehow but because he falsely predicted that Shimon Peres would succeed Rabin. The later elections brought Benyamin Netanyahu to power.
Cornerstone Church, TX
John Hagee’s Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas. Photo by Billy Hathorn. Used here under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported.
Pastor John Hagee built a tiny congregation into a megachurch, attracting a nationwide audience through his international radio and television ministry.

His Cornerstone Church boasts a 5,000-seat sanctuary, the largest in the city, and weekly worship attendance estimated at 7,000. Many who have followed him on TV have come from around the country to worship in his church.

Hagee is known for his powerful, pulpit-rattling preaching, which covers the range from fire-breathing denunciation of sin to side-splitting laughter.
[…]

His national prominence has brought him into the company of such conservative Christian personalities as Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Oliver North and Oral Roberts.

But even more striking is Hagee’s staunch support of Israel and of Jewish causes, which is virtually unmatched in the Christian community. He launched his annual Night to Honor Israel, which highlights Christianity’s debt to Judaism, in 1981 and has raised millions of dollars to help Jewish refugees from the former Soviet Union emigrate to Israel.

John Hagee’s theology

Christians have listened for many years to the preaching of John Hagee, senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas. Hagee attended Trinity University on a football scholarship, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree before earning his master’s at North Texas State University. He also studied at Southwestern Bible College and was granted an honorary doctorate from Oral Roberts University.

Hagee’s ministerial activities began in 1958 as an evangelist. In 1966 he went to San Antonio to become the founding pastor of what eventually became Trinity Church. After resigning his pastorate of Trinity in May 1975, Hagee took the helm of the 25-member Church of Castle Hill in San Antonio. That church — rebuilt to seat 5,000 and dedicated in October 1987 as Cornerstone Church — now has an active membership of over 13,000.

Through his writings (books, booklets, and articles in his bimonthly John Hagee Ministries magazine), taped messages, and daily appearances on his Global Evangelism Television broadcasts (Cornerstone and John Hagee Today) aired by the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) and other media outlets, Hagee has gained broad visibility and influence among evangelicals.

A number of people consider Hagee’s teachings to be thoroughly biblical. We would disagree with Hagee, however, on the following points.

Preaching Prosperity

John Hagee believes that all Christians should be financially prosperous so long as they continue to walk in obedience to God’s ordinances. Although he does not subscribe to every doctrine common to the so-called Faith movement, he does agree with the movement’s view that “poverty is caused by sin and disobeying the Word of God.”1 Hagee, like most other prosperity preachers, believes that “poverty is a curse.”
[…]

Promoting Positive Confession

Along with the prosperity message, Hagee accepts and promotes the doctrine of positive confession — a foundational teaching of the Faith movement which maintains that Christians can speak (i.e., positively confess) physical realities into existence as long as the believer exercises enough faith to accompany his or her verbal confession.
[…]

Salvation Without Conversion?

Hagee is recognized as a fierce foe of anti-Semitism. An outspoken supporter of the Jewish people, Judaism, and the nation Israel, he has been given the “Humanitarian of the Year” award by the San Antonio B’nai B’rith Council. Hagee has also been bestowed the “ZOA Israel Service Award” by the Zionist Organization in Dallas and honored with the “Henrietta Szold Award” by the Texas Southern Region of Hadassah.

While his bold stance against anti-Semitism is certainly praiseworthy, Hagee’s zealousness for the Jewish people and their cause has led him to commit a most serious doctrinal error — salvation for the Jews without conversion to Christianity.

Though many may claim Hagee’s preaching is helping to spread the Word of God and building a bridge of unity between the Christian and Jewish communities, the fact remains that his message contains elements which lie in direct and serious opposition to biblical truth.

John Hagee on Salvation for the Jews

Christians United for Israel

In March, 2006, John Hagee formed Christians United for Israel (CUFI). It is “a national association through which every pro-Israel church, Para-church organization, ministry or individual in America can speak and act with one voice in support of Israel in matters related to Biblical issues.”

“Think of CUFI as a Christian version of AIPAC [the American Israel Public Affairs Committee],” Hagee told The Jerusalem Post. “We need to be able to respond instantly to Washington with our concerns about Israel. We must join forces to speak as one group and move as one body to [respond to] the crisis Israel will be facing in the near future.”

Hagee declined to specify which crisis, noting that Israel faces one “every day the sun comes up.” But at the top of the CUFI agenda is what the pastor calls “the Bible issue,” namely what he considers to be the mistaken policy of trading parts of the biblical Land of Israel for peace, an agenda that AIPAC, for example, neglects.

Accordingly, Hagee says, CUFI intends to “interact with the government in Washington” and persuade it “to stop pressuring Israel to give up land for peace. Besides the fact that this does not work, Israel has a Bible mandate for the land. Now that Gaza has been given to Hamas, it has a military foothold a thousand yards from Jerusalem.”

“Dual Covenant” Theology?

Shortly after the launch of CUFI, the Jerusalem Post reported:

An evangelical pastor and an Orthodox rabbi, both from Texas, have apparently persuaded leading Baptist preacher Jerry Falwell that Jews can get to heaven without being converted to Christianity.
Televangelist John Hagee and Rabbi Aryeh Scheinberg, whose Cornerstone Church and Rodfei Sholom congregations are based in San Antonio, told The Jerusalem Post that Falwell had adopted Hagee’s innovative belief in what Christians refer to as “dual covenant” theology.

This creed, which runs counter to mainstream evangelism, maintains that the Jewish people has a special relationship to God through the revelation at Sinai and therefore does not need “to go through Christ or the Cross” to get to heaven.

Scheinberg said this has been Hagee’s position for the 25 years the two have worked together on behalf of Israel and that Falwell had also come to accept it. Falwell sent a representative to the San Antonio launch of Christians United for Israel in early February, as did popular televangelist Pat Robertson.
[…]

Scheinberg said he had worked with Hagee since 1981, when the pastor first broached the idea of organizing a night to honor Israel, which has become an annual event.

“He came to the Jewish community and of course they were skeptical, they were a bit suspicious, anxious about whatever agenda he might have,” the rabbi recalled. “He took public positions against proselytizing the Jews, which some of his own colleagues at that time criticized him roundly for; for example, Falwell was at that time very critical of his nonconversionary statements regarding the Jews. But that’s not the case now though. Falwell has changed his position,” he said.
H
agee has been consistent in this theological position, Scheinberg said, and this was reflected in both the declared policy of CUFI and at the public launch of the organization last month.

“It seemed there was a great deal of unity – not unanimity – on nonconversion, a nonproselytizing agenda, that the Jews have a special covenant, and this was stated over and over,” the rabbi said.
“It was stated in Hagee’s opening speech, in his opening statement, and then repeated again. And when there was a question period later, no one asked about this. It seemed to be understood that any hidden agenda, any attempt at conversion, would undermine all their efforts, would be counterproductive, and that’s not what they are about.

“There was always concern on the part of the Jewish community that there’s a hidden agenda now, to convert now, to proselytize now. And regarding that, Hagee was very strong in saying no, we are not proselytizing,” Scheinberg said.

Dual Covenant Denied

Pastors John Hagee and Jerry Falwell have both denied a report in The Jerusalem Post earlier this week that they embrace the “dual covenant” theology, which holds that Jews are saved through a special relationship with God and so need not become Christians to get to heaven.

In a statement to the Post, the Texas-based televangelist Hagee said that neither he nor Southern Baptist pastor Falwell “believe or teach Dual Covenant.”

Hagee added that he had “made it a practice for 25 years not to target Jews for conversion” at any “Night to Honor Israel” events. If Jews “inquire about our faith at a later time, we give them a full scriptural presentation of redemption.”

He stressed that “regardless of the response from the Jewish person, we remain friends in support of the State of Israel as required by scripture.”

Falwell, meanwhile, posted a statement on his website to the effect that he believes “all people – Baptists, Methodists, Pentecostals, Jews, Muslims, etc.” must accept Jesus in order to enter heaven.
Denying a Jerusalem Post story that said he had embraced a “dual covenant” theology, Southern Baptist pastor Jerry Falwell said March 1 that he believes all people, including Jews, “must believe in the Lord Jesus Christ in order to enter heaven.”

“I do not follow this teaching of “dual covenant’ theology and I believe it runs counter to the Gospel,” Falwell said in a statement posted on www.falwell.com. “I have been on record all 54 years of my ministry as being opposed to “dual covenant’ theology.”

Rejected by orthodox theologians, dual covenant theology holds that Jews are saved through a special, unique relationship with God and need not trust in Christ for salvation.
[…]

“Dr. Hagee called me today and said he never made these statements to the Jerusalem Post or to anyone else. He assured me that he would immediately contact the Jerusalem Post and request a correction. Before today, I had never heard of Rabbi Aryeh Scheinberg or had any communications with him. I therefore am at a total loss as to why he would make such statements about me to the Post, if in fact he did.

“In this age of political correctness and diversity, the traditional evangelical belief that salvation is available only through faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Christ is often portrayed as closed-minded and bigoted. But if one is to believe in Jesus Christ, he must believe in His words: ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes unto the Father but by Me’ (John 14:6). I simply cannot alter my belief that Jesus is The Way to heaven, as He taught.

“Again, I do not follow this teaching of ‘dual covenant’ theology and I believe it runs counter to the Gospel.

“I have been on record all 54 years of my ministry as being opposed to “dual covenant’ theology. In fact, Dr. John Hagee has indicated to me, as recently as today, that he likewise does not accept “dual covenant’ theology.

No Strings Attached

It thus appears that John Hagee supports Israel and the Jewish people with no strings attached. That is, he supports Israel and the Jewish people based on what he considers to be the Bible’s mandate to do so – and this support does not depend on whether or not the people thus helped accept Jesus Christ.

Indeed, Hagee told the Jerusalem Post that the vast majority of Evangelicals Christians teach “the Christians have a Bible mandate to be supportive of Israel and the Jewish people without a hidden agenda”:

Interviewed by the [Jerusalem] Post at the recent AIPAC national convention in Washington, DC, where he was warmly received by many delegates, Hagee also carefully explained his thinking on the incendiary issue of evangelical attitudes to Jews and Judaism.

In precise and deliberate language, flavored with a rich, deep Texas drawl, he asserted that a growing majority of evangelical leaders do not preach “replacement theology, which teaches that the Church has replaced Israel” and the Jews “have no future in the plan of God.” The vast majority of evangelicals, rather, teach that “the Christians have a Bible mandate to be supportive of Israel and the Jewish people without a hidden agenda.”

True to that interpretation, Hagee said, “I do not target Jews for conversion.”

Nonetheless, he stressed, “If you come into my church [of your own volition], you are asking to hear my witness of Jesus Christ and you’re going to get it, wide open.”
[…]

Hagee’s “Night to Honor Israel” is a non-conversionary event. We do not target Jewish people for conversion. If a Jewish person comes to me and asks me about my faith, I am under a Bible mandate to tell him about my faith. If he accepts or rejects my faith, it does not enhance nor depreciate that person in my view. From that point we agree to go forward in mutual esteem working on behalf of Israel. All Christians are under a Bible mandate to be supportive of Israel and to be supportive of the Jewish people.

If somebody outside the “Night to Honor Israel” framework comes to you [to inquire about Christianity], what do you do?

We give them our entire testimony and biblical explanation of our faith.

Again outside the “Night to Honor Israel” framework, do you target Jews for conversion?

When I open the doors of Cornerstone Church, 5,000 people fill the auditorium. As I present the gospel message, I don’t know if you’re Muslim, Hindu, Pentecostal, Baptist, Catholic or Jewish. If you come into Cornerstone Church, you are asking to hear my witness of Jesus Christ and the Cross as the way to redemption, and you’re going to get that message, wide open.

In the ultimate vision to which you subscribe, there is a second coming, and what happens to Israel and the Jews then?

This is the biblical teaching of St. Paul. St. Paul in Romans 9, 10 and 11 presents what I call in my latest book, Jerusalem Countdown, “God’s position-paper on the Jewish people.”

In Romans 9, Paul states that this three-chapter section is exclusively about the Jewish people. He continues that theme in the 10th chapter, and in Chapter 11 writes in the first verse that “God has not cast away Israel.” This statement by St. Paul is the absolute death knell of “replacement theology.”

Something that is cast away disappears forever. Israel is alive. Israel is thriving. Israel is growing. Israel and the Jewish people have not been cast away by God! Paul makes the statement that “God has not cast away Israel” twice. Romans is a post-Calvary document in which St. Paul states, in 11:5, “even so at this present time there is a remnant [a surviving group of Jewish people] according to the election of grace.” That means very simply that there are Jewish people right now who have favor with God by the election of grace.

What is going to happen when Jesus comes back? Every Christian believes that Jesus Christ is the messiah. The Jewish people do not believe that. In that regard we have to agree to disagree. I say to my rabbi friends: “You don’t believe it; I do believe it. When we’re standing in Jerusalem, and the messiah is coming down the street, one of us is going to have a very major theological adjustment to make. But until that time, let’s walk together in support of Israel and in defense of the Jewish people, because Israel needs our help.”

Replacement theology teaches that the Church has replaced Israel. In replacement theology, you [the Jews] have no future in the economy of God. Replacement theology falsely teaches that the Church has taken the place of the Jewish people. The Jewish people are no longer in the economy of God, according to this teaching, which places the Church as God’s centerpiece.

There are fewer and fewer [evangelical leaders who subscribe to replacement theology] as time goes along. They are seeing, finally, the error of replacement theology. The vast majority of evangelicals do not believe in replacement theology. Evangelicals believe that Israel has a Bible mandate to the land, a divine covenant for the land of Israel, forever. That the Jewish people are chosen of God and are the apple of God’s eye. That Christians have a Bible mandate to be supportive of Israel and the Jewish people, to demonstrate to the Jewish people what they have not experienced from Christianity for 2,000 years… the love of God.

John Hagee — In Defense of Israel

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 exposé, 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).

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Credit: The photo of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, TX, was taken by Billy Hathorn. It is used here under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported.

Article details

Category: John Hagee
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First published (or major update) on Wednesday, March 29, 2006.
Last updated on November 19, 2021.

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