John Hagee’s Dual Covenant Duplicity
In case you missed it there was a bit of an uproar within some evangelical circles recently when a non messianic Jewish Rabbi claimed that both Jerry Falwell and John Hagee held dual covenant beliefs in regards to ethnic Jews.
The dual covenant idea holds that Jews, by reason of their ethnicity have a covenant with God that is separate from the sacrifice of Christ. In other words dual covenant adherents claim that at least some Jews are accepted by God without believing in the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. This idea is totally debunked by the apostle Paul in his letter to the Romans which we will get to in a moment.
Many well meaning Christians today have embraced a dual covenant approach to the Jewish people without even realizing it due to their unflinching support for national Israel. Preachers like Falwell and Hagee lead God’s people into these types of errors with their constant political proselytizing as well as their faulty interpretation of scripture. There are many reasons for America to support Israel politically but unconditional support for unsaved Jews is antithetical to the teachings of Christ.
Falwell, to his credit quickly repudiated the story in a statement on his website which said in part,
"Earlier today, reports began circulating across the globe that I have recently stated that Jews can go to heaven without being converted to Jesus Christ. This is categorically untrue…………While I am a strong supporter of the State of Israel and dearly love the Jewish people and believe them to be the chosen people of God, I continue to stand on the foundational biblical principle that all people — Baptists, Methodists, Pentecostals, Jews, Muslims, etc. — must believe in the Lord Jesus Christ in order to enter heaven."
Hagee too issued a denial of sorts. While claiming that he neither believed or taught a dual covenant theology, he 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."
With this statement Hagee attempted to claim that he was quoted out of context and that he only refuses to target Jews at his Night to Honor Israel Event. In this, he sounds more like a politician trying to please both sides of the aisle than a preacher with a clear gospel message. The truth is that John Hagee has refused for years to evangelize Jews and has not been afraid to say so publicly when he thinks his American evangelical audience isn’t listening.
The Jerusalem Post which ran the original statements from Rabbi Aryeh Scheinberg on March 1 continues to stand by the story. In a follow up interview which ran on March 21, 2006, Hagee made the following statement;
"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."
Keep in mind this was not a second hand quote from someone purporting to explain what Hagee believes. This statement was made by Hagee himself directly to the interviewer, David Horovitz of the Jerusalem Post.
Just so there would be no confusion, the reporter posed the question again; "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."
So, if a Jew happens to wander into Cornerstone Church during a regular service he will, according to Hagee get the witness of Jesus Christ and the cross as the way to redemption, otherwise, the Jews are on their own.
Hagee further clarifies his beliefs with the following words;
"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."
Here, Hagee begins to set up his straw man argument by bringing the term “replacement theology” into the discussion. No one has mentioned replacement theology but Hagee interjects it so that he can tear it down with his faulty interpretation of scripture.
Replacement theology claims that the church has “replaced” natural Israel and that the ethnic heirs of Abraham have no more place in God’s divine plan for mankind. Let’s take a look at Hagee’s assertions in light of scripture. It is true that Romans 9, 10, & 11 are about the Jewish people but first it is important to understand just who is a Jew according to Paul.
Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed. Rom 9:6-8
Paul is saying here that a descendant of Abraham is not a child of God simply by virtue of his physical ethnicity. This is a repeat of what Paul has already stated in Chapter 2.
For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.: Rom 2:28-29
Paul is saying that only those who accept the promises by faith are the true children of Abraham. Not only does that make Christians into Jews spiritually but it specifically excludes those who claim a relationship with God based solely on fleshly attributes.
Look at the first part of verse 28 again. For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly…….
Now look again at Chapter 9 verse 8; They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God…..
Isn’t that clear? No one is a child of God based on their physical blood or outward religious practices.
So, Hagee is correct in stating that Paul is writing to the Jews but what he ignores is Paul’s definition of just who is a Jew according to God. Every promise made to the Jews physically throughout scripture also applies to the church spiritually. We have not replaced Israel but we have become a part of Israel. When God tells Abraham that he will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee, that applies to Christians today just as much as it ever applied to ethnic Israel.
Hagee also correctly claims that chapter 11 begins with the statement that God has not cast away Israel. One must however continue to read the verse to understand what Paul is saying.
I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. Rom 11:1
This is really very simple. Paul is saying that it is obvious that God has not cast away his people Israel because he himself is an Israelite. It is also clear however that Paul does not base his covenant relationship with God on his physical ethnicity but rather on his belief in the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Let’s continue with Hagee’s interview.
"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."
I hope you are seeing the deception here because it is classic false teaching. What Hagee is saying is true. It is in the Bible, but it is not the complete truth. It is only partially true because it is taken out of context. This is the exact type of teaching that leads people to embrace false doctrine. Most people will read this or listen to Hagee say this and they will think to themselves ‘yes, that’s in the bible’. They will remember reading those words somewhere and because of that they will accept it as true doctrine, but they are being led astray.
So, again Hagee is correct in stating that there is at this present time a remnant according to the election of grace.
God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying, Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. Rom 11:2-5
So far so good right? There was at that time, and still is today a remnant of physical Jews who were in covenant with God according to grace. Paul was one of those Jews. So was Peter, and John, and Andrew, and all the other apostles. In fact all of the original disciples were physical Jews and were also elect according to grace. And how were those Jewish believers able to enter into a covenant of grace? Were they born into that covenant or did they enter into it by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ?
But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone; As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. Rom 9:31-33
Clearly, the stumbling stone and rock of offense to which Paul refers is Christ. But here is where Hagee walks off the cliff.
"That means very simply that there are Jewish people right now who have favor with God by the election of grace."
His definition of the favorable grace of God is far different that what Paul is describing. If you don’t believe me just look at what he says next.
"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."
This is a truly astounding statement from someone claiming to be an evangelical. To say that I believe in Jesus and you don’t so we’ll just agree to disagree is an absolute abrogation of Jesus command to go into all the world and preach the gospel unto every creature. Hagee is proposing that the election of grace spoken of by Paul is separate from the covenant of grace established by the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. This, my friends is blatant heresy. Let’s go back to chapter 10 of Romans to see exactly what grace Paul was talking about.
Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. Rom 10:1-2
This is still true today for many Jews. They have a zeal for God but it is a zeal without knowledge.
For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. Rom 10:3-4
Does this say that Christ is the end of the law for some who believe? Does he say that Christ is the end of the law for every one who believes except a remnant of Jews to whom God has imputed righteousness outside of a belief in Him?
But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. Rom 10:9-11
Whosoever would seem to include Jews and gentiles wouldn’t it? Now here’s the clincher.
For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Rom 10:12
How difficult is that to understand? There is no difference between Jew and Greek (gentile). No difference means no difference doesn’t it? There is no difference in the requirements for Jew or gentile. Both are required to come by way of calling upon the name of the Lord.
Now then Mr. Hagee, take a real close look at the next verse!
How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? Rom 10:14
How shall they enter into that covenant of grace if they don’t believe? And how shall they believe, Mr. Hagee, if you don’t tell them?
As stated earlier, the words quoted from Hagee came from a recent interview with the Jerusalem Post but it is a fact that Hagee has taught this heretical interpretation of Romans for years. In a ministry magazine available on his own website Hagee includes an interview with two B.B.C. reporters in 2002 in which he uses almost identical words to justify his support of Israel.
BBC REPORTER 1: And conversion before the coming of the Messiah is not on your agenda?
PASTOR HAGEE: If a Jewish person asks me about what it requires to be a Christian, I’m delighted to tell them. But I do not target Jewish people for salvation.
BBC REPORTER 1: Couldn’t be clearer. Excellent.
BBC REPORTER 2: Very, very, very interesting.
(from page 19 of JHMagazine Special Edition Summer 2002)
So that there should be no doubt that Hagee has held these beliefs for many years we refer to a letter Hagee sent to the Christian Research Institute dated October 18,1994 in which he states;
“Here is my position on the Jewish people... Fact One: God has not cast away the Jewish people. Fact Two: According to Romans 11:5 there are Jewish people (‘a remnant’) who have a spiritual relationship with God at this present time... according to ‘the election of grace.’”
According to a story in the PFO Journal, Hagee supported his position with this reference to Romans 11:17
“If some of the branches are broken off, that clearly means there are some of the branches not broken off. If they are not broken off, they remain yet on the tree which means they have relationship to God by the election of grace.”
Here again we have an instance of Hagee using only a portion of scripture to support his views. It is true that only some branches were broken off but the key is to understand why they were broken off.
Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in. Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: Rom 11:19-20
Paul says some branches were broken off due to unbelief. What was it that they failed to believe? They failed to believe that Jesus was Messiah!
The statement that only some branches were broken off is in no way evidence of a separate covenant. On the contrary, Paul is simply restating what he’s already said in verse one. That not every branch was broken off is obvious since there were some ethnic Jews, such as Paul himself who did believe!
Now, what does Paul say is the remedy for the broken branches?
And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again. Rom 11:23
If they do not remain in unbelief, God will gladly graft them back into the tree. But the condition here is believing in Jesus as Messiah, not adhering to some separate mystery covenant. Again, we must ask, how can they believe if people like Hagee refuse to tell them?
In his letter Hagee sums up his position with what may be his most preposterous argument of all;
“The Jewish people are judicially blinded to the identity of Messiah... Question: If God blinded the Jewish people to the identity of Jesus as Messiah, how could He send them to hell for not seeing what he had forbidden them to see? ... Inasmuch as God has blinded them to the identity of Messiah, targeting the Jewish people for mass evangelism is fruitless.”
I say this argument is preposterous because Paul dealt specifically with this line of reasoning in Chapt 9 verses 11-21
Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth. Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? Rom 9: 18-21
Who art thou Mr. Hagee to reply against God? By using this argument one must wonder whether John Hagee has ever actually read Romans or is the truth so repugnant to him that he just can’t accept it?
John Hagee's unconditional support for unsaved Jews puts him at odds with the doctrine of Christ. He believes that by refusing to target Jews for evangelism he is showing the love of Christ.
"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…………Our support for Israel is without condition"
This type of love is no love at all. The love that Jesus displayed as he walked the earth was not unconditional but was based on truth. If John Hagee really loved the Jewish people he would tell then that the savior they seek was born in Bethlehem 2,000 years ago. He would tell them that their adherence to the Torah is worthless without a sacrifice. He would tell them that the only sacrifice acceptable to God was the sacrifice of His own son on Calvary. Love tells the truth. It is not love to allow the Jewish people or anyone else to march blindly into hell.
In light of these facts one must wonder why Hagee feels the need to equivocate when speaking to an American audience but is willing to speak forthrightly to interviewers from other countries.
The only conclusion I can draw from this is that Hagee is knowingly practicing deceit. He knows that most American evangelicals would not support his views if he stated them as plainly as he does when speaking to a foreign audience. On the other hand he loves the friendship and praise of Jewish religious and political leaders so he refuses to do or say anything that would offend them. He loves the praise of men more than the praise of God.
Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God. John 12:42-43
Like the chief rulers of Jesus time, John Hagee wants to have it both ways. He refuses to confess Christ before the Jews because he doesn’t want to be put out of their company. And that makes him a deceiver. From such men we are instructed to turn away.
And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it. For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist…………..If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds. 2John1:6-7 & 10-11
Steve Lumbley 2006 www.apostasywatch.com
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