Is the Church in America solidly behind Israel ? A recent meeting of Christian leaders offers great hope. On February 7th and 8th some of the nation's most influential Evangelical ministries and leaders gathered in San Antonio, Texas to pledge their support and solidarity to the nation and the people of Israel. Under the leadership of the Rev. John Hagee the group formed a new organization called Christians United for Israel (CUFI).
During this historic convocation those assembled heard a message that has gone largely unnoticed in many sectors of the Christian realm – and that is even contrary to the dogmas and doctrines being taught in many of America 's churches today. The message was that the Church must help and support Israel and the Jewish people – and that CUFI was formed for that purpose only. They were told that personal agendas would not be a part of this special effort, and that even such goals as pro-life and missions efforts – including and specially those focused on converting the Jews to the Christian faith – would have no place in CUFI.
Under the looming threat of a major catastrophe that Israel and the world is facing from countries like Iran and Islamic terrorist groups, this historic meeting provided a unifying force for Christians desiring to take a bold stand for the nation of Israel. Hagee emphasized that such an organization as CUFI is needed to make a clear distinction between those Christians who are obeying the biblical mandate to support the nation of Israel , and those in the church who are clearly not its allies. In his recent best seller Jerusalem Countdown , Hagee writes that it is crucial to “bring to the forefront the uglier side of Christianity, the evil of anti-Semitism…. We need to do this so we can rid ourselves of its hold once and for all -- not just for the sake of the Jews, but also for our own sakes. Unless we repent of this devastating, sinful attitude, we cannot expect the blessing of God to flow through our lives.”
Hagee warns that hatred or denigration of Israel is not an option for Christians. “For centuries the Jews have been beaten, murdered, robbed, and raped while fanatics scream ‘Christ killers,'” he says. As a people the Jews had nothing to do with the political conspiracy against Jesus Christ. The high priest Caiaphas was appointed by Herod to do the will of Rome . He was an illegitimate priest who was not selected by the Jewish people to do there will. Into this political setting came Jesus Christ.
The popularity of Jesus spread like lightening. He was a very serious political threat to Herod and his high priest Caiaphas, so they entered into a politically inspired plot to kill Jesus. The high priest and his circle of conspirators had no mandate from the Jewish people. They certainly did not represent the Jews living in Israel at the time, much less all the other Jews who were scattered over the Roman Empire . This religious group was a miniscule handful led by the high priests to do Rome 's dirty job.
The gathering in San Antonio was truly unique. Attendees were given an eye-opening historical overview of how the historical Church actually motivated a hatred for the Jewish people. They were confronted with the unspeakable atrocities and brutalities of the Crusaders -- who were themselves motivated by the Catholic Church to liberate Jerusalem . These were the “heroes” of the Church that left behind rivers of Jewish blood and the total destruction of complete communities.
They heard about the bloody Dark Ages and the Spanish Inquisition – a period when hundreds of thousand of Jews were tortured and murdered. They were reminded of the Church's involvement in the expulsion of complete communities from England , France , and Germany . And they were confronted with Hitler's terrible revelation that his foundation of hatred for the Jewish people came from the writings of Martin Luther.
“Millions of Jews since the time of Christ found there terrible deaths in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, ” notes Hagee. “For Judaism, Christianity is not better that the electric chair, and therefore their suspicions of our motives now are clear and understandable.”
Not surprising, a report on the San Antonio gathering in the February 23 rd issue of the Israeli daily Ha'aretz drew mixed emotions from Jewish readers in Israel and abroad. Not everyone in the Church shares Hagee's views, of course. The concept of “Replacement Theology” -- that the Church has completely replaced the nation of Israel in the heart of God -- is popular in many of America 's churches. Such a notion is completely unscriptural – and is a dangerous tenet for the Church to embrace, says Hagee.
Hagee warns that replacement theology is like a cancer in the Church, and points to the Apostle Paul's reminder to his Gentile readers that the Jewish people “are beloved for the sake of the fathers” -- meaning Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. “God's word is very clear,” declares Hagee. “There will be great consequences for the nation or nations that attempt to divide up the land of Israel . God's love for Israel is expressed in the words of Zechariah: ‘He who touches you ( Israel ) touches the apple of his eye' (Zech 2:8).”
Christians are called to support the nation of Israel because it brings the blessings of God to them personally. “I will bless all who bless you and curse all who will curse you” was God's promise to Abraham (Gen. 12) and is the guideline and blue print for those who gathered in San Antonio .
Pastor John Hagee concluded the gathering of Christians United for Israel with a quotation from Psalms 122:6, in which King David commands all Christians to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem: may they prosper who love you.” I am proud to be a Jew and I was proud to have been in San Antonio on February 7th and 8th of 2006.