Israel, A Christian Idol?

In the following video Mormon Glenn Beck sits with Evangelical David Barton who introduces hyper-dispensationalist, prosperity preacher John Hagee1. These men are together for the sake of supporting the modern day state of Israel. Supporting Israel is not a bad thing, but are they supporting Israel in a biblical sense?

For starters, Hagee, a professing Christian, asks God to bless Glenn Beck, a professing Mormon, for their work together supporting Israel. I, too, ask God to bless Glenn Beck though in a different manner. I pray God would bring Beck to repent of his Mormonism and believe the true gospel of the true Christ. Actually, this is the same blessing that should be asked of Israel that Hagee does not publicly ask for as far as I can tell.

Bibilcally, Hagee and Barton should be calling for Israel (and Beck) to turn to Jesus Christ rather than offering comforting words that they are working along with God’s revealed plans.

One may simply turn to the Scriptures for examples of what a true blessing to Israel would look like i.e. sharing the gospel.

[Jesus] said to [the Jews], “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.”(John 8:23-24 ESV)

Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” (John 14:5-7 ESV)

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. (Romans 1:16 ESV)

You are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant that God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed.’ God, having raised up his servant, sent him to you first, to bless you by turning every one of you from your wickedness.” (Acts 3:25-26 ESV)

let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well. This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:10-12 ESV)

It seems Israel may be an idol for some like Beck, Hagee and Barton. Are they leading Christians astray by promoting support for Israel as shown in the video? Are they leading Christians away from the importance of bringing the gospel to Israel?

From a biblical perspective it seems that the gospel is being trampled upon while modern day Israel elevated from Hagee and the gang. Their love for Israel turns out to be less than that of Jesus and the Apostles. For if they really loved Israel they would primarily be concerned with sharing the gospel with them.
_________________

  1. Pastor John Hagee by The Christian Research Institute
Let's connect!

tagged as , , , in Culture,Gospel,heresy,theology

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Tony Higgins August 25, 2011 at 10:52 am

Mark,
Good important and timely thoughts. In fact, my family and I are working through Romans as a part of our family Bible study, and we’ve been discussing this very issue. I’ll make sure I show your post to the girls tomorrow morning. Nice work.

2 chadwick August 25, 2011 at 10:56 am

I wonder if Hagee would ever ask God to bless Barney Frank?

3 Chris Roberts August 25, 2011 at 11:26 am

It is ironic that what Hagee and others propose for Israel and expect from the US toward Israel would, at least in the OT, end up leading Israel into even more trouble. Consider the expectation for how the US should provide military aid – as a religious duty – to Israel and that Israel should always be able to count on US military might for protection. Then consider Isaiah 31:1-3.

I believe treaties and alliances are good and necessary and do not violate Isaiah 31:1-3. If Israel is attacked, we should go to her aid. But that doesn’t mean defending every action of Israel, and it certainly doesn’t mean presenting ourselves to Israel as the army of God’s wrath against her enemies. Nor does it mean turning them to our hand instead of the hand of God. All who reject the Son have rejected the Father, and as such religious Jews are idolaters, worshiping something that is not God. They need the gospel, they need salvation, far more than they need American military might. Hagee and some others seem to forget this.

4 Arthur Sido August 25, 2011 at 11:37 am

Beck is a wolf in sheeps clothing and way too many alleged Christians have embraced him as a brother because of his conservative political positions and support for the nation-state of Israel.

5 Suzanne August 25, 2011 at 12:21 pm

Hi Mark, well spoken on this..and excellent blog, thank you for what you do.

Your words as to “promoting support for Israel” ring familiar with what I stumbled onto last night in this (ironically) NPR Fresh Air report. Interesting connection of dots: http://www.npr.org/2011/08/24/139781021/the-evangelicals-engaged-in-spiritual-warfare

Blessings, Suzanne

6 Jason August 25, 2011 at 12:56 pm

These three in one video…*shudders*

7 Royce August 25, 2011 at 1:12 pm

Great post Mark. Hagee’s CUFI is primarily a political and humanitarian org. Hagee himself has flip-flopped between the need to evangelize the Jews and the non-evangelizing dual-covenant position, going as far as claiming Jesus came as Messiah to the Gentiles only, and would not be the Jewish Messiah until his second coming. Other directors of his org have boasted that CUFI doesn’t evangelize the Jews, although some members realize that, while humanitarian aid is very important, the Gospel is their greatest need.

8 D.R. Randle August 25, 2011 at 3:49 pm

Interesting that I was just talking about this today at lunch with some folks. And I just started a series on Wednesday nights on “Israel and the Church”. Last night we compared the Dispensational system to the Covenantal (and New Covenant) system. There were many surprised to find out exactly what the Dispy’s believe (even though most of them hold to that view by default).

9 Mark August 26, 2011 at 12:13 pm

Tony, thanks brother. I’m always thankful when something posted here is helpful. It’s also encouraging to know when it is. 🙂 See you soon.

Chadwick, Barney Frank…I better stop.

Chris, thanks for those well thoughtout points. The religious-political line is often blurred by American evangelicals when it comes to Israel. I wish evangelicals would stay away from the reasoning of Hagee et al.

Arthur, I agree about Beck and have written about his acceptance by Christians a few times.

Suzanne, thanks so much for the encouragement. I will take a look at the NPR stuff. Should I have the aspirin ready? 🙂

Jason, eh…saves them time I guess.

Royce, it’s sad to hear about his org not evangelizing Jews. They must have to overlook most of the New Testament to get to that point. I remember one of Hagee’s books where he said Jesus didn’t come to be the Messiah. I read that portion of the book in the first edition before it was changed. Sad.

D.R., I would love to hear the response to your teaching on the topic of the church and Israel and the different eschatological positions.

10 D.R. Randle August 26, 2011 at 10:06 pm

Mark,

I told my folks some time ago that I was not a premillennial dispensationalist (even preached Mark 13 from an Amillennial/Preterist view) and the reaction was generally that of confusion – mostly as to why they’d never heard such an interpretation of Scripture. Most have never known anyone who held to a different view from their own. But the other night, there was a lot of interest as I explained the differences between the two views. One said that they could see themselves holding to a dispensational view on some issues and a covenantal view on others. And we haven’t even gotten into the weaknesses of dispensationalism yet. So I’m actually pretty encouraged that some might move towards a covenantal view (at least on Israel and the Church).

11 Mark August 26, 2011 at 10:18 pm

D.R., thanks for the update. Interesting.

12 Jenny August 27, 2011 at 11:58 am

I think this is a real problem. When evil is excused, and unbelievers are praised, we have to ask why.

13 Bonnie February 10, 2012 at 1:28 am

I know I’m a few months late getting to read this, but I just wanted to say thank you so much for this post! A few months ago, I started having uneasy feelings about the manner in which many of my Christian friends were becoming so fervent in their support of Israel and the rising hatred toward Muslims that ensued. I’m not saying we shouldn’t support Israel, but their zeal for doing so has completely clouded their judgment and (I feel) caused them to favor unchecked U.S. militarism over the Great Commission. The idea that Israel is a type of idolatry for some Christians is something I was just thinking about yesterday. Isaiah 31:1 is a verse that has also come to my mind when I hear Genesis 12:3 bandied about as a sort of defense of U.S. interventionism in the Middle East.

I recently became interested in studying the roots of modern day Zionism and in the process came across issues with the Scofield Bible. I have been praying for discernment in this matter as it seems very hard to find an unbiased source of information on it. And, of course, I’m constantly questioning myself and asking the Lord to show me if I’m the one who’s wrong. I can certainly tell you that I feel that I’m not nearly as spiritual in my walk with the Lord as are the friends to whom I’m referring.

Anyway, I’m rambling now, so I’ll just say, thank you again!

14 roddavis1947 October 20, 2014 at 11:22 am

AMEN!!!

15 roddavis1947 October 20, 2014 at 11:24 am

Please view “Tall Tales and End Time Preachers” at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Bl8R5HttnU&index=22&list=UUia0tyH1QBhvNUSz3OsaJQg

16 roddavis1947 March 26, 2015 at 10:28 am

You hit the nail right on the head. Should the US support Israel? Absolutely. Should the Church reach out to them? Yes, but not in the way these Israel worshipers do. The Church is God’s emphasis, the new Israel, the scripture is so clear about that. One would have to blind to not see that clearly in the NT, especial in the writings of Paul.

“A person is not a Jew who is one only outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God..” (Romans 2:28-29 NIV)

So also Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham. (Galatians 3:6-7)

.

Previous post:

Next post: