Not long ago many people came to the conclusion that John Hagee denied that Jesus was the Messiah in his book In Defense of Israel. I was one of those people. What drove my conclusion was reading parts of the book and listening to audio of Hagee. Despite our theological disagreements this alleged belief of his was very disconcerting. Especially, given the amount of people he reaches each week.
Hagee has now offered some clarification explaining that he does not deny Jesus is the Messiah. He published his response in the article A Special Message from Pastor John Hagee Regarding His Book In Defense of Israel. Though we still don’t agree on several points I’m glad he clarified. It is good to know that he is not denying the Gospel on this point by denying Jesus is the Messiah.
I don’t have time to interact right now. I want to offer a few quotes from the article that stood out to me though. Maybe some of you can give some of your own feedback.
I chose to use challenging language that I hoped would confront the body of Christ to consider events from the Jewish and historical perspective and therefore develop greater empathy for our Jewish friends.
Over the centuries, Christians have been quick to condemn the Jews for failing to recognize Jesus as Messiah. This approach led to replacement theology and the viewpoint of some that God has rejected and broken covenant with the Jewish people. These ideas, in turn, opened the door to a vicious Christian anti-Semitism that led to the Crusades, the Inquisition and countless pogroms.
Jesus came the first time as the suffering Messiah, as exemplified by His persecution, rejection and crucifixion. Jesus will come back as the reigning Messiah, who will rule the world from His throne in Jerusalem as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
The primary change will involve how I use the word “Messiah.” In the expanded version, I will clarify the clear distinction between the “Suffering Messiah,” the Lamb of God and the “Reigning Messiah,” the Lion of the Tribe of Judah!
I also hope that we can return our focus to what I had anticipated to highlight all along, the fact that we Christians must shift from condemning the Jews for what they missed to thanking them for what they gave.
What do you think? Remember grace!
For what it’s worth…