It promises to be an impressive event, but I remain concerned about certain individuals who are the driving forces behind CUFI. A number of parties have requested brief updates on the situation prior to the CUFI convention. I compiled a two part report:
Part 1 deals with Pastor Hagee’s beliefs and conflicting accounts of his approach to Jewish envangelism. It also brings up some difficult ethical issues and questions.
Part 2 is more disturbing and examines the activities of certain CUFI board members and directors who promote overt missionary activity, bolster the messianic community in Israel, vilify the Orthodox community, and fan the flames of anti-Semitism.
The Israel-Evangelical relationship is a largely unregulated multi-million dollar strategic partnership based on the faulty premise and policy of, ““the evangelicals are our best friends - don’t ask questions.”
Stephen Strang: CUFI Regional Director
Michael Little: CUFI Executive Board member,
Robert Stearns: CUFI Regional Director
James Hutchins: CUFI Regional Director
There are conflicting reports as to Hagee’s position on Jewish evangelism. The differing accounts seem to be indicative of Pastor Hagee’s own evolving theology and flip-flopping on this issue. He is personally on public record for opposing organized and targeted proselytizing campaigns directed at the Jewish people, but at the same time he enthusiastically endorses efforts to spread the gospel in Israel.
“ the Jews are God's chosen people, BUT THEY ARE NOT SAVED UNLESS THEY BELIEVE AND ACCEPT JESUS AS THEIR LORD AND SAVIOR… The same need for the Jews to receive Christ as Savior exists as the need for the gentiles. Pastor believes that witnessing Jesus to the Jewish people ONE ON ONE is the most effective way instead of targeting them as a group or nation. Keep in mind that God has 'blinded the eyes' of the Jews and hardened their hearts for having denied Christ.” (5)
Pastor Hagee is, after all, a devout evangelical Christian and a powerful fire brimstone preacher., It would be dishonest to try and downplay or dismiss his absolute commitment to the gospel, and the role that plays in his aspirations for Israel. John Hagee Ministries posts the principles of belief and the following mission statement on their website. (7)
The Menorah (candelabra) represents God’s covenant with the people of Israel and the torah. The fish is a symbol for Yeshua, from the Greek word for fish, icthys, which was used as an acronym for Iosus Cristos, son of God, savior. The star of David, Magen David, literally shield of David, represents Israel and particularly the Davidic kingdom.The original symbol was patterned after emblems found on a number of artifacts believed to have been used by first century Jewish followers of Christ.(9)
Hagee’s generosity and the unabashed Christian flavor to his donations does present the Jewish people with serious halachic questions:
a) Can Christian funds be used to build Torah institutions? b) Under what circumstances, if any, can funds which are donated in the name of a church, ministry, Jesus, or Christianity be accepted?
c) Is it appropriate to have publicized ceremonies featuring Jews accepting church funds?
2) Pastor Hagee attempted to donate $25,000 to Mercaz Harav in memory of the terror victims of the yeshiva attack. Mercaz Harav declined the offer. Pastor Hagee then approached the Jerusalem municipality in order to funnel the funds through them for the terror victims. The municipality accepted the contribution and then a decision was made by the New Jerusalem Foundation to use those funds towards the building of a park. Did the mayor inform Pastor Hagee?
3) At the beginning of 2008 a mass mailing to Jewish leadership was organized by the Jewish Republican Coalition – headquartered in Washington,D.C. The contents contained a discomforting mix – a crossing of lines - of American partisan politics, evangelical fervor and Jewish and Israeli interests. The package bore the Christians United for Israel (CUFI) postal permit. Inside the package was a book by CUFI's executive director, David Brog. Also included was a letter from Daniel Ayalon, former Israeli ambassador to Washington, urging Jews to accept an alliance with Christians. The letter endorsed Brog, his book, and CUFI – and included Brog’s email. The letterhead also prominently displayed the name of Nefesh B’Nefesh, as Ayalon is co-chair of that aliyah organization. But Ayalon will be the first to tell you that “Nefesh B’Nefesh is apolitical..." (10) Perhaps the former ambassador should change his letterhead.
(1) Jerusalem Post, October 17, 2007Evangelicals raise $8.5 m. for Jewish state
(2) Houston Chronicle April 30, 1988, fundamentalist battles anti-Semitism
(3) Jerusalem Post, March 2, 2006 Hagee, Falwell deny endorsing 'dual covenant'
Jerusalem Post, March 1, 2006 Falwell, Jews can get to Heaven
(4) JTA, Tuesday, July 8, 2006: Israel gets 24/7 evangelical broadcast
Arutz 7, July 23, 2007 Israeli Cable Provider to Cancel Christian TV Network
(5) Email correspondence of February 28, 2007 , from Edward Martinez of John Hagee Ministries
(7) John Hagee Ministries Website http://www.jhm.org
(10) Ayalon: I’m trying to help Obama JTA /politics/2008/01/30/