This past week, Pastor John Hagee hosted a special one-hour TV tribute to himself and his 50 years of ministry. He called it “John Hagee: Great Man of God.” It was telecast on the Trinity Broadcasting Network to an estimated 99 million.
But is Hagee really a great man of God or a mega-heretic more interested in self-advancement than salvation of the Jewish souls he claims to love? Consider: Staff and attendees of his Christians United for Israel conferences, held in major US cities, are instructed never to witness to Jews during the conferences or even mention Jesus’ name.
In the Book of Acts, truly great men of God, Peter and John, received exactly the same instructions that Hagee gives his followers: Don’t evangelize Jews or mention Jesus’ name. But that command came from the Pharisees, of whom Jesus said: "Ye are of your father the devil." (John 8:44) The apostles replied, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you, rather than God, you be the judge: for we can’t stop speaking what we have seen and heard.”(Acts 4:19-20)
What’s the difference between Hagee’s command not to witness and the Pharisees'? I can’t think of any. Can you?
Christ said, “You shall be my witnesses both in Jerusalem and in all Judea …” (Acts 1:8) Our witness is vital to the salvation of others. Otherwise, souls who might be saved will be lost eternally. Proclamation of the Gospel is “the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first" (Rom.1:16); and, as Paul says, “How shall they hear without a preacher?”(Rom. 10:14)
Without public witness for Christ, exponentially larger numbers of receptive souls, under the overwhelming pressure of surrounding evil, will gradually become unreceptive. This is how cultures, such as the world before the flood or the city of Sodom , become totally corrupted. Yes, God can save those who revere God and yet have not heard or understood the Gospel message (Rom. 2:14-16). But that is God's business. Our business is to witness to all, at the leading of the Holy Spirit, at any cost. Their eternal salvation (and ours) depends on it. We lose our souls if we agree not to witness anywhere - in the work place, or in Israel. As Saint Paul cries out in horror: "Woe is me if I preach not the Gospel!" (I Cor. 9:16)
Witnessing does not mean sharing Christ if someone asks you about your faith. It is taking initiative, as God burdens you, to bring the Gospel to those who do not ask. It has pleased God through the "foolishness" of such "preaching" to save unbelievers. (I Cor. 1:21)
To refuse to witness is to frustrate God's Holy Spirit. Scripture says all are lost unless God's Holy Spirit, making use of our witness, draws souls to Christ. (John 6:44) But stopping the preaching of the Gospel and work of the Holy Spirit is just what Hagee does. This man blocks God’s efforts to save precious Jewish souls and sends them back to their synagogues to become hardened. Hagee’s sin is not just against a multitude of Jewish souls deprived of possible eternal life. It is against the Holy Spirit.
By forbidding proclamation of the gospel to Jews, Hagee commits three of the worst sins imaginable: He forbids witnessing to the lost. He forbids using the name of Jesus in public. And he frustrates the Holy Spirit’s attempt to save souls.
Actually, it’s not just Hagee but millions of evangelicals who sin when they visit Israel and agree not to mention Jesus’ name in evangelism. In 2002, 50 evangelical organizations sponsoring tours to Israel denied Christ by promising the Israeli government they would forbid witnessing to Jews by tour members. Christians visiting Israel , in promising not to witness, effectively leave the Holy Spirit at the Tel Aviv airport. They agree not to consult Him during their vacation. The government of Israel tells them what they can and cannot do. The government of Israel commands them, as the Pharisees did Peter and John, that they aren’t to publicly speak of Jesus to Jews in Israel. Unlike those apostles, millions of evangelicals comply. 1
I queried a number of Christian travel groups. They told me the government of Israel forbids visiting Christians to “openly” witness to Jewish people. I was also informed that messianic (Christian) Jews in Israel are now under heavy persecution and restrictions. (See, Christians in Israel: An Endangered Species) One agency said, “You would be taking your life in your hands to witness among Orthodox Jews at the Wailing Wall.” Some Christians, discovered witnessing publicly, have been seized by the police, taken to the airport and sent home, commanded never to come back. Several of these tour groups told me they will not take a Christian to Israel who intends to openly witness. They said that if their organization allowed evangelism Israel would never grant them access to the Holy Land again. The head of one agency tried to reassure me, however, saying failure to witness to Jews won’t jeopardize their salvation: “They will be saved by God’s grace alone,” he said, “not by our works of evangelism.”
Instead of passively obeying Israel's anti-Christ laws and leaders, the very least every Christian and “Christian” travel group should do is boycott travel to Israel. Evangelicals should dry up Israel's multibillion-dollar “Christian” travel industry until our supposedly democratic ally honors free speech.
Christ said of Israel that the fields of evangelism are “white unto harvest," "but the laborers are few.” (John 4:35; Luke 10:2) They are much fewer because Hagee tells the “laborers” not to bother with a Jewish harvest. Heretically, he claims they have their own covenant of salvation, apart from Christ.
Too bad, then, for precious Jewish souls. Hagee and most evangelicals visiting Israel are not going to bring them the Gospel. There are countless Jewish souls in Palestine whom God has foreknown would humbly accept Christ as Messiah if He were presented to them. Their loss is the bitter fruit of millions of evangelicals not opening themselves to the Holy Spirit’s guidance while in Israel.
Too bad also for the Holy Spirit, who yearns to bring the Gospel to Israelis. He was checked in at the airport. Will He, so grievously insulted, want to get back on the plane home with such cowards?
Hagee, his participants in CUFI, and tens of millions of Christians visiting Israel have forgotten God’s law. That law forbids anyone to hinder the Holy Spirit or forbid a Christian to witness through Him. (I Thess. 5:19) No true Christian agrees not to witness— even for a second. Only the Holy Spirit is authorized to restrain a Christian from witnessing.
Christ promised He would be ashamed in the Day of Judgment of so-called believers who would not name Him publicly as Savior. (Luke 9:26) He said in Rev. 14:9-10 that someday all who take the mark of the Beast, to keep from starving, will be damned forever in fiery brimstone. How is that different from evangelicals who promise not to publicly witness and name Christ in Israel? Are they exempt from condemnation because of their desire for an inspiring weeklong “religious” vacation, free from harassment by Israeli authorities? Agreeing not to witness for Christ under the Antichrist tomorrow and under anti-Christ Israel today are the same.
The Pharisaic regime that illegally occupies Palestine today think they own the Holy Land and can decree what is said and done there. But Jesus Christ owns Israel. If there’s anywhere on earth that should be full of His name and praise, it is His Holy Land.
There was certainly a profusion of the use of the name of Jesus in Hagee’s celebration of himself last week—that is, to his Pentecostal Christian audience. Yet, Jesus said that not everyone who loudly professes “Jesus is Lord!” will be saved. Rather, those who “do the will of My Father.” (Matt. 7:21) Christ gave no more certain command than that His name and message of redemption should be proclaimed to all nations. This includes Israel and the Jewish people. Scripture states the Gospel should be preached first to the Jews. ( Rom. 1:16)
Is John Hagee a great man of God? Jesus says otherwise. He says whoever does not keep His commands and persuades others likewise shall be considered the very least by Him. (Matt. 5:19)
Does John Hagee really love Jews, or hate them? Anyone who prevents Jewish souls from finding eternal life and instead allows them to go into eternal torment without Christ is no friend of the Jews. The worst enemy I could imagine (except the devil himself) would probably cringe at the thought of me burning forever in eternity. Yet, that’s what Hagee allows to happen to countless Jews whom he prevents from hearing the saving gospel of Christ.
Can anyone that cold-hearted really love the Jewish people?
No. John Hagee must surely hate Jews.
1. Israel's anti-missionary law, conspicuously passed during Christmas week on December 27, 1977, makes it a crime punishable by up to 5 years in prison to attempt to convert an Israeli to Christianity by use of any material inducement (Law #5738-1977). If a Christian gives even a Gospel leaflet to an Israeli, he violates this law. Also, if the Israeli converts to Christianity after receiving the leaflet, he could face 3 years in prison. Because of Israel's dependence on Christian and American good will, this statute, while on the books, is not rigorously enforced. Israel has incarcerated 9,000 Palestinians without trial yet remains reluctant to imprison even one American missionary, which could send shock waves through the evangelical "cash cow" whose resources are vital to keeping Israel's sagging socialist economy afloat. For now, Israeli law enforcement walks a middle road, merely deporting Christians who openly witness. Legislation now before Knesset, however, would mandate as much as 3 years in prison for attempting to convert Israeli youth under the age of 18. Jewish Christians have been given greater latitude to witness, yet under this proposed legislation they also could be imprisoned for witnessing to Israeli youth.
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