By Ted Belman
The speech by Rev Hagee that I linked to yesterday under the title, Rev Hagee: “Appeasement is suicide on the installment plan”, attracted enormous interest and numerous heated comments. The Jews who commented either welcomed his support and that of his organization CUFI or railed against Evangelical Christians in general and Rev Hagee specifically for missionizing in Israel.
Those in favour know little about the missionizing that goes on in Israel or don’t care. Those against know a great deal about such activities and do care. That’s the divide.
Its imperative that those that embrace Rev Hagee and CUFI get up to speed so they have informed opinions.
The best source of authoritative information is Jewish Israel. It published in December of last year, Rabbi Grossman Battles Hagee Affiliated Missionaries, in which it went into great detail to describe the various actors involved with the intensive missionizing effort in Israel, including Rev Hagee. Yes I know that in his speech he disavowed efforts to convert Jews but did so only on behalf of CUFI, thus preserving the right to do it under a different banner. This article concludes as follows, (emphasis mine)
Look at the path and read the “messianic” map. Even if a widely recognized and honored rabbi accepts humanitarian aid from the very best of evangelical pastors – with the finest intentions on all sides – it will nevertheless exact a cost in Jewish souls.
It is inevitable that without stringent counter-missionary legislation and enforcement, accompanied by ethical accountability and rabbinic guidelines; dependency on evangelical philanthropy will entangle Israel in an intractable missionary web.
Jewish Israel is fully aware that the Jewish philanthropic world is challenged at this time, and that turning to Christian aid is increasingly being considered as a viable, albeit complex, option. It is therefore obligatory that Jewish leaders, who do choose to engage in partnerships with devout evangelicals, admit to themselves and to their communities that they are by definition working with missionaries.
It must be acknowledged and considered that encouraging fundamentalist Christian political, economic and humanitarian involvement in the Jewish state will exact a cost in the form spiritual destruction and apostasy – shmad.
Furthermore, those Jews accepting Christian funding and assistance cannot expect or rely upon devout evangelicals to adhere to Jewish red lines in such a relationship. Sharing jesus is a Christian’s raison d’etre – especially for evangelical Christians. So, it is especially incumbent upon those members of the Jewish community who are embracing Christian support to rectify any consequential or “collateral” damage by calling for stringent counter missionary legislation and clear rabbinic guidelines – even at the risk of alienating “our best friends”.
I share this conclusion exactly.
Let me explain. Nowhere does it disavow Christian political support. In fact most Jews welcome it. The article focuses on the strings that will no doubt be attached, whether said or unsaid, when accepting financial support and pleads that “collateral” damage be defended against even at the risk of offending them. Note, it doesn’t suggest rejecting the money.
My position, often stated, is that the Christian support whether political or financial and Christian missionizing are mutually exclusive. The Christians support us (bless us) because Genesis 12:3 says ” I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse;”.
They will bless us regardless of whether we resist missionizing. They will also evangelize us regardless of our attemps to resist it. This has nothing to do with blessing us. From our point of view, ironically, it has more to do with cursing us.
Having said that it is not easy to draw such redlines when accepting financial support. Political support is something else. As Hagee says Christians and Jews and America and Israel have the same enemy and must fight it together.
All things considered, he is a blessing.