This article first appeared in the News Watch column of the Christian Research Journal, volume 29, number 6 (2006). For further information or to subscribe to the Christian Research Journal go to: http://www.equip.orgEvangelist and megachurch pastor John Hagee does not merely talk about being a Christian Zionist, but also applies his time, talent, and treasure toward the cause. As the founder of Christians United for Israel, Hagee—pastor of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas—is a favored target for Christians who oppose Zionism and for non‐Christians who are suspicious of his end-times theology.Hagee has celebrated “A Night to Honor Israel” events for 25 years, raising more than $12 million for Israeli causes. Speakers at these pro-Israel rallies, whether held in Washington, at Hagee’s church, or in Israel itself, stand on a platform beneath massive American and Israeli flags.Hagee’s affection for Israel spills over into the design of Cornerstone Church. Guy Raz of National Public Radio reported in July that a small wall near the entrance to Cornerstone bears a citation from Psalm 122:6: “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.”“Each of these stones is from Jerusalem, and we left a gap just like there happens to be at the Western Wall, so people can put their prayer requests on paper and push it in there,” Hagee told Raz.Raz described the corridor that leads to Hagee’s office as being lined with framed paintings of Israel’s former prime ministers. “The entire Cornerstone campus is a tribute to Israel,” he reported. “The country’s flag adorns the walls and halls, and affixed to the frames of many doors are Mezuzahs, cases [each of which is] filled with a prayer and usually found in Jewish homes. The banners of the 12 Tribes of Jacob decorate the prayer sanctuary.”Through Exodus II, a program sponsored by John Hagee Ministries, Christians may donate funds to help Jews move from around the world—most from Russia, in the years after Communism’s collapse—to Israel. The program mixes humanitarian concern with the promise of helping Jews fulfill prophecy by living in modern Israel.“Today, Jewish children, parents and grandparents from around the world have a window of opportunity to return to Israel to live out their destinies according to the prophecies of Jeremiah and Isaiah—a window of opportunity that could close tomorrow because of the ever‐present threat of rising anti-Semitism, and political and social upheaval,” says an ad for Exodus II published in John Hagee Ministries’ JHMagazine.The ad continues: “As Christians, we must recognize the critical importance of the Jewish people in God’s plan for us all. We must, in direct fulfillment of Jeremiah’s prophecy, help bring God’s people home to Israel.”John Hagee Ministries says it has raised more than $8.5 million for this cause and has helped more than 10,000 Jews move to Israel. The ministry also helps support Migdal Ohr, an orphanage in Israel for immigrant children from around the world.A Hidden Evangelical Agenda? Hagee treads carefully on the issue of evangelizing Jews. Evangelist Jerry Falwell once criticized Hagee publicly after becoming convinced that Hagee believed in “dualcovenant[nkp1]” theology, which says God’s historic covenant with Jews exempts contemporary Jews from any need to accept Jesus as Messiah. Falwell, after hearing Hagee disown dual‐covenant [nkp2]theology, now sits on the board of Christians United for Israel, which unites about 400 evangelical leaders.Some Jews “are concerned that if evangelical Christians have a hidden agenda that we’re going to gather them in one massive auditorium somewhere, lock the doors, and give them a ‘come to Jesus’ speech,” Hagee told two BBC journalists who interviewed him in 2002. “What we’re saying to the Jewish community is, what we have in common is far more important than what we have that separates us. I believe that Jesus Christ is the Messiah. You do not. Let’s accept that difference and go forward.”Hagee added: “I say to my Orthodox Jewish friends, when we’re standing on the streets of Jerusalem and the Messiah is coming down the road, one of us has a big theological adjustment to make. Until then, let’s work in common cause for the State of Israel to help them secure their freedom, self-determination, and hope that Zion shall live forever.”A Helping Hand for God’s Plan. Hagee has steered clear of one unusual end-times project: an effort, through animal husbandry, to develop a red heifer that can be shipped to Israel. Some believe that they can help fulfill prophecy by providing orthodox Jews with a red heifer to sacrifice in a restored Temple at Jerusalem.Clyde Lott, a Pentecostal evangelist and cattle farmer living in Mississippi, has worked on the red-heifer project since 1990. Rabbi Chaim Richman of the Temple Institute, which operates a museum in Jerusalem, has helped Lott make connections in Israel and accompanied Lott on fundraising trips to American churches.The Los Angeles Times reported that Lott and Richman placed their project on hold because of a “maze of red tape and testing involved in shipping animals overseas—and rumors of threats from Arabs and Jews alike who say the cows would only bring more trouble to the Middle East.” Lott told the Los Angeles Times in June that he hopes to resume his project. “If there’s a sovereign God with his hand in the affairs of men, it’ll happen, and it’ll be a pivotal event,” he said. “That time is soon. Very soon.”A Novel End-Times Theology. Tim Weber, author of On the Road to Armageddon: How Evangelicals Became Israel’s Best Friend, told the Journal that a great majority of American evangelicals are pro-Israel. He estimates, however, that only one-quarter to one‐third [nkp3]of evangelicals believe in premillennial dispensationalism, with its strong emphases on the great tribulation and Israel’s role in the end times.For years dispensationalists were known for detailed arguments in defense of their end‐times [nkp4]theology. It strikes Weber as significant that today the most-recognized proponents of dispensationalism present their case through novels, such as those in the Left Behind series. “I don’t think they have the institutional power that they used to, but they certainly have the pop-culture power,” Weber told the Journal, citing Left Behind’s latest incarnation as a violent video game.Weber said that the political and social consequences of dispensationalism were primarily what drove him to write On the Road to Armageddon. Some dispensationalists, for instance, donate to groups that push for Jewish control of the Temple Mount and are willing to use violence in that cause.“The vast majority of dispensationalists are not extremist in their behavior or their views,” he said. “I think Zionists have been able to keep one step ahead of the chaos. They’ve been denying that [Arab- Israeli] peace is possible for 60 years, and so far they’ve been right. They’ve never had to completely repudiate their perspective. For that reason, they endure.”

— Douglas LeBlanc


[nkp1]dual covenant

[nkp2]dual-covenant

[nkp3]one-third

[nkp4]end-times

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