Sep 14, 2009

Ask the Professor

Dr. Jeffrey L. SeifBy Dr. Jeffrey L. Seif

Question: In your Aug ’09 Levitt Letter (p. 24) Letters To ZLM, you stated that John Hagee’s "Christians United for Israel" impedes efforts to witness to Jewish people. I am totally confused by that statement. Being a close follower of Hagee Ministries as well as your own publications and telecasts, I cannot understand how you could make such an allegation. Please help me sort this out. ~ J. H. K (MI)

Response: I am glad to explain. Thanks for asking. My son Jacob just returned from Washington, D.C. where he participated in Pastor Hagee’s big "Night to Honor Israel." PTL that one of my sons went; I applaud John Hagee’s Jewish support on the whole.

The term "impede" was initially employed by Christians United for Israel’s own director, David Brog. In his book Standing With Israel (pp. 188-9), he says:

"While there is no evidence that the Christian-Jewish alliance in support of Israel facilitates the conversion of Jews, there is evidence that the alliance actually works to impede efforts to convert Jews."
I referred to two organizations. It is worth noting that both organizations — Rabbi Eckstein’s IFCJ (International Fellowship of Christians and Jews) and Hagee’s CUFI (Christians United for Israel) — are directed by Jewish non-believers. Eckstein, a mainstream rabbi, runs the IFCJ, and Jewish attorney David Brog superintends CUFI for Hagee. Mindful of this, I am neither surprised nor offended that they’re not enthusiastic about the Gospel’s advancement.

Rabbi Eckstein’s own book, What Christians Should Know About Jews and Judaism, acknowledges this position when he says:
"the rejection of Jesus as Messiah is the key to Jewish survival."
Of course, I do not agree. Ironically, the survival of both of these organizations is due to the kindness of those who have accepted Jesus’ Messiahship and who, as a result, want to support their benevolence projects.

In sum, I believe both organizations harvest the affections of Jewish-loving Christians, most of whom do not know that their sentiments run counter to Eckstein’s and Brog’s. I am nevertheless glad that Pastor Hagee is building bridges to Jewish people, just as Rabbi Eckstein is helping impoverished Soviet Jews. But I am first and foremost a minister of the "Great Commission" Gospel, and I can’t condone impeding its progress.

Related Links

How "Christian" is Christian Zionism - Jews for Jesus (David Brickner)
Help Me Understand, Please! - Congregation Shema Yisrael (David Brickner)
John Hagee's 'In Defense of Israel' - Moriel Ministries (Jacob Prasch)
In the Footsteps of the Rabbi From Tarsus - Dr. Jeffrey L. Seif (Book)