This is my final article analyzing the errors of John Hagee. Because of Hagee’s popularity, he is a symptom of the extreme theological deficiency in modern, American evangelicalism. And because of this deficiency Christians are prone to quickly write-off postmillennialism without a hearing. I have spoken at a number of conferences on Revelation or the Return of Christ, only to have dispensationalists get up and leave at the first break. They do not want to hear anything different. They are trapped in their own broken theological system.
So as I conclude, I will now move to my fifth and sixth points of error in Hagee.
5. Anti-Semitism had its origins in Christianity
Hagee believes that “anti-Semitism has its origin and its complete root structure in Christianity” (p. 17). He even favorably cites James Parkes: “In our day … more than six million deliberate murders are the consequences of the teaching about Jews for which the Christian Church is ultimately responsible … which has its ultimate resting place in the teaching of the New Testament itself” (p. 125).
We must confess that Christianity often engaged in deplorable Anti-Semitism. But such was based on an abuse of the biblical record, not the fact of that record. The New Testament is no more Anti-Semitic in this than are the prophets who vigorously charged Israel with sin. Isaiah calls Israel’s rulers “rulers of Sodom” and the people “people of Gomorrah” (Isa 1:10) — while rejecting the legitimacy of their worship (1:11-15). He even says of rebellious Israel that her worship is equivalent to offering “swine’s blood” and burning incense to “an idol” (66:3).
Jeremiah declares the land “completely polluted” (Jer 3:1) and the people “a harlot” to be divorced by God (3:1-10). Ezekiel calls upon executioners to come and destroy Jerusalem (Eze 9:1ff), warns that God’s glory has left the temple (10:1ff), and compares Israel to a harlot (Eze 16). Is this not inflammatory, denunciatory language? Why are they not deemed “Anti-Semitic”? Could not their words be abusively taken to justify persecution of the Jews?
Furthermore, in Hagee’s adulation of Judaism and denunciation of Christianity, he totally overlooks the widespread persecution of Christianity by the Jews: “on that day a great persecution arose against the church in Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles” (Acts 8:1). This appears repeatedly in the Apostolic record (Matt 10:17; 23:37ff.; Acts 4:1-3, 15-18; 5:17-18, 27-33, 40; 6:12-15; 7:54-60; 8:1; 9:1-4, 13, 21, 23, 29; 12:1-3; 13:45-50; 14:2-5, 19; 17:5-8, 13; 18:6, 12, 17; 20:3, 19; 21:11, 27-32; 22:3-5, 22-23; 23:12, 20-21; 24:5-9, 27; 25:2-15; 25:24; 26:21; 28:17-29; Rom 15:31; 2 Cor 11:24; Gal 6:12; Heb 10:33-34).
Nor does Hagee mention the famous role of Jews bringing firewood to burn Polycarp at the stake. Nor the birkath ha-minim, the benediction against the heretics (Jewish Christians), which was cited daily in the synagogues beginning in the late first century: “For the renegades let there be no hope, and may the arrogant kingdom soon be rooted out in our days, and the Nazarenes and the minim perish as in a moment and be blotted out from the book of life and with the righteous may they not be inscribed” (b. Berkhoth 28b). In the Jewish Tosefta (AD 300) we read of the Jewish treatment of Minim (Jewish Christians): “One does not sell to them or receive from them or take from them or give to them. One does not teach their sons a trade'” (t. Hullin 2:20); and “The Minim and the apostates and the betrayers are cast in [a pit] and not helped out” (t. B. Mezia 2:33).
6. Christianity and Judaism are spiritual brothers
Hagee demands that “evangelicals” must recognize of the Jews that “we are spiritual brothers” (p. 173) and that he is seeking “reconciliation with my Jewish brothers” (p. 35).
Can we call someone a “brother” who rejects Christ (1John 4:2-3; 5:1)? Is not Christianity superior to Judaism? And are not Christ’s words against the Jews who reject him quite strong? “And I say to you, that many shall come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven; but the sons of the kingdom shall be cast out into the outer darkness; in that place there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matt 8:11-12). How can we deem our Jewish friends to be our “spiritual brothers,” if we hold to the New Testament?
In conclusion, this book should have a label on it warning the readers: “Contains doctrine that is hazardous to your spiritual health.” He at least could have titled it “Leave Behind,” as a suggestion as to what we should do with it. Postmillennialism faces an uphill battle to win the hearts and minds of Bible-believing Christians. But postmillennialism is the biblical view of history, and it will win out — despite contemporary problems in the evangelical world.
(Please note: I advertised my God Gave Wine. But rest assured: I have not been highlighting Hagee’s theology hoping that it will drive you to drink, so that I can sell more books.)