Thursday, November 22, 2007

Give Thanks!

It is good to give thanks to the Lord
And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High;
To declare Your lovingkindness in the morning
And Your faithfulness by night,
With the ten-stringed lute and with the harp,
With resounding music upon the lyre.
For You, O Lord, have made me glad by what You have done,
I will sing for joy at the works of Your hands.

Psalm 92:1-4, NASB.

We are so thankful this year for God's goodness. He brought us to Colorado Springs, gave us a beautiful home and wonderful new friends. He gave us a missions-minded, transparent church full of real people.

We look forward to seeing what He is going to do in the next year!

Monday, November 12, 2007

John Hagee has left the building...

I have always held a very skeptical view of John Hagee, pastor of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio. I disagreed with his assessment that Jesus was wealthy, and his belief in a prosperity gospel. I was deeply disturbed by his association with the word-faith movement. I was very troubled by his view that Jews did not need to trust in Jesus as their Messiah for salvation. (“San Antonio fundamentalist battles anti-Semitism,” Houston Chronicle, April 30, 1988, sec. 6, pg. 1), but I always held my tongue because I have some very dear friends who attend his church. I have always tried not to let denominational differences get in the way of loving Christian relationships, but have tried to gently suggest that there were some other, better, very excellent churches along that same stretch of loop 1604 in North San Antonio (Harvest Fellowship, Community Bible Church, Park Hills Baptist to name a few). But now, in his new book, In Defense of Israel, Hagee has crossed a significant line:
“It has been my privilege to join Congregation Rodfei Sholom in San Antonio for the celebration of Passover with Rabbi Aryeh Scheinberg. Four cups of wine are served at the Passover with a meal that symbolized the tears and suffering of the Hebrew slaves in Egypt.
  • The first cup is the cup of Remembrance.
  • he second cup is the cup of Redemption.
  • The third cup is the cup of Salvation.
  • The fourth cup is the cup of Messiah.

When Jesus and his disciples came to the final cup during their last celebration of the Passover, Jesus refused to drink the Messiah’s cup. He told his disciples, “Take this [Messiah’s cup] and divide it among yourselves; for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes” (Luke 22:17-18).

In refusing to drink the cup, Jesus rejected to the last detail the role of Messiah in word or deed. The Jews did not reject Jesus as Messiah; it was Jesus who rejected the Jewish desire for him to be their Messiah.” (John Hagee,
In Defense of Israel, pp. 144, 145).
In a television advertisement, Hagee says that his book will "shake Christian theology," claming:
  • The Jewish people did not reject Jesus as Messiah
  • Jesus did not come to earth to be the Messiah
  • Jesus refused (by word and deed) to be the Messiah
The Apostle John (a Jewish believer) wrote, "who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son." (1 John 2:22) Christos - Christ - is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew meschiach - messiah. According to this passage, Hagee, in denying that Jesus was the Jewish Messiah, is in line with the spirit of antichrist. The Apostle's next statement is "whoever denies the Son does not have the Father" (v. 23). I will not go so far as to say that Hagee is not a Christian - that is for God to decide - but I will state emphatically, for the record, that what he is teaching is outright, blatant heresy.

Some have tried to defend Hagee by saying that there is a distinction between a political and a religious Messiah. (pjmiller - see post 12, then the responding posts) However, the Scriptures make no such distinction. The only distinction is that between Jesus' roles in the First and Second Comings - first as the Lamb, then (yet to come) as the Lion. Jesus rejected the Jews political overtures at the time because the time had not yet come for Him to take political power. I don't care if you're Dispensational, Covenant or what - historical Christianity has always agreed on this point. Look at how Jesus responded to Peter's (another Jewish believer) confession, "you are the Christ (Messiah), the Son of the Living God!" (Matthew 16:16). Jesus exclaimed that Peter was blessed and that this revelation had come from the Father Himself. He then warned them not to tell anyone, particularly in light of His coming Crucifixion.

The beloved disciple wrote at the end of his gospel, "therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ (Messiah), the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name" (John 20:30-31 - see also 1 John 5:1). Salvation hinges on trusting in Jesus as the Jewish Messiah, as God Incarnate, as the only one able to save us from our sinful human nature. How can anyone claim to preach the Gospel when they deny one of the basic tenets of the faith?

See also:

I saw someone quoting from John 4:25-26 in response to this:

25 The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us.”

26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.”

Update: 13 Nov 07

Nancy Almodovar of Silent Cry Ministries has done an excellent job exposing Hagee's selective quoting of the Scriptures he uses to defend his ideas in "Defending the Faith with Elegance."

Thursday, November 1, 2007

The Pastor and the Gun

A pastor was delivering a sermon entitled "Stand Still and let the Lord Fight your battles", on the topic of not fighting but letting God vanquish evil himself. As he was delivering the sermon, a gust of wind lifted his coat and the congregation noticed he was carrying a gun.

After the service a member of the congregation asked him, "I understood your sermon, but aren't you contradicting yourself by carrying a gun? You did say you are supposed to let the Lord fight your battles for you?"

"I did say that, yes," said the pastor. "The gun is just to hold them off until the Lord gets here".

Adapted from Keep and Bear Arms.

A friend recently questioned me about my concealed carry license. He said, "when you become a pastor, you'll probably be the only one carrying a gun." For his information, I recently met a pastor here with a CCW. Judging from what I've been reading online, I don't think it's as rare as people think...