By way of a discussion group, I was alerted to an article in the Jerusalem Post that proclaims Baptist pastor, world evangelist and everyone's favorite morality windmill chaser, Jerry Falwell, believes Jews can get into heaven apart from the atoning work of Jesus Christ. The belief (heresy, actually) is called "dual covenant" theology. The JP writer defines it like this,
This creed, which runs counter to mainstream evangelism, maintains that the Jewish people has a special relationship to God through the revelation at Sinai and therefore does not need "to go through Christ or the Cross" to get to heaven.
I am just happy the writer of the article notes "dual covenant" theology "runs counter to mainstream evangelism." Good job.
The article also mentions a list of evangelical pastors and leaders (most of which are false prophets after the line of Balaam) who embrace "dual covenant" theology:
These include such names as Dr. Jack Hayford, president of the Foursquare Gospel Church; Paul Walker, assistant general overseer of the Church of God; international Pastor Rod Parsley of the World Harvest Church; Benny Hinn; George Morrison; Kenneth Copland; Steve Strang; Matt Croutch of the Trinity Broadcasting Network; and former presidential candidate Gary Bauer, president of the Family Research Council.
When I was single and living in a crowded, two room apartment with a bunch of poor seminary guys, I would come home after Sunday morning services and turn on John Hagee's TV program while my mac and cheese was cooking.
Most of his messages were political rants against the then sitting president Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary. If you were to listen to Hagee long enough, you would have thought Clinton had a "666" birthmark along the hairline of his scalp. It did not matter what subject Hagee preached on, at some point in the message, he would tie it all together into a sermon bashing the Clintons. Say for instance the sermon was on the Beattitude "blessed are the peace makers." Hagee would say something like "and Hillary Clinton and her hellcats want to bring in an false peace with her "It Takes a Village" communism, blah, blah, blah." You get the point.
For a long time, Hagee was doing a series on the Seven Dispensations. He had some artist in his congregation make up a massive, 24 foot long replica of Clarence Larkin's drawings of the Seven Dispensations. When he got to the dispensation of law under Moses, Hagee paused for an extended study on each of the 10 commandments and how Clinton was violating every one of them daily. He opined about how our American culture was founded upon the 10 commandments; how the 10 commandments use to hang behind every bench of every judge in America until the liberals took over; and how we need to return to the 10 commandments or face God's fury.
Now, perhaps you are not a seminary geek such as myself, so you may be clueless as to how Hagee is a total theological ignoramus here. You see, Classic, Scofieldian Dispensationalism, what Hagee was unwittingly defending, teaches that the 10 commandments were done away with when Christ came. They have now been replaced with Christ's law. Hagee is arguing in favor of Classic Dispensationalism and Covenant Theology at the same time when the two theological systems have mutually exclusive starting points for understanding the Bible, as well as understanding the authority and application of the 10 commandments in a Christian's life. In other words, the man doesn't really know what he is preaching about.
Coming back to the subject of claiming the Jews can get into heaven without Jesus...
It is bad enough to be theologically ignorant and inconsistent; it is quite another to change the foundations of the Christian faith and message as to how men are made right before a holy God. The first is just personal stupidity; the second is serious false teaching worthy of God's judgment.
But why is Hagee even entertaining this notion of Jews being allowed into heaven apart from Christ? I personally think it is a clear cut example of biblical compromise on account of your political bedfellows. Hagee has come to personally know real well, and depend upon politically, a bunch of conservative, Jewish Republican moralists who are more capable of articulating and expressing biblical values in the so-called "market place of ideas" than most truly, born again evangelical Christians. All of these really nice and conservative, right-wing moralists like Michael Medved, Dennis Prager, and David Horowitz can't be sent to hell just because they just haven't believed in Jesus. God would never do something like that to a group of folks who are so right on with their political and moral affiliations. Right?
At any rate, if John Hagee believes this about Jews going to heaven without Christ because God gave them a special revelation way back on Mt. Sinai, then allow me to ask him some questions:
1) What did Jesus mean when He said in John 14:6 "I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me"?
2) What did Jesus mean when He said in John 6:44-45, "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him and I will raise him up on the last day. It is written in the prophets, 'And they shall all be taught by God.' Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the father comes to me"? It would seem to me that if these Jews believe in God, they are believing in the Father, and according to Jesus's words, will come to him for salvation.
3) What did Peter mean when he said in Acts 4:12, "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved"?
4) Why was there a need for Peter to preach to the Jews on the Day of Pentecost as recorded in Acts 2 and call the Jewish people to repentance and faith in Christ?
5) What did Paul mean when he wrote to the Corinthians that Christ is "to the Jews a stumbling block"? (1 Corinthians 1:23).
6) What was Paul's point in 1 Corinthians 12:13 when he wrote, "For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body - whether Jews or Greeks..."?
7) Do political leftist Jews like Steven Spielberg, and the whole crowd of Jewish entertainers from Hollywood's political left, have a free pass despite their anti-right wing views and hatred of current day Israel? Or does the "double covenant" theology cover them just because of their lineage?
8) And finally (I could think of many more), "dual covenant" theology seems to be based upon nationality and physical lineage. If that is the case, then what was the point of John the Baptist's rebuke of the Jews when he said, "... do not begin to say to yourselves 'we have Abraham as our Father.' For I say unto you that God is able to raise up Children to Abraham from these stones."?
To be fair, there wasn't a whole lot of quotes of Jerry Falwell in this article. Just a mention about a representative meeting with Hagee and his people. I will be curious to see if he makes an official statement of some sort either clarifying what the article and Hagee are saying about his beliefs, or rejecting them out of hand. I can only hope for his sake, it is the latter.
HT: Chad Bresson
Falwell has posted a response to the JP article here
In it, he claims the report is untrue and false.
From Falwell's statement:
While I am a strong supporter of the State of Israel and dearly love the Jewish people and believe them to be the chosen people of God, I continue to stand on the foundational biblical principle that all people — Baptists, Methodists, Pentecostals, Jews, Muslims, etc. — must believe in the Lord Jesus Christ in order to enter heaven.
Moreover, according to the article, even Hagee denies the dual covenant theology. Though he may have told Falwell this, I am waiting to see evidence of it.