Saturday, February 03, 2007

Ridiculous Item of the Day

Under the growing influence of prophecy-peddlers like John Hagee, an increasing number of churches are hosting pro-Israel events. Hagee, a divorced Pentecostal fire-breather of the Word of Faith movement, pastors an 18,000 member church in Texas and has created an organization called Christians United For Israel (CUFI).

CUFIs goal is to enlist pastors, “the spiritual generals of America,” to rally their parishioners in a campaign to defend Israel. Hagee has in the mind the creation of a Christian version of AIPAC. "We need to be able to respond instantly to Washington with our concerns about Israel. We must join forces to speak as one group and move as one body to [respond to] the crisis Israel will be facing in the near future," said Pastor Hagee.

The "crisis" that Pastor Hagee spots just over the horizon is the rise of the latest Hitlerian goblin emerging slowly from the Persian Gulf--Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Armed with the latest gleanings from the Jerusalem Post and a futuristic, sci-fi style reading of Ezekiel 38 and 39, Hagee says that confrontation with Iran is not merely right and just, but prophetically inevitable.

Here in Louisville, the call has been answered. This coming Sunday, Evangel World Prayer Center, the city's largest Pentecostal church, will join forces with the Jewish Federation of Louisville to hold "A Night to Honor Israel." So while your average Baptist church will have nothing better to do than host a Superbowl Party, the prayer warriors at Evangel will be busily girding themselves for war.

OK, that's not fair. Let's stop for moment and pause. Maybe they will present the Gospel. What do you think? Well, no, apparently not. According to the church website, this is non-conversionary affair. So what exactly is the point?

"Its purpose", said Evangel pastor Bob Rodgers in a written statement, "is to promote esteem and understanding between Christians and Jews and to emphasize that beliefs we hold common are far greater than the differences."

Did you catch that? They're going to take an inventory of what unites and separates Christians and Jews. So what is the glue holding these two seemingly disparate groups together? According to one organizer, "We believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible...Israel has a right to exist, and that God promised in His word that He would give them that land, and they have a right to exist in that nation and a right to defend themselves."

Forget for a moment whether a literal interpretation of Divine Revelation yields an unconditional land promise to that particular piece of real-estate. I'm more concerned about Rodgers' profession that little of significance separates Christians and Jews.

What about the fact that God took on flesh and came to earth? What about His sinless life of suffering and ministry? What about his gruesome and horrible death at the hands of "religious leaders" and civil authorities? What about His triumph over sin and death? What about His enthronement at the hand of His Father? And what about our inheritance as the adopted sons of God through our faith in Christ's redemptive and atoning work?

If as the Body of Christ we yolk ourselves to unbelievers in the name of political expedience, war, destruction, and the glorification of the State, what have we become?

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