15 April 2008

In Defense of Israel

A book by John Hagee - review

"If Jesus can be separated from his Jewish roots, then Christians can continue to praise the dead Jews of the past (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) while snubbing the Goldbergs across the street. But when you correctly see the Jewish people as the family of our Lord, they become our extended family whom we are commanded to love unconditionally." (p. 92)

And more than that, Hagee commends scripture to us and supports the idea that as Christians, we're to support not only the people of Israel, but the physical nation as well. He backs up why he believes the current nation of Israel (you know, the *physical* area near Jordan) has the right to exist and why Palestinians do not have a right to the land. He also spends a fair amount of time differentiating between Christian/Jewish beliefs and the beliefs of Muslims.

Most amazing is his historical treatment of Christians toward Jews during the time before the Holocaust. Hagee put forth a fairly compact history with several examples, but for the purposes of brevity, let's compare and contrast what Easter is like today and during the early Church:

Today we celebrate Easter by letting little children run 'round about the house hunting for chocolate bunnies and plastic Easter eggs. And so far as I've seen, just about every Christian pastor strives for a good long while and prays and works on a sermon that will have JUST the right balance between helping people feel convicted of their sins and coming to Christ, and feeling welcome in their churches. We all like to think about who our visitors might be, especially that week. We make extra-special sure to say "hi" to everyone and introduce ourselves. We wear our nicest clothes and try to be polite and friendly.

But in the early church years, "at Easter, the Christian clergy would enflame the passions of the faithful until the saints would race out of the church with clubs, run to the Jewish quarter, and beat Jews to death for what they did to Jesus on the cross. It became an annual custom at Easter to drag a Jew into the church and slap him on the face before the altar." (p. 20)

No wonder those Jewish folks are so dang easy to convert today!

And now that I'm a Christian, stuff like that gets to be part of *my* history as well. Yay. Thanks a lot, guys. Though I need to say this to those of you reading my blog in 1,000 years should Jesus tarry: that emergent church thing? It wasn't me. Just for the record that part wasn't my fault.

In all, I'd say it's an excellent book but it has one major flaw: those who really need to read it probably won't.

4 comments:

  1. So is the main point that we need to feel more guilty as Christians? I am not trying to start anything, just curious!

    I have wondered about our relationships to Jews lately. Many people think we should "leave them be" as far as the Jesus thing, but is that the right thing to do?

    My grandma, in all her politically incorrect glory, and 86 years of age, says that the media always plays Holocost specials on TV because they are obsessed with making people feel guilty and feel sorry for Jews.

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  2. Oh, no, that's not what the book was like! Sorry if I conveyed that. But it was eye-opening!

    I'm thinking that EVERYONE needs to have a relationship with Jesus to make heaven, but there are various schools of thought on that one.

    At least your grandmother is acknowledging that the Holocaust happened!! I think it's an important thing to remember. Now, let me say this next thing carefully: I think there tends to be an overemphasis on the Holocaust to the exclusion of MODERN-day genocides happening around the world, and this is a true travesty! Hitler's spirit does live on. We mollify ourselves of responsibility if we focus *only* on what happened in WWII.

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  3. It would be an interesting read, definitely. I'll want to check into it before I could say anything very 'introspective' (as if I could!)

    Thanks for the kindness, btw. xoxo

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  4. I wrote just last month, "When I became a Christian, the heritage and sins of the 'universal church' became my heritage. The history of the universal church contains things that I am not particularly proud of..."

    In a Recent Times Magazine article called 10 Ideas That Are Changing The World, number 10 is the re-Judaizing of Jesus. We have a Passover meal during Passion Week and the Easter Bunny has been banned. I have a open faced Mezuzah on the doorframe of each door exiting my home. It has parts of the Shema blessing and references the verses from Deuteronomy and Mark 12. It isn't kosher, but it is legible. Anyway, I welcome the recognition of Jesus' Jewishness. I find that the Bible comes into clearer focus when viewed through the culture and times in which Jesus lived.

    But, I have a little concern about the way this idea is applied in some cases, particularly emergent churches with "open orthodoxy." In their statement of faith, Obama's church says, "We believe in you, O God, Eternal Spirit, God of our Savior Jesus Christ." Jesus is not God. He may be a great Jewish rabbi, but not God. In Desire of the Everlasting Hills Thomas Cahill writes that Jesus is a “male baby of uncertain paternity.” This book is on the recommended reading list of a pastor in the EC movement.

    Jesus was a Jewish Rabbi, yes. He was also God in the flesh.

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Non-troll comments always welcome! :)