Outspoken and ardent Israel supporter Pastor John Hagee presented members of Congress this week with a petition signed by over 100,000 American Christians expressing solidarity with the state of Israel.
Hagee, who is founder and chairman of Christian United for Israel (CUFI), met with several members of Congress on Tuesday to deliver the petition that declared Jewish people have a right to live in the ancient land of Israel, there is no excuse for acts of terrorism against Israel and Israel has a right to defend its citizens. Signers also pledged to speak out on behalf of Israel until attacks against the country stop.
“Israel is America’s closest and most trusted ally. We are committed to steadfastly supporting the Jewish State as she fights to defend the democratic values that we all hold dear,” Hagee said in a statement. “As our leaders in Washington make decisions about American foreign policy in the Middle East, it is important for them to know that Christians across the country remain solidly committed to a strong US-Israel relationship.”
Hagee is the founding and senior pastor of the 18,000-member Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas. He subscribes to a controversial belief known as Dual Covenant.
According to this view, Jews have a separate covenant with God and can gain salvation without accepting the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Everyone else in the world is bounded by the covenant that they must believe in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ as atonement for man’s sin in order to gain salvation.
The Texas megachurch pastor’s as well as other Zionist leaders’ view on Israel has caused some Christians to denounce these beliefs as not based on the Gospel.
“We believe they (some Christian Zionists) can dilute the gospel message by offering comfort apart from Christ, discourage evangelical Christians from witnessing to their Jewish friends and divert gospel resources which could be channeled toward Jewish evangelism,” read a resolution passed by the 26th annual meeting of the Lausanne Consultation on Jewish Evangelism (LCJE) – North America in March.
The task force added, “Therefore, we call on the leading proponents of Christian Zionism today to be transparent with Christians on whether Jewish evangelism is present in their theology.”
U.S. Christians, evangelicals in particular, are the strongest and most vocal supporters of Israel in the world. Israel’s minister of tourism said in 2006 that evangelical Christians make up about a third of the U.S. tourists to Israel.