"Be Jewish In Five Easy Days", The Twelve Tribes Of Hagee
Bruce Wilson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Fri Mar 09, 2007 at 01:18:42 PM EST
Previously here on Talk To Action, I've written about apparent,  underlying anti-Semitism among American Christian Zionists who hope that a US or Israeli nuclear attack on Iran will provoke catastrophic war and trigger the "Rapture" of Christians but also kill most Israeli Jews or even most Jews on Earth. Members of John Hagee's "Christians United For Israel" ( CUFI ) lobby for, among other things, a US or Israeli nuclear attack on Iran they hope will provoke catastrophic war and trigger the "Rapture" of Christians but also kill most Israeli Jews or even most Jews on Earth. CUFI's founder, pastor John Hagee, is a Christian Apocalyptic Dispensationalist who holds a version of "Replacement theology" ; lots of fancy words, but don't worry. The "Christian Apocalyptic....." bit refers to Christians awaiting (and working for) the Apocalypse, Rapture, Armageddon, and so on. OK, got that ? Moving right along.....
Next : "Replacement theology", also known as "Supercessionism" has two branches. One holds that Jews are no longer God's chosen people and that Christians are the true inheritors of the Judaic tradition or even the "real" Jews. Virulently anti-Semitic movements such as Christian identity believe that Anglo-Saxons, or Northern Europeans, are the "real" Jews. The other version holds that Jews are still 'chosen' but to get into Heaven they nonetheless need to accept Jesus as their personal messiah, lord, and savior. John Hagee holds this second type of belief and tries to soften it via the stance that God has given Israel to Jews for perpetuity, so they're special. Sort of. Perpetual, divinely granted land rights don't actually get them into Heaven. They still need Jesus for that and, per Hagee's end-time beliefs, Jews who don't opt to convert to Christianity will die a horrible death and proceed on to an eternity of torment in Hell. Meanwhile, the structure of Hagee's Cornerstone Church congregation seems to suggest an underlying belief that Christians can be Jews (or "Israelites") too, but better actually because "Christian Jews" can get into Heaven. The 20,000 member San Antonio based "Cornerstone Church" is organized around 12 membership "tribes" named after the original 12 Tribes  of Israel and this raises the question : if John Hagee expects that the catastrophic war he hopes for will kill most Israeli Jews, then don't his pseudo-Jewish "tribes" at Cornerstone amount to, in effect, "replacement Jews" anyway ?

   Open Church Course Alleged To Have Been Held In 1998 ( unrelated to John Hagee Ministries )

   "Open Church Ministries
    1624 South 21st Street.
    Colo. Spgs., CO 80904

    November 11, 1997
    by Jim Rutz

    VI. How to Be Jewish in 5 Easy Days (p.p.7,8).

    If you've always wanted to be Jewish, but didn't know how to go about it, here's good news. Without eating bagels or keeping kosher or having a Yiddish mama, you can gain most of the benefits of being a descendant of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob ... you know, that bunch.

    The immense richness of Hebrew life that had developed for 2,000 years was a terrific legacy for the early Jewish Christians. Their understanding of God, family Torah, and holy living gave them big advantages over the early Greek believers "in every way" (Romans 3:2).

    Today, that heritage that once gave Jewish believers an "inside track" with God is a subject of great interest among thinking Christians. We're starting to pounce on teachers who can clearly show us "how it used to be" in the early, open Hebrew-Christian community. Accordingly, OCM is holding an "Hebraic Short Course" at Pinecrest Lodge in the mountains west of Colorado Springs January 6-11, 1998."

Texas megachurch pastor John Hagee, founder of Christians United For Israel, a new and nominally "pro-Israel" American national political lobbying group, has built a career on aggressive support for hard right to fringe right Israeli politics and is now making inroads towards convincing the mainstream American Jewish community that he and CUFI are the best tactical allies Jews and Israel can expect to find.

I've recently written series, here on Talk To Action, about the underlying structural anti-Semitism (see installments 4, 3, 2, 1) inherent among American Christian Zionists who support a "strong" Israel, oppose all Israel peace negotiations with Palestinians that would make land concessions, rhetorically demonize and antagonize the Muslim world, label Islam as a "wicked" religion and slander Mohammed, and hope that an American or Israeli attack on Iran will touch off a widepsread conflict leading both to the Rapture and to the death of most Israeli Jews or even most Jews worldwide.

Talk To Action contributor Max Blumenthal has touched on another ugly aspect of American Christian Zionism, its willingness to make gangland-style veiled threats against Israel ( see Blumenthal's Did Tim LaHaye Just Call Israelis "Not-To-Be-Trusted Yids?" and as occasional TTA contributor Esther Kaplan sums things up:

Never mind that Christian right leaders such as Jerry Falwell have called Jews "spiritually blind and desperately in need of their Messiah and Savior"; that the Southern Baptist Convention has made the conversion of Jews a special mission; and that much Christian right support for Israel is based on End Times scenarios in which Jews must return to Israel to expedite the second coming of Christ. There's just one catch: Once that glorious event occurs, Jews who don't convert will burn in hell for all eternity. As Craig Unger vividly illustrates in his article in the December issue of Vanity Fair, in which he recounts his travels to the Holy Land with best-selling apocalyptic novelist Tim LaHaye, if you peel back Christian right support for Israel, you find a Jewish death wish.

American Christian Zionism can be placed somewhere along the lineage in which British Israelism, an early 20th Century British religious movement which claimed that modern Europeans were descended from the "Lost Tribes" of Israel but, according to the Anti Defamation League, was no more or less anti-Semitic than mainstream European culture of the time , came to America and progressively morphed into the hard anti-Semitic beliefs of the Christian Identity movement.

But John Hagee's Christian Zionism seems to have veered sharply away from the virulent anti-Semitism tendencies that led to Christian Identity ; Hagee's ministry celebrates Judaica, performs a yearly "Feast Of The Tabernacles" ceremony and Hagee's church has hosted an annual "Night To Honor Israel" event for over two decades now. Further, Hagee's church is racially integrated.

So what's not to like ?

Let's rearrange the perspective a bit :

At Cornerstone Church, pastor John Hagee can be found many Sundays ( when Hagee's son Matthew is not preaching in his father's stead ) seated upon a white and blue throne ( the colors of the Israeli flag ) wearing a Jewish prayer shawl ( his church sells prayer shawls too ) and preaching to his flock whose members are organized into the "Twelve tribes of Israel" ; in that setting, Hagee can be found preaching on the need for a preemptive nuclear war against Iran, because of an alleged, dire threat that Iran will mount a nuclear attack against the US and/or Israel. In the very same sermon, one might also hear John Hagee talk of how such a war will lead to catastrophic world conflict that will kill most Jews in Israel and also possibly lead to the nuclear destruction of the East and West coasts of the United States which, oddly enough, contain by far the largest concentration of Jews outside of the Israel.

One might hear Pastor Hagee's deep, charismatic voice intoning about how "thrilling" the expected catastrophic bloody conflict will be because it will lead to the "Rapture" in which Christians will ascend bodily into heaven to live forever there, in paradise. But after the Rapture Jews, having filled their indispensible role as props, or ritualistic ingredients, that make the Rapture possible, will mostly be killed but for a "remnant" who convert to Christianity.

For those who do not accept Hagee's theological and end-times beliefs, the Rapture may seem unlikely, but the bloody, catastrophic conflict Hagee hopes will soon happen seems far more probable especially with Hagee's Christian Zionist lobby working to encourage violence ; the possibility of such a conflict as Hagee envisions raises the grotesque tableaux of John Hagee's "twelve tribes" at Cornerstone Church watching, from a safe distance, a Mideast conflagration they have helped to engineer and which leads to a massive death toll both among Muslims, who many Christian zionists demonize and profess to hate, and also among Jews, who Christian zionists idealize, mythologize, fetishize, and profess to love.

Rub the lucky prayer shawl ?

"The Mystery of the Prayer Shawl
The tallit or prayer shawl, designed by God, has been worn by devout Jews for centuries. Its legacy is woven throughout the Old and New Testaments. It still carries the power to energize your prayer life. Pastor Hagee gives you the keys from the Word of God to unleash this power in your own life. Included with this teaching is an authentic
prayer shawl imported directly from Israel.
Shawl & audio tape $35 US/$46 CAN
Shawl & video tape $45 US/$59 CAN"
- From Cornerstone Church/John Hagee Ministries semi-monthly church magazine.


The more I read about Pastor Hagee the more disturbed I am.  What disturbs me more than the fact that some nut job like him exists is that there must be thousands of people who listen to him on a regular basis and eat up everything he says.  What's wrong with people?

by DeannaL on Sat Mar 10, 2007 at 07:24:58 AM EST

Jewish and Hebrew peoples include (d) darn good arguments over interpretation in holy text. Mind you, not just any old argument gets in but the well reasoned ones do.  Even God is questioned rigorously.  Excellent diary, Bruce.

by tikkun on Sat Mar 10, 2007 at 11:47:50 PM EST

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