Thursday, May 22, 2008

Salvation Without Conversion??? Who is teaching this heresy?

Salvation Without Conversion?

***** is recognized as a fierce foe of anti-Semitism. An outspoken supporter of the Jewish people, Judaism, and the nation Israel, he has been given the "Humanitarian of the Year" award by the San Antonio B'nai B'rith Council. ***** has also been bestowed the "ZOA Israel Service Award" by the Zionist Organization in Dallas and honored with the "Henrietta Szold Award" by the Texas Southern Region of Hadassah.8

While his bold stance against anti-Semitism is certainly praiseworthy, ***** zealousness for the Jewish people and their cause has led him to commit a most serious doctrinal error — salvation for the Jews without conversion to Christianity. One newspaper account puts it this way:

Trying to convert Jews is a "waste of time," he said. . . .

Everyone else, whether Buddhist or Baha'i, needs to believe in Jesus, he says. But not Jews. Jews already have a covenant with God that has never been replaced with Christianity, he says.

"The Jewish people have a relationship to God through the law of God as given through Moses," ***** said. "I believe that every Gentile person can only come to God through the cross of Christ. I believe that every Jewish person who lives in the light of the Torah, which is the word of God, has a relationship with God and will come to redemption.

"The law of Moses is sufficient enough to bring a person into the knowledge of God until God gives him a greater revelation. And God has not," said *****.

"There are right now Jewish people on this earth who have a powerful and special relationship with God," declares ***** in one of his books. "They have been chosen by the 'election of grace' in which God does what he does without asking man to approve or understand it. Let us put an end to the Christian chatter that "all the Jews are lost" and can't be in the will of God until they convert to Christianity! . . . there are a certain number of Jews in relationship with God right now through divine election."

***** also affirms: "If God blinded the Jewish people to the identity of Jesus as Messiah, how could He send them to hell for not seeing what he had forbidden them to see?" He continues, "All people will gain entrance into heaven through Christ. The question is one of timing."

Such rhetoric raises some thorny questions. When ***** says "all people will gain entrance into heaven through Christ," he is either advocating universalism (literally all people — Jewish and Gentile — will be saved), or he believes that all Jews will be saved. In either case, both positions are in serious error, but the latter is more consistent with his other statements.

The "timing" of the salvation of the entire Jewish nation is actually irrelevant to his argument since he advocates that it is a waste of time attempting to convert them. At best, then, he implies that even if they are not currently saved, God will save all Jewish keepers of the Law — past, present, and future — at some future point.

The Bible paints a different picture. The apostle Paul demonstrates that Israel had a responsibility to respond to the Gospel, but rejected it. In Romans 10:19-21, he asks, "Did they [the Jews] fail to hear?" The rhetorical answer is "no." Paul relates that, as light and darkness are understood by all, so the gospel has been made known to all the Jews (cf. Acts 17:6; 21:28). He continues, "Did they fail to understand?" The answer once again is "no." Since Israel has become disobedient through unbelief (Rom. 11:30), God has delivered the gospel to the Gentiles.

But God has not entirely rejected Israel — Paul (himself a Jew) is living proof of this (Rom. 11:1). God has preserved a remnant, while the others were hardened as a consequence of their unbelief and trusting in works instead of the righteousness of Christ (Rom. 11:5-7; cf. 9:31-32; 11:20-23). Elsewhere the apostle writes, ". . . by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His [God's] sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin. . . . for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 3:20, 23-24, emphasis added).

To drive the point home, Paul goes on to say, ". . . the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith. For if those who are of the Law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise nullified; . . . it is by faith, that it might be in accordance with grace" (Rom. 4:13- 14, 16). Scripture draws no distinction between Jews and Gentiles on the issue of salvation, which is attained by grace through faith alone in Christ, "apart from works of the law" (3:28; cf. vv. 21-22).

Paul recognized that the Jews of his day had a misguided zeal that caused them to stumble on this very point (9:31-32; 10:2-4). Why would he suffer great anguish and wish he were accursed for Israel's sake if none of them were truly lost? His anguish comes from the realization that many Israelites are not saved (Rom. 9:3, 6, 27; 10:1, 9-15; cf. Acts 2:14, 21, 37-39; Rom. 11:14, 17-23).

The Law, revealed through the Jews, was meant to be "our tutor to lead us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor" (Gal. 3:24-25). As the Bible clearly states: "There is neither Jew nor Greek . . . for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise" (vv. 28-29). To be saved, a person — whether Jew or Gentile — must turn to Christ (5:4-6; cf. John 14:6; Acts 4:12; Rom. 10:9-13) who is "the end of the law for righteousness for everyone who believes" (Rom. 10:4). In writing that the "message of the gospel was from Israel, not to Israel," ***** discourages Christians from sharing the Good News with unsaved Jews who, like everyone else, have need of the gospel if they are to spend eternity with God in heaven.
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So, have you figured out yet who is teaching this heresy?
I will post comments after I receive a few of them so as not to give the answer away too soon!
It is very important to remember that ALL who gain salvation do so by putting their faith and trust in Jesus Christ alone!  There is no other way to gain entrance into heaven but through Jesus.  The Law is used to show us how sinful we are.  The Law always points us to the cross.  Once we are saved, we are no longer under the law but under grace!

3 comments:

michelle said...

why is it John Hagee?

RHEA said...

I only had to read a few of them to know that it's John Hagee.

pastorbrianculver said...

Michelle and Rhea,
You are both correct! This just goes to show that we should not blindly follow a man!