Friday, March 03, 2006

Falwell: Jews CAN Get There from Here

The Jerusalem Post reports:

An evangelical pastor and an Orthodox rabbi, both from Texas, have apparently persuaded leading Baptist preacher Jerry Falwell that Jews can get to heaven without being converted to Christianity.

Televangelist John Hagee and Rabbi Aryeh Scheinberg, whose Cornerstone Church and Rodfei Sholom congregations are based in San Antonio, told The Jerusalem Post that Falwell had adopted Hagee's innovative belief in what Christians refer to as "dual covenant" theology.

This creed, which runs counter to mainstream evangelism, maintains that the Jewish people has a special relationship to God through the revelation at Sinai...
The importance of this is supposed to be related to Hagee becoming national chairman of Christians United for Israel which he says will aim to become a sort of "Christian AIPAC" unifying the pro-Israel Christian organizations.

Aside from having pro-Israel allies the significance of this "dual-Covenant" position is on the attempt to convert Jews.
Hagee has been consistent in this theological position, Scheinberg said, and this was reflected in both the declared policy of CUFI and at the public launch of the organization last month.

"It seemed there was a great deal of unity - not unanimity - on nonconversion, a nonproselytizing agenda, that the Jews have a special covenant, and this was stated over and over," the rabbi said.
If true--even if not accepted unanimously by the evangelical groups--it would at least take one issue off of our very full plate. On the other hand, the way Rabbi Scheinberg phrased it:
Falwell has altered his position, according to Scheinberg, apparently because the pastor decided to put End of Days theology aside in favor of the overriding need to support Israel, particularly against the mounting threat of a nuclear Iran.
does not necessarily mean that at some point down the line Falwell could not "put aside" support for Israel, should he feel the threat contained, in favor of converting Jews.

Update: Jack's Shack points out in a post that Falwell has already categorically denied saying what has been ascribed to him:
"Earlier today, reports began circulating across the globe that I have recently stated that Jews can go to heaven without being converted to Jesus Christ. This is categorically untrue.
Gee, that didn't take long.

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