A Bible Verse

Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? – I Cor 11:14

(See here)

UPDATE: Ruth Gledhill links to the blog ParishLife, which reveals the protestor’s identity.

CUFI Director Ditched over Hagee’s Missionary Position?

Hagee’s Rabbi associate met with anti-missionary group in Israel

A group blog run by some Israeli settlers features a two-part essay (here and here) by Ellen W. Horowitz (a Golan Heights settler) on the Christian Friends of Israel (CUFI) and John Hagee. Horowitz appears to have some inside information which is worth noting:

I met with Hagee confidant and friend Rabbi Arye Scheinberg four weeks ago at the home of Rabbi Simcha HaCohen Kook. I understand Rabbi Scheinberg had requested the meeting with Rav Kook in order to better understand certain positions the rabbinate has been taking. A Representative from the Jerusalem City Council and the director of a counter-missionary group were among those present at the meeting. Rabbi Scheinberg acknowledged the wealth of evidence and problems with certain CUFI directors, and assured me that Pastor Hagee was well aware of the situation with at least one of his main directors and publishers. I was told that Strang was “out” and that other changes were forthcoming. But other than the sudden removal of Jim Hutchins from the CUFI Regional Director section of the website, I have no indication that any action has been taken as a result of that meeting.

“Arye Scheinberg” is better known as “Aryeh Scheinberg” or “Aryeh Sheinberg”, and he has featured on this blog before, as the possible origin of the bogus story that Jery Falwell had adopted a “dual covenant” theology which sees Judaism and Christianity as equally-valid religions. “Jim Hutchins”, meanwhile, is actually Jim Hutchens, and he heads a Christian Zionist organisation called the Jerusalem Connection. Hutchens’ name is indeed missing from the list of CUFI regional directors, where he was once listed under the Washington area. However, Stephen Strang is still there, and I would be astonished by any public breach between Hagee and the powerful editor of Charisma magazine.

Horowitz is unhappy with certain CUFI directors whom she believes to have a missionary agenda. In particular, she notes that Charisma magazine has featured criticism of Orthodox Judaism, and it has condemned Orthodox harrassment of Messianic Jews. Although there is real evidence that Messianic Jews do indeed face serious problems in Israel (blogged here), and reason to suspect anti-Missionary fanatics of sending a parcel bomb to a Messianic pastor that seriously injured his son (see here), she dismisses such concerns as an “anti-Semitic blood libel”.

And as for Hutchens, Horowitz tells us that she has ” a significant and distressing report” on him, although no details are given. CUFI directors Michael Little and Robert Stearns are also criticised. However, as for Hagee himself, Horowitz notes that:

Pastor John Hagee has incurred the wrath of messianic and other evangelical groups because of his inconsistent and lukewarm approach towards overt Jewish evangelism. His toying with Christian theology caused such an outcry that he was compelled to do a rewrite on his book, “In Defense of Israel.”

The fact that Hagee’s friend Sheinberg has apparently been meeting with a counter-missionary group in Israel will also be controversial among evangelicals.

The tension over Christian Zionism and the evangelical urge to missionize has been increasing for a while. Last September Janet Parshell pulled out of a Christian Allies Caucus event, complaining that the Israeli attitude appeared to be one of “We’ll take your aid, your support and your tourist dollars, but we won’t take your Jesus”, while Christians should not have to “choose between the cross or Israel”. A statement on Jewish evangelism from the World Evangelical Council in April has also resulted in controversy.

Horowitz also thinks some of the money donated by Hagee may have been used in ways that were not appropriate:

1) Two months ago Pastor Hagee donated $250,000 to the One Family Fund .It was understood at the time that the funds would be allocated towards building a 5000 square meter bombshelter in Sderot. The organization diverted those funds and they are instead being used to reinforce the roofs of a synagogue and a school. Certainly worthy projects, but was Pastor Hagee, or a rabbi for that matter, consulted on the change in plans?

2) Pastor Hagee attempted to donate $25,000 to Mercaz Harav in memory of the terror victims of the yeshiva attack. Mercaz Harav declined the offer. Pastor Hagee then approached the Jerusalem municipality in order to funnel the funds through them for the terror victims. The municipality accepted the contribution and then a decision was made by the New Jerusalem Foundation to use those funds towards the building of a park. Did the mayor inform Pastor Hagee?

Horowitz’s essay was brought to my attention by IsraeleNews, a somewhat enigmatic website which reposts, at its own initiative, various essays on Israel and Christian Zionism. A couple of pieces of mine have also shown up there – lest there be any doubt, I do not share the website’s perspective or politics.

UPDATE: Sarah Posner has the background, here (scroll down):

Jim Hutchens, a former military chaplain, is president of the hard-line Christian Zionist group The Jerusalem Connection International, which has opposed any Israeli-Palestinian peace deal even more vociferously than CUFI has. Hutchens told me that after he confronted Hagee last year over the assertion in Hagee’s most recent book that Jesus did not come to be the Messiah for the Jews, CUFI removed him as Mid-Atlantic regional director. He was offered a co-director position for the District of Columbia, Hutchens said, but he decided to cut ties with CUFI completely. (A spokesperson for CUFI said she didn’t know what had precipitated the split, or which party initiated it.)

With Hagee’s efforts to garner Jewish support for CUFI, “the focus now,” said Hutchens, “is Jews united for Hagee.”…Hutchens and the other Christian Zionists he says share his concerns and are skipping the CUFI Summit represent the hardcore fringe of Hagee supporters.