Falwell denies Post story, says Jews need Christ for salvation
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--Denying a Jerusalem Post story that said he had embraced a “dual covenant” theology, Southern Baptist pastor Jerry Falwell said March 1 that he believes all people, including Jews, “must believe in the Lord Jesus Christ in order to enter heaven.”
“I do not follow this teaching of ‘dual covenant’ theology and I believe it runs counter to the Gospel,” Falwell said in a statement posted on www.falwell.com. "I have been on record all 54 years of my ministry as being opposed to ‘dual covenant' theology.”
Rejected by orthodox theologians, dual covenant theology holds that Jews are saved through a special, unique relationship with God and need not trust in Christ for salvation.
The Jerusalem Post story, published March 1, said that pastor John Hagee and Rabbi Aryeh Scheinberg -- both from Texas -- had “apparently persuaded” Falwell to adopt a dual covenant belief system. The story quoted only Scheinberg and did not quote Falwell.
“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,” the story, authored by Ilam Chaim, said.
The story noted that dual covenant theology “runs counter to mainstream evangelism.”
But a March 2 story Jerusalem Post story said that Hagee had contacted the Post to say that he also doesn't believe in a "dual covenant."
"In a statement to the Post, the Texas-based televangelist Hagee said that neither he nor Southern Baptist pastor Falwell 'believe or teach dual covenant," The Post reported.
Falwell’s complete statement follows:
“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.
“These false reports originated from a March 1 Jerusalem Post front page column which said: ‘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 have a special relationship to God through the revelation at Sinai and therefore do not need ‘to go through Christ or the Cross’ to get to heaven.’
“While I am a strong supporter of the State of Israel and dearly love the Jewish people and believe them to be the chosen people of God, I continue to stand on the foundational biblical principle that all people -- Baptists, Methodists, Pentecostals, Jews, Muslims, etc. -- must believe in the Lord Jesus Christ in order to enter heaven.
“Dr. Hagee called me today and said he never made these statements to the Jerusalem Post or to anyone else. He assured me that he would immediately contact the Jerusalem Post and request a correction. Before today, I had never heard of Rabbi Aryeh Scheinberg or had any communications with him. I therefore am at a total loss as to why he would make such statements about me to the Post, if in fact he did.
“In this age of political correctness and diversity, the traditional evangelical belief that salvation is available only through faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Christ is often portrayed as closed-minded and bigoted. But if one is to believe in Jesus Christ, he must believe in His words: 'I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes unto the Father but by Me' (John 14:6). I simply cannot alter my belief that Jesus is The Way to heaven, as He taught.
“Again, I do not follow this teaching of 'dual covenant' theology and I believe it runs counter to the Gospel.
“I have been on record all 54 years of my ministry as being opposed to ‘dual covenant’ theology. In fact, Dr. John Hagee has indicated to me, as recently as today, that he likewise does not accept ‘dual covenant’ theology.
“I want to reaffirm that I am a Zionist in terms of Israel’s entitlement to its homeland. I continue to pray daily for the peace of Jerusalem, as the Bible instructs Christians to do. And I have dedicated my life and ministry to working for the peace of Israel. I dearly cherish the highly esteemed Jabotinsky Award which was given me in 1981 by Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin. I have led thousands of pilgrims through the Land Of Israel during my 31 tours over 36 years. I seriously believe that few Americans have invested more time and resources in the defense of Israel in this generation.
“However, I simply cannot alter my deeply-held belief in the exclusivity of salvation through the Gospel of Christ for the sake of political or theological expediency.
“Like the Apostle Paul, I pray daily for the salvation of everyone, including the Jewish people.”