Jews for Jesus

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jews for Jesus is a Christian [1] evangelical organization based in San Francisco, California, whose goal is to convince Jews that Jesus is the Messiah and God. Viewing its followers as „living out their Jewishness,“ [2] Jews for Jesus defines „Jewish“ in terms of parentage and as a birthright, regardless of religious belief.[3] Identification of Jews for Jesus as „Jewish“ is overwhelmingly rejected by Jewish religious denominations,[4][5] secular groups[6][7] and the State of Israel[8] due to the Christian beliefs of its members. The group’s proselytizing activities are opposed also by some Christian organizations and scholars.[9][10]

Contents

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Aims and organization

Jews for Jesus‘ official mission statement is „to make the Messiahship of Jesus an unavoidable issue to our Jewish people worldwide.“ They claim that belief in Jesus as Messiah is a fulfillment of the prophecies of Hebrew scripture. Through media advertisements, production and distribution of literature, producing music and organizing person-to-person evangelism, the organization asserts that „a specifically Jewish mission“ is necessary, saying „Jewish people tend to dismiss evangelistic methods and materials that are couched in Christian lingo, because they reinforce the assumption that Jesus is for ‚them‘ not ‚us.'“[11]

Jews for Jesus promotes awareness of the Jewish heritage of the Christian faith. Their website contains brief descriptions of Jewish festivals,[2] and also runs programs explaining the significance of Passover, Sukkot and Hanukkah, explaining messianic elements and how they believe these festivals are related to Jesus.

Beliefs

Jews for Jesus take mainstream Christian positions that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah, that his coming was prophesied in the Jewish scriptures, and that Jesus is the Son of God and the second person of the Trinity.

A summary of Jews for Jesus‘ beliefs:[12]

According to an article on Jews for Jesus by B. Robinson of Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance,

„Their doctrinal statement is basically indistinguishable from Evangelical and other conservative Christian groups. … They differ from some Evangelical Christian groups in their belief that Israel continues to exist as a „covenant people.“ They also integrate some Jewish customs and use Hebrew and Yiddish in some literature.[10]

Background

One of the most important Jewish principles of faith is the belief in one God and one God only with no partnership of any kind (see Devarim 6:4), and belief in Jesus as deity, son of God, or Christ, is held as incompatible with Judaism. [5] [13] In his book A History of the Jews, Paul Johnson describes the schism between Jews and Christians caused by a divergence from this principle:

To the question, Was Jesus God or man?, the Christians therefore answered: both. After 70 AD, their answer was unanimous and increasingly emphatic. This made a complete breach with Judaism inevitable.[14]

Jews for Jesus believes it is entirely compatible with the view of God presented in Jewish scriptures.[15] Jews for Jesus believe that the doctrine of the Trinity, fundamental to the Christian faith, is not entirely alien to Judaism: „While it is true that the Old Testament portion of Scripture does not present as clear a picture of the three-in-one/one-as-three Godhead, there are indications of the plurality of the Godhead in the Hebrew Scriptures.“ [16]

According to a common belief in Judaism, these „indications“ are based on mistranslations [17] [18] [19] and Jesus did not fulfill the qualifications for Jewish Messiah. The vision of God as a trinity is seen by Judaism as a deviation from monotheism and therefore is rejected. [20]

America’s Religions. An Educator’s Guide to Beliefs and Practices contains „[a] note about Jews for Jesus, Messianic Jews, Hebrew Christians, and similar groups: Jews in these groups who have converted to Christianity but continue to observe various Jewish practices are no longer considered part of the Jewish community in the usual sense.“ [21]

Core values

Jews for Jesus describes its core values in the following way:

We commit to:

  • Direct Jewish evangelism as our priority
  • An apostolic lifestyle of availability, vulnerability and mobility
  • Striving for excellence in all that we do
  • Deploying only front-line missionaries who are Jewish or married to Jews
  • Principle-based operations and practice
  • Accountability to our mission family and the body of Messiah
  • Integrity and faithfulness
  • Creativity in our staff
  • Stepping out in courageous faith and taking risks for God. [22]
Understanding that we:

  • are under the authority of God and His word
  • desire to honor Messiah Y’shua and
  • are dependent upon the enabling power of the Holy Spirit

Leadership, funding and outreach

The organization was founded under the name Hineni Ministries in 1973 by Moishe Rosen, an ordained Baptist minister[23] who was born Jewish but converted to Christianity at the age of 17. [24] Rosen remained its executive director until May of 1996 when he was replaced by David Brickner, [10] who, though having some Jewish ancestry, is not Jewish according to Jewish Law.[25][this source’s reliability may need verification]

The group’s financial support largely comes from a variety of Christian groups,[26] described as „a number of Bible schools, and individual Christian donations…“. It has „a full-time staff of 150 employees running branch offices in nine cities across the United States.[10] There are also branch offices in Australia, Brazil, Canada (Montreal, Toronto), France, Germany, Israel, Russia, South Africa, United Kingdom, Ukraine (Dnepropetrovsk, Kharkov, Kiev, Odessa). In addition to English language, the group runs websites in Hungarian, Persian, Italian, Spanish, and Korean languages. [27]

According to the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, the group’s total income in FY 2005 was $17,523,386.[28]

Methods of evangelizing

The majority of evangelism used by Jews for Jesus consists of large mailings and pamphleteering. The organization uses colorful pamphlets and T-shirts to get their message across and is known for targeting populations of Jews which they see as receptive to their message [29] , such as recent immigrants, college students, senior citizens and interfaith couples. Evangelists are trained to recite phrases from the Hebrew Bible and to use Yiddish words in order to convince potential converts that Jews for Jesus maintain Jewish traditions. [24] [30]

Membership

Statistics of membership numbers for the Jews for Jesus movement are not known. Since those born as gentiles are active in the movement, having established it and continue to fund it, the true number of people who are known to have been born Jewish and have become full-fledged members of the movement is unknown.

Stan Telchin, formerly associated with Jews for Jesus, wrote in Messianic Judaism is not Christianity:A Loving Call to Unity [31] that 80 percent of those who attend Messianic Synagogues are not Jewish. An official figure quoted to counter it pegged the number at 50 percent.

Because of its high visibility, the ministry is commonly but inaccurately equated with lower profile Hebrew Christians or with Messianic Judaism, most of whose adherents are not members of Jews for Jesus.

Opposition and criticism

One of the criticisms of Jews for Jesus surrounds the tactics they employ in their missionary and outreach programs. Critics claim the organization uses vague and misleading language along with deceptive tactics in its attempt to convert Jews to Christianity.[32] These tactics include statements that Jesus is the fulfillment of the Jewish prophecy of Messiah and attempts by Jews for Jesus to interpret core principles of Judaism in an effort to bring these Jewish principles into accord with Christian doctrines.[33] To this end, critics claim that JfJ uses the ambiguity in the defition of „Jew“ and „Jewish“ to confuse their prospective converts into believing there is a possibility of one being a follower of both Judaism and Christianity simultaneously.[34] However, belief in Jesus as deity, son of God, or Christ, is held as incompatible with Judaism. [13]

Although, Jews for Jesus believes their views of the Messiah are entirely compatible with the view of God presented in Jewish scriptures,[15] and that the doctrine of the Trinity, fundamental to the Christian faith, is not entirely alien to Judaism, [35] these interpretations by Jews for Jesus are rejected by Judaism.[36] [37] [38] [39] Jews for Jesus respond to these allegation by stating that their allusions to „Jewishness“ refer to ethnic descriptions and not religious ones. [40]

Jewish opposition

In 1993, the Task Force on Missionaries and Cults of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York (JCRCNY) issued a statement which has been endorsed by the four major Jewish denominations: Orthodox Judaism, Conservative Judaism, Reform Judaism, and Reconstructionist Judaism, as well as national Jewish organizations. [7] Based on this statement, the Spiritual Deception Prevention Project at the JCRCNY stated:

On several occasions leaders of the four major Jewish movements have signed on to joint statements opposing Hebrew-Christian theology and tactics. In part they said: „Though Hebrew Christianity claims to be a form of Judaism, it is not … It deceptively uses the sacred symbols of Jewish observance … as a cover to convert Jews to Christianity, a belief system antithetical to Judaism … Hebrew Christians are in radical conflict with the communal interests and the destiny of the Jewish people. They have crossed an unbridgeable chasm by accepting another religion. Despite this separation, they continue to attempt to convert their former co-religionists.“ [41]

The director of a counter-missionary group Torah Atlanta Rabbi Efraim Davidson stated that „the Jews for Jesus use aggressive proselytizing to target disenfranchised or unaffiliated Jews, Russian immigrants and college students“ and that „their techniques are manipulative, deceptive and anti-Semitic.“ [42]

In his 1997 book The Vanishing American Jew: In Search of Jewish Identity for the Next Century Alan Dershowitz wrote: „In America, and in other nations that separate church from state, one’s Jewishness is a matter of self-definition …“ but notes: „I do not mean to include former Jews who practice Christianity under the deliberately misleading name Jews for Jesus. A Jew for Jesus already has a name: a Christian.“ [43]

The author of the book Why the Jews Rejected Jesus: The Turning Point in Western History David Klinghoffer expressed his concern in The Jewish Journal: „When Jews accept Jesus, they marry other Christians or their children do, thus disappearing into the Christian population.“ [25]

Concerning Christian-Jewish reconciliation and Christian missions to the Jews, Emil Fackenheim wrote:

„… Except in relations with Christians, the Christ of Christianity is not a Jewish issue. There simply can be no dialogue worthy of the name unless Christians accept — nay, treasure — the fact that Jews through the two millennia of Christianity have had an agenda of their own. There can be no Jewish-Christian dialogue worthy of the name unless one Christian activity is abandoned, missions to the Jews. It must be abandoned, moreover, not as a temporary strategy but in principle, as a bimillennial theological mistake. The cost of that mistake in Christian love and Jewish blood one hesitates to contemplate. … A post-Holocaust Jew can still view Christian attempts to convert Jews as sincere and well intended. But even as such they are no longer acceptable: They have become attempts to do in one way what Hitler did in another.“ [44]

Jews for Judaism

Main article: Jews for Judaism

Jews for Judaism, established by Rabbi Bentzion Kravitz in 1985, is the largest Counter-Missionary organization in existence.[45] The name Jews for Judaism is a deliberate parody of Jews for Jesus, as Jews for Jesus is one of the primary missionary organizations that Jews for Judaism was founded to counter.

Messianic Judaism opposition

Main article: Messianic Judaism

Some Messianic Jews[46][47] who self-identify as Torah observant object to perceived associations with Jews for Jesus[48], as encouraging the celebration of traditional Christianity, including potentially not keeping kosher[49], observing Sabbath on Sunday (or not at all), or celebrating non-Jewish holidays such as Easter[50] and Christmas[51].

Christian opposition to Jews for Jesus and to efforts to evangelize Jews

Some Christian churches see Jewish religious practice as valid in and of itself and thus object to evangelizing Jews. [52] [53]

The Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington, an umbrella organization that includes Muslims, Jews, and church groups from the Roman Catholic, Methodist, Baptist, Lutheran and Presbyterian churches, has condemned Jews for Jesus as promoting activities „harmful to the spirit of interreligious respect and tolerance.“ The conference is also opposed to religious proselytizing in general, though evangelism is an important tenet of Christian theology due to the Great Commission. The conference also denounces the group’s „deceptive proselytizing efforts“, stating that when practiced on „vulnerable populations“ such as the young or the elderly, these efforts are „tantamount to coerced conversions.“ [52] The Rev. Clark Lobenstine, a Presbyterian (PCUSA) minister and executive director of the Conference, has stated that his group condemns Jews for Jesus and other messianic Jewish groups by name because they „go beyond the bounds of appropriate and ethically based religious outreach.“ [54] Rick Ross, a self-declared „cult expert“, has been critical of the organization as well and has included them on his website. [55]

The Board of Governors of The Long Island Council of Churches, a group that is opposed to proselytizing of Jews in general, voiced similar sentiments in a statement that „noted with alarm“ the „subterfuge and dishonesty“ inherent in the „mixing [of] religious symbols in ways which distort their essential meaning“, and named Jews for Jesus as one of the three groups about whom such behavior was alleged. [52]

Roman Catholic leaders have also spoken out against singling out Jews for conversion. In August 2002, the U. S. Bishops Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious affairs declared that the „evangelizing task no longer includes the wish to absorb the Jewish faith into Christianity and so end the distinctive witness of Jews to God in human history. Thus, while the Catholic Church regards the saving act of Christ as central to the process of human salvation for all, it also believes that Jews already dwell in a saving covenant with God. „… The distinctive Jewish witness must be sustained if Catholics and Jews are truly to be, as Pope John Paul II has envisioned, “a blessing to one another.”“ [56]

Cardinal Walter Kasper, President of the Holy See’s Commission for Religious Relations with Jewry, stated in November 2002: „This does not mean that Jews in order to be saved have to become Christians; if they follow their own conscience and believe in God’s promises as they understand them in their religious tradition, they are in line with God’s plan, which for us came to its historical completion in Jesus Christ.“ [57]

Christian denominations that have issued statements criticizing evangelism of Jews include the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the United Church of Christ and the Presbyterian Church USA, which said in 1988 that Jews have their own covenant with God. In 1996, Pope John Paul II said Jews shouldn’t be targeted for conversion.[58]

Others

There are also several other organizations that oppose identification of Jews for Jesus as Jewish group.[59][60][61]

Affiliations and support

Jews for Jesus defends its actions against these charges, stating:

„If a person believes the Bible and believes that Jesus is the only way of salvation (John 14:6, Acts 4:12, Romans 10:9,10) and then that person declines to tell a Jewish friend about Christ, it indicates one of two things. Either that person has decided that the Jews are not worthy of the gospel, in which case he would be a racist, an anti-Semite and a hater of people instead of the lover of people that God wants him to be. Or perhaps he has judged the gospel as being unworthy of the Jews in which case he has trivialized the passion of Calvary and the awesome significance of Christ’s resurrection.“ [62]

Jews for Jesus is a member of numerous evangelical Christian groups, including The World Evangelical Alliance, [63] [64] the National Association of Evangelicals, [63] [65] the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, [63] [28] the World Evangelical Fellowship, and the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada. [66]

Jews for Jesus also notes the lack of consensus on many issues in Judaism, and claims that due to the seemingly unusual assuredness of many Jewish groups that Jews for Jesus‘ beliefs are incompatible with Judaism, that this represents a double standard.[33]

Litigations

1987 – Jews for Jesus sues for freedom of speech

The United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of Jews for Jesus in a 1987 suit it filed against the municipal agency in charge of Los Angeles International Airport that had barred the group from distributing leaflets at the airport as part of a larger ban on what they described as „First Amendment activities.“ Jews for Jesus challenged the airport’s right to institute such a sweeping ban. [8]

1992 – Jews for Jesus sues for civil rights violations

In 1992 New York Supreme Court ruled against Jews for Jesus in a suit the organization brought against the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York (JCRCNY), an umbrella group representing 60 Jewish agencies in the metropolitan New York area. The case addressed the JCRCNY’s 1985 warning to Long Island rabbis that Jews for Jesus was seeking a venue to conduct a Passover seder. Jews for Jesus sued the JCRCNY for violating its civil rights; the decision upheld a lower court ruling that the JCRCNY communication did not „go beyond the proposal stage“ and that there was no evidence that any of the Long Island rabbis had actually contacted establishments for the purpose of discriminating against Jews for Jesus.

In a 1992 lawsuit brought by Jews for Jesus against the JCRCNY, a United States Court of Appeals ruled that the efforts of the JCRCNY urging Jewish organizations not to patronize a New York country club because it allowed Jews for Jesus to hold its annual convention on its premises were not protected as an exercise of the JCRC’s First Amendment rights. [8]

1993 – Israel refuses citizenship to couple affiliated with Jews for Jesus

In 1993 the Supreme Court of Israel, in a case involving a couple affiliated with Jews for Jesus, ruled that Jews who adhere to the Christian beliefs are regarded by Israeli law as „members of a different faith,“ and are not eligible for the automatic citizenship that Israel grants Jews. In its summary of the ruling, the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that the belief that Jesus is the Messiah „cannot be reconciled with Judaism“ and „marks the clear separation between Judaism and Christianity.“ [8]

1998 and 2005 – Misuse of Jews for Jesus name online

Jews for Jesus has been involved in litigation regarding Internet use of its name. In 1998 they sued Steven Brodsky for cybersquatting for registering the domain name jewsforjesus.org to use for a site criticizing the organization; [8] the domain now belongs to Jews for Jesus and is used for their main site.

In 2005 Jews for Jesus sued [67] Google for allowing a Blogspot user to put up a site at the third-level subdomain jewsforjesus.blogspot.com. That lawsuit appears to have settled, as the blog now is operated by Jews for Jesus.

2006 – Jewish comedian sues Jews for Jesus for misusing his name

In 2006, comedian and actor Jackie Mason filed a lawsuit against Jews for Jesus, alleging that they unlawfully distributed a pamphlet which used his name and likeness in a way that suggested he was a member of the group. In fact, Mason is a member of the Jewish faith and not associated with Jews for Jesus. [68] Jews for Jesus has issued a detailed response to the allegation on their website. [69]

A U. S. District Judge in the Southern District of New York denied a preliminary injunction against Jews for Jesus over the pamphlet, finding the distribution of the pamphlet to be protected by the First Amendment, and also stated that the pamphlet did not suggest that Mason was a Christian. [70]

In December 2006, Jackie Mason dropped the charges against Jews for Jesus after they issued a letter of apology to Mason. The group’s executive director, David Brickner, stated in the letter to Mason that he wanted „to convey my sincere apologies for any distress that you felt over our tract.“ Brickner continued that he believed its publication was protected by the Constitution, but the group was willing in the interest of peace and love for Israel to retire the pamphlet. Mason replied in front of the federal court in Manhattan where he accepted the apology, „“There’s no such thing as a Jew for Jesus. It’s like saying a black man is for the KKK. You can’t be a table and a chair. You’re either a Jew or a gentile.“ [71]

2006 – Jews for Jesus settles out of court with „Whistle Blower“

In September 2006, Christianity Today reported that „Jews for Jesus settled out of court with a critical blogger identified as „Whistle Blower“ on jewsforjesus.blogspot.com. The evangelistic ministry assumed control of the site.“ [72]

References

  1. ^ A Christian group:
    • „During my time with the mission, I found Jews for Jesus to be a Christian ministry (or Messianic, if you prefer) with a passion for the good news about Jesus…“ Pastor Lev Leigh. Hope Baptist Church. Richmond, CA (Letters From JFJ Alumni)
    • „… Jews for Jesus and other Christian groups who hold to the uniqueness of Christ.“ (Jews for Jesus Leader Contradicts American Catholic Bishops. Jews for Jesus, Press Release. August 19, 2002)
    • „Clothed in colorful shirts with large writing identifying their Christian group, Jews for Jesus has been keeping up with the 24-hour-running city, handing out tens of thousands of literature and promoting their evangelistic campaign – Behold Your God – through media outlets.“ (Christian Post.[1])
  2. ^ a b Jews for Jesus – Judaica
  3. ^ „We believe that Jewishness is a birthright. It is inherited from our parents. Our people are not of one culture; we have diverse cultural expressions (Ashkenazi/Sephardi, Georgian/Russian, Ethiopian, Persian, etc.). Our people are not of one religion. While Judaism might be the traditional religion for many Jewish people, Jews are still considered Jewish even though they might be atheists or even if they embrace other beliefs. Those who say that Jews who believe in Jesus are errant Jews or misguided Jews are entitled to their opinions. But they are not entitled to negate our Jewishness. We are Jews by birth and that cannot change.“Jews for Jesus Q&A: Can you explain how one can be a Jew and a Christian at the same time? That seems like a contradiction in terms
  4. ^ „There is virtual unanimity across all denominations [of Judaism] that Jews for Jesus are not Jewish.“ (Kaplan, Dana Evan. The Cambridge Companion to American Judaism, Cambridge University Press, Aug 15, 2005, pp. 139-140).
  5. ^ a b „For most American Jews, it is acceptable to blend some degree of foreign spiritual elements with Judaism. The one exception is Christianity, which is perceived to be incompatible with any form of Jewishness. Jews for Jesus and other Messianic Jewish groups are thus seen as antithetical to Judaism and are completely rejected by the majority of Jews“. (Kaplan, Dana Evan. The Cambridge Companion to American Judaism, Cambridge University Press, Aug 15, 2005, p. 9).
  6. ^ Jewish groups:
    • „To make the record clear, Jews for Jesus is a Christian missionary organization – period.“ Jews for Jesus: Jewish or Christian? You Decide, Jews for Judaism website, retrieved September 11, 2006.
    • „Messianic Jewish organizations, such as Jews for Jesus, often refer to their faith as fulfilled Judaism, in that they believe Jesus fulfilled the Messianic prophecies. Although Messianic Judaism claims to be Jewish, and many adherents observe Jewish holidays, most Jews regard Messianic Judaism as deceptive at best, fraudulent at worst. They charge that Messianic Judaism is actually Christianity presenting itself as Judaism.“ (Balmer, Randall. Encyclopedia of Evangelicalism, Baylor University Press, Nov 2004, p. 448).
    • „I do not seek, of course, covertly (as sometimes Jews for Jesus do) or overtly, to convert myself, or any other Jew to Christianity…“ (Boyarin, Daniel. Border Lines: The Partition of Judaeo-Christianity, University of Pennsylvania Press, Jul 2004, p. xii).
    • „Certain Christian missionary groups have now set up a front organization called „Jews for Jesus,“ through which they entice naive Jews to Christianity…“ (Stolper, Pinchas. „Was Jesus The Messiah? Let’s Examine The Facts“, in Kaplan, Aryeh. Aryeh Kaplan Anthology: Volume 1, Mesorah Publications, Aug 1991, p. 293).
    • „Even as I write, I fear that Christian missionaries or, even more insidiously, Jews for Jesus—people who (unlike the redeeming avante-garde of Christianity) believe that Judaism is superseded, and Jewish have no right to exist as Jews any more—will misuse my words. These people, who believe that Christianity has taken over Judaism like some succubus that must now govern the behavior of its host body, seek to abolish the Jewish religion.“ (Greenberg, Irving. For the Sake of Heaven and Earth: The New Encounter Between Judaism and Christianity, The Jewish Publication Society, Oct 2004, p. 97).
    • „It should now be clear to you why Jews have such a problem with ‚Jews for Jesus‘ or other presentations of Messianic Judaism. I have no difficulty with Christianity. I even accept those Christians who would want me to convert to Christianity so long as they don’t use coercion or duplicity and are willing to listen in good faith to my reasons for being Jewish. I do have a major problem with those Christians who would try to mislead me and other Jews into believing that one can be both Jewish and Christian.“ (Lotker, Michael. A Christian’s Guide to Judaism, Paulist Press, Mar 2004, p. 35).
    • „Evangelical Christians are engaged in aggressive and extensive missionary activity among Jews. Among other results, this has given rise to groups of ‚messianic Jews‘, of which ‚Jews for Jesus‘ is the most outstanding example. These are actually Jews who have adopted the evangelical Protestant faith and its precepts.“ (Wistrich, Robert, Terms of Survival, Routledge (UK), Mar 1995, p. 343).
    • „Messianic Judaism is a Christian movement that began in the 1970s combining a mixture of Jewish ritual and Christianity. There are a vast and growing numbers of these groups, and they differ in how much Jewish ritual is mixed with conventional Christian belief. One end of the spectrum is represented by Jews For Jesus, who simply target Jews for conversion to Christianity using imitations of Jewish ritual solely as a ruse for attracting the potential Jewish converts. On the other end are those who don’t stress the divinity of Jesus, but present him as the ‚Messiah.'“ Messiah Truth. Messianic Judaism: A Christian Missionary Movement.
  7. ^ a b Meeting the Challenge: Hebrew Christians and the Jewish CommunityPDF (66.8 KiB) by Lawrence H. Schiffman
  8. ^ a b c d e Legal Cases Involving Jews for Jesus (ADL)
  9. ^ Others who oppose the proselytizing activities of Jews for Jesus:
    • Benjamin Hubbard; John Hatfield, James Santucci (1997). America’s Religions. An Educator’s Guide to Beliefs and Practices. Teacher Ideas Press, a Division of Libraries Unlimited, p.100. ISBN 1-56308-469-4.
    • Balmer, Randall. Encyclopedia of Evangelicalism, Baylor University Press, Nov 2004, p. 448
    • „Today, many evangelical Christian-Protestant groups are spending between 100,000,000 and 150,000,000 dollars a year to transform Jews into Christians. The best known of these organization is Jews for Jesus…“. (Berkley, E. George. Jews, Branden Books, Feb 1997, p. 129).
    • „Thirdly, there is Jews for Jesus or, more generally, Messianic Judaism. This is a movement of people often of Jewish background who have come to believe Jesus is the expected Jewish messiah… They often have congregations independent of other churches and specifically target Jews for conversion to their form of Christianity.“ (Harries, Richard. After the Evil: Christianity and Judaism in the Shadow of the Holocaust, Oxford University Press, Aug 2003, p. 119.)
    • „…Jews for Jesus (Jews converted to ‚born again‘ Christianity who are seeking to make more such converts…“. (Marty, Martin E. When Faiths Collide, Blackwell Publishing, Jan 2005, p. 35).
    • „Jews for Jesus, the leading organization dedicated to converting Jews to Christianity, has long been a concern because of its aggressive proselytizing with a deceptive message: that Jews who accept Jesus as the son of God and their savior remain Jewish.“ Jews for Jesus: Targeting Jews for Conversion with Subterfuge and Deception, Anti-Defamation League, August 27, 2004, retrieved September 11, 2006.
    • „Jews for Jesus is a sect of a very different nature. This group… has a sole motivational goal of converting Jews to Christianity.“ Fogel, Keith and Marian E. Conversos of the Americas, Xlibris Corporation, Apr 2004, p. 169).
    • „Jews for Jesus is an evangelical Christian organization …“ Who are the Jews for Jesus? (exjewsforjesus.org)
    • „… its doctrine is strictly Christian in the fundamentalist/evangelical understanding of Christian faith“ Is Jews for Jesus a Christian organization, or is it a Jewish organization? (exjewsforjesus.org)
  10. ^ a b c d Robinson, B. Messianic Judaism. Jews for Jesus, Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance, October 29, 2001.
  11. ^ What We Do (Jews for Jesus)
  12. ^ Statement of Faith (Jews for Jesus) written January 1, 2005
  13. ^ a b A belief in the divinity of Jesus is incompatible with Judaism:
    • „The point is this: that the whole Christology of the Church – the whole complex of doctrines about the Son of God who died on the Cross to save humanity from sin and death – is incompatible with Judaism, and indeed in discontinuity with the Hebraism that preceded it.“ Rayner, John D. A Jewish Understanding of the World, Berghahn Books, 1998, p. 187. ISBN 1-57181-974-6
    • „It has always been recognized, for instance, after the rise of Christianity and Islam, that these two religions are incompatible with Judaism and that no Jew can consistently embrace them while remaining an adherent of Judaism.“ Neusner, Jacob & Avery-Peck, Alan Jeffery. The Blackwell Reader in Judaism, Blackwell Publishing, 2001, p. 8. ISBN 0-631-20738-4
    • „Aside from its belief in Jesus as the Messiah, Christianity has altered many of the most fundamental concepts of Judaism.“ Kaplan, Aryeh. The Aryeh Kaplan Anthology: Volume 1, Illuminating Expositions on Jewish Thought and Practice, Mesorah Publication, 1991, p. 264. ISBN 0-89906-866-9
    • „…the doctrine of Christ was and will remain alien to Jewish religious thought.“ Wylen, Stephen M. Settings of Silver: An Introduction to Judaism, Paulist Press, 2000, p. 75. ISBN 0-8091-3960-X
    • „For a Jew, however, any form of shituf is tantamount to idolatry in the fullest sense of the word. There is then no way that a Jew can ever accept Jesus as a deity, mediator or savior (messiah), or even as a prophet, without betraying Judaism. To call oneself, therefore, a ‚Hebrew-Christian,‘ a ‚Jew for Jesus,‘ or in the latest version a ‚messianic Jew,‘ is an oxymoron. Just as one cannot be a ‚Christian Buddhist,‘ or a ‚Christian for Krishna,‘ one cannot be a ‚Jew for Jesus.'“ Schochet, Rabbi J. Immanuel. „Judaism has no place for those who betray their roots“, Canadian Jewish News, July 29, 1999.
    • This July, Hebrew-Christian groups such as Jews for Jesus will work to convert Jews to another religion. The Jewish Response to Missionaries (NY Board of Rabbis)
    • Judaism and Jesus Don’t Mix (foundationstone.com)
    • Jews believe that „Jews for Jesus,“ „Messianic Jews,“ and „Hebrew Christians“ are no longer Jews, even if they were once Jews (whatjewsbelieve.org)
    • „If you believe Jesus is the messiah, died for anyone else’s sins, is God’s chosen son, or any other dogma of Christian belief, you are not Jewish. You are Christian. Period.“ (Jews for Jesus: Who’s Who & What’s What by Rabbi Susan Grossman (beliefnet – virtualtalmud) August 28, 2006)
    • „For two thousand years, Jews rejected the claim that Jesus fulfilled the messianic prophecies of the Hebrew Bible, as well as the dogmatic claims about him made by the church fathers – that he was born of a virgin, the son of God, part of a divine Trinity, and was resurrected after his death. … For two thousand years, a central wish of Christianity was to be the object of desire by Jews, whose conversion would demonstrate their acceptance that Jesus has fulfilled their own biblical prophecies.“ (Jewish Views of Jesus by Susannah Heschel, in Jesus In The World’s Faiths: Leading Thinkers From Five Faiths Reflect On His Meaning by Gregory A. Barker, editor. (Orbis Books, 2005) ISBN 1-57075-573-6. p.149)
    • „… there are limits to pluralism, beyond which a group is schismatic to the point where it is no longer considered Jewish. For example, everyone considers Messianic Judaism and belief in Buddah as outside of the Jewish sphere.“ (Why did the majority of the Jewish world reject Jesus as the Messiah, and why did the first Christians accept Jesus as the Messiah? by Rabbi Shraga Simmons)
    • „No Jew accepts Jesus as the Messiah. When someone makes that faith commitment, they become Christian. It is not possible for someone to be both Christian and Jewish.“ (Why don’t Jews accept Jesus as the Messiah? by Rabbi Barry Dov Lerner)
  14. ^ Johnson, Paul (1987). A History of the Jews. HarperCollins, p.144. ISBN 0-06-091533-1. 
  15. ^ a b Don’t Christians Believe in Three Gods? (Jews for Jesus) January 1, 2005
  16. ^ The Trinity in the Old Testament by Catherine Damato. (Jews for Jesus) June 1, 1987
  17. ^ Why did the majority of the Jewish world reject Jesus as the Messiah, and why did the first Christians accept Jesus as the Messiah? by Rabbi Shraga Simmons (about.com)
  18. ^ Michoel Drazin (1990). Their Hollow Inheritance. A Comprehensive Refutation of Christian Missionaries. Gefen Publishing House, Ltd.. ISBN 965-229-070-X. 
  19. ^ Troki, Isaac. „Faith Strengthened“.
  20. ^ The concept of Trinity is incompatible with Judaism:
  21. ^ Benjamin Hubbard; John Hatfield, James Santucci (1997). America’s Religions. An Educator’s Guide to Beliefs and Practices. Teacher Ideas Press, a Division of Libraries Unlimited, p.100. ISBN 1-56308-469-4. 
  22. ^ Core values (Jews for Jesus) January 1, 2005
  23. ^ The Real Jews for Jesus. The Leaders by Jason Levinson (Torah Atlanta)
  24. ^ a b Jews for Jesus: Targeting Jews for Conversion with Subterfuge and Deception. Methods (Anti-Defamation League)
  25. ^ a b A Tenuous Claim as a Jew for Jesus by David Klinghoffer. (The Jewish Journal) 2006-03-3
  26. ^ The Real Jews for Jesus. Christian Dollars at Work by Jason Levinson (Torah Atlanta)
  27. ^ About Us (Jews for Jesus)
  28. ^ a b Jews for Jesus. Financial information for FY2003-2005 (Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability)
  29. ^ Targeting vulnerable population groups:
    • „The organization is also known for targeting vulnerable populations of Jews. New Jewish immigrants and college freshman as well as senior citizens and interfaith couples are easy targets for the organization.“ (Jews for Jesus by Stephanie Persin. Jewish Virtual Library)
    • „Since people are most vulnerable at times of personal change and transition, the missionaries center their efforts on a number of vulnerable Jewish populations, including high school and college students, senior citizens, and recent immigrants.“ (Frequently Asked Questions About Hebrew-Christian Missionaries & „Jews for Jesus“ New York Board of Rabbis)
    • „Such congregations are designed to appear Jewish, but they are actually fundamentalist Christian churches which use traditional Jewish symbols to lure the most vulnerable of our Jewish people into their ranks.“ (Messianic congregations target Jews by Rabbi Tovia Singer)
    • „Young men and women are particularly vulnerable to evangelicals because so often these adolescents are unsure of themselves, the world around them, and the adulthood that awaits them. … The elderly are also perilously vulnerable…“ (Evangelizing the Jews, Part 2: Who is Most Vulnerable? by Rabbi Tovia Singer (outreachjudaism.org). Also at Aish)
    • „Deceptive proselytizing is practiced on the most vulnerable of populations – residents of hospitals and old aged homes, confused youth, college students away from home. These proselytizing techniques are tantamount to coerced conversions and should be condemned.“ (Soc.Culture.Jewish Newsgroups. Frequently Asked Questions and Answers)
    • „Individuals are most vulnerable to these groups and their tactics when they are lonely and hurting, overwhelmed or confused, away from their support system or have lost a loved one or a close friend.“ (College Programs. Got Friends? by Scott Hillman, Jews For Judaism)
    • „Their efforts here have drawn criticism from mainstream Jews and some Christians, who accuse Jews for Jesus of leading the vulnerable – the young, the old, recent immigrants…“ (Jews for Jesus missionaries find warmth, hostility By Matthew Hay Brown (Baltimore Sun) August 27, 2005
    • „Nonetheless, JFJ continues to make this contradictory claim, purposefully focusing on young, naïve, or socially vulnerable populations with their campaigns. College students, recent immigrants (most notably Russian Jews), and the elderly are targets for conversion.“ (Jews for Jesus offends Jews and Christians By Ethan Frenchman and Seth Mayer, Chicago Maroon. October 4, 2005)
  30. ^ Jews for Jesus by Stephanie Persin (Jewish Virtual Library)
  31. ^ Book Claiming Messianic Judaism Is Not Christianity Stirs Controversy By Nancy Justice (February 2005 Issue of Charisma Magazine)
  32. ^ Jews for Jesus – Targeting Jews for Conversion with Subterfuge and Deception
  33. ^ a b Judaism Teaches… or Does It? by Moishe Rosen (Jews for Jesus) March 1, 1997
  34. ^ Jews for Judaism, The Challenge of Missionaries and Cults
  35. ^ „While it is true that the Old Testament portion of Scripture does not present as clear a picture of the three-in-one/one-as-three Godhead, there are indications of the plurality of the Godhead in the Hebrew Scriptures.“ The Trinity in the Old Testament by Catherine Damato. (Jews for Jesus) June 1, 1987
  36. ^ Why did the majority of the Jewish world reject Jesus as the Messiah, and why did the first Christians accept Jesus as the Messiah? by Rabbi Shraga Simmons (about.com)
  37. ^ Michoel Drazin (1990). Their Hollow Inheritance. A Comprehensive Refutation of Christian Missionaries. Gefen Publishing House, Ltd.. ISBN 965-229-070-X. 
  38. ^ Troki, Isaac. „Faith Strengthened“.America’s Religions. An Educator’s Guide to Beliefs and Practices contains „[a] note about Jews for Jesus, Messianic Jews, Hebrew Christians, and similar groups: Jews in these groups who have converted to Christianity but continue to observe various Jewish practices are no longer considered part of the Jewish community in the usual sense.“
  39. ^ Benjamin Hubbard; John Hatfield, James Santucci (1997). America’s Religions. An Educator’s Guide to Beliefs and Practices. Teacher Ideas Press, a Division of Libraries Unlimited, p.100. ISBN 1-56308-469-4. 
  40. ^ Jews for Jesus, How can one be a Jew and Christian at the same time.
  41. ^ Frequently Asked Questions About Hebrew-Christian Missionaries & „Jews for Jesus“PDF Jewish Community Relations Council of New York. Spiritual Deception Prevention Project
  42. ^ Portland Jews Brace for Assault by ‚Jews for Jesus‘ By Paul Haist (Jewish Review) May 15, 2002
  43. ^ Dershowitz, Alan (1997). The Vanishing American Jew: In Search of Jewish Identity for the Next Century. Little, Brown; 1st ed., p.324. ISBN 0-316-18133-1. 
  44. ^ Fackenheim, Emil (1987). What is Judaism? An Interpretation for the Present Age. Summit Books, p.249. ISBN 0-671-46243-1. 
  45. ^ Ruth Guggenheim (Jews for Judaism)
  46. ^ „I consider Jews For Jesus a Christian organization. Moishe Rosen, founder of Jews For Jesus, is a Christian missionary, schooled in a standard bible college and not trained as a rabbi. The Jews For Jesus organization has worked diligently teaching Jesus to the non-believing Jewish people, but it is Christianity being taught and not Messianic Judaism (in spite of JFJ efforts to make the two terms synonymous). I would like to see evangelism to the Jewish people which includes teaching Torah observance.“ Ellen Kavanaugh. (lightofmashiach.org). Actually, We Are NOT Jews for Jesus. lightofmashiach.org. Retrieved on November 4, 2006.
  47. ^ „We are NOT „Jews for Jesus“! „Jews for Jesus“ is a primarily Baptist missionary group whose sole focus is converting Jews to Christianity. They are not a part of the Messianic movement and have never been in favor of Messianic congregations! We do not approve of their theology, their ideology, or their methods.“ Rabbi Adam J. Bernay. Beit Tefillah Messianic Fellowship. Fresno, CA. About Us. beit-tefillah.com. Retrieved on November 4, 2006.
  48. ^ We are not „Jews for Jesus“. We strongly agree with their work of bringing non-Messianic Jews to acceptance of Yeshua(Jesus), as the Jewish Messiah. However, we just as strongly disagree with the belief/policy of „Jews for Jesus“; upon acceptance of Messiah Yeshua (Christ Jesus), Jews (and Gentiles), are not to obey and follow the Torah(Law)! This contradicts and violates the Tanakh and Messianic Scriptures that speak of Yeshua(Jesus). We believe the Torah speaks of Yeshua (Jesus) and those that love Him keep His commandments.“ 5twenty8.com. Statement of Belief. 5twenty8.com. Retrieved on November 4, 2006.
  49. ^ „If you were hoping this article would provide the answer, you will be disappointed. When the question is „How do we work out our Jewish identity?“ the answer can only be: „It’s personal! Go work it out with the Lord.“ Maybe that sounds vague and non-committal, but in this we are committed to vagueness, for these are things we believe the Scripture leaves to each believer’s discretion.“ Mitch Glaser. Jews for Jesus. Lifestyles of the Messianic. jewsforjesus.org. Retrieved on November 4, 2006.
  50. ^ About Christmas, Easter, and Paganism. jewsforjesus.org. Retrieved on November 4, 2006.
  51. ^ Christmas is still a Jewish holiday. jewsforjesus.org. Retrieved on November 4, 2006.
  52. ^ a b c
  53. ^ Christian opposition:
  54. ^ Conversion Outreach Plan Stirs Outrage. Jews for Jesus Trains 600 for Street Work By David Cho (Washington Post) August 17, 2004
  55. ^ Jews For Jesus (rickross.com)
  56. ^ Reflections on Covenant and Mission Consultation of the National Council of Synagogues and the Bishops Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs. August 12, 2002 (International Council of Christians and Jews)
  57. ^ Nostra Aetate„, Forty Years After Vatican II. Present & Future Perspectives Conference of the Holy See Commission for Religious Relations with Jewry, Rome, October 27, 2005
  58. ^ „Jews for Jesus to hit streets of D.C.“ by Julia Duin, The Washington Times, August 10, 2004
  59. ^ Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance ([2])
  60. ^ Benjamin Hubbard; John Hatfield, James Santucci (1997). America’s Religions. An Educator’s Guide to Beliefs and Practices. Teacher Ideas Press, a Division of Libraries Unlimited, p.100. ISBN 1-56308-469-4.
  61. ^ Balmer, Randall. Encyclopedia of Evangelicalism, Baylor University Press, Nov 2004, p. 448
  62. ^ Why emphasize witnessing to Jews? (Jews for Jesus)
  63. ^ a b c Associations (Jews for Jesus)
  64. ^ Members (Interdenominational Foreign Mission Association)
  65. ^ Current NAE Members (National Association of Evangelicals)
  66. ^ Affiliates (Evangelical Fellowship of Canada)
  67. ^ Google Sued for Trademark Infringement Based on Third-Level Subdomain by Eric Goldman (CircleID) December 30, 2005
  68. ^ Comic sues Jews for Jesus
  69. ^ Press Release: Jews for Jesus and Jackie Mason (Jews for Jesus) August 25, 2006
  70. ^ Jackie Mason Charges Against Jews For Jesus Denied By U.S. District Court, November 8, 2006
  71. ^ Associated Press Release December 04, 2006
  72. ^ Christianity Today News Briefs September 01, 2006

See also

Further reading

  • Sentenced for Life: A Story of an Entry and an Exit into the World of Fundamentalist Christianity and Jews for Jesus by Jo Ann Schneider Farris (Writers Club Press, 2002) ISBN 0-595-24940-X
  • Hawking God. A Young Jewish Woman’s Ordeal in Jews for Jesus by Ellen Kamentsky (Sapphire Press) An excerpt
  • Evangelizing the Chosen People: Missions to the Jews in America, 1880 – 2000 by Yaakov Ariel (The University of North Carolina Press, 1999) ISBN 0-8078-2566-2
  • Smashing the Idols: A Jewish Inquiry into the Cult Phenomenon by Gary D. Eisenberg (Jason Aronson, 1988) ISBN 0-87668-974-8

External links

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