A group called World Evangelical Alliance bought a full-page N.Y. Times ad (at least $120,000) this week. A bigger waste of money I’d have a hard time conceiving. Nearest I can tell, the basic message is: “Jews, we love you. But we don’t love you enough to stop proselytizing you or converting you. In fact, we really don’t care what you think of that, since it’s more important to us to keep doing this than it is to respect your wishes that we not do so.” And the real kicker was that the evangelical signatories insisted that converted Jews like Jews for Jesus and messianic Jews are still authentic Jews; and that despite becoming Christian, have a right to call themselves Jews for the purpose of insinuating themselves into the lives of unsuspecting Jews they seek to convert.
The ad is quite a performance. Full of fake love and respect attempting to conceal presumptuousness and condescension toward Jews. The odd thing is that the ad pretends it is directed as a friendly communique to Jews. I actually took it as a declaration of war. So if it was supposed to say anything positive toward Jews it failed miserably on that score. In truth, I think it was meant more for an evangelical audience to reconfirm their certainty that they are right in their efforts to convert the Jews.
The ad begins well enough:
As evangelical Christians, we want to express our genuine friendship and love for the Jewish people. We sadly acknowledge that church history has been marred with anti-Semitic words and deeds; and that at times when the Jewish people were in great peril, the church did far less than it should have.
We pledge our commitment to be loving friends and to stand against such injustice in our generation.
But it quickly goes downhill:
• At the same time, we want to be transparent in affirming that we believe the most loving and Scriptural expression of our friendship toward Jewish people, and to anyone we call friend, is to forthrightly share the love of God in the person of Jesus Christ.
• We believe that it is only through Jesus that all people can receive eternal life. If Jesus is not the Messiah of the Jewish people, He cannot be the Savior of the World (Acts 4:12).
• We recognize that it is good and right for those with specialized knowledge, history and skills to use these gifts to introduce individuals to the Messiah, and that includes those ministries specifically directed to the Jewish people (1 Corinthians 9:20-22).
• We deplore the use of deception or coercion in evangelism; however, we reject the notion that it is deceptive for followers of Jesus Christ who were born Jewish to continue to identify as Jews (Romans 11:1).
We love you so much we’d like to kill your religion with kindness. As for Jesus being the messiah of the Jewish people, we Jews don’t believe it. Judaism has never attached a specific identity to the concept of messiah and indeed the very idea of there being a messiah is a late one in the Jewish religion.
I’ve got news for these evangelical jerks: if you continue your ministry to the Jews YOU ARE NOT A FRIEND OF THE JEWS. In fact, you are an enemy of the Jews and we will treat you as such.
Finally, while they reject coercion and deception in missionizing to the Jews, it’s still OK for messianic Jews to pretend that they are Jews in order to beckon real Jews into the embrace of Jesus. Isn’t this the very definition of “deception?” What hypocrisy. What mendacity. Do these people have no shame?
But here’s the real kicker:
We want to make it clear that, as evangelical Christians, we do not wish to offend our Jewish friends by the above statements; but we are compelled by our faith and commitment to the Scriptures to stand by these principles. It is out of our profound respect for Jewish people that we seek to share the good news of Jesus Christ with them, and encourage others to do the same, for we believe that salvation is only found in Jesus, the Messiah of Israel and Savior of the World.
We don’t want to offend you Jews but by God we’re sure as hell willing to do so. But to pretend that they stand by these so called principles out of “respect for Jewish people” is simply beyond the pale. I’m practically sputtering with rage as I write this.
These people are religious Neanderthals. They’ve never heard of ecumenism, tolerance, diversity, respect. Their religious message is: my way or the highway. Let them not deceive themselves that any self-respecting Jew will have anything positive to say about this. The message of this ad should be met with righteous indignation.
Who are some of the individuals and institutions behind this ad? Chuck Colson for one, he of the Watergate burglar coverup and now ministering to prisoners. The director of the Billy Graham Center, a director of the Salvation Army, a bishop of the Church of England, a dean of Pat Robertson’s Regent University, and last but not least, Ken Hutcherson. This former pro football player is local to my neck of the woods and runs a church near the Microsoft campus. He has the dubious distinction of “persuading” Microsoft to turns its back on a state bill that would have prevented discrimination against gays. When he braggged publicly about his lobbying prowess there was such a stink raised among Microsoft employees that Steve Ballmer personally directed his state lobbyists to turn around and support the measure, which promptly passed the next session. Clearly, humility is not a strong suit of this evangelical bunch.
No doubt that there are extreme fractions in Christianity and Islam. But so are there in Judaism. Especially those recent recommendations by Jewish Chief Rabbis do not show signs of of ecumenism, tolerance, diversity or respect. Why to demand from others “no extremism”, when the own religion has strong popular elements which support openly racist behaviour not to mention mention the expansive aerial agenda.
We all could imagine what would happen if a Christian bishop would demand that do not rent apartments or give jobs to Jews (or to Muslims), but in Israel the chief rabbis can make such demands against Arabs without no larger discussion in the world’s media.
Calling them Neanderthal is an insult to Neanderthal!
There are a bunch of videos on youtube that spotlight the “Jews for Jesus” and “Messianic Jews” in action in Israel.
I laughed pretty hard at those.
First, the utter chutzpah of these missionaries – I assume if they behave that way in Israel, that they behave that way in every other country – hence the many stories of locals dismembering some “innocent” missionaries.
Second, the utter boorishness and crude racism of the haradrim – these people are just…. well, insane, frankly.
I do not see how they can not be expected to fight for the IDF, then claim all kinds of goodies from the government. Also, these kinds of Jews are also a “minority status” in the USA, which is another eye raising fact (thanks to Reagan),
A Jew With A View says
I blog regularly about “messianic jews” and I never fail to be astonished and insulted by the deception they practise.
Let’s clarify, though: MOST Messianics were *never* Jews to start with.
The small number who were, are now EX Jews.
Now, if they don’t wish to call themselves Christians, that’s their right.
But they don’t get to REdefine Judaism to suddenly include worship of Jesus…!
A Jew who embraces any other faith
AN EX JEW
If anyone’s interested in reading some hopefully helpful counter arguments to Messianics:
Countering Messianic Lies:
More info on Messianics – including how they now pose as ‘messianic muslims’!: