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Missionaries Impossible

Missionaries Impossible

"Jews for Jesus" enlist the Holocaust in a grotesque attempt to snare Jews.

by

"Jews for Jesus," perhaps the best known of an assortment of Christian missionary groups that target Jews for conversion efforts, has adopted a creative new advertising campaign. It has enlisted a Holocaust survivor to convince Jews to consider accepting the Christian messiah.

The group, possessed no doubt of deep convictions and apparently of deep pockets, has purchased space in a number of national media to feature a close-up of the kindly face of a Jewish woman of a certain age who spent part of the war years in a concentration camp. "Before you judge my belief, listen to my story," she implores the reader, and then proceeds to tell of her personal adoption of Christianity. The ad offers a video featuring footage of cattle-car trains and corpses with voices-over of Holocaust survivors who embraced Christianity. Verses from the Jewish Bible appear on the screen, and the viewer is told to say a prayer in acceptance of Jesus. The words "Mazel Tov" then flash on the screen.

The Jewish community's encounter with the Christian one has a long and largely inglorious history. From the harsh anti-Jewish rhetoric of early Church fathers (the apostle John claimed Jews are born of "their father the devil"; Chrysostom of Antioch, that they "murder their own offspring to worship the avenging devils") and Protestant leaders (like Martin Luther, who asserted that the devil "through the Jews his saints... mocks and curses God and man") down to the pogroms, blood libels and "Christian Identity"-genre internet hate-sites of more recent years, the Prince of Peace has all too often been invoked to provide Jewish people anything but peace.

Jews, as a noted basketball player/theologian recently reminded us, are stubborn folks, and one of our adamant stances is our refusal to divest ourselves of our religious heritage, including the conviction that the Messiah, at present writing, still tarries - a belief that, while it threatens to harm no one, has resulted over the centuries in untold hatred and violence on the part of countless Christians. The Holocaust itself can be traced in part to the religion-based Jew-hatred that was so endemic and deeply rooted in European lands.

To be sure, here on this side of Vatican II and the Lieberman candidacy, relations between Christians and Jews are much improved. Both the Catholic Church and many Protestant churches have straightforwardly rejected anti-Semitism, and that is deeply appreciated by all Jews. But the past cannot but continue to inform the present.

Jews have suffered beyond belief at Christian hands. And Judaism, in the end, remains a faith entirely apart from Christianity.

With its new ad campaign, Jews for Jesus cynically overlooks the former fact in an effort to deny the latter one. For Jewishly-conscious Jews, nothing could be more outrageous or insulting.

The contemporary Jewish religious world is famously fractious. There are deep ideological and theological differences among Jews today. But one belief that Orthodox, Reform, Conservative and Reconstructionist Jews share entirely in common is that the assertion that the Messiah has arrived in the person of Jesus of Nazareth is simply incompatible with Judaism.

"Sharing the good news" has become "suckering the uninformed."

Which is why the claim of missionary groups that one can be a good Jew by accepting the fundamental belief of Christianity - indeed that one can be a "fulfilled" one only by embracing Jesus as Messiah - is anathema to the broad Jewish community.

As members of a faith that eschews the proselytizing of others and counsels "outreach" only in the sense of helping our own brothers and sisters come closer to our religious heritage, most of us Jews are irked when others target our coreligionists for conversion efforts. And the irk turns to irritation, even outrage, when misleading tactics are employed, when "sharing the good news" becomes "suckering the uninformed," when groups like Jews for Jesus adopt, as they do, Jewish holidays, symbols and trappings like prayer shawls and phylacteries in an effort to convince Jews that being a good Jew can include, indeed requires, adopting Christianity.

And when they go further still in their attempts to lure Jews from their ancestral heritage, and seek to enlist the Holocaust - a horrific happening that fed heartily on the fecund medium of a Europe steeped in centuries of Christian anti-Semitism - their efforts creep, slowly but unmistakably, beyond the bounds of even outrage, and enter the realm of the grotesque.

With thanks to Am Echad Resources

Published: June 9, 2001


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Visitor Comments: 30

(30) Anonymous, May 12, 2010 9:47 PM

Venting helps on site; then walk in love

I find this subject an ongoing one. What should unite us is charity and morals. It's the purpose of the fruit of religion, no matter which one. We have to confront the issue about Jews for Jesus though. There underhanded ways, even using the Holocaust to try to get Jews into their group. They really stooped really low on that one. Hey, they do on all that they try to convince Jews to turn to Jesus. Mostly main-line christianity doesn't spend their time and effort on trying to get Jews to convert. They are to busy doing charity works and teaching their people to live moral lives. And to love others; all races creeds color and religions. And repecting the individual for them to have their own faith; even if it differ's from ones own. That is how we should all live out our religion and faith. Articles like these is to let us know what others are doing out there. To prepare us. We are to love the Jews for Jesus people also. But a little venting in writing helps empty that rage; so when I see a Jew for Jesus, I can respond in love to them. I will continue to vent; however I will continue to walk in love when coming across these people in my day to day life. That way I have the opportunity to share with them when they have crossed the line. Or to let them know that's okay in what they are doing. They do somethings right. Some Jews for Jesus has their heart right, they are trying to live a good decent life. Just like the rest of us religious folks.

(29) Adam, May 24, 2004 12:00 AM

TO JEFF HALL AND OTHERS LIKE HIM

Hello,
I was raised pentacostal and was taught a great deal of "proofs" that Jews for Jesus use and that The church has used for so long. Let me tell you that they are empty and they are lies. HASHEM has taken me for the idol god Jesus into his truth, (I have not yet undergone my conversion but am seeking a Rabbi.)and given me freedom from the lies that I was raised with. If you and others would like some real truth about Jesus and this faith then here is a very good site to start at:
http://www.medmalexperts.com/POCM/getting_started_pocm.html

I am not trying to sound harsh or mean in any from or shape but if you have to twist the truth then what good is your faith? Jesus was not god. He was not the son of god. He was a fine human being and maybe even a wise teacher but he was not the things that Christians have made him into. The Idol Jesus, the myth of Jesus is just another pagan demigod that was give a jewish flavor. Peole that hate and twist the word of G-D to trick others are wrong. There are a good many Christians (some in my own family) that are good people and are doing what they think is the truth. They are walking in all the light they know and for that I am sure G-D will bless them. But others that Know what they are doing , as in tricking others to take on thier faith...well you are going to need some of that FORGIVNESS because you are on dangous ground.
I hope that for your own sake that Jews for Jesus will stop the lies and ask for that forgiveness.

(28) Iris Castles, July 12, 2001 12:00 AM

Stand by your beliefs, Stick to your guns!!

I am a Christian. I have the greatest respect for the Jewish beliefs. You are our heritage. Bless you, always
Shalom

(27) Anonymous, July 12, 2001 12:00 AM

Anti-Evangelizing

An excellent article, subject matter all to well known by Jews world-wide. The thing to do is "Face them down" by knowing our own Scripture well enough to say "I can prove to you by your "New" Testament, that Jesus is not the Jewish Messiah." Read Zechariah 8:23, Micah, Chapter 14, Numbers 23:19 then ask, How many women came to the tomb, how many angels were at the tomb, did shepards really abide in the fields on December 25th? And, by all means, lead our brothers and sisters to

www.outreachjudaism.org where Rabbi Tovia Singer, devotes his life to bringing the lost sheep of Israel back to the ONE ETERNAL G_D. Baruch HaShem

(26) , July 9, 2001 12:00 AM

I found this article, in light of all the violence currently taking place in Israel, not contributing a message of peace. We "christians" are not your enemy. In stereotyping all christians based on past actions of individuals that happen to be of a christian denomination is dangerous. Let G-d judge the unrighteous and wicked. Moreover, how can one relate the holocaust to christian hatred? Have you ever heard of Corrie Ten Boom who risked her life to help Jews during the holocaust?

Aish.com replies: Certainly all Christians are not our enemy and we are not theirs. Read the article again. However, we are strongly opposed to missionizing, especially where deceptive techniques are used. There is no comparing of these misguided missionaries to the righteous and upstanding human beings such as Corrie Ten Boom.

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