What should the church of Christ think of "Jews For Jesus"?
It was brought to my attention that a congregation of the Lord's church was having a group called "Jews For Jesus" give a presentation on the Passover and the Lord's supper. They requested our congregation to post an announcement inviting any of the brethren, family, or friends to attend.
I had heard of this group, but never really knew what they were about. I had a feeling from the beginning that they would not hold up to biblical scrutiny and, unfortunately, I was right.
Below I have information from different sources. I have numbered each section and will comment briefly on that section as scripturally as I am able. I will also provide some web links for deeper study where available.
The following texts taken from the "Jews For Jesus" Web Site:
We believe that Israel exists as a covenant people through whom God continues to accomplish His purposes and that the Church is an elect people in accordance with the New Covenant, comprising both Jews and Gentiles who acknowledge Jesus as Messiah and Redeemer.
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Pastors' Reading Room
A selection of some of our most important articles on the subject of the local church. Feel free to pass these articles on to your own church members or to fellow clergy.
Proper Title of Respect
This is a small matter but it's important. Even if your minister tells you to call him by his first name, perhaps it's better for your family and other members of your church if you address him in public with a title of respect. He might give you the right to call him Ed, Jim or Joe to help you feel at ease with him, or you may even enjoy a special friend-to-friend relationship with him. Nevertheless, there are times when out of respect to his office, you should refer to him as "Pastor Brown, Smith or Jones," or at least as "Pastor Ed, Jim or Joe."
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"And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son...On that day a fountain will be opened to the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and impurity" (Zechariah 12:10;13:1).
On that day all the Jewish people will know that Jesus truly is our Messiah. Zechariah 14:3 tells of his return, when his feet will actually stand on the Mount of Olives.
The Jewish people will see him return; they will mourn for his previous sufferings and rejection, and they will then give him their unqualified allegiance and receive God's perfect eternal cleansing.
That time could come very soon, according to what the Bible teaches. In the meantime however, every individual, Jewish or Gentile, must have this cleansing from God through Messiah's sacrifice. Isaiah 64:6 teaches that "...all our righteous acts are as filthy rags." For this reason, it's not enough to try to keep the Law, or to go to the mikveh, or to do acts of charity and kindness (mitzvot). Jesus the Messiah has provided God's acceptable way of cleansing. He said: "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6).
Won't you accept God's way of being clean and acceptable to Him? The real baptism -- the inner washing of the human heart -- comes first. The water baptism that follows is only a public announcement of what has happened within, and we who believe make this public proclamation because we want to share our good news with others.
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Trouble is Coming
Those same prophets predicted certain events that have not happened yet. They predicted a time described as a Great Tribulation, a time that will be marked by terrible worldwide trouble or "tsuris" such as this planet has never seen. Such tsuris you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy! Y'shua also spoke of this terrible time--the verse cited at the beginning of this chapter is an excerpt from a speech he gave describing this Great Tribulation. The last book of the New Testament, the book of Revelation, gives an even more comprehensive look at these future events. It describes three sets of seven judgments, each one more terrible than the last. Suffice it to say, this time period will be unparalleled in human history.
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The Liberated Wailing Wall is our year-round traveling mobile music and drama team. They minister in communities where we don't have a regular branch, bringing the gospel through a beautiful blend of traditional Jewish music with lyrics from Scripture, witty, thought-provoking drama and forthright Christian testimony. Their Jewish gospel songs range in style from the poignancy of the Psalms which have echoed in Jewish hearts throughout the ages to all the joyful exuberance you would expect to find at a Jewish wedding. The melodies might be new and exotic to you, but you'll recognize phrases such as, "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son." All our Jewish gospel music and drama express the thrill we feel in knowing the Messiah, as well as the love that compels us to tell others. The Liberated Wailing Wall has recorded more than a half dozen albums and has toured internationally, proclaiming the gospel everywhere they go.
The following is taken from http://www.tfmc.us/html/document_library/jewsforjesus.html (Emphasis mine however):
Jews for Jesus draws criticism from leaders of the organized Jewish and Christian communities alike. They object to the Jews for Jesus ostensible theology: what appears to be a mixture of rabbinic Judaism and Christianity. Christianity does not adhere to Jewish law. And, in fact, Hebrew-Christianity differentiates itself from Judaism by rejecting rabbinic- and Hebrew-Bible law. For this reason many Jewish and Christian leaders claim that the movement mocks both faiths. Jewish and Christian clergy also protest the Jews for Jesus methodology of teaching evangelical congregationalists how to approach Jewish friends, neighbors and business acquaintances, contacting the Jew for Jesus when the time is ripe to close the sale," i.e., convert the Jew to Christianity.
Moishe Rosen, the founder, was once a Baptist minister, and is still a Baptist in good standing (as of 1999 he received special recognition by a group of Baptists). Some information shows that they (Jews For Jesus) are even involved in the "Promise Keepers" movement.
Jews for Jesus promotes a blend of Judaism and Christianity:
Copy of an announcement from a "messianic congregation's" web site:
We are honored to have Moishe Rosen, the founder of Jew for Jesus, speaking at Congregation Shema Yisrael on Saturday, September 23. Moishe is not only a dear friend, but also a man of God who always has interesting insights and brings a good message from God. Join us and come prepared to give a special offering for the ministry of Jews for Jesus.
RESPONSES TO NUMBERS 1 - 8 ABOVE:
Israel can not exist as a covenant people except as under the New Covenant like the rest of the world!
Physical Israel has been replaced with spiritual Israel (Rms 2:28-29 / Gal 3:26-29 / Gal 6:14-16)
Rom 2:28-29 For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither [is that] circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: 29 But he [is] a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision [is that] of the heart, in the spirit, [and] not in the letter; whose praise [is] not of men, but of God.
Gal 3:26-29 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if ye [be] Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Gal 6:14-16 But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. 15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. 16 And as many as walk according to this rule, peace [be] on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.
Physical Israel was destroyed (judged) in AD 70 with the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in accordance with Jesus' predictions in Matthew 24:1-34 (NOTE before verse 34 Jesus' hearers could KNOW the end was near - the end of Judaism. After verse 34 they could NOT KNOW for he was speaking of the end of the world. Two different answers to two different questions from verse 3).
SEE ALSO the parables in Mat 21:42 - 22:14.
More info on this subject at: www.christiancourier.com
Concerning the use of "Pastor", "clergy", and titles of respect, the Jews For Jesus do err along with the rest of the worldly religions in the misuse of biblical terms and the addition of titles and classes that were never authorized in God's word.
The word "pastor" comes from the Greek "poimaino" and means "to shepherd, as in take care of, tend". It is has to do with the work of an elder, not the minister, as we see in Acts 20:17,27-29 and 1Pet5:1-2.
Act 20:17, 28-30 And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders (presbuteros) of the church. 28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers (episkopos), to feed (poimaino) the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. 29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.
1Pe 5:1-2 The elders (presbuteros) which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: 2 Feed (poimaino) the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight (episkopeo) [thereof], not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;
There is no Pastoral system in the bible where a "Pastor" presides or oversees a congregation. There was always 2 or more qualified (1Tim 3:1-7, Titus 1:5-9) Elders who watched over a local congregation. The preacher had a separate function - that of being the evangelist. Could he also be an elder? Yes, if he was qualified. The Pastoral system of today is totally of man made origin!
For more info please see: www.christiancourier.com
As far as the reference to "clergy" I would only ask; where in the New Testament do we find authorization for a distinction between Christians such as "clergy" and "lay people"? Or, special titles such as Reverend for that matter? Jesus spoke against such foolishness in Mat 23:1-10. Did Paul ask for such titles and "respect"? Did Peter? Nay, we should be very careful in giving ourselves titles.
This section deals with, and supports the idea of Jesus returning to earth and setting up his kingdom on earth along with the restoration of Israel. This false teaching is dealt with in detail at:www.christiancourier.com
I will share just a few thoughts and scriptures here. First, if we go back to # 1 we see there is no need to "restore" physical Israel. She has been replaced with the church - the body of Christ. Second, we see from the following scriptures that Jesus' kingdom is not of this earth, and when He comes again - it will be FINAL! ( Jhn 18:36 / Jhn 5:28-29 )
Jhn 18:36 Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.
Jhn 5:28-29 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, 29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.
I want to make a quick note here on their statement in this section I have numbered # 3): Their quote: "Won't you accept God's way of being clean and acceptable to Him? The real baptism -- the inner washing of the human heart -- comes first. The water baptism that follows is only a public announcement of what has happened within, and we who believe make this public proclamation because we want to share our good news with others."
Everyone in the world can "him haw" around all they want on the subject of baptism, but the bible says that it is FOR the remission of sins, not BECAUSE OF the remission of sins. It is at the point of totally submersing ourselves under water, believing in faith that God will wash our sins away by the blood of Christ, that we are then saved and added to His kingdom the church! (Acts 2:38 / Rms 6:3-4 / Gal 3:27 / Col 2:12 / 1Pet 3:20-21)
Act 2:38-39 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, [even] as many as the Lord our God shall call.
NOTE "for the remission of sins" is the exact same wording of Christ in Mat 26:28 where he is saying his blood is shed "for the remission of sins". It means exactly what it says whether you, or I, or anyone else, likes it or not!
This is more un-biblical storytelling about the so called "Great Tribulation". This pretty much goes hand in hand with the return of Christ and the setting up of his earthly kingdom which was covered in my reply to
# 3) above.
An excellent article on this can be found at: www.christiancourier.com
I bring up number 5 for the music and drama issue. As far as New Testament "music" goes, there is no authorization for gospel "music" of any sort ( let alone drama). The New Testament instructs us to sing, the only "instruments", per se, would be our voices and our hearts. Even church tradition shows there were no man made instruments in any church, apostate or otherwise, until the late 6th century. This is just another example of how different Christianity (a heart religion) is from the physical religion of Judaism which was steeped in musical instruments. (Eph 5:18-19 / Col 3:16 / 1Cor 14:15)
Eph 5:18-19 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; 19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;
See more at: www.christiancourier.com
Even the Jews of today and the apostate Christian community can get something right. The main crux of the books of Romans and Hebrews expounds on the very fact that there is NO WAY to blend Judaism with the New Testament! (Heb 12:18-24 / Rms 11: 21-23)
We can glean from the information here that the founder of this para-church organization, and the organization itself, seem right at home with the ecumenical movement. The bible says there is only ONE church and that church is the same in organization and doctrine! (Mth 16:18 / 1Tim 14:15 / Rms 16:17-19)
2Jo 1:9-10 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. 10 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into [your] house, neither bid him God speed:
Most of what I could find on the "Messianic Jews" movement, including the Jews For Jesus, points to the acceptance of Sabbath keeping. Their congregations meet on Saturdays, NOT on the first day of the week. The following is a link to one such "congregation":www.bethmessiah.org
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""Prove all things; hold fast that which is good"" (1 Thess. 5:21).
Following is the Jews for Jesus reply to questions I submitted in an e-mail on 03/03/03 - Note how many "no position" or elusive answers are given. I would rather have a "ready" defense of my beliefs, wouldn't you?
The first thing I need to explain is that Jews for Jesus is not a church. We're an independent, interdenominational mission organization, sort of like the Navigators or InterVarsity but specializing in evangelism to Jewish people. Our staff includes both Jewish and Gentile Christians, and each of us attends the church of his or her own choice. We all subscribe to the same Statement of Faith, which you can find in the ABOUT US section of our website. On other issues (what Paul calls "disputable matters" in Romans 14), as important as they may be, we take no position.
1) Is the Lord's church today the same as the Lord's kingdom that was prophesied?
There is probably a sense in which that could be said, but the Church is commonly defined as a universal "body" consisting of believers in Jesus as the Messiah. The term "kingdom" is used in various ways, but in general refers to the sovereignty of God. Unger's Bible Dictionary sums it up as "...any type of rulership God may assert on the earth at a given period."
2) Is the Lord's church today "spiritual Israel"?
I don't know what's meant by the term "spiritual Israel." It isn't a biblical term, as far as I know.
3) Should we partake of the Lord's supper each Lord's Day (1st day of the week)? May we partake of the Lord''s supper anytime we like?
This is one of those issues I mentioned, about which Christians hold a variety of opinions. Jews for Jesus takes
4) Is a believer in the Christ saved (sins forgiven) before being fully immersed in water? At what point does a lost sinner receive salvation?
Again, Jews for Jesus takes no position.
5) Is anyone today responsible to, or answerable to, the Old Testament law? The Sabbath?
I think the answer is no, since the Law of Moses has been fulfilled in Christ. Today there is a new covenant; people will be judged (Is that what you mean?) according to their response to Jesus.
6) What place does the church of Christ hold in the overall scheme of God's plan for mankind''s redemption?
The Church has many responsibilities, but we would say that chief among them are to extend the love of Jesus to all and to proclaim the Good News to those who are perishing.
7) Do you believe the concept of denominationalism, that permeates "Christendom" today, is pleasing to God? Are Baptists, as well as Catholics and Methodists, all doing the Father''s will?
Some Baptists, Catholics and so forth do the Father's will, and others do not. It's an individual matter. We take no position on denominationalism.
8) Do you believe it is OK for man to name "their" congregations whatever they wish? Even calling it a synagogue or a temple?
We take no position.
9) Will Jesus return to earth to set up a physical kingdom?
I'll quote our doctrinal statement:
We believe in His sinless life and perfect obedience to the Law; in His atoning death, burial, bodily resurrection, ascension into heaven, high-priestly intercession and His personal return in power and glory.
10) Is the Holy Bible ALL we need in matters of salvation, faith, and knowing God's will, or, do we need additional help through the Holy Spirit or maybe even some additional revelation?
Again, from our doctrinal statement:
We believe that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are divinely inspired, verbally and completely inerrant in the original writings and of supreme and final authority in all matters of faith and life.
We believe that the Holy Spirit is co-equal and co-eternal with the Father and the Son; that He was active in the creation of all things and continues to be so in providence; that He convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment and that He regenerates, sanctifies, baptizes, indwells, seals, illumines, guides and bestows His gifts upon all believers.
I hope this is helpful, and I hope you will attend our presentation. You'll find that we are not interested in promoting a particular "brand" of Christianity, but only Him whom to know is life.
(Mrs.) Marty Walker
If we carry the concept of Jews for Jesus to other types of religions, we should be able to have "Hindus for Jesus", Muslims for Jesus", and on and on. This concept fits in well with the history of the Catholic Church. That system of religion is built on nothing less than blending Paganism with Christianity. We COULD call the Catholic Church "Pagans for Jesus". Why can't we all just respect the authority of the bible and simply be Christians?