How Most Jews Regard “Jews For Jesus”, and Why
My readers know that I admire the Jewish itinerant performance artist whom scholars identify as Jesus, the first-century Galilean agitator for Hebrew prophetic social justice demands in the face of increasing Roman occupation-oppression, forced urbanization, and Jewish priestly collaboration. My readers know, as well, that I separate the person-who-lived from the object of personal and institutional worship people subsequent to his murder made of the man.
The historical issues are simply not the devotional ones. I am fascinated by the former and I’ve largely and rather easily ignored the latter.
At the same time, in our era I have interested myself in the work of the organization, Jews For Jesus.
The central concern most Jews have with Jews For Jesus is not the fact it attempts conversions away from Judaism to a form of evangelical Christianity. Many, many organizations have made those attempts pretty much since Rome adopted Christianity. (Of course, lions in stadia can be more immediately convincing than college campus pamphlets and pasty smiles.)
The concern most Jews have with Jews For Jesus is that it promotes itself as somethng it simply isn’t.Jews For Jesus was founded in the mid-1960s as an evangelical arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, in Dallas. The SBC remains J4’s most significant fundining source.
The primary concern actual Jews have with Jews for Jesus, then (and, I should fast add here that no Jewish system of belief can possibly include human blood atonement for sin…that’s just one ideological issue involved) is that the organization portrays itself and its work as an authentic expression of Jewish belief and way of living while it has always been an expression of the American Baptist evengelical movement; this is to say, it’s a fraud.
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