Thursday, July 13, 2006

I Don't Agree With Them, So They Must Be Dishonest

Lenore Skenazy has written an article in the New York Daily News about her rage at Jews for Jesus. Ok, maybe not rage. But she seems upset.
Usually I take any piece of paper some poor soul is handing out, be it breakfast menu or psychic healer special. I even take the Jehovah's Witness magazines, when they're in English. So why do my hands clench into don't-get-that-thing-NEAR-me fists when someone tries to hand me a pamphlet from Jews for Jesus?

Ok, I'm hooked. Why?
I honestly didn't know - until I started talking with the Christians and Jews who have studied the group's tactics.

"They're not like anybody else," says Ruth Guggenheim, spokeswoman for the anti-cult group Jews for Judaism. "Most evangelical Christians are straightforward, they come to the door and say they want you to become a Christian. They're honest."

The problem is that the Jews for Jesus - in town this month with their biggest mission ever - say nothing of the sort. While they, too, want Jews to embrace Christ, they only call this becoming a more "fulfilled" or "completed" Jew. And to make it look, well, kosher, they dress it up with Jewish symbols.

So they are upfront that people should believe in Jesus as the Messiah. But because they don't believe that Jews cease being Jews when they believe in the Jewish Messiah, they are being dishonest.

Actually, if you believe the New Testament, you should believe you can be Jewish and believe in Jesus. First, Jesus is the Messiah. Secondly, almost 2000 years ago the question was whether people can believe in Jesus without becoming Jewish. Somewhere and somehow that got turned on its head.
"Acknowledge what you're doing! Acknowledge that you're asking people to convert to Christianity!" says Michael Miller, executive vice president at the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York. Like me, Miller has nothing against people with religious convictions trying to share them, so long as they don't stoop to deception. And this group is trying to look as Jewish as Jackie Mason.

"Jews for Jesus". They are upfront with Jesus. But Lenore Skenazy sincerely believes that you can't believe in Jesus and be Jewish. So she equates "joining Christianity" with "not being Jewish anymore."

She cannot conceive of that not being the case. So it appears she cannot understand that someone can actually believe you can believe Jesus is the Jewish Messiah (he's everyone's Messiah) and be truthful about remaining Jewish.
This week, the pamphlets themselves feature Jewish jokes. "Good news should make people smile," says Susan Pearlman, a spokeswoman for the group, which is capping a five-year, 65-city tour with its mission here. The jokes are all used as parables to explain why Jews should accept Christ.

Sorry. Jews can't. That was decided 2,000 years ago.

On whose authority? Doesn't God, who set apart the Jewish people, get to define who is Jewish? Even the Talmud agrees that one can't stop being Jewish.
But beyond even the evil of deception, there is one more thing that hits me in the gut when a Jew for Jesus tries to convert me. It's a soul-deep sense of insult.

"Someone is trying to get you to betray not just your religion, but your parents and your grandparents," says Prof. Berger. "And these people are using Jewish symbols."

That's it! It is an invitation to betrayal dressed up as a celebration of my roots.

No wonder I don't take the pamphlets.

Let's assume for a moment that Jesus is the Messiah. Let's assume for a moment (and indeed it is the case) that Jesus is risen from the dead. Would it be wrong to believe in Jesus?

I can't help Lenore Skenazy that she feels it is a betrayal. It's a common feeling, as Stan Telchin famously (in Messianic Jewish circles) wrote about his experience to faith in Jesus as Messiah.

But I would ask this first: is it true?

If it is true, not believing in Jesus would be a denial of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

If it is true, there is life in the Messiah. There is forgiveness. There is peace.

No wonder the Psalmist wrote:
Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

11 Comments:

Anonymous Moshe ben Avraham said...

Your whole argument is based on whether it is true or not. Have you ever considered that your beliefs are untrue? Of course not becuase you have faith. However that is the wrong way to follow religion. You most always question your belief system. Moshe always questioned HaShem and is considered the greatest prophet to ever live. I always question Torah and Talmud..do you?
If Jews do not believe it to be true, then why not leave us alone? Ever hear difference of opinion? If Catholics and Jews can get along why not Evangelical Christians and Jews?

7/19/2006 03:34:00 PM  
Blogger geoffrobinson said...

Good question. Yes, I have examined the evidence for my fiath.

We are told to the Lord to spread the message of His Messiah. If you don't want to believe it, I'm not going to force you. If you don't want to consider the evidence or validity of the message, I'm not going to force you.

Moshe, be well.

7/19/2006 05:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Moshe ben Avraham said...

The only reason you have given up is because you know I have no crisis of faith and I am not in search for G-d. I can say with perfect confidence I do not believe in Jesus and not feel a twitch of doubt. I do thank you for respecting my opinion and not trying to force anything on me. Now if you only did that with everyone...

7/20/2006 04:43:00 PM  
Blogger geoffrobinson said...

What have I given up? It is no less true because of your feelings.

Moshe, let me ask you a question. If the message about Y'shua, Jesus, is not true, why did those who knew Jesus go out and die and/or go through tremendous suffering for that message?

7/20/2006 08:39:00 PM  
Blogger Sultan Knish said...

actually what's dishonest is pretending to be something they're not

most of jews for jesus people are not jewish, many of them create phony biographies such as claiming to be orthodox jews which they're easily caught at

they attempt to claim that they 'found' jesus when they were actually christians all along who came out of mainline churches

and of course they disguise a christian religion by relabeling it judaism and throwing in some jewish fixtures and names... not because it's authentic but as missionaries repeatedly admit because jews have 'negative' associations towards christianity

that's a salesman's tactic and dishonest to its core

7/20/2006 08:54:00 PM  
Blogger geoffrobinson said...

Is it honest to make claims about people you don't know that you can't verify?

Maybe sometimes if you have it on a good authority.

But I know many of the people in Jews for Jesus. I know their Executive Director, their founder, their webmaster. What you say is simply untrue.

Feel free to disagree and air disagreements. But I don't want you to bear false witness on my blog my impugning people without knowledge.

7/21/2006 10:06:00 AM  
Blogger Sultan Knish said...

former members of Jews for Jesus, including those who have remained Christian peg most of Jews for Jesus as non-Jewish. I quoted you a figure above and a source.

you're free to quote a counter-claim of the proportion of Jews for Jesus' membership that is Jewish based on actual data

7/21/2006 03:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Moshe ben Avraham said...

kudos to you sultan. Yes neither of us can pull out names of Jews foe Jesus that have been falsely advertising. But using the argument that we can't prove these people exist because we don't knwo them is like saying fire needs oxygen to grow. We know this is true but few of us have the scientific education to prove it is true. It requires a knowledge of chemistry and combustion. But it is commonly known that these tactics are employed by Jews for Jesus. If the Jewish community believes it to be so, then these millions of people must be deceived right? No. I have said previously Jews have caught on to the game and are fighting back. Why did those people go out and die for Jesus? Why do the Hamas followers strap bombs to thier chest and commit suicide. Because They sincerely believe in what they are doing. Does that make their beleifs right? I think you would agree that dying for a cause does not mean your cause is just. Lets not forget Jews have died for thier believe systems for 3500 years.

7/21/2006 03:47:00 PM  
Blogger Rich said...

Moshe / Knish,

I'm Jewish. I'm with Jews for Jesus. Now, do you want to insist I'm not?

How do I know you are Jewish?

After all, you posted as moshe BON avraham (like Bon Jovi) for days. Maybe you don't know Hebrew. And as far as Sultan Knish goes, sultans are usually Muslims.

"most of jews for jesus people are not jewish, many of them create phony biographies"

You make an allegation, you back it up. Kapisch, Knish?

7/21/2006 10:54:00 PM  
Blogger geoffrobinson said...

As Rich is a good friend and I know many people in Jews for Jesus, I find it disconserting that you two are so willing to say people you don't know aren't Jewish. Just take my word for it. They're Jewish.

I have a house on the dark side of the moon. Prove me wrong.

Anyway, diversions cannot move us from the real issue: Y'shua HaMoshiach.

7/21/2006 11:38:00 PM  
Blogger geoffrobinson said...

Moshe,

I reread your comments and wanted to add something.

Many of those Jews were early Jewish believers in Jesus. Not the least of whom were Saul of Tarsus, Peter, Yaakov, etc, etc.

7/22/2006 12:43:00 AM  

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