One of the largest organizations within Messianic Judaism is Jews for Jesus.
They are also one of the few Messianic groups which aggressively seeks new
members from among the Jewish population. 1
It is not a church group or denomination; it is an fundamentalist/evangelical
Christian missionary outreach to Jews
which seeks to convert them to a belief in Yeshua (Jesus) as the Messiah
who was foretold in the Hebrew Scriptures, and to the many additional beliefs
of evangelical Christianity. Members regard themselves as Christians and considers non-Messianic Jews
JFJ was founded by Martin "Moishe" Rosen. He led
a group of young enthusiasts in San Francisco during "Jesus People"
era in the early 1970's. They walked the sidewalks, evangelizing and distributing
pamphlets to the public. Rosen remained its
executive director until 1996-MAY when he was replaced by David Brickner.
Their financial support largely comes from a variety of Christian churches, "a
number of Bible schools, and individual Christian donations..."
Their annual budget is in excess of $10 million. They have "a full-time staff of 150
employees running branch offices in nine cities across the United States. There are also
branch offices in Toronto, London, Paris, Buenos Aires, and Johannesburg."
They have volunteer-run chapters in about 50 other cities, and a mobile evangelistic
teams, including the Liberated Wailing Wall.
Their doctrinal statement is basically indistinguishable from fundamentalist
and other evangelical Christian groups. It includes the following beliefs:
in the divine inspiration and inerrancy of the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures, in their original autograph versions.
God the creator exists as a Trinity, is perfect, all wise, all powerful and all loving.
People are saved through a belief in Jesus as savior and an
acknowledgment of their sins; not by their good deeds.
Heaven is a reward for those who are saved; Hell is a place of "everlasting
conscious punishment" for the vast majority of humanity, including
those Jews who have not accepted Jesus as Messiah.
They differ from some evangelical Christian groups in their belief that Israel
continues to exist as a covenant people.
JFJ is governed by a 15 person Board of Directors, including the executive
director. 9 are Messianic Jews and 6 are non-Jewish Christians. The executive director is
advised by a 7 person Jews for Jesus Council elected from among the senior
They distribute about 5 million pamphlets a year, and publish a number of magazines,
including Issues, a bi-monthly periodical with 32,000 circulation, Mishpochah Message
(quarterly), and the Jews for Jesus newsletter.
Jews for Jesus had an 800
toll-free number, the Messiah
Line for persons who wish to arrange a meeting with a Messianic Jew. It appears to be
no longer functioning.
They have been accused of being a mind-control cult.
There is little or no evidence of this. However, it appears to be a
high-intensity religious group
that intrudes deeply into their members' lives and strictly controls their behavior. The
group denies this. However, their employees are required to sign a Worker's Covenant
which requires them to follow strict guidelines in attitude, dating, family life,
finances, marriage, etc. Employees may not date or marry without first obtaining approval from
their superiors. They may not marry non-Christians. Pregnant women are required to resign.