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Messianic Judaism

Opposition from the
Jewish community, etc.

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Opposition to Messianic Judaism:

Considerable opposition has come from both Jewish and Christian leaders and organizations:

bullet Jewish community: They are generally concerned that converts to Messianic groups will be lost forever to Judaism. Converts to Messianic Judaism are often shunned by their Jewish families of origin and are excluded from the local Jewish community. The Central Conference of American Rabbis, the Reform rabbinic organization has stated:
"For us in the Jewish community, anyone who claimsthat Jesus is their savior is no longer a Jew and is an apostate. Through that belief she has placed herself outside the Jewish community. Whether she cares to define herself as a Christian or as a 'fulfilled Jew,' 'Messianic Jew,' or any other designation is irrelevant; to us, she is clearly a Christian." 1


bullet Israeli Supreme Court: The court decided on 1989-DEC-25, and subsequently, that Messianic Jews were not eligible to immigrate to Israel under the Law of Return, because of their belief in Yeshua as the Messiah. Non-theistic Jews who are Atheists and Humanists can return, but not believers in Yeshua. They are viewed as belonging to another religion.

bullet Liberal and mainline Christian groups generally believe that Jews, as God's chosen people, will be saved according to God's permanent covenants with them, as explained in the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament). There is no need for them to accept Jesus Christ. Many view attempts by conservative Christians to evangelize Jews is a wasted effort, and insulting to Judaism.

bulletLycos: In 1999-AUG, this search engine removed a Jews for Jesus banner advertisement from its web page. It had been running since 1999-JUL-6 at a cost of $1,700. Lycos had tied it to their popular search engine so that it popped up whenever the one of the first 40,000 Internet users scanned the Lycos data base with the word "Jewish" as a search term. The banner said: "The end of the world is no time to finally realize Jesus is the Messiah. (Its all in the book.) click here for a free copy!" Lycos started to receive many complaints from the Jewish community by JUL-29. They objected to what they feel was a Christian advertisement intended to convert Jews. Lycos initially pulled the ad on JUL-30, on the grounds that the Jews for Jesus web site included a reference to Lycos and gave the appearance that the company endorsed JFJ. The reference was removed, and Lycos reinstalled the ad. Lycos then allowed the agreement to expire without renewal about AUG-14. Jews for Jesus Spokesperson Susan Perlman, was disappointed that their ad would not be renewed. She said: ''The Web is supposed to be a marketplace for all kinds of ideas, and people can click on them or pass them by.

bullet Steven Brodsky: Brodsky, a Jewish individual, registered his private web site with the domain name of http://www.jewsforjesus.org. The site encouraged converts to leave Messianic Judaism and "come home" to Judaism. This generated much confusion with the official Jews for Jesus web site at: http://www.jews-for-jesus.org  Brodsky argued that he was not infringing on the organization's copyright. After a court case, the Jews for Jesus organization appears to have taken over Brodsky's full domain name and made it their own. Jews for Jesus has also taken over  www.jews4jesus.org  (and .net and .com)

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bullet U.S. Navy: Michael Hiles, a Messianic Jew, successfully applied to the U.S. Navy to serve as a chaplain. However, when he started training, he was instructed to wear a cross on his insignia in place of the Luchos that all Jewish chaplains wear. That is, his insignia was to match his evangelical Christian theology, not his Jewish cultural identity.

When he asked the Navy to reconsider, he was told that the senior Chaplain Command had made the ruling and that nothing could be done at the time. Given the choice between wearing the cross on his insignia, or leaving the Navy, he chose to leave.

Yeshiva World News (YVN), a Jewish news source, reported:

"The decision requiring Messianic Jews to wear the cross was made officially on November 26, 2008 by the President of the Navy Uniform Board, Vice Admiral M. E. Ferguson U.S. Navy Deputy Chief of Naval Operations."

Reaction from the Jewish community was generally positive. There were 23 comments posted to the YWN web site. Some were:
bullet "DeepThinker" wrote: "The ?Messianic Jews? are nothing but a fraud, perpetrated by the evangelical missionary groups on the Jewish community to confuse the ignorant into converting from Judaism to Christianity. Fraud, is Fraud, is Fraud -- no matter what the label. Thank G-D, the navy is not cooperating with this deception!"

bulletMayan Dvash wrote: "Well, the Vice Admiral has the insight to see that 'Messianic Judaism' is not Judaism."

bullet "12786" wrote: "I agree 100% with the decision of the Navy Uniform Board. The Messianic movement is way too extreme in their beliefs and the Navy was right to not allow their representative to be labeled as a Jewish Chaplain."

bullet Miulhouse wrote: "Messianic Jews are Christians, usually Baptists, who pretend to be Jews in order to missionize. They believe everything that all Christians believe; many of them don't even have Jewish mothers. The name, which implies that they're normal Jews who just happen to believe that You-Know-Who was moshiach, is a fraud."

bullet "Binyomin5766" wrote: "... these messianics are difficult to categorize since they don't have a set of common standards beyond a general adherence to Christian theology. In my experience with the movement, though, most participants are goyim who have some kind of interest in things Jewish. Of course, they really don't like people like me; people going the 'other way' disrupt the work they are trying to do."

bullet "Shtenderbender" wrote: "I don't think the Navy's point was to identify him as not Jewish, all they were doing was catering to their customers; a Jewish serviceman doesn?t want a Messianic whatever as his chaplain."

bullet"iWatas" wrote: "Bravo! This is truth in advertising. Jews-for-Yashky are not selling Judaism, so they should not have a Jewish symbol on their uniforms. Understand that a LOT of people find religion when serving in the armed forces. And many secular Jews are not sure what to do - so messianic Christians do a lot of harm by preying on the ignorant Jewish soldier who looks for spiritual guidance. This single act certainly has saved Jewish neshamas. The Chaplain?s office of the United States Armed Forces has therefore saved the world." 2 [Spelling and abbreviations modified from the original]

References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "Question 17.2: Is belief in Jesus-as-G-d compatible with any Jewish movements?," at: http://www.faqs.org/faqs/judaism/FAQ/
  2. "US Navy Tells Messianic Jewish Chaplain He Must Wear Cross," Yeshiva World News, 2008-DEC-23, at: http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/
     

Copyright © 1998 to 2011 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2011-AUG-23
Author: B.A. Robinson

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