Monday, January 22, 2007

Jewish Voice <> Jews for Jesus

(I'm not sure how to do a ≠ sign in titles, so you get the typewriter's <> version instead.)

Once again, the movement Messianic Judaism and the organization Jews for Jesus are confused.

For those who might also be confused, here are some differences:
  • Jews for Jesus is a specific Christian evangelical organization founded in 1973 by a Jewish-born Baptist minister named Moishe Rosen. Jews for Jesus is a mercenary branch of the Gentile church, funded by churches with the purpose of bringing people into churches. In contrast, the Messianic Jewish movement is a movement of Jewish people who believe in Jesus but feel called by God to retain and develop their Jewish heritage while worshipping in synagogues and helping their local Jewish community have the spiritual health God desires.
  • Jews for Jesus is an organization that uses a classic Christian model of evangelism with literature and street-corner conversations to bring people into (primarily) churches. Messianic Judaism is a collection of synagogues that sees Torah observance, empowered by relationship with Yeshua, as the key to a meaningful relationship with the God of Israel and what will bring transformation to the local Jewish community.
  • Throughout their short history these two groups have been at odds. Recently Jews for Jesus has shown some willingness to encourage new believers to consider Messianic Judaism as well as Gentile Christianity. Jews for Jesus does politely refrain from calling itself "Messianic Jewish" with the exception of the by-line for one of its publications, Issues.
  • To ensure accountability and provide support for Messianic Jewish congregations there are two organizations that "organize" Messianic Judaism, the MJAA and the UMJC (note that Messianic Judaism is not a "denomination" since congregations are more independent than if they had a denomination's formal governance). Neither the IAMCS nor the UMJC cooperate well with Jews for Jesus.