Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) About Jews for Jesus and the Behold Your God Campaign
Q. What is Jews for Jesus?|
A. Jews for Jesus is a Christian missionary group whose goal is to convert Jews to Christianity.
Q. Who founded Jews for Jesus and what can you tell me about him?
A. Jews for Jesus was founded by the Reverend Martin "Moishe" Rosen. Reverend Rosen, though born Jewish, was raised in a home that lacked a fundamentally strong Jewish education. In fact, his father is characterized as being rather hostile to religion. By his early 20's Rosen attended a Christian school, Northeastern Bible College, and in 1957 he was ordained as a Baptist Minister. He also has a Doctorate in Divinity from Western Conservative Baptist Seminary. Rosen founded Jews for Jesus in 1967, incorporating Jewish symbols to Christian beliefs in an attempt to get more Jews to accept Christian theology.
Q. Who is currently in charge of Jews for Jesus?
A. The current Executive Director of Jews for Jesus is David Brickner. Like Rosen, Brickner is an ordained Baptist minister. Reverend Brickner graduated the Fuller School of World Missions, with a master's degree in missiology and concentrating in Jewish evangelism/Judaic studies. Brickner comes from a long line of missionaries to the Jewish people.
Q. Are other Jews for Jesus missionaries also ordained Christian ministers or Christian seminary graduates?
A. Yes! A number of the missionaries are Christian ministers/seminarians. For example, Jhan Moskowitz, the leader of the Jews for Jesus Chicago branch, is ordained by the Christian and Missionary Alliance. Larry Dubin from the Jews for Jesus, Washington D.C. branch is a graduate of the Dallas Theological Seminary. This is a common pattern with Jews for Jesus. Jews for Jesus actually has scholarships to Christian colleges for students with one Jewish parent.
Q. Is it true that all of the "front-line" missionaries for Jews for Jesus are Jewish or married to Jews?
A. No! For instance, Reverend David Brickner is not Jewish nor is his wife. Brickner often talks of his "Jewish" heritage, but leaves out that his mother is not Jewish. In Judaism, religion is traced through the mother. As Brickner's mother is not Jewish, David Brickner is also not Jewish. Jews for Jesus also recruits and trains Christians to evangelize Jews as front-line missionaries in their Behold Your God campaigns.
Q. What is the Behold Your God campaign?
A. The Behold Your God campaign is a multi-million dollar evangelical mission to convert Jews in cities with large Jewish populations.
Q. How involved are your everday church-going Christians in this campaign?
A. Jews for Jesus recruits your everday church-going Christians to do everything from handing out pamphlets and evangelizing people on the street to cooking and cleaning for Jews for Jesus. Jews for Jesus asks Christians to arrange visits with their Jewish friends and has Christians do the follow up contacts with Jews that they received contact information from during the campaign. Jews for Jesus typically bases their operations out of churches and conducts a multi-day seminar to train Christians on evangelizing the Jews for the Behold Your God campaign. Again, this demonstrates that the idea of Jews for Jesus' front-line missionaries all being Jewish or married to Jews is clearly false.
Q. Is Jews for Jesus affiliated with any Christian organizations?
A. Yes! Jews for Jesus is part of many Christian organizations, such as the World Evangelical Alliance, the Interdenominational Foreign Mission Association and the Lausanne Consultation on Jewish Evangelism.
Q. How much money does Jews for Jesus raise each year to evangelize the Jews to Christianity?
A. Jews for Jesus is the richest of the independent evangelical groups to the Jewish people. In the fiscal year ending in December 2004, Jews for Jesus reported an income of approximately $17 million. The vast majority of this was spent in campaigns aimed at converting Jews.
Q. What is Jews for Jesus' relationship to "Messianic Jewish" congregations?
A. Jews for Jesus is part of the "Messianic Jewish" movement, a movement created by Christianity as a way of evangelizing the Jews and making them more comfortable in church. The movement originally called itself "Hebrew-Christianity", and it was not until the 1960's and '70's that the term "Messianic Judaism" became popular. For instance, the Messianic Jewish Alliance of America, arguably the largest organization of Messianic congregations, was originally named the Hebrew-Christian Alliance of America. The "Messianic Jewish" movement has over a dozen different Christian denominations that count Messianic congregations among its churches, with the Southern Baptist Convention and Assemblies of God movement being the most active in creating these congregations. The difference between Jews for Jesus and the standard Messianic congregation is that Jews for Jesus is a ministry. In other words, Jews for Jesus goes around trying to convince Jews to have Christian beliefs, but it does not have its own formal congregation. Some Messianic congregations try to distance themselves from Jews for Jesus, as Jews for Jesus is much disliked among knowledgeable Jews. However, ultimately Jews for Jesus is part of the Messianic movement, which is a branch of evangelical Christianity.
Q. Do you advise people to go and argue with members of Jews for Jesus?
A. I don't generally advise people to go and argue with the missionaries from Jews for Jesus for the following reasons:
1. The Jews for Jesus members are trained missionaries. Not only does Jews for Jesus spend several days training prospective missionaries who participate in their Behold Your God campaigns, but many of these missionaries are ordained ministers and/or participated in other Christian missionary programs. Unless you are knowledgeable of Judaism and Christian missionary tactics, you may be confused by their presentation. Like most missionary groups, they rely on out of context material, bad translations and other methods that can confuse a Jew who is not aware of how Christian missionaries operate nor are aware of the Jewish counter-arguments. Knowledge of Hebrew is also important in countering their claims, as often they make mistakes that are not clear in the English, but are quite obvious in the Hebrew.
2. Many missionaries in the Jews for Jesus movement keep track of their conversations, and later discuss these conversations as evidence of their work to potential donors. So, though you may enjoy proving a Jews for Jesus member wrong in their claims, they may later try to use the conversation as proof that more Christians should fund their efforts.
However, if you would like to study the counter-arguments to groups like Jews for Jesus, please go to my links section for Jewish counter-missionary organizations: Click Here
Also, I have multiple essays that address the Jews for Jesus' claims: Click Here
There are many reasons why Jews do not accept Jesus, and the links below are some of the better explanations on this topic. Of course, if you have questions that are not covered on the links, you can always e-mail me with your questions.
An Answer from Rabbi Stuart Federow Click Here
An Answer from Rabbi Shraga Simmons Click Here
Ask the Rabbi from Ohr Somayach Click Here
An Answer from Rabbi Tovia Singer Click Here
There are a number of groups that provide Countermissionary Counseling. Here are links to a few of them:
Alternatively, you can call them at 1-800-4PROOF1 with general questions about missionary claims.
Here are a number of great sites that counter missionaries and explain the differences in belief between Judaism and Christianity, including addressing the Biblical verses that missionaries try to use against the Jews and explaining why the missionaries are incorrect. For the most in-depth analysis of verse by verse questions, go to Messiah Truth (sections on Counter-Missionary: Multi-media training [this can be read without being "multi-media"], Knowing Your Orchard and Judaism's Answer), Jews for Judaism (in their Reference Section (please note that the Isaiah topics tend to be under "Suffering Servant" part of the "Proof Text" section) and the Q & A section of Outreach Judaism.