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Messianic Judaism

Jews for Jesus

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Jews for Jesus (JFJ):

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 as unbelievers.

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..." 2 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." 2 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:

bullet in the divine inspiration and inerrancy of the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures, in their original autograph versions.

bulletGod the creator exists as a Trinity, is perfect, all wise, all powerful and all loving.

bulletJesus is the Messiah, the second person of the Trinity, was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, died for the sins of all humanity, rose again, and is co-equal with God. Jesus will return to earth in the near future.

bullet People are saved through a belief in Jesus as savior and an acknowledgment of their sins; not by their good deeds.

bulletHeaven 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 missionaries.

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.

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References:

  1. Jews for Jesus has a web page at: http://www.jewsforjesus.org
  2. William Greene, "A history of the 20th century movement in America of 'Jewish believers' in 'Yeshua Ha Mashiach' (Jesus Christ the Messiah)," at: http://jf.org/
  3. A list of Lycos hyperlinks and news items about Jews for Jesus is at: http://www.lycos.com/
  4. Ex Jews for Jesus is a web site maintained by former staff employees of Jews for Jesus. See: http://www.exjewsforjesus.org/

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

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