Monday, April 20, 2015

Christian missionizing, Israel, the US govt and you

Here’s a quiz for you. It starts with a background statement. Then, you’ll see a scenario. Then, you’ll be asked questions.

Here’s the background: you’re Jewish. You live in a Jewish place. Everything around you is Jewish. You know that for more than 2,000 years nations and religions have tried to convince your ancestors—or force your ancestors—to leave their Jewish religion. You know that, for centuries, Jews have been murdered because of their religion—your religion. You know about the Holocaust, where Jews were slaughtered and non-Jews said nothing. You know that Jews are one of the world’s minority religions. You know about world-wide attacks against Jews.

You know that Jews are an ‘endangered species’. For example, you know that the Jewish place you live in faces a serious existential threat. You know that many, many people want to see Jews become extinct.

Now, here’s the scenario: a very large group wants to come to Israel. They want to have a convention here. Their ‘business’ is to convert Jews away from Judaism.  Their convention is to discuss how best to do that.

Specifically, in May 2015, a large group of ‘Spirit-empowered’ Christian believers wants to convene in Jerusalem “to receive a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit!” (“CFN/Empowered21 Global Congress Jerusalem 2015”, Chr#t For the Nations). This gathering would represent “The largest Christian gathering in Jerusalem in modern history” (ibid). Their goal is to meet to ‘help spread the gospel to the nations’ (ibid).

There are at least three other Christian groups that seek to gather followers in Israel this year (“Christian Zionist Leaders Unite with Messianic Christians to Focus on Evangelizing Jews in Israel”, Jewish Israel, February 20, 2015). Each of these conferences—including the one described above--emphasizes bringing Jews in Israel to the Christian god. These conferences will also attempt to empower the messianic Christian movement, particularly in Israel (ibid).

In the past, the most widely publicized evangelical events in Israel have publically downplayed their proselytizing message to Jews (ibid). They have also downplayed their evangelical connections with the Christian messianic movement in Israel. Instead, these past events were typically billed as pilgrimages (ibid). They were presented to Israel as an opportunity for Christians to travel here in order to worship and to express solidarity with Jewish Israel (ibid).

Now, that façade has been dropped. These groups now come to Israel with the unadulterated focus on the Chr-st-centered message of spreading the Christian faith to the Jewish people (ibid).

Before you see the questions that apply to this quiz, you must understand that the United States of America says that any attempt by Israel to abridge these Christians from converting Jews in Israel is a violation of International Religious Freedoms legislation (ibid).

You should further understand that the evangelical-run Jerusalem Institute of Justice (JIJ) stands at “the forefront of  the battle to change the Jewish nature of the State of Israel and the very definition of Judaism” (ibid). JIJ has expressed extreme views against Orthodox Jewish groups (ibid). It has maintained an overt pro-messianic Christian agenda (ibid).

JIJ has also influenced the US government’s opinion of Christian conversion activities in Israel. In the past, JIJ been cited as a source for conclusions stated in US State Department Religious Freedoms Reports. Based partly on communications from JIJ, these US Reports have been critical of Orthodox Jewish tradition (ibid). These Reports have also cited JIJ as the source for criticizing Israel for its treatment of missionaries and messianic Christians who try to make aliyah [emigration to Israel] by falsely claiming they are Jews when they are not (ibid).

Now, here are your questions:

-should Israel allow these groups to hold their anti-Jewish conventions in Israel?

-if Israel doesn’t allow these groups to hold their conventions, does that refusal constitute an attack on the Freedom of Religion?

-do you believe that Freedom of Religion should apply only to rights associated with worship, or should it include another religion’s Right to convert you away from your religion?

-do you as a Jew have the Right to feel safe from those who would convert you away from your Religion—or does the Christian desire to convert you trump your Right to feel safe?

Please remember that the United States of America says it is against International law for Israel to protect itself against Christian conversion. Please note also that the US government has the ability to read anything you write on an internet site.

You have thirty minutes to complete your answers.

1 comment:

  1. I live in the United States. I am a Christian. Through my pastors I am learning about the Jewish Jesus, God's feast days, and the Jewish Roots of Christianity. I don't know about these other organizations that you say are trying to convert you. All I know is that what my pastors are teaching is that Israel gave us our Messiah and our Bible. We are Gentiles grafted into the Jewish roots. Genesis 12:3 states God will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you. Personally I want to bless Israel and be a blessing to Israel through the ministries who support Holocaust survivors and other Jewish organizations in Israel who help those in need of help. I want to help repair the breach between Jews and Christians.