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soc.culture.jewish FAQ: Holocaust, Antisemitism, Missionaries (9/12)
Section - Question 17.4: What do missionary groups believe?

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                                  Answer:
   
   Important Note: It should be pointed out that not all Christian groups
   conduct missionary activities, and that not all missionary groups
   target Jews. The questions in this section are focused primarily on
   those groups that target Jews for missionary activities, and use a
   Jewish basis for this targeting.
   
                                     **
                                      
   With respect to the beliefs of missionary groups, their own statements
   express their beliefs. Although beliefs vary between the various
   groups that missionize, clear examples of the goals of these groups
   can be found in the ministry statements for such groups that are on
   file at the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountabily (ECFA)
   <[5]http://www.ecfa.org/>:
     * The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, Inc.: Friends of Israel
       Gospel Ministry is an evangelical faith ministry proclaiming the
       need for personal salvation through faith in Jesus Christ to
       Jewish people and their Gentile
       neighbors.([6]http://www.ecfa.org/mbrprof.asp?memberid=685)
     * Jews for Jesus: Jews for Jesus is an outreach by Jewish Christian
       evangelists. ([7]http://www.ecfa.org/mbrprof.asp?memberid=207)
     * Light of Messiah Ministries: Light of Messiah Ministries exists
       for two purposes. First we want to overcome the misunderstanding
       that Jesus is not for the Jewish people. We want to help our
       people know that Jesus is our Messiah and that the most Jewish
       thing that anyone can do is believe in Him. We also want to help
       our brothers and sisters in Messiah understand the Jewish roots of
       their faith in Jesus.
       ([8]http://www.ecfa.org/mbrprof.asp?memberid=1249)
     * Shoresh USA, Inc.: Shoresh teaches the Church to reclaim its
       Jewish roots, so that it is encouraged in deeper discipleship and
       equipped to share the Gospel with the Jewish people. Shoresh
       reaches Jewish people with the Good News of their Messiah, Jesus
       of Nazareth, so that they will receive Him with joy and fulfill
       their unique calling to bear the Gospel message to the world.
       ([9]http://www.ecfa.org/mbrprof.asp?memberid=105)
     * Chosen People Ministries: The purpose of Chosen People Ministries
       is to serve the Messiah in fulfilling the Great Commission with
       specific emphasis on the Jewish people.
       ([10]http://www.ecfa.org/mbrprof.asp?memberid=9)
       
   The beliefs of the organizations are also clear once you start looking
   at the doctrinal statemenst on the organizations websites. For
   example, one can learn quite a bit about the real Jews for Jesus by
   visiting their web page at [11]http://www.jewsforjesus.org/, or the
   home page of the Messianic Jewish Alliance for America at
   [12]http://www.mjaa.org/. Their statements found on these pages are
   both candid and Christian:
     * Jews for Jesus:
       The Jews for Jesus statement of faith, at
       [13]http://www.jewsforjesus.org/about/faith.htm, says that members
       of Jews for Jesus believe that the Scriptures of the Old and New
       Testaments [emphasis added by FAQ maintainer] are divinely
       inspired, contain no errors and are the final authority in matters
       of faith and life. Although members of Jews for Jesus recognize
       "the value of traditional Jewish literature," they do so only
       insofar as "it is supported by or conformable to the Word of God."
       (Note that, by their definition of the New Testament as divinely
       inspired, this "Word of God" includes the words of Jesus).
       However, Jews for Jesus regard this literature (including books
       such as the Talmud) as "in no way binding upon life or faith."
       According to this statement, although members of Jews for Jesus
       believe only in one God, they believe it exists in three persons:
       a father, a son, and a Holy Spirit (which goes counter to Jewish
       theology). They believe that God had a physical son, and gave that
       son for the redemption of the world (again, counter to Jewish
       theology, but a key aspect of Christian theology). The doctrinal
       statement goes on to express the belief that Jesus is the messiah
       (according to Jewish theology, the messiah has not yet arrived),
       and is "co-equal with God". They believe that Jesus was born
       through "the virgin birth", led a "sinless life", and they hold
       with the concepts of Jesus' atoning death, burial, and bodily
       resurrection. All of these are key Christian theological elements,
       but not part of Judaism.
       The Jews for Jesus doctrine believes that all human beings, with
       the exception of Jesus, are sinners by nature and practice, and
       that Jesus died for the sins of humanity. Again, key Christian
       concepts.
     * Messianic Jews:
       The Messianic Jewish Alliance for America statement of faith, at
       [14]http://www.mjaa.org/StatementOfFaith.ihtml, says that the
       Tenach and the later writings commonly known as the B'rit Hadasha
       (New Covenant) are the only infallible and authoritative word of
       God. It indicates that they accept the teachings of those
       documents as their final authority in all matters of faith and
       practice. These are the approximately the same words as Jews for
       Jesus; as with Jews for Jesus, they include the words of Jesus and
       his disciples as "divinely inspired". In terms of belief, although
       they hold with God as defined by the Shema, they believe that God
       exists as a trinity. More significantly, the hold with basic
       Christian doctrine: "Messiah Yeshua's deity (Is. 9:6, John 1:1,4),
       His virgin birth (Is. 7:14), His sinless life, His atoning death
       (Is. 53, Ps. 22), His bodily resurrection, His ascension, and His
       future return in power and glory." They also believe that all
       Christians are Jewish: "Gentiles who place their faith in Yeshua,
       are "grafted into" the Jewish olive tree of faith (Rom. 11:17-25)
       becoming spiritual sons and daughters of Abraham (Gal. 3:28-29)."
       
   Remember these excerpts when a Hebrew-Christian tries to claim that
   his or her practice is Judaism. The reality is that the belief is not
   Jewish (the Jewish belief is one undivided God, and that the Messiah
   has not yet arrived) and that the goal is to serve as a witness for
   Christianity to the Jews ("....introduce to the Jewish people...")
   
   If an MJ is technically Jewish, try teaching the MJ about Judaism,
   which teaches that one should love one's neighbor as oneself, that one
   should not bear a grudge, that the righteous of all nations have a
   share in the world to come, that G-d is close to all who sincerely
   call, and that the Messiah will usher in a time of peace.

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