Saturday, August 07, 2004

Evangelicals and Messianic Jews

Looks like some evangelicalsare as insensitive to Jewish sensibilities as the main-line Presbyterians who not only called for divestment from Israel, but gave increased support to a sco-called Messianic Jewish congregation.


Eric Greenberg "Evangelicals Seen Forging Alliance With 'Messianic Jews'" (Forward August 6) reports.

The founder of a fundamentalist Christian men's movement plans to forge a new alliance with "messianic Jews" that could undermine crucial relations between pro-Israel Evangelical Christians and the Jewish community.

Bill McCartney, the former University of Colorado football coach who in 1990 created Promise Keepers, a national Christian men's ministry, is planning to launch "Road to Jerusalem." The group is designed to strengthen ties between Evangelical Christians and messianic Jews — a term used to describe people who believe that Jesus is the messiah, but continue to identify as Jews and perform Jewish rituals. Jewish organizations frequently have accused messianic Jews
adopting misleading tactics in their attempts to win over other Jews.

In recent years, Jewish organizations generally have succeeded in convincing many evangelical groups to refrain from working with messianic Jews. This arrangement has made it significantly easier for American Jewish organizations and Israeli officials to embrace evangelical support for Israel.

Some observers, however, say that a new era could be dawning, with Evangelical Christian groups more willing to risk their good relations with Jews and Israel by allying themselves with the messianists.

"What I'm sensing now, and I'm concerned about it, is a deliberate effort on the part of some evangelical groups to affirm their messianic components," said Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, president and founder of International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. Eckstein, whose organization raises money for Israel each year from evangelical donors, said that he was unfamiliar with McCartney's efforts, but has seen hints of such a trend for months.


Some neo-cons like Daniel Pipes have been entertaining the fantasy of an ethnic re-alignment with Muslims flocking to the Democrats and Jews moving wholesale to the GOP. Never likely in my opinion. McCartney project will make it even more of a pipedream.

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