The most honest person in the world is the man on his deathbed. He’s entirely honest and frank. No facades. He speaks from the heart, and, knowing he has few words left, speaks only the essentials.
Moishe Rosen, the founder of Jews for Jesus (J4J) passed away last week, and the J4J website has posted Rosen’s parting words.
2 striking things in his final words:
- His repeated appeal for Jews to stay in Jews for Jesus and Christian churches.
- His perplexity at believers in Jesus following Judaism.
Have a look:
I'd like to encourage you to stay with Jews for Jesus.
As I go, one of the things that concerns me deeply is how much misunderstanding there is among believers. I never thought I would live to see the day when those who know the Lord and are born again were supporting the efforts of rabbis who, frankly, not only don't know Christ, but don't want to know Him.
He chides those followers of Yeshua who support non-Messianic Jewish ministries:
To be an honest ministry, it can only come from the Holy Spirit; and the Holy Spirit can only indwell those who have the new birth and are born again. Therefore, I would urge you to think very seriously before you support any "ministry" that involves Jewish people and doesn't actually bring the gospel to the Jews.
Rosen is confounded by Messianic ministries that are pro-Judaism:
Likewise, I am concerned over something else that I never thought that I would see or hear and that is, Jews who have become believers in Jesus and have important positions in ministry yet feel that their primary purpose is to promote Jewishness and Judaism to the Jews.
On whether Jews can be saved outside of Yeshua, Rosen says,
I hope I can count on you to show love and respect for the Jewish people, but Jewishness never saved anybody. Judaism never saved anybody no matter how sincere. Romans 10:9 & 10 make it clear that we must believe in our hearts and confess with our mouths the Lord Jesus in order to be saved. There are no shortcuts. There is no easy way. Within Judaism today, there is no salvation because Christ has no place within Judaism.
On converting Jews to Christianity, Rosen says,
…we stand on the edge of a breakthrough in Jewish evangelism. Just a little more. Just another push. Just another soul - and we will have reached critical mass where we begin generating that energy that the whole world might know the Lord.
Rosen concludes with another statement meant to keep Jews in J4J and in Christian churches:
I would also encourage you to be faithful to those Bible-teaching, Bible-preaching churches that give spiritual food. More than ever, the church needs faithful members who can be an example to the young people coming in. Maybe there are some features about your church that keep you from being enthusiastic - look around and see if there might be a better church for you. If there is, join it and enjoy it. If your church is doing a lot right, then stay where you’re planted.
What stood out to me is the stark contrast between Jews for Jesus and, say, MJTI. Opposite ends of the spectrum. So different, an outside observer would not categorize them together.
|Jews for Jesus||Messianic Jewish organizations|
|Stay in your church||Join a synagogue, preferably Messianic|
|Stay where you’re planted||Preserve your Jewish heritage|
|Judaism never saved anyone||Keep the Torah|
|Save just one more soul||Engage with the greater Jewish world|
|Only born-again Christians receive the Holy Spirit||God’s spirit has always been at work among the chosen people, even those that reject Messiah.|
See the difference? We’re barely scratching the surface here.
If I could sum up Jews for Jesus in a sentence, it is this: Jews converting to Christianity. J4J stances are in perfect harmony with classical Christianity; one could expect to hear these same stances espoused by most any evangelical Christian preacher. “We must save just one more soul!”
(At least there was no mention of the jingle-jangle. )
J4J does not see a problem with Christianity, and suggests Jews ought to join Christian churches.
In contrast, Messianic organizations do see a problem with Christianity: it has deprecated God’s commandments, thus departing from the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament model.
Messianic Jewish organizations see another problem with Jews converting to Christianity: the loss of Jewish identity. Imagine if, by magic, all Jews of the world suddenly joined churches, there would be no Jews within a generation or two due to culture erasure and intermarriage. They’d all identify as Christians, and not Jews, and their descendants will forget. That’s a problem.
Despite all these differences, when people hear “Messianic Jew”, they think “Jews for Jesus”. J4J is the poster boy of the Messianic movement, like it or not.
And yet, some J4J stances ring true to my ears.
First, they’ve got a lot of Jews to follow Messiah.
Second, I share the concern of supporting Jewish orgs that not only reject Messiah, but actively suppress Messiah’s followers.
Third, the fruit I’ve seen from Messianic Jewish organizations hasn’t been great. When I think of UMJC and MJTI, the first thing that comes to mind is all the bickering, internal fighting, ministry alliances, all the marginalization of gentiles. Sorry, it’s true.
Lastly, I’ve seen many folks that go deep into Judaism, with my blessing and encouragement. Result? Many of them abandon Messiah, or belittle him to something short of what the gospels make him out to be. I’ve seen 4 or 5 examples of this now. If that’s the end result, what the hell are we doing anyways with this Judaism stuff? It makes me wonder whether Judaism isn’t the answer after all.
What do you fine blog readers think of Moishe Rosen’s last words?