This morning I sent this to Jews for Jesus:
This is quite hard to write, so please bear with me.
As you know I am a Messianic Jew. I came to know Yeshua in 1992. In 1997 I started a course of study at Trinity College Bristol, during which time I served an Internship at Jews for Jesus which included a “Christ in the Passover” tour. After graduation I restarted the UK work of Chosen People Ministries and was recruited by CMJ in 2002. I served as National Evangelist with CMJ for over 10 years until I was made redundant in 2012. I have had the honour of being a Committee Member of the BMJA for 11 of the past 15 years. Over the last 20+ years I have been fortunate to make good friends in all of the “Jewish Missions”, as well as wider groupings and Ministries.
Julia the main reason I am writing this is to share with you my dismay at having seen “That Jew Died For You”.
One of my Maternal Great-Uncles was murdered by the Nazis in 1941. True it was not in a death camp; he was shot along with the rest of the Jewish Community of Slutsk, in what is now Belarus.
It is not possible to be in Messianic Jewish Ministry and to not meet with survivors of the Shoah. I am always astonished at the strength of character of survivors.
The “Video Broadside” is, in my view, ill thought through. Could I briefly tell you why?
On the one hand, it shows Yeshua going to certain death in a Camp. While it is undoubtedly true that our Messiah shared the suffering of those millions, and it is true that many will have heard the Good News (there were many tens of thousands of Messianic Jews who also died in the Camps), the idea of his life being taken from him does not sit well with his statement that he laid down his life, and that no-one took it from him.
On the other hand, using Shoah imagery just after Pesach, in the run up to Yom HaShoah, is at best insensitive.
On the other hand, the Good News is an offence; yet we are unwise to set out to cause offence. The Good News is about why Yeshua lived and died, and how we can follow him. There will be many conversations about this video. The subject matter of that conversations will not be Yeshua and his claims; it will be Jews for Jesus. As you know, many see “Jews for Jesus” and “Messianic Jews” as synonymous. While this is untrue, that is the perception of many people, Jewish and Gentile.
Could I ask why it was thought appropriate to release this video at this time? Did the producers really think that Jewish people would be drawn closer to Yeshua by watching it? Did they not consider how much offence it would cause? Did they not consider the damage which would be done to Jewish Missions and the wider Messianic Jewish Community?
Julia, this has truly back-fired if it was an evangelistic idea.
Could I ask that some kind apology be released, please?
As you will know the BMJA has this morning released a Statement disassociating ourselves as an Alliance from the video. You will also know that Rabbi Dr Stuart Dauermann has written to David Brickner and Susan Perlman. There are many Messianic Jews who are deeply offended by the video, and probably the majority of non-Messianic Jews who will be aghast at the subject matter.
I appreciate that I am not a Staff Member, a Trustee or a “Supporter” of Jews for Jesus, and that I have no voice within the organisation. However as a Messianic Jew, one who has been involved in the Messianic Jewish Community for over 20 years, I fell that I have had to let you know how distressing I found the video.
Please would you in some way publicly acknowledge that it was a mistake? That would go a long way to beginning a healing process, a process which will take many years of hard work.
Thanking you for your time, I am
Yours for the lost sheep of Israel