Oh, What a Tangled web.....

Anti Missionary websites

I was in two minds about this feature. A list of anti-missionary websites would help readers of the Herald to understand the attitudes of the Jewish community to our ministry and introduce our supporters to the opposition first-hand. But there is real danger because some of the arguments on these sites are sophisticated and plausible. Very plausible. Some sites are produced by earnest amateurs but others are the products of skilled debaters and communicators
Take a look. But remember that for every objection to the faith you encounter on these sites, there are answers. If you choose to email the authors of the sites, do so with courtesy. Even though anti-missionaries have no respect for Christian missionaries, when we are reviled we must not revile in return and, when we give a reason for the hope within us we must do so “with meekness and fear”.

A winner of the “Jewish Agency Top Ten Award”, this site is an introduction to Judaism for Jews who want to know more about their religion and for those considering conversion to Judaism.

However, the author of the site also has a few words to say about “missionaries”. According to the author, the Christian missionary has a “blind faith” that has convinced him that “he alone is right”. The author is “not interested in receiving e-mail from missionaries ... even though [he is] perfectly capable of disproving all their points”. Moreover, he says, “Jews do not have to treat missionaries with respect”.

Just in case we haven’t quite understood him: “If you want to write me a letter to convince me that jesus [note that he does not capitalise the name] is the Messiah, or that jesus is in the Prophecies of the Tanach, or anything else about jesus or Christianity, or to change my beliefs about Judaism in any way, DON’T. I am not interested, and I don’t want to receive any such letters.” What was that about missionaries having “blind” faith?

Jews for Judaism claims to be “the Jewish community’s leading response to the multi-million dollar efforts of deceptive missionary and cult groups that target Jews for conversion”, offering “specialised counselling services, lectures, seminars, classes and multi-media educational materials”.

On the staff are Mark Sanders and Julius Ciss. Mark Sanders is described as a “former Pentecostal, fundamentalist minister who engaged in missionary activity in Israel, working in kibbutzim and the Israeli public school system”. Julius Ciss was apparently a worker with Jews for Jesus. Both “began to see many serious inconsistencies and errors in the Christian Bible” and turned back to Judaism.

There is a great deal of information on the site, which is challenging and should be viewed with caution.

“What Are We Doing Wrong, and What are They doing Right? Why Have more Jews Converted to Christianity in the Last 19 Years than in the Last 1,900 Years?” asks Rabbi Tovia Singer, the dynamic driving force behind Outreach Judaism. This youthful, highly intelligent and widely-read rabbi stands head and shoulders above most other anti-missionaries in terms of his understanding of the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament and Christian theology. He is a force to be reckoned with, and his website and recorded lectures are not for the faint-hearted or young in the faith.

If you visit this website, do so with care, prepared for arguments against the faith you had probably never imagined. Remember also that for every one of Rabbi Singer’s “answers” to Christians, there are Christian answers to Rabbi Singer. Truth pagel

Project Truth is the work of Shmuel ben Avraham and claims to be “the first and only World Wide Web site providing complete information on Missionaries and Missionary subjects”. The site consists of the summary of a book on which Shmuel is working and covers subjects such as “Christian vs. Jewish views of atonement”, “Prophecies of Isaiah” and “Verses showing the unity of G-d”. A page featuring “Verses showing that there will be no ‘New Testament’ ” carries verses from many Bible books but, curiously, none from Jeremiah 31!

Their Hollow Inheritance by Michoel Drazin is an entire book (apart from the final chapter) which claims to be “A Comprehensive Refutation of Christian Missionaries”. The author refers to Jesus throughout as “J” and rips New Testament verses from their context to prove that the apostle Paul was a self-confessed liar. Rabbi Shmuel Boteach used material from this book/site when preparing for his 1998 London debate with a Messianic “rabbi”.

According to their home page, The Task Force on Missionaries and Cults is “the leading counter-missionary and cult organisation in North America and is the leader in providing information and assistance to individuals and communities in the U.S., Europe, and Israel”.

The website still carries a sensational warning from February 1999 of “Apocalyptic Dreams and Jewish Nightmares” and “Millennial Panic” by “Manic Christians” when (the supposed) expectation of the return of Jesus by the end of the millennium would be dashed. “Millions of American Christians” it warns, “believe that Jesus will return to Jerusalem during the millennium, and the Apocalypse will be upon the world. But what if that doesn’t happen? Will those disappointed believers react violently against Jews, who play a pivotal role in their cosmic story?”

TFMC says that Jews around the world, and particularly in Israel, “must take action now to prevent a backlash by Christian apocalyptists”. No doubt the TFMC believes they succeeded.

“A spiritual Holocaust [is] befalling Jews right now”, warns the Torah Life and Living website. “When an unwitting child or grandchild falls prey to missionaries and cults”, says the home page, “Torah Life & Living is the place to turn”. Their Jewish Continuity Programme has a “proven track record of success” and they are “often the last hope for exasperated parents, clergymen, social workers, even other Jewish educational organisations”. Over the past 13 years, their counselling services “have helped to heal families shattered by messianics, missionaries, and cults.”

This “Emergency Room for Jewish Souls” carries stories of those who were “caught in a web of evil” but were rescued from “the evil forces which try to tempt our children into dark places”. One satisfied customer describes director Aaron Schwarzbaum as “an angel who has the strength of belief in the important work you do to help keep our children Jewish”.

This website plays the theme from Exodus while at the same teaching “Jews how to refute Christian missionaries, by using passages from both the Jewish and Christian Bibles”. It is essentially an advertisement for S.J. Greenstein’s book We Are Not Going to Burn in Hell, which can be ordered from the site. The site features an explanation of why Mr Greenstein wrote his book, a contents page, the first chapter of his book plus enthusiastic reviews and comments. (in Hebrew)

Yad L’achim advertises itself as “the Foremost, Pioneer Organization Spearheading the Struggle Against Missionaries and Cults” offering their services “in guidance, advice, direction, and solving problems of Israeli citizens, young and old, who have become trapped in the clutches of missionaries and mystic cults”.

According to the website, missionaries “put much emphasis on brainwashing individual youngsters [completely untrue] who are at the crossroads of life... Another method is through “Sunday schools” for very young children [not true]. “Kehilat Chessed Ve’emet [Grace and Truth Congregation] is an organization that specializes in this type of education. It was founded by Baruch Maoz (aka Richard Rikky) [what!] who converted in the U.S. He gains the trust of his followers by wearing and having them wear a kippah and zitzit [definitely not true!!!].”

The website features a lurid story, At the Last Minute, about G who discovered that his wife had been “ensnared by missionaries” and was attempting to leave Israel with their 3-year-old daughter, assisted by a “Christian sect that had brainwashed her”. Following a dramatic pursuit that ended at Ben Gurion Airport, Yad L’Achim’s activists managed to stop G’s wife and daughter leaving the country. According to the story, the missionaries employed a “satanic trick” to prevent G’s wife being caught by the border police. And this, apparently, is “a typical case, among hundreds that occur yearly, of how souls are literally being saved”.

There’s never a dull moment when you work for Yad L’Achim!
This article first appeared in the Autumn 2000 issue

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