Eric Gorski of The Denver Post has written a finely balanced article about Promise Keepers founder Bill McCartney’s latest interest: building unity between Christians who grew up Jewish and those who did not. Gorski uses the phrase “Messianic Jews” repeatedly, and that concept, among others, is at the heart of conflicts between the organizations Jews for Jesus and Jews for Judaism.
A quote from one Jews for Judaism document, Seven Answers to Jews for Jesus (PDF), illustrates the tension:
A “Jew for Jesus” is as absurd as a “Christian for Buddha” and as ridiculous as “kosher pork.” The fact that some of the first Christians were Jews didn’t make them right. Their movement died out within three centuries as the church became a Gentile institution.
Rebecca Breeden of The Advocate in Baton Rouge, La., ran into this conflict when she reported on the new pastorate of Stuart Rothberg, who grew up in a Jewish home but eventually became a Southern Baptist minister. Some letter-writers to the Advocate took umbrage that Breeden told Rothberg’s story without stressing that he was no longer Jewish.
Writing about any person who grows up Jewish but becomes a Christian is a minefield for any reporter. But with the availability of impassioned, media-savvy members of Jews for Jesus and Jews for Judaism, such stories need never be dull.