A response to the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) statement that appeared
as a full page advertisement in the NY Times on 3/28/08 and posted on eejh
and H-Antisemitism by Dan Leeson on 3/29. This posting is the joint effort
of Dan Leeson and Randy Shiner
To the World Evangelical Alliance:
We forgive you for your ignorance and insensitivity. You do not have the
ability to understand the mindset of your Jewish brethren even after a
couple of thousand years of chasing us around with promises of salvation,
threats, and acts of punishment if we continue to reject Jesus as our Lord
Now, having offered you forgiveness, it is our duty as Jews to remind you
that such evangelical intent has as its sole and central purpose, the
elimination of Judaism and Jews. In the parlance of antisemitism this is
referred to as supercessionism; that is, somehow Jews and Judaism are
obsolete remnants of a time long past. It is the same kind of smiling,
killing-with-kindness, loving-us-to-death antisemitism that was offered to
the Jewish world by Martin Luther and others. In Luther's case, when the
offer was refused, his true character was revealed in 1543 with the
publication of his infamous book, "On The Jews and Their Lies." (See:
The disrespect and outright hate and its history are seen through the eyes
of the church-goers in Trier, Germany in 1096, when after listening to the
Good Friday mass concerning the "perfidious Jews," our forbearers were
hunted down and slaughtered like animals. Lest we thought the second Vatican
Council improved relations with our Christian friends in 1965, let us
remember that the present Pope, Benedict, reinstated much of the same
language in the newly revised Latin mass. With the utmost sadness, we point
out that Christian-Jewish relations are not headed in the right direction.
The good people of the WEA just drove the point home for all to see in the
wicked statement presented in the New York Times and quoted in its entirety
on both eejh and H-Antisemitism.
So, members of the WEA, we have had a lot more experience in this kind of
thing than you. For more than 1,000 years well-meaning Catholics were
throwing Jews to the ground and forcibly baptizing them, sometimes with
ditch water, causing them to be lost to the Jewish family forever. Today,
Mormons not only chase us (and everyone else) with conversionist intent and
messianic fervor, they even undertake the disgusting and hateful act of
baptizing our dead.
The bottom line is this: we are experts in this field, and you are a bunch
of annoying amateurs. So pay attention to what we are saying, please. You do
not know what you are doing.
From a technical point of view, your document is awkwardly composed. Its
author(s)dance around their discomfort with the word "Jew" by not using the
word. People who continually refer to Jews as "the Jewish people," are
tiptoeing around a subject that they have trouble handling with any ease.
("Hey! Do we call them 'Hebrews' or 'People of the Jewish Persuasion,' or
what? How do we refer to those people anyway?") Perhaps they think that
calling us "Jews" might be interpreted as crossing the racial insensitivity
barrier and may be perceived as insulting, or worse, an ethnic slur. And
that coming from people who are trying to separate Jews from their glorious
tradition, which is all we Jews really do have to call our own, and out of
which has sprung the world's two other "great" religions: Christianity and
Evangelical friends, we are Jews. It is perfectly acceptable for you to use
that word unless some unpleasant adjective surrounds it or some ill intent
is attached to it.
The fourth point in the advertisement is perceived as particularly and
unpardonably galling -- we would say "chutzpadik" -- which is hard to
translate in this context. You say, "We deplore the use of deception or
coercion in evangelism; however, we reject the notion that it is deceptive
for followers of Jesus Christ who were born Jewish to continue to identify
as Jews (Romans 11:1)."
This is a botched and duplicitous way of bringing up the matter of
individuals in messianic Christian Churches who self-assert themselves to be
Jewish. Some of these individuals may have had a Jewish ancestor at some
time in the past. And they may even suggest that they are the "rabbi" of
their messianic Congregation having attended a Christian seminary. They act
as the straw man of evangelical conversionism. This is how it works. A
messianic Christian stops a person on the street and ask if he or she is
Jewish. If the answer given is "Yes," the straw man is brought into play and
says, "I am too. I just believe in Jesus as the messiah." They must think
that their intended audience has no brains. Let's be clear: any person who
is a Jew does not, by definition, even consider the possibility that Jesus
is the messiah. (As a side note, did the author of the evangelical text feel
that the reference to Romans 11:1, would somehow convince us?)
Evangelicals should be well and healthy, but, like the Tsars of old, they
should be far, far away from us when their conversion button is turned to
the "on" position. It takes a lot more than self-assertion or a tenuous
connection to a Jewish ancestor to be a Jew.
On the other hand, all that is needed to divorce oneself from the Jewish
world is the belief that a man can be a god. Once a Jew holds that view (G-d
forbid), he or she has become a former Jew. That such a person can have the
chutzpah to assert that s/he can be both Jewish and Christian at the same is
a demonstration of monumental ignorance and self-deception. Disagree with
such people and you will get an ill understood if not twisted recitation and
interpretation of the Book of Isaiah.
So do us a favor and keep away from us when you have you evangelical button
turned on because that is when we become unpleasant. We are Jews. Live with
us in respect and peace. Jesus would have asked for no less.
I. Randolph S. Shiner, Esq.
12820 Via Nieve
San Diego, CA 92130
Skype ID: irsslex
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