Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Dealing with Missionaries: Loving all the More

College is beginning for many this week, and with the return to campus, Jews are often confronted by missionary groups, most of them very well funded, all of them seeking fervently to spread the "good news."

Well, the good news for Jewish students is that answers to missionary challenges are right at your fingertips, just a click away.

Click for responses to common questions like:

What are the implications of the Christian doctrine of original sin?
Are humans so sinful that they need a sinless agent to redeem them?
Do Jews believe in the doctrine of original sin?

Can you give a reason why Jews say Isaiah 9:6 does not refer to Jesus?
Why Jews reject incarnation?
How can a Jew Answer the Christian missionary's Question, "Are you saved?"
Did rabbinic Judaism substitute a non-biblical atonement?
Why do Christians claim there will be a second coming of Jesus?
Were the New Testament authors contriving anti-Jewish episodes or simply stating historical fact?
Is it true that the New Testament criticism of the Jews is quite mild?
Could Jesus have hated anyone when he spoke words of forgiveness and non-resistance to wickedness?
Was the Last Supper a Seder?
Do the 3 Passover Matzas symbolize the Trinity?
Did Israel suffer primarily because of its own sins?
Did Jesus fulfill the role of the asham, "guilt-offering,"?
Does Isaiah 53:10 (If he would ...) apply to Jesus?
How can Jews say that the suffering servant of Isaiah 53 refers to the Jewish people?
Did Jesus fulfill Isaiah 53:7
Is it true that Jews interpreted Isaiah 53 as referring to the Messiah before Rashi?
What did Jesus (allegedly God) give up in dying a human death?
Who is the suffering servant of the Lord?
Almah, virgin and parthenos
What are the implications of the New Testament claim that Jesus was "born under law"?
Luke 2:4,5 -Was Mary a descendant of David?
The Roman Census in Luke - actually carried out?
What is the meaning of God said: "Let us make man in our image . . .?
What does Jesus mean when he says when he says, "I am the Alpha and the Omega...?
Does Matthew 28:19 show the existence of a triune deity?
What is the claim where Jesus says, "before Abraham came into being, I am" (John 8:58)?
Does the word "spirit" refer to what Christians call the "third member of the trinity"?
Did a portion of the tri-unity god become man to suffer in order to save?
Did Flavius Josephus provides corroborative evidence for Chrisitan claims?
In what sense is 'echad' [one] used in the Shema?
Is Trinity supported by the account of Sodom and Gomorrah?
Do Deuteronomy 6:4 and Psalms 110:1 teach the trinitarian plurality of God?
If Jesus was God as well as man how could Satan expect to tempt him?
Is it true that the Zohar's commentary on the Shema confirms the Christian doctrine of Trinity?
What is one reason Jews do not accept the Christian belief that Jesus is the incarnation of God?

The two best sites are:

Jews for Judaism and Outreach Judaism

Jews for Judaism - This group that seeks to counter missionaries and cults. You Of particular note is the resource section which provides an FAQ, reference area, personal stories, audio clips, and links to relevant sites. This is an excellent starting point for information on anti-missionary techniques and services.

Outreach Judaism - Created by Rabbi Tovia Singer, Outreach Judaism is "an international organization that responds directly to the issues raised by missionaries and cults, by exploring Judaism in contradistinction to fundamentalist Christianity." This anti-missionary site offers rebuttals to the claims of Jews for Jesus and missionary groups. The site also sells products created by Rabbi Singer in both English and Russian.

OK, so now I've given you the tools. But the fact is that having all the answers is not THE answer. Jewish students who are targeted tend to feel alienated from their own faith and buy into the idea that theirs is not a religion of love. For many centuries, the greatest threat to Jews was that we were so hated. Now, the missionary groups are employing the opposite tactic - they are loving us to death. When our kids are being love-bombed, the response is to love them all the more. Hillels on campus are more open and inviting than they were in my day, but the entire Jewish establishment needs to join forces to embrace our own kids, on college campuses and everywhere else. We fight fire with fire - the fire of passion.

We've got to show them the love. If we do, no missionary argument will ever prove persuasive.

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