This guide is intended to teach you about the tactics used by missionary groups and cults. The tactics of missionaries and missionary groups may vary, but there are some basic guidelines to keep in mind that will be helpful in dealing with them.
Some missionaries attempt to develop a rapport with their subject without divulging their own religious affiliation. If you are not sure about the religious identity of the stranger who begins talking to you about religion, ask him directly if he is a believer in Jesus. Be suspicious of an indirect answer.
Don't be deceived by any outer signs of Jewishness, such as a "Chai" necklace or a Star of David. They are worn to make Jews feel more comfortable by making the speaker seem less "Christian". For the same reason, missionaries are coached by their superiors to avoid using words such as "Christ" or "saved" or "baptize" when speaking to Jews,
in order not to arouse suspicion.
When talking to a Jewish person about religion, a missionary may attempt to elicit as many "I don't know" responses as possible, in order to establish his superiority in matters of religion. Don't allow yourself to be intimidated!
Remember, the missionary has studied Jewish beliefs for the sole purpose of leading Jews to Christianity. Keep in mind that he is not speaking to you in order to exchange ideas, but rather to lead you away from your religion. If you want to learn more about the Jewish Bible, do so from someone who doesn't have hidden motives. Therefore, feel
free to simply end the conversation and walk away.
However, some of you may want to listen to their arguments and then learn the Jewish response, in order to be better prepared for future encounters. The following pointers should give you a basic idea of what to look for.
The missionary may tell you that he (or a Christian friend or acquaintance) was once an Orthodox Jew, or that he had a solid Jewish education, a traditional Jewish family life, etc. This is almost always a lie, so don't let him fool you. The hidden message that he is attempting to convey is that he came to believe in Jesus after knowing and overcoming all of the Jewish objections, and therefore, why should you bother to check it out?
He may drop certain Yiddish phrases or talk about the details of his "traditional" Jewish upbringing, in order to lend more credence to his story. In fact, his "memory" is often the result of careful coaching.
Usually, all that is necessary to expose this type of hoax is to ask him about various small details of Jewish life that any observant Jewish child would know, and see how he responds. In almost all cases, he will begin to hedge about the extent of his "background" and "Jewish knowledge". Unfortunately, most Jews are themselves not knowledgeable enough to be able to expose this type of deception.
In the same vein, the missionary might tell you that he knows the Jewish objections to his arguments, and will then proceed to show how such objectives are ill-founded. Don't expect to hear the real Jewish response from such a source.
LOVING US TO DEATH
Don't be taken in by the "good cop - bad cop" routine. This routine involves a "bad cop" who threatens the subject, and a "good cop" who protects him from the "bad cop". The subject is so grateful to the "good cop", and so worried about losing the good-will of his protector, that he invariably shows his appreciation by telling the "good cop"
what he wants to hear. In similar fashion, the "good" Christian talks about how much he loves Jews, Israel, bagels and lox, etc., while denouncing the "bad" Christians who hate and persecute Jews. A Jew with any knowledge of Christian anti-Semitism will feel grateful to the "good cop", and may automatically judge him to be a friend and reliable ally. Watch out for hidden motives behind such "friendship".
At the outset, the missionary will talk about his belief that Jesus is the messiah. Many Jews don't find out until later, often after they have joined a Hebrew-Christian group, that their fundamental belief is that Jesus is G-D. Any talk about "the messiah" or "son of G-D" is merely a cover for that belief, basic to both fundamentalist Christianity and Hebrew-Christians. However, since such a concept is repugnant to most Jews, this most basic belief of Christianity is
glossed over as much as possible when missionaries talk to Jews.
THE NUMBERS RACKET
Don't be impressed by the claim that Christians have 50, or 100, or 300 "proofs from the Jewish Bible" that they are correct in their claims about Jesus. As proof after proof is shown to be meaningless, the missionary will hide behind his numbers, as if to say: "Well, we have so many more proofs, what's the difference if you can disprove some of
them". He will attempt to "split the difference" with you: "Well, even if half our proofs prove nothing, we still have another 25 or 50, or 150". Remember, all of their proofs can be shown to be untenable. Keep in mind that a faulty point is not worth 50% of a good point, or 25%, or 10%. It is worthless. The simple mathematics are: 50 x 0 = 0, 100 x 0 = 0, 300 x 0 = 0.
Very often, the reasoning used by Christian missionaries is circular. That is, the "proof" only points to Jesus if you believe in him in the first place, and therefore is no proof at all.
Let us take as an example the words of Isaiah 11:2; "And the spirit of the L-rd will rest upon him (the messiah), the spirit of wisdom and understanding...". This verse refers to the messiah, but it does not identify him. The followers of Jesus chose to attribute this verse to him, and it subsequently became one of the "proof-texts" to support the
claims of Christianity.
One way to test such verses is as follows: Pick a figure that neither you nor the missionary believes to be the messiah. (It can be George Washington, Reverend Moon, or your great- grandfather.) Then see if the "messianic prophecy" would point to the figure in the eyes of anyone who believed him to be the messiah. If it can be used that way, the
verse obviously proves nothing.
Be aware of the problem of mistranslation. A person who is not familiar with Hebrew (or with the Hebrew text of the Bible) can be lead to accept a mistranslation of the Bible which puts a Christian "twist" on a verse that never had such a meaning in the original. If you can't check it out yourself, talk to a reliable person who can. Remember, it
is no coincidence that the Jews of past generations, who were much better versed in the original Hebrew Bible, never had any serious problems refuting Christian missionary arguments.
QUOTING OUT OF CONTEXT
Often a verse will be quoted to you that has been taken entirely out of context. When the entire chapter that contains that verse is read, it becomes clear that: 1) that the verse is not a messianic prophecy, and/or 2) the prophecy could not possibly refer to Jesus.
USE THE PROPER RESOURCES!
Most rabbis spend their time studying the positive aspects of Judaism to teach to their congregants, and therefore may not be familiar with the "curve-ball" approach of missionaries. If you need advice concerning a problem of this sort, get in touch with people who are familiar with the tactics being used and who know how to deal with them.