Christ at the Checkpoint Conference 2014

After the flood there was a tower called Babel and…

We can rest assured that when G-d makes a promise, G-d keeps it. The ills of confusion cast upon the world under Nimrod’s earthly authority remain to this day in ever-changing voices representing an ever-changing language: the Church. With over 33,000 Christian denominations in 238 countries, pulpits are bound to vary in nuance, but there is one in particular that stands out and they are self-titled Messianic Jews. I was a member of one of these churches for two years.

The congregation my husband and I attended was a strong link in a vast chain called Tikkun International spearheaded by Dan Juster in Maryland. In their battle for international peace and the “Kingdom to Come” the Hebrew Christian movement deployed diplomats to the 2014 Christ at the Checkpoint conference in Israel. Mr. Juster was one such prayer warrior equipped to remind the Church that it had been grafted into Israel rather than having replaced Israel within the pale of Christian theology. Members of Hebrew Christian communities are, with great justification, concerned about Replacement Theology because the heart of their mission is to convert Jews with the premise that one can accept Jesus and still remain Jewish.

Nimrod’s construction crew worked around the clock making bricks from scratch and piling them as high as they could to reach the heavens. When a human fell from this lofty tower to his death, he was simply pushed to the side so the work could continue. But if a brick shattered it was catastrophic for morale. The Hebrew Christian movement is a brick in the wall of the Church which Replacement Theology threatens to crack. It is a brick struggling to climb to the top of a system that finds it a novel amusement because Jesus was a Jew yet still turns a blind eye to the damage one stone can inflict when hurled, particularly in Israel and even more so when the Palestinian cause is center stage.

Dan Juster’s speech cried foul play on behalf of Israel in a venue circling Palestinian Christians for a much larger mission. It’s an age-old Holy War against the Jews with modern public relations. This type of soul-damaging rhetoric is consistent with the Hebrew Christian movement itself. It hurls stones at the heart of Jewish souls. It is its own Replacement Theology, one that strives to position itself between the Jewish people and G-d as a mediator through Jesus. It uses the Hebrew language to sound impressive; it recreates a church into a synagogue; it drapes a prayer shawl on the shoulders of men who, as a part of indoctrination, must swear homage to the Jews and Israel. It looks Jewish. As a Jew who was desperate to find meaning in life, this movement was very appealing to me and I joined it. I was moved by the love-bombing and a transparent expertise in the world of Judeo knowledge.

There became one notable problem however. It is not Jewish. And when I did leave, I was verbally abused and essentially reminded of the fiery lakes of hell – my future. I no longer felt the love.

The more I studied Mr. Juster’s books in contrast to the Hebrew Torah, the more I realized how distant his theology was from the reality of G-d. I realized that the so-called experts in the Hebrew Christian movement had no answers to my Jewish questions. It became obvious when our congregational leader began apologizing for churches yet undermined them at the same time. “Don’t get me wrong. I have a great deal of respect for Christians and the Church,” he would say. “But…” He was trained by Mr. Juster.

I did not leave Christianity to become the Jew I was born to be because of this movement. In fact, while involved, my Hebrew grew strong and so did my studies. I left because, through honest learning and a sincere drive for the truth, it became crystal clear that Jesus was not the Jewish Messiah our messianic prophecies mention. Knowledge is power. I choose to use it responsibly. Jews cannot accept another god, particularly a man-god and remain in the covenant G-d made with Moses.

Respectfully, I refer anyone with a sincere quest for the truth to an amazing and vast series of lectures by Rabbi Michael Skobac with Jews for Judaism. They can be found at http://www.jewsforjudaism.org.

I have listened to many of Dan Juster’s speeches, and his inspirational call-to-arms at the conference failed to profess anything new. His passive-aggressive stance against the Church and anti-Zionists, an opinion rooted in the core of Hebrew Christianity, remains unscathed. His so-called Bible scholarship remains tenuous in the eyes of the educated. But then, what are certain churches up to – again?

In conclusion, I would like to add a personal sentiment regarding this Christ at the Checkpoint conference and the Hebrew Christian movement’s involvement this year. Anti-Semitic rhetoric is bad enough as it is and Israel is the only country in the Mid East where there is freedom of religion. The fact that Mr. Juster and other Hebrew Christian leaders put boots on the ground in a so-called peace effort reiterates what I already knew: the movement will stoop to anything to recruit and gain favor. So will other movements. In no way is this helping Israel or the Jews. It’s hurting us.

With regard to anti-Zionist claims and mandatory Christian proselytizing of Israeli citizenry made by any congregation, we can all agree to disagree respectfully. But hate speech is not the same input as constructive criticism; its murder. Freedom of religion does not equate to storm-trooping the Holy Land with evangelical missions to turn Israel into a Christian nation. The tongue is a sword and the Crusades were medieval failures with much blood on their hands.

This conference exists only to annex the Jewish State into the Church – for the countless time in 2,000 years.

Let my people go…and never forget.

kol tuv,

Shoshana Maust