Why Jews and Christians Deplore the Tactics of “Hebrew-Christian” Missionaries

Many missionaries are sincere and open about their aims, and we certainly respect the rights of individuals and organizations to proclaim their heartfelt beliefs. But why do Jews and Christians deplore the tactics of Hebrew Christian missionaries? 

The Christian missionaries we refer to in this pamphlet, however, are proselytizing primarily to Jewish people, and are declaring that they are the repository of authentic Judaism . . .

These missionaries (Jews for Jesus, Messianic Jews and a host of other such organizations), share the belief that Jesus was Messiah and G-d. In doing so, they are espousing a belief system which is Christian, not Jewish.

Their use of Jewish symbols, phrases and even rituals serve merely as a veneer. Their actual goal is to convert unsuspecting Jews to Christianity. Even Rev. Bill Graham has, on several occasions, denounced the use on gimmicks in proselytizing and publicly distanced himself from the practice of targeting Jews for conversion.1

It is important to note that responsible Christian leaders agree with this and go one step further they will tell you that these so-called “Messianic Jews” (as Hebrew-Christians prefer to be called), are neither representing true Judaism, nor are they conveying true Christianity!

The Jewish Community works alongside the Christian community on a variety of common concerns. Christians of good faith recognize the distinction between our two faiths, and would never think of redefining Judaism in order to convert Jewish people.

A columnist in the Catholic New York states:

In short, they [Messianic Jews] attempt to … ‘sell’ Jews (particularly the young and vulnerable) a truncated version of Christianity. At the same time, they selectively appropriate elements of sacred Jewish tradition and practice. The result is a fundamental distortion of authentic Christianity and a denigration of the integrity of Judaism. 2

In fact, the Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington, D.C., a group which includes Baptist and other mainline Protestant groups as well as the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., proclaimed:

These groups [‘Hebrew Christians’ or ‘Messianic Jews’] specifically target Jews for conversion to their version of Christianity . . . By celebrating Jewish festivals, worshiping on the Jewish Sabbath, appropriating Jewish symbols, rituals and prayers in their churches, . . . they seek to win over . . . many Jews who are sincerely looking for a path back to their ancient heritage . . . These proselytizing techniques are tantamount to coerced conversions and should be concerned.3

In a document ratified by the religious leaders of. all four major Jewish denominations (Conservative, Orthodox, Reconstructionist and Reform), it is stated that:

Jewish leadership had unequivocally declared ‘Hebrew Christians’ as completely separate and disassociated from the Jewish community.

Though Hebrew Christianity claims to be a form of Judaism, it is not. It is nothing more than a disguised effort to missionize Jews and convert them to Christianity…

Hebrew Christians are in radical conflict with the communal interests and destiny of the Jewish people. They have crossed an unbreachable chasm by accepting another religion. Despite this separation, the continue to attempt to convert their former co-religionists.4

1 Baptist Press, February 26, 1997; January 4, 2000

2 Catholic New York, January 7, 1998,

3 Catholic New York, January 7, 1998,

4 Meeting the Challenge