Praying for Southern Baptists

November 4, 1999

By Curt Schleier

By Curt Schleier
I'm not surprised that Southern Baptists are praying for the conversion of the Jews. I'm praying for Southern Baptists. I pray that they see how hypocritical and offensive it is for them to say they love Jews and in the same breath trash our religion. Judaism is trashed when a Southern Baptist leader says that God doesn't hear our prayers and when their new prayer guide states that we should see the futility of repentance. They also pray that Jews should be free of the strong influence of materialism and see that there is nothing we can do to merit God's forgiveness-- nothing, except convert and accept Jesus as God, Messiah and Savior. In one swift blow, Southern Baptists have denigrated the Jewish belief that prayer, repentance and charity enable us to return to God at any moment. Countless scholarly works attribute 2,000 years of Christian anti-Semitism to this type of rhetoric. It invalidates our religion and portrays Jews as subhuman since we are rejected by God and no longer in His image. It is not surprising that Jews and non-Jews alike find this stance morally repugnant. According to a 1990 Council of Jewish Federations study, over 600,000 Jews identify with some form of Christianity in North America alone. A high percentage of these conversions were accomplished by missionary groups who use both deception and manipulation. These missionary groups are supported and utilized by Southern Baptists. Jews for Jesus indicates on their web page that they are invited to speak in countless Southern Baptist churches. The executive secretary for the International Messianic Jewish Alliance and director of the Christian Jew Foundation is a Southern Baptist. When the missionary group Chosen People Ministries sponsored the "To the Jew First in the New Millennium" conference this past September in New York City, it was held in a Baptist Church run by a Southern Baptist minister. Dr. Paige Patterson, president of the Southern Baptist Convention was the keynote speaker and co-convener of this conference which included a who's who of Hebrew-Christian missionaries. Dr. Patterson has stated that "we use neither coercion nor deception but stand solidly opposed to both." In that case, the Southern Baptists should denounce and dissociate themselves from Jews for Jesus and Messianic groups. These groups mistranslate the Bible, fabricate rabbinic sources, and use fear tactics to instruct their members to avoid hearing opposing view points. They denounce Judaism as a cult of the rabbis, but use rabbinic traditions to portray their Jewishness and call their ministers rabbis. The founder of Jews for Jesus, an ordained Baptist minister, has called Judaism "a false religion." Additionally he has instructed Christians to avoid talking about the deity of Jesus when talking to Jews, saying, "as important as these doctrines may be, correct theology is not what will save your friend." One final example is the present director of Jews for Jesus who claims to be a Jew, but documentation proves that his mother wasn't Jewish. The Southern Baptist prayer guide states that "Jews don't cease being Jewish when they accept Jesus." Judaism believes that there is more than one way to have a relationship with God, a path for Jews and a path for non-Jews. However, the Torah teaches that if Jews accept the Christian beliefs of the deity of Jesus, the trinity and the bodily incarnation of God, they are considered idolaters and can no longer call themselves Jews. It is insulting for Southern Baptists to pray that we accept these non-biblical and non-Jewish concepts. This is one prayer that we can do without.
Rabbi Bentzion Kravitz lives in Los Angeles and is the founder and West Coast director of Jews for Judaism. He can be contacted at www.jewsforjudaism.org.