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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Joel Bell's Center and Rabbi Riskin's video

Posted by Jewish Israel

Joel Bell opens new WBZ missionary center in Sha’ar Binyamin
Joel Bell has completed construction on a 5000 square ft. facility 15 minutes north of Jerusalem. The World Biblical Zionist Strategic Center is designed to enhance the development of the “ Biblical inheritance” which evangelical Christians now claim to share with the Jewish people (and you thought there were no strings attached).

Bell makes it clear in his latest video that Samaria is his “birthright” - but not only his. He has established a strategic “covenant relationship” with Kenyan evangelical Christians who have opened up offices in Joel’s new facilities.

Meanwhile, Bell’s partner, Don Esposito, has announced that he has “sealed the deal with the Jewish Agency to be able to bring believers [in Jesus] over to Israel for anywhere from 9 months up to 2 years.”…more

Rabbi Riskin video “gone viral” among Orthodox Jews and messianic Christians

In Jewish Israel's December 26th post we made mention of and posted excerpts from yet another controversial video of Rabbi Riskin. That video is now making the rounds among Jewish online news services and blog sites like Yeshiva World News, 5 Towns Jewish Times, and Dov Bear. The video was originally posted on YouTube by “a follower of the Nazarene, Yeshua Ha'Mashiach [Jesus Christ]” who has a messianic site.

Two other Rabbi Riskin videos are available at Jewish Israel here and here, in addition to numerous reports and blog postings (for a complete list, click on JI’s search facility).

Representatives from Jewish Israel (including a well-respected Rav), and a former Christian bible teacher who is now a counter-missionary expert, have met with Rabbi Riskin to discuss his personal take on Christian scripture and his unorthodox stance on interfaith relations. There has been an ongoing article and blog debate between Rabbi Riskin and this writer. The correspondence has been hard-hitting, but civil. This topic demands our continued attention.

Rabbi Riskin's continued pursuit of theological endeavors with evangelicals is especially problematic, because even though he is on record for opposing dialogue with Jews for Jesus or any messianic entities, messianic sites use his material and credit Rabbi Riskin for strengthening the messianic community in Israel:

(Excerpt from a popular messianic site):
“Riskin says that he was ‘truly fascinated’ by Jesus, and considers him a ‘model rabbi’, who lived the life of a Jewish rabbi in Israel. Riskin’s language is honest and refreshing, and his words strengthen the Messianic Jews in Israel…”

Meanwhile, “Christian Zionist” groups regularly make use of Rabbi Riskin’s theological spin in their promotional material which calls for a breaking down of borders between faiths.

18 comments:

JDL London Canada said...

I see the threat of islam as more problematic than xtian Zionist or the messianics. In fact, that term messianic has a much broader definition. We are all waiting for the Maschiach to bring peace and restoration in this world as Rabbi Riskin implies but the 'missionary' activity is a response to our inability to be a 'light unto the nations'. The fact is they are more dedicated to Israel than most of us; ulterior motive or not. I don't believe this is 1st century Constantian xtian movement that has persecuted us back then and there after as told by our Sages. We must not oversimplify what is seen here. These people will help us and if we don't like what they have to say then tell them to shut up and move on. I challenge the mormons, JW's, baptists etc. I tell them salvation is of the Jew as it is written and we will tell you what is the truth. For too long the rabbis have forbade us from this type of open forum. If Torah is truth, and it is, then we have nothing to fear from 'them' or do we ...

Batya said...

jdl, you're wrong here.

Ellen, thanks for posting this!!

ellen said...

to JDL London Canada:

This is my personal take, and not the official Jewish Israel stance

I see the Islamic threat (a physical threat on our external borders) as a direct consequence of our inability to maintain our internal borders and spiritual obligations.

It's basic Judaism 101, and everyone who can read the Shema knows that exile from our land (G-d forbid) is guaranteed if we lapse into a state of avodah zarah and put our faith in alien sources. christianity in any of its forms is avodah zara for the Jew.

Perhaps that's why Rachel Emenu still weeps for her children. She's a mother who saw her children go off the derech and breach their spiritual borders via avodah zara. She saw them led off in chains to a foreign land. Note that Hashem promises her that her children will return to their "borders". The word "Land is not mentioned. Meaning that acquiring Eretz Yisrael is contingent upon our allegiance to Hashem, His Torah and our adherence to the ethical and moral obligations outlined in the Torah.

Read Megillat Esther and you'll see that she prioritizes the danger of spiritual destruction "shmad" above that of physical destruction.

With regards to the anti-Semitism issue... Even if the Christians had been kind and good to us for 2000 years, we still would be forbidden from becoming a part of them. But note how the evangelicals play the Holocaust card to the hilt, as if that's the issue preventing Jewish-Christian reconciliation.

This is a core Jewish issue and a spiritual one at that. The Jews should get off the Aushcwitz and Galut trains and come back to themselves.

Think and feel like a proud Jew.

Hadassa said...

Shalom!
JDL, the xtian Zionists are not here to help us. They are not dedicated to Israel. The "ulterior motive" you mention is key to understanding the situation. Whether or not they openly state their purpose, their aim is to convert us so that "their Messiah" will return. If you are not extremely well trained there is no chance that you are able to challenge a missionary successfully. There is a very good chance that they are quoting you behind your back and using your words out of context in order to prove their points. Not even every rabbi is qualified to take on a missionary. Do you question other rulings your rabbi has given? Why do you make an exception for the xtian issue?

Keli Ata said...

More great work from Jewish Israel!

Rabbi Riskin it seems has one foot in the mikvah and the other in the baptismal font. What he and others who engage in interfaith dialogue is that Christians (especially the missionaries) fawn over Torah Jews, and a rabbi??

The praise and fawning is exceptional. Rabbis are human. These missionaries are using them as bait.

TCT it seems has even dropped a "messianic rabbi" show, Moshe Laurie, now that they've got a real rabbi airing a half-hour program (Rabbi Lapin).

Sorry but I see it all as bait to get Jews comfortable with the Christian message of JC.


***

JDL: I understand what you're saying about Islam being a more dangerous threat to Jews physically, but remember that missionaries are targeting them as well.

An alliance between Christian who would kill Jews spiritually and Muslims who would kill them physically is a nightmare.

Sigh. I would love to see more TV programs in the US that are entirely Torah based such as Tovia Singer/Jeremy Gimpel's show.

And couldn't Chabad put on a half-hour program that is very user friendly for both secular Jews and potential Noachides?

Just an idea.

Keli Ata said...

Ellen: I want to apologize for a previous comment about Dec. 25. I don't know if I need to, or if the comment was wrong, but I feel guilty and the need to apologize.

JDL London Canada said...

Ellen: I understand your point completely but xtians are shooting at you and threating you with death to your offspring. We recently had a counter-demonstration against pro-hamas forces in Toronto this past Sunday and had Tamils, Hindus and Xtians from many backgrounds with us. Not one of the xtians gave us a tract to proselytize us. Here we can work together; there I guess you need to be 'concerned'. I take it that most people on this forum are from an American background and don't understand the Canadian culture, ok so be it. That said, we are different and the JDL is more excepted here than in the US plus the Canadian gov't does listen to us. We have the same threats from islam but more so on a PR level although many there is an increase of attacks as of late. Some xtian side with the PA and protest against Israel as well as Jews - so take your pick. Beside the xtians didn't through us out of Gaza, - Jews did. Come to think of it; we are our own worse enemy.

The fact that a muslim 'outhouse' sits on our Har Habayit blasting their bloody call to prayer while one is at the Kotel davening is a perfect example of avoda zora. This is because we have spineless manigut yehudit now and back then.

***

Hadassa: I don't feel threatened that's why I make a cautious exception here but I don't leave my brains at the door.

***

Batya: I have to stand my ground here, I don't think I'm wrong and I'm not saying the missionaries are not a problem but, certainly looking down SW from Shiloh into that arab abyss near your community, - I think there is more of a threat there than the xtians; take a stroll over there by yourself and see what I mean or walk by the xtian area in Yerushalem and experience the result of that ... Are you not a Jew thereafter and still alive?

Kol Tuv

JDL London Canada said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JDL London Canada said...

1.)Ellen - My next question is this: If xtian zionist(missionaries) are such a 'threat' than are what we Jews truly 'rooted and grounded' in? So what your saying is that all that we have in Tanach,midrash and gemera is not enough to combat them?
2.)
[...Hashem promises her that her children will return to their "borders" ...], do borders not have land associated with them. Where did the 12 spys that Moshe sent go to ... Alamaba? :)In Vayikra there's a pasuk that says (paraphasing) the Land shall not be sold or an army is not allowed to pass through the Land. So borders can be anywhere are they not specific to Land? Just asking.

30/12/09 19:45

Batya said...

jdl, you just don't get it. Your naivete is very dangerous. Most Jews can't hold their own against a smooth-talking missionary, even frum one.
And unlike the little rhyme you probably also grew up with. Words can harm you!
Assimilation and missionizing work hand in hand. Are you sure you're JDL?

ellen said...

Keli Ata,
I don't know what comment about Dec. 25 you are referring to. But I can't recall being offended by anything you've written.

ellen said...

JDL,
I don't know where you are coming from, but you seem to be very out of touch with the Jewish people and the problem of missionary activity.

We Jews don't have to choose between Islam and Christianity. We just have to be ourselves.

Keli Ata said...

Good, Ellen:)

Batya: The Internet has given these missionaries the tools to research enough about Judaism to trick Jews.

Sadly, it seems their main tool, though, is friendship; befriending lonely Jews. I doubt messianics win people over to their JC through a yeshiva-like debate of the Torah.

They manipulate the desire for friendship, closeness to Hashem. That's hard to combat.

We need to do better at increasing our Torah knowledge, but also loving our fellow Jews.

Hadassa said...

Shalom!
JDL, you should feel threatened, not to the point of fear or inaction, but you should realize that missionaries, and virtually all xtians ARE a real threat to Jews and Judaism. Ellen at JI and others, among them Rabbi Tovia Singer, have provided an invaluable service to the entire world by exposing the true face of xtianity and their missionary tactics. Many experienced rabbis have been tricked, including having their word taken out of context, pictures taken given false captions, thank you letters for donations publicized, etc. Judaism and xtianity are by definition incompatible. The sooner that's realized, the better off we'll be. The threat that the xtians pose to our souls is no less serious than the threat that the Muslims pose to our bodies, and can be much harder to discern. A Jew lost to Judaism who doesn't raise a Jewish family depletes Jewry as much as a Jew killed by a terrorist who can't raise a Jewish family does.
The missionaries in Israel target the needy. They give care packages to immigrants from the CIS and Ethiopia, and to the poor in general. They target entire neighborhoods, arranging programs for all ages, often posing as Jews in the beginning. And then Jesus enters the picture after the recipients feel gratitude for the financial aid. The missionaries seek out the lonely, who are so grateful for a listening ear, that later turns into a mouthpiece for xtianity, after the lonely doesn't feel lonely any more.
Some missionaries even printed material on orange paper in the days before and after the expulsion. What could they have been doing other than trying to cash in on a situation where thousands were likely to be at an all time low? I guess they didn't realize that the "orange crowd" was the least likely to fall for a missionary.
Unfortunately the missionaries have huge financial resources compared to the Jewish organizations working against them.
Read what Ellen writes more carefully. Read the Yad L'Achim archives.

JDL London Canada said...

So islam kills and xtians convert and 'kill' the soul of a Jew. Please don't miss understand me, I understand the threat from J4J and others. So what can be done about it? Do we persecute them, kill them what do you all suggest? How do you fight them, and again why is it that we don't have the tools to stand up to them, especially after 2000 yrs. Remember when the magicians challanged Moshe and turned their staffs into snakes, Moshe threw his down and it consumed both of them, I'm not naive but, I ask questions, so what you all are telling me is that Hashem's power has changed since then and that the Jew is no longer able to use Hashem's dvar to defeat an enemy? Yeshiva bocurim and erudite scholarly rabbinim can't deal with a xtian? Looks like we're worse off than I imagined ... Have 'fun' living outside of Yesha ...

Skeptical Jew

ellen said...

the answer is public awareness, education and counter-missionary legislation.

Esser Agaroth said...

JDL Canada, You're wrong.

The only difference between the Islam (Yishmaeli) and Christian (Esau) threats is in their approaches.

Christians are sneakier. Remember they are represented by the sneaky pig who pretends to be kosher in the midrash on Parshath Shemini.

Muslims are more open about their hatred.

Christians just want our souls, very much in the same way as the Hellenists of Hashmonaim times.

Rav Kahane HY"D may have been on Christian radio, but PLEASE go back and take a look at what he actually said about Christians.

Rav Kahane's message was to emphasize halacha in ALL aspects of our lives. The Halacha is clear. We may do anything to assist or allow ovdei avodah zara to get a foothold on the land (lo tehonem).

Unknown said...

David Lev: My work with Arutz Sheva often brings me into contact with xtians. I've learnt to distinguish between those who wish to missionize 'against' us, and those who feel a genuine interest to support us. I'm intrigued that there also seems to be a third element that are almost 'robotic' in their jingoistic statements of 'we must love the Jews' I sometimes get the feeling that the adage of scratching beneath the surface etc. It also sounds like a mantra like a naughty kid would say from actually following an inclination to hate someone...I must love I must love etc. Another thing, many of those who sound like they have a genuine interest in Israel and the Jewish people, also have Jewish sounding surnames? Yes, it's most likely that they have traces of Jewish blood in them. That brings me to the last point about how to deal with sincere one's who 'struggle' to find common ground with us, after realizing that attempts to get us worshiping a ghost is doomed to failure. On this point I have to agree with an earlier comment suggesting that we 'Noahdite' them. In my opinion, Bnei Noah is on a very high level, deserving of our greatest respect.