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George W. Bush to Do Fundraiser for Group That Seeks to Convert Jews To Christ


Next week, former President George W. Bush is scheduled to keynote a fundraiser in Irving, Texas, for the Messianic Jewish Bible Institute, a group that trains people in the United States, Israel, and around the world to convince Jews to accept Jesus as the Messiah. The organization’s goal: to “restore” Israel and the Jews and bring about about the second coming of Christ.

Messianic Jews have long been controversial for Jews of all major denominations, who object to their proselytizing efforts and their message that salvation by Jesus is consistent with Jewish theology. Last year, Abraham Foxman, president of the Anti-Defamation League, told Politico that former Sen. Rick Santorum’s appearance at an event hosted by another Messianic Jewish organization, the Messianic Jewish Alliance of America, was “insensitive and offensive.” And Commentary magazine, which bills itself as a “conservative American journal of politics, Judaism, social and cultural issues,” noted,

“it must be understood that the visceral distaste that the overwhelming majority of Jews have for the Messianics is not to be taken lightly.”

*Many Messianic Jews are Christians who have adopted aspects of Jewish ritual observance; others are Jews who share the Christian belief that Jesus is the Messiah.

Asked about Bush’s upcoming appearance at the Messianic Jewish Bible Institute (MJBI) event, Rabbi David Saperstein, the director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, said, “It’s disappointing that he would give his stamp of approval to a group whose program is an express effort to convert Jews and not to accept the validity of the Jewish covenant.” Foxman was traveling overseas and unavailable to comment.

(After this story published, Rabbi David Wolpe of Los Angeles’ Sinai Temple, whom Newsweek has called the most influential rabbi in the country, tweeted, “This is infuriating.”)

Based in Dallas, the MJBI claims that it acts like the Apostle Paul in helping to “educate Christians in their role to provoke the Jewish people to jealousy and thus save some of them (Romans 11:11-14).” It has Bible schools in 12 countries, an online school of “Messianic theology,” and programs to train Messianic rabbis and pastors. Its logos feature a star of David and a menorah, and its website promotes the weekly Torah portion, a “Yiddish Mama’s Kitchen,” and links to purchase Judaica and books, such as Christ in the Old Testament. The nonprofit organization brought in approximately $1.2 million in revenue in 2011, the last year for which records are available.

This year’s event is designed to bring in funds for the group’s proselytizing operations. And the former president is helping out with more than just speech-making. The most expensive of the ticket packages, which range from $100 to $100,000, includes 20 invitations to a VIP reception and photo opportunity with Bush, 10 signed copies of Bush’s book Decision Points, and passes to tour the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum.

At last year’s MJBI fundraiser, Beck received a “Defender of Israel” award. During Beck’s time as host of his Fox News program (which ended in 2011), hundreds of Jewish leaders denounced his on-air rhetoric as anti-Semitic—particularly his repeated invocation of Nazis and the Holocaust to demonize political adversaries and his accusation that George Soros is a “puppet master” who collaborated with the Nazis. “One of the reasons why I love Israel so much is I’m a guy who’s for the underdog,” Beck told the audience. “I’m a Mormon, which is kind of the Jew of the Christian world.”

Robert Morris, pastor of Gateway Church in Dallas, which Beck attends, introduced Beck as a “prophet” at the event. Morris told the crowd that his church has supported MJBI because “when we do this, the Bible tells us, it’s going to change the whole world. That it’s going to hasten the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, and it’s going to bring about worldwide revival.”

At last year’s event, members of the MJBI’s board of directors explained the organization’s mission of converting Jews to an audience of hundreds who were seated on a professional football field, wearing formal clothes, and eating pork barbecue. Rabbi Jonathan Bernis, a leading Messianic Jew and televangelist who chairs MJBI’s board of directors, maintained that “our numbers are growing and growing,” because “the Bible predicted that the day would come when the blindness would come off the eyes of the people it all began with.” He was referring to Jews. The Bible, Bernis continued, “tells us that the day will come when all of Israel will be saved.” The MJBI, Bernis said, “is one of the ministries that God has raised up to bring that to pass.” Other featured speakers last year included David Barton, the religious right’s discredited “historian,” who this week used Beck’s radio show to announce that he won’t challenge Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) in next year’s Republican Senate primary.

Another MJBI board member, Rabbi Marty Waldman of Baruch HaShem, a Messianic congregation in Dallas, described his own conversion experience before making a pitch to the audience to donate money to MJBI. Money, he explained, is needed to hasten the return of Jesus. With the funds it collects, Waldman said, MJBI trains “people to preach the good news of the Messiah to the Jewish people.”

That’s important, Waldman noted, because when there are “enough Jewish people who call Jesus their savior, some sort of a trigger will go off in heaven, and our father in heaven will say, ‘Okay, son, it’s time to get your bride.'”

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8 comments on “George W. Bush to Do Fundraiser for Group That Seeks to Convert Jews To Christ

  1. That’s important, Waldman noted, because when there are “enough Jewish people who call Jesus their savior, some sort of a trigger will go off in heaven, and our father in heaven will say, ‘Okay, son, it’s time to get your bride.’”

    I am not trying to be rude when I say this… I really just don’t understand, and here is why….

    Instead of thanking God for His Son’s Salvation unto us, it is as if I am suppose to thank the Jews for rejecting God/Jesus.

    Instead of thanking God for thinking to graft in anyone other than the Jews, I am suppose to be thankful to the Jewish people for breaking away from the Tree in order to free up room for me.

    Instead of looking for our Christ’s return I am suppose to do nothing but focus on Israel and the Jewish people; be supportive of them, harken to them, kiss their feet, and know that one day I might even be their servant.

    Honestly I believe it is going to surprise a lot of people when they find out that many Jewish people throughout the ages will be seen in Heaven because of the Works of His Hands; not by the works of man’s who believe they can summon Christ’s return.

  2. I’m afraid that many will surprised to see Mormons, Jw’s, and even Muslims or Taoists in heaven. I’m not saying everyone goes to heaven, I am saying the Jesus’ judgement is perfect and ours is not. He will judge every one according to the light they’ve received and we will be judged perfectly.

    • This is a horrible statement. The scripture is quite clear that those who have lived without the law shall “perish” without the law, and concludes that they are “all under sin,” both Jews and Gentiles alike, as all have been given the light of nature, as well as the law written into their hearts, thus rendering them without excuse. When God judges them to damnation, that IS perfect justice, because just one sin makes us guilty of the entire law. None of us deserve to get into heaven, no matter how “good” our sentiments are. There is no salvation outside of Jesus Christ, as all those who do not believe “are condemned already,” living in a state of condemnation straight from the womb. Furthermore, in John 6, Christ declares that all who are given to the Son by the Father, do come to the Son infallibly, so there will be no Mormons, JWs, Mormons or Taoists in heaven, since, if they had been given to the Son, they would have come to him, and not remaining in a state of heresy that Paul calls “accursed.”

    • Ricardo, i agree…i cannot accept Steve’s observation as he worded it, either. My hope is he inadvertently mis-spoke.

      Thanks for catching this and pointing it out. Frankly i must have missed it on a day when automatically posting comments. I’ll do that on rare occasions if im getting ready to leave home for part of the day, so they don’t sit all day without being cleared.

      Steve, you can’t really believe this as it appears in your comment; That those who follow “another Jesus” or no Jesus at all, will be saved?

  3. Am I the only one who had to read, re-read and then shake my head at Beck’s comment ““I’m a Mormon, which is kind of the Jew of the Christian world”?

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