Evan­gel­i­cals set up £190k con­ver­sion drive in LA

The Jewish Chronicle - - World News - BY NATHALIE ROTH­SCHILD

THE CHO­SEN Peo­ple Min­istries, one of the largest evan­gel­i­cal groups in the United States which fo­cuses on pros­e­lytis­ing among Jews, has launched a $300,000 (£190k) “wit­ness­ing” drive in an ef­fort to con­vince Jewish peo­ple to ac­cept Je­sus as their Mes­siah.

The new cam­paign, which is based in Los An­ge­les, fea­tures thou­sands of bill­boards, on­line ads and ra­dio and TV com­mer­cials en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple to watch a half-hour on­line doc­u­men­tary en­ti­tled “The Mys­te­ri­ous Prophecy of Isa­iah 53”.

The Cho­sen Peo­ple Min­istries (CPM) pro­duced the film in part­ner­ship with Day of Dis­cov­ery, a Chris­tian TV pro­gramme. Ac­cord­ing to CPM pres­i­dent Mitch Glaser, over 2,500 peo­ple have watched the doc­u­men­tary on­line.

The CPM Fe­bru­ary news­let­ter states that the pur­pose of the new cam­paign is to share the Isa­iah 53 pas­sage with Jewish peo­ple “in hope that they may come to know the Lord”. Evan­gel­i­cal Chris­tians have in­ter­preted the Old Tes­ta­ment pas­sage Isa­iah 53 as a prophecy of the com­ing of Je­sus. Jewish the­olo­gians, how­ever, have dis­missed this in­ter­pre­ta­tion.

CPM is also en­cour­ag­ing Chris­tians to send a free copy of its book, Isa­iah 53 Ex­plained, to Jews. The book pur­port­edly shows how to have “a soul-sat­is­fy­ing re­la­tion­ship with God” and re­veals “the sur­pris­ing key that makes this re­la­tion­ship pos­si­ble”. Over 1000 peo­ple have re­quested the book, ac­cord­ing to CPM.

A Los An­ge­les-based group called Jews for Ju­daism, which fights pros­e­lytis­ing cam­paigns di­rected at Jews through ed­u­ca­tional ini­tia­tives and c o un­sel l i ng, has launched a counter-cam­paign. It is backed by the Los An­ge­les Jewish Fed­er­a­tion, the Board of Rab­bis and Builders of Jewish Ed­u­ca­tion. A ded­i­cated web­site and so­cial net­work cam­paign has been set up to de­bunk the evan­gel­i­cal in­ter­pre­ta­tion of Isa­iah 53 and to en­cour­age peo­ple to re­port any “sus­pi­cious” ac­tiv­ity to Jews for Ju­daism.

Los An­gles was cho­sen as a base for the CPM cam­paign be­cause it has the sec­ond largest Jewish pop­u­la­tion in the United States.

The CPM’S head­quar­ters are in New York, how­ever, and in 2010, the group bought a 11,000 sq ft for­mer Jewish fu­neral home in the heav­ily Ortho­dox area of Mid­wood, to be used for Jewish­style Chris­tian worship ser­vices. The pur­chase sparked outrage among Jewish res­i­dents and lead­ers in Brook­lyn.

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