About this time every year the so-called “Jews for Jesus” (JFJ), an evangelical Christian missionary organization that targets Jews for conversion, sends out its traveling road show called “Christ in the Passover,” as reported by the Clovis News Journal.

These programs that are typically staged within evangelical and fundamentalist churches, seek to superimpose Christian beliefs over the historic understanding of the Jewish Passover observance, as reported by the Pittsburgh Daily Courier.

The fact that this holiday, its symbols and their established meaning predate Jesus and Christianity doesn’t seem to concern JFJ or its supporters.

The missionary group’s version of “Passover” is at best misleading, but also can be seen as an expression of ethnocentric religious arrogance and it wilfully disregards both the history and the intrinsic significance of the Jewish holiday.

As anyone acquainted with the Book of Exodus or the movie classic the “Ten Commandments” knows Passover is not about Jesus or Christianity, it is a holiday specifically observed to commemorate the deliverance of Jews from bondage in ancient Egypt.

But the purpose of Passover to JFJ appears to be a fund raising gimmick. And the organization, which has had its share of money problems lately, is all the more anxious to pump up this annual program that has become a proven moneymaker.

JFJ sends out its traveling teams to put on these shows and at the end of each performance comes the pitch, or as it is most often described the call for “an offering.”

This also affords an opportunity for the controversial group to collect names for its mailing list.

JFJ is the brainchild of Pastor Martin Rosen, an ordained Baptist minister who not so long ago retired from his long-running position as head of the missionary organization.

But Pastor Martin has recently hit the road again, in an apparent effort to rally the faithful to the somewhat fading ministry.

Pastor Martin likes to be called “Moishe,” which makes him seem Jewish. And Jewish surnames suffuse the list of front line JFJ staff, which again gives the group an appearance of “Jewishness.”

However, all of JFJ’s funding comes from fundamentalist and evangelical Christians.

It is presumptuous and a demonstration of hubris to say the least, for a missionary organization founded by a Baptist minister to define the meaning of a Jewish holiday and its symbols.

JFJ has also ardently aligned itself with other evangelical Christians by strongly supporting Mel Gibson’s much-criticized movie “The Passion” reported Agape Press.

Financial support of groups like JFJ and overwhelming enthusiasm for the Gibson film, despite allegations of “anti-Semitic” content, raises the question of whether meaningful ecumenical dialog is possible between the organized Jewish community and fundamentalist or evangelical Christians.

Certainly such dialog exists between more moderate or “Mainline” Protestants and Jewish denominations. And there have been historic ecumenical breakthroughs in recent years between Jews and the Roman Catholic Church.

But what meaningful interreligious communication exists between evangelical Christians and the organized Jewish community?

These Christians frequently say they “love” Jews and Israel.

But judged by their behavior rather than words, evangelical and fundamentalist Christian support for Jews and Israel seems specious.

If these Christians truly “love” Jews why would they continue to support insulting and confrontational groups such as JFJ?

Doesn’t this generally demonstrate disregard and/or insensitivity to the concerns of the Jewish community?

In fairness it should be noted that some evanelical leaders have spoken out critically against groups like JFJ, notably evangelist Billy Graham.

Jesus once offered the analogy that you could know a tree by its fruit.

And apparently the rather telling “fruit” growing on quite a few fundamentalist and evangelical Christian trees is their support for groups like “Jews for Jesus.”

University Bible Fellowship (UBF), a controversial group that has been called a “cult,” has been thrown out of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE).

Kyle Fisk Executive Administrator and official spokesperson for the NAE told CultNews today that the NAE, which includes 30 million members, has tossed UBF out of the 60-year old organization.

Fisk said that the NAE remains in open dialog with UBF, but it is doubtful that UBF would be readmitted as an NAE member.

The NAE has not yet released an official announcement, its spokesperson said.

Given UBF’s troubled and much publicized history of abuse allegations and “cult-like” behavior, it seems fair to ask how the group was admitted in 1995 to the NAE on any level in the first place?

UBF was founded by (Samuel) Chang Woo Lee in the small town of Kwangju, South Korea during 1960-61. Lee died in 2002, but the organization he once ruled over much like a tyrant, grew to include centers around the world.

Chicago is now the location of UBF headquarters.

UBF has historically targeted college students in ongoing recruitment efforts, but was banned at some campuses.

The group is known for its rigid system of “shepherding,” a highly authoritarian pyramid structure of accountability and discipleship training.

Over the years UBF had its critics.

Evangelical sociologist Ronald Enroth devoted an entire chapter to the group in his book “Churches That Abuse” (Zondervan, 1992).

In Germany a cult commissioner for the Protestant Church in the Rhineland described UBF as “cult-like” and labeled them “soul catchers” in a book.

Wellspring Retreat, a licensed mental health facility that offers rehabilitation for former cult members, has acknowledged treating former members of UBF.

In 2001 a newspaper at John Hopkins University specifically warned students about UBF, which it described as a “cult-like evangelist group.”

UBF apparently used NAE membership to strengthen its credibility.

NAE membership was displayed by UBF on the Internet.

However, the NAE imprimatur is no longer visible at a UBF website, subsequent to its historic expulsion from the organization.

A petition drive was initiated some time ago specifically calling upon the NAE to drop UBF from its rolls.

Former members of UBF have publicly recounted how difficult life was for them within the group, controlled by their “shepherds” through manipulative and coercive tactics and allegedly abused.

UBF will no longer be able to use the name of the NAE for credibility, nor as a tool to further its agenda.

Note: UBF’s NAE membership was terminated, but then later reinstated, despite its long history of serious problems, bad press and complaints. 

Mel Gibson’s controversial movie “The Passion of the Christ” will be in general release at theaters beginning tomorrow.

The film is “relentlessly savage [with a]…pronounced streak of sado-masochism” reports Newsweek.

Perhaps the public should expect such horrific detail from the Oscar-winning director of Braveheart, which after all included heads lopped off, gored guts and culminated with its star impaled.

Newsweek critic David Ansen speculates that maybe The Passion might be subconsciously autobiographical.

The middle aged Gibson has said his film is the product of more than a decade of personal reflection that at times included suicidal thoughts, which were ultimately resolved by his renewed religious faith.

The Braveheart star is a member of a schismatic fringe group that has often been charitably labeled by the media as “traditional Catholics.”

However, the extreme movement that broke away from mainstream Catholicism, which includes the Hollywood star, has no official connection to the Roman Catholic Church. Instead, its members and leaders frequently denounce truly traditional Catholics who accept church authority as essentially “apostates.”

Gibson’s current movie focuses upon the last 12 hours of Jesus’ life, apparently in a brutally graphic way.

It “plays like the Gospel according to the Marquis de Sade” says Ansen.

What was Gibson’s purpose in producing this bloody “Passion,” which reportedly cost the actor/director about $30 million dollars?

Is it just the product of faith, like the star of Lethal Weapon claims?

Despite Gibson’s rather cynical but savvy marketing approach the star seems driven more by his childhood indoctrination than a desire for profits.

Mel Gibson grew up in a family ruled by a father who has denied the extent of the Holocaust and seems consumed by bizarre conspiracy theories.

Religious leaders have criticized Gibson’s film for its dark portrayal of Jewish people and rabbinical authorities. “Those inclined toward bigotry could easily find fuel for their fire” from this movie, Ansen said.

Gibson’s marketing strategy has specifically focused upon the fire of faith burning amongst fundamentalist Christians and perhaps has delineated the differences between that community and more ecumenical believers.

The star skewed virtually every advance screening of his new film towards this demographic group, which he apparently feels will assure its box office success.

The popular action hero is probably right. He will no doubt not only recoup his initial investment, but also reap hefty profits.

The film and its faithful audience is telling though, not only because of Gibson’s seemingly dark view of Jews, but also because the film’s fans include so many Christians that like the star eschew mainstream ecumenism in favor of the theology of triumphalism.

And Gibson, like many of his fundamentalist supporters, appears to think you cannot really question his religious vision.

“The Holy Ghost was working through me on this film,” the actor has reportedly said.

Is Mel Gibson’s film “anti-Semitic”?

“I don’t want to lynch any Jews…I love them. I pray for them,” Gibson said somewhat cryptically.

But Mel Gibson has made “artistic” choices for his film that cannot be supported either historically and/or biblically, which shed a less than loving light on Jews reports Newsweek in the article “Who Really Killed Jesus?” (Feb. 16, 2004).

In The Passion the director/producer has chosen to have Mary Magdalene plead with the Romans to save Jesus when he is taken away to be tried by Jewish authorities.

However, there is no such scene in the New Testament. And it does suggest greater Jewish culpability than can be supported historically.

Likewise, in Gibson’s film the High Priest Caiaphas must determine if Jesus will die, despite the fact that historically the priest had no such authority without Roman approval.

Again, Gibson made a historically inaccurate choice by portraying the Roman Governor Pontius Pilate as a conflicted sensitive man, who only executes Jesus because he is pushed into it by screaming Jews.

History records Pilate objectively as a cruel tyrant, even by questionable Roman standards.

In fact, according to Gibson’s script Jesus actually tells Pilate that Caiaphas specifically bears the “greater sin” for his execution. But only the governor could actually determine that sentence, which after all was a Roman form of execution.

In a less guarded moment Mel Gibson was reportedly overheard describing those who opposed Jesus as “either Satanic or the dupes of Satan.”

Mel Gibson may not see himself as “anti-Semitic,” anti-Semites seldom do, but his selective version of the final hours of Jesus’ life seems to depict a decidedly negative image of Jews.

To some extent the New Testament can be read this way, but biblical scholars concerned with placing the Gospel accounts within their historical context explain that such depictions reflect the political concerns and polemics of early Christians.

In fairness it should be noted that fundamentalist and evangelical Christians have called such scholarship, “liberal” and “unbiblical.”

And it seems Mel Gibson has more in common with such conservative Protestants than he does Roman Catholics.

The Roman Catholic Church has officially resolved such issues, acknowledging that such negative interpretations of the Gospels caused rampant persecution of the Jews, such as the Inquisitions.

But Gibson’s faction of supposed “traditionalists” does not endorse Vatican II and the modern ecumenical dialog between Catholics and Jews.

And as for his film’s largely fundamentalist Christian fan base, they frequently see religious dialog as largely a means of proselytizing to reach the “unsaved,” which includes Muslims, Buddhists and Jews.

However, authentic ecumenical dialog is actually a two-way street based upon mutual respect and regard for other religious beliefs, which is not something fundamentalists like Gibson and many of his current movie fans are known for.

Those who oppose their religious views are at best “lost,” or maybe as Mr. Gibson purportedly puts it “dupes of Satan.”

And how does such ethnocentric triumphalism affect the mindset of its proponents?

Maybe it would be interesting go to The Passion, more to study its fans than to see the movie.

Note: Rick Ross is a former member of the National Committee for Interreligious Affairs of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, a large denomination of Judaism.

In a bizarre twist a missionary organization that targets Jews for conversion is bashing fellow Christians in a “cult” controlled newspaper.

The so-called “Jews for Jesus” (JFJ), founded by an ordained Baptist minister, took on Senate Chaplain Lloyd Ogilvie, American Values President Gary Bauer, singer Pat Boone, Rev. Jerry Falwell, broadcaster Pat Robertson and even Billy Graham in an attack launched within the Washington Times.

A JFJ spokesperson told the Times a subtle plot to “demonize” the organization has apparently taken hold amongst prominent evangelical leaders and many churches.

The alleged conspiracy supposedly can be seen through fading support for JFJ. Evidently, church invitations for their programs have dropped by 25% and donations slipped $371,130 in 2003.

The leadership of the controversial proselytizing organization chose to air its grievances within the Washington Times rather than a more traditional evangelical media outlet such as Christianity Today.

Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the self-proclaimed “messiah” whose followers are often called “Moonies,” controls the Washington Times.

Moon is the founder of the Unification Church, which has been called a “cult.”

The Unification Church teaches that Jesus essentially failed in his role to redeem the world, which Rev. Moon must now complete. Jesus was also stuck in spirit world until Moon married him so he could enter heaven.

Apparently, JFJ isn’t concerned about such theology when it comes to finding an outlet to discuss its budget worries. Concerns about cash flow seem to trump doctrinal differences with the paper’s primary funding source.

Jerry Falwell appeared to play both ends against the middle. “I highly regard the work of Jews for Jesus,” he told the Times while also endorsing the work of Yechiel Eckstein of the International Fellowship of Christians, which opposes JFJ.

Falwell is also friendly with Rev. Moon, who has generously given his ministry millions of dollars.

Once again, budget worries seem to be more important than religious conviction.

JFJ has historically been accused of exercising “cult-like” control over its members. Maybe its more than money that makes the group feel comfortable with “Moonies,” who allegedly have been “brainwashing” recruits in the US since the 1970s.

The Evangelical Christian missionary organization called “Jews for Jesus” is stirring up quite a ruckus in South Florida reports the Sun Sentinel.

The hit and run antics of these peripatetic proselytizers has been reported by the media since the 1970s, when an ordained Baptist minister named Martin Rosen founded the controversial group.

Pastor Martin was previously associated with an organization known as the American Board of Mission to the Jews, but he had bigger plans. So about thirty years ago he set up his own shop.

Business was good because Martin was clever in the way he marketed his missionary enterprise. Instead of just another Christian ministry he picked and trademarked the name “Jews for Jesus” (JFJ).

This garnered immediate attention, which then led to increasing fund-raising opportunities amongst his fellow Evangelicals.

Baptist, Nazarene, Evangelical Free and other churches included within the so-called “born-again” movement of Christians, essentially supports JFJ.

The Assemblies of God, the largest denomination of Pentecostal Christians, seems to prefer its own network of “Messianic Jews,” such as the so-called “Jewish Voice.”

Pastor Martin is retired now, but the ministry he created is something like a little kingdom. The annual budget for the group is $24 million and it has 240 full-time paid staff located in numerous offices.

However, if anyone were to judge the group strictly by its results (i.e. the number of conversions actually achieved) their success rate is modest. Very few Jews convert to fundamentalist Christianity, and even fewer through this group’s efforts.

Nevertheless, like many well-funded enterprises this one keeps chugging along anyway.

JFJ typically stages “campaigns” targeting large Jewish populations. Subsequently, they then inundate a community with unsolicited tracts, handouts etc. Some communities have found that they can cause a serious litter problem, as their tracts are quickly tossed aside by pedestrians.

But JFJ thrives on confrontation. “It’s a slick marketing technique. They perfected it over 30 years,” one Jewish leader told the Sentinel.

Recently in Palm Beach this was clearly evident as their confrontational strategy garnered controversy and press attention.

“It provided more publicity than we could have afforded on our budget. The publicity has been a great help for us,” the Florida JFJ coordinator told the Palm Beach Post.

The point apparently is to stir up a reaction through incendiary events and tracts and then exploit this eventually for fund-raising.

However, not all Evangelicals support such efforts.

Billy Graham has denounced the idea of targeting specific religious groups in missionary drives. And some Evangelical leaders in Florida announced that they too oppose this type of proselytizing reported the Palm Beach Post.

JFJ has repeatedly been accused of using “deception” to convert Jews. And one Jew has taken them to court.

A Jewish woman who claims that it was falsely reported within JFJ’s newsletter that she converted is currently suing the organization.

She is the stepmother of a JFJ staffer and her stepson wrote for the group’s newsletter in 2002 that she tearfully converted at her husband’s bedside.

But the Jewish mother said the account was “completely fictitious” reported Associated Press.

JFJ likes to cast its conflict with the Jewish community as an old one. Claiming it’s a “2,000 year old argument” between Jews about the identity of Jesus.

However, that’s not the principle issue that raises concern. Instead, it’s the issue of Jewish identity.

Simply put, the Jewish community has historically always established the parameters of its own identity.

“There’s no rabbi…who’s going to be the arbiter of what the Jewish religion teaches,” one JFJ leader retorted.

This is a new argument.

Since when are the rabbis not the arbiters of what the Jewish religion teaches? Who is then “Jews for Jesus”?

Would JFJ and its supporters concede that someone outside of Christianity has the right to determine the parameters of their faith’s identity?

Specifically, what Christian denomination has officially acknowledged that Mormons are Christians?


But Mormons say they are “Christians.”

Would Evangelicals that claim “Jews for Jesus” are somehow “completed Jews,” also accept Mormons as “completed Christians”?

After all Mormons say their Book of Mormon essentially completes the New Testament.

No, you won’t find any Evangelicals or JFJ staffers making that argument.

Mel Gibson may be known as a nice guy on movie sets, but his reputation as something of a crank and religious bigot is growing.

The actor has shelled out some $25 million to produce a film titled “The Passion” about the death of Jesus.

Critics say it is “anti-Semitic” and portrays Jews as “Christ Killers” guilty of “deicide.”

One Catholic scholar and university professor repudiated the film for depicting Jews “as bloodthirsty” reported the New York Times.

Presently Gibson has no distributor and may be forced to assume that role himself.

In an attempt to build support for what increasingly looks like a financial flop and public relations disaster the Oscar winning director did selected screenings recently for people he apparently thinks are a friendly audience.

Gibson refused to show his film to critics.

Those who caught the film courtesy of Mel ranged from political conservatives like Rush Limbaugh to an assortment of religious right types including members of the controversial Legionaries of Christ.

The President of the National Association of Evangelicals proclaimed Gibson, “The Michelangelo of this generation,” after viewing the movie.

However, The Passion is unlikely to win the actor any new fans or accolades from amongst a wider and unselected audience.

Gibson’s current film crusade seems to be the product of his strange upbringing within a fringe religious movement that calls itself “Catholic traditionalism.”

The church the actor attends near Malibu is called “Holy Family,” but it is actually not part of any diocese and completely outside the Roman Catholic Church.

The star is bankrolling a new 9,300 square foot building for the group, which only has seventy members.

Hollywood types often heap money on controversial groups, some called “cults.” And super-rich Gibson can easily afford to blow millions, even $25 million on his eccentric movie project.

But it appears that this pop icon is becoming tarnished.

Instead of making his mark as “Michaelangelo” it looks like Mel is increasingly becoming known as not only a crank but also a bigot, which just might have a lasting negative effect at the box office beyond his current film crusade.

Postscript: See this follow-up regarding the marketing of “Passion” and its message.

University Bible Fellowship (UBF), a controversial organization that has often been called a “cult,” is staging a regional conference at Wheaton College this weekend. The event is expected to draw 1,000 participants reports The Daily Herald.

Samuel Lee founded UBF in the 1960s in South Korea. Like Rev. Moon’s Unification Church Lee’s group found college campuses fertile ground for its recruitment efforts, which began in the US during the 1970s.

The organization is known for its extreme authoritarian control over members through “shepherds” and a strict hierarchical structure of totalitarian leadership. This has included arranged marriages.

Many complaints have arisen over the years and former members have established websites regarding the group’s alleged abuses. UBF has a history of bad press in both the United States and Europe.

The founder of UBF Samuel Lee is now deceased, but the organization continues to target students on college campuses around the world.

UBF currently has campus groups at Loyola University, Columbia University, John Hopkins, Northwestern University, the University of Illinois in Chicago, Northeastern University of Illinois, the University of Maryland in Washington D.C., the University of Toledo and Shippensburg State in Pennsylvania.

UBF’s International headquarters is in Chicago.

No doubt UBF is happy they have an opportunity to stage an event at Wheaton College, where many students may note their presence. They are also holding a summer conference in Canada simultaneously on the campus of John Abbott College in St. Anne de Bellevue, Quebec.

Other branches of the group in Canada include Waterloo, Toronto and Ottawa.

UBF has additional outposts around the world actively recruiting in France, Germany, Russia, the Ukraine, Japan, Switzerland, England, Korea and India.

A petition to the National Association of Evangelicals is currently on-line in an effort to have UBF’s membership to that body revoked.

Note: UBF’s NAE membership was terminated, but then later reinstated, despite its long history of serious problems, bad press and complaints.

Some evangelical Christians are seriously questioning the practice of so-called “spiritual warfare,” reports Associated Press.

Long-time evangelical cult-watching organization the Christian Research Institute (CRI), founded by Walter Martin and now headed by Hank Hanegraaff, has put out a warning.

Hanegraaff warns the faithful about “spiritual warfare,” a practice popular amongst Pentecostal and Charismatic Protestants, who subscribe to the belief that Christians, can be influenced by “demons” dwelling within them.

Those that believe in this controversial doctrine insist they must literally go to war with the devil’s minions.

This religious activity has also often been called “deliverance ministry.” That is, to “deliver” someone from “evil,” by “casting out demons.”

In one lawsuit a jury awarded a plaintiff $300,000.00 for personal injuries sustained through just such an effort.

Hanegraaff has come out swinging, but not against alleged demons. The radio commentator known as the “Bible Answer Man” is fighting against what he sees as “false doctrine.”

The CRI CEO says that sin should be seen as the effect of poor judgement and that the solution is “spiritual disciplines,” implemented through a “discipleship model,” not exorcism.

Secular authors Flo Conway and Jim Siegelman, within their groundbreaking book Holy Terror, describe something broader and more pervasive, they call it “holy warfare.”

Conway and Siegelman write; “holy warfare appears frequently and fundamentalist texts are filled with words and images depicting God’s armor and militant strength…creating a…reality in which the everyday world becomes a battleground between warring forces, between good and evil.”

This type of thinking may explain seemingly bizarre statements made by some prominent fundamentalist figures.

Jerry Falwell claimed that God’s judgement on America could be seen through terrorists attacking and destroying the World Trade Center. He later apologized.

Falwell also once claimed that the all-female Lilith Fair was “named for a demon.”

In similar fashion evangelical Franklin Graham, the son of Billy Graham, said that Islam “is a very evil and wicked religion.”

But on an individual level “spiritual warfare” and/or “holy warfare” may become personally destructive.

Many fundamentalist believers are often taught to label thoughts and/or feelings contrary to their teachings, essentially as either “evil” or “demonic.”

This process may lead to a self-destructive stripping away and eventual disintegration of individual personality and autonomy.

Perhaps the best defensive weapon people possess against such potentially destructive warfare is critical thinking.

After all, according to the bible didn’t God provide humanity with that capacity? And isn’t it one of the best defensive weapons we personally possess?

The controversy surrounding an Easter article run within the Chicago Tribune has spilled over into Christianity Today.

It was reported that more than 250 Chicago churches held Passover dinners called seders this year.

However, some of these “seders” were apparently based upon rather questionable and self-serving interpretations, concocted by groups such as the controversial fundamentalist Christian missionary organization called “Jews for Jesus” (JFJ).

An ordained Baptist minister who once worked for the American Board of Missions to the Jews founded JFJ, which is a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability.

Missionaries from JFJ have a traveling road show titled “Christ in the Passover,” which passed through Chicago. This program often serves as a rather viable vehicle for fund-raising.

Basically, the theme of this JFJ program is to present the Passover ritual observance superimposed with alleged prophetic references to Jesus. The actual meaning and historical significance of the traditional seder is thus distorted and/or negated.

After the Tribune ran the report about these pseudo-seders Jews in Chicago protested that their holiday was being misrepresented in the paper. The staff writer responsible for the report admitted to some religious bias.

“Misinformation and outright falsehoods, said one Jewish reader. And added that the piece did “great harm to the cause of interfaith understanding,”

Rabbi Ira Youdovin, executive vice president of the Chicago Board of Rabbis said, “Fundamentalists [who] seek to co-opt an ancient Jewish ritual…appreciate Jews not for what they are…but for this caricatured identity as proto-Christians. This is highly offensive to Jews.”

Another rabbi noted, “We have problems with Christians transforming our symbols and stories into a Christological message that robs us of our holy experience and thoughts.”

Of course JFJ doesn’t seem to care about such things. In fact they probably enjoyed the controversy. Why do you think they chose their name in the first place?

After all, the more controversy, the more attention and that attention just might translate into contributions.

JFJ had a serious shortfall in its budget last year and staff layoffs followed.

It seems many within the evangelical Christian community have grown tired and perhaps a bit bored with the organization. They have actually not produced many “Jews for Jesus,” despite their multi-million dollar annual expenditures.

Perhaps the group hopes its annual “hit and run” Passover programs will rejuvenate some interest and help their sagging revenues?

A controversial fundamentalist Christian missionary organization called “Jews for Jesus” (JFJ) is in the red, reports Christianity Today.

The annual budget for the group, reported at $15 million, included a 10% deficit of $3 million.

14 workers were given “pink slips” and laid off, which represents a staff reduction of more than 5%.

The group claimed that this was due to a particular costly program that apparently bombed.

However, it may instead reflect a larger trend regarding this type of missionary work generally.

Despite its name, JFJ depends upon the support of the evangelical Christian community for its funding. This largely consists of Baptists, Pentecostals and independent bible churches.

But it seems like that interest is waning and JFJ may be past its prime.

The organization was the brainchild of Martin Rosen, an ordained Baptist minister who once worked for the American Board of Missions to the Jews.

Rosen wanted his own operation, so in the early 70s he came up with a catchy name that is now trademarked, which initially drew substantial attention.

But that was thirty years ago and Rosen has since retired.

Hundreds of workers have come and gone at JFJ and some allege that the organization was abusive and authoritarian.

Rosen’s successor at JFJ admits, “A number …left dissatisfied or hurt…We made plenty of mistakes along the way…we allowed sinful attitudes like pride to infect our lives and our behaviors. He adds, Our founder…has acknowledged that.”

But apologies aside, it may be that the core concepts, which once generated interest in the organization decades ago, are no longer that attractive.

A growing number of evangelicals seem to feel that more thoughtful and less provocative proselytizing is preferable.

It also remains an open question just how effective JFJ ever really was.

Despite the millions spent annually on its crusade, it appears that very few Jews actually converted to fundamentalist Christianity as a direct result of JFJ efforts.

As churches tighten their budgets due to difficult economic conditions and scrutinize how best to allocate resources, JFJ may continue to shrink.

After thirty years of what can be seen as essentially “hit and run evangelism” and an exodus of “hurt” staff, JFJ apparently is running out of gas.