Christians Get Grafted with Jewish Products

Some years back, when I was living in Jerusalem, I knew a very amiable Christian fundamentalist from Texas who had a bit of an obsession about not being Jewish. He attended a Messianic Jewish congregation, and had volunteered to serve in the Israeli army to show his support for the Jewish state. Eventually, by poring over his family tree, he found an ancestor who he decided had been Jewish, and that therefore he himself was also Jewish. I was told that later on he converted to Orthodox Judaism with a view to becoming a Messianic Israeli, which I suppose would be OK as long as he didn’t die during the period he didn’t believe in Jesus. At this point, he was shipped out of the country diagnosed with “Jerusalem Syndrome”.

At the time, I just thought of him as an eccentric, but actually there’s a whole subculture of American Christians for whom Judeo-philia goes far beyond simple Christian Zionism. Case in point: New Day Christian Distributors, which has a page-sized industry advert in the latest Christian Retailing magazine (p. 48):

Are You “Grafted In”?

What Does that Really Mean?

…Romans tells us how we as Christians have been grafted into the Jewish faith. We Christians, in reality, recognize the root from which we have sprung, knowing in the words of our Jewish Lord, “Salvation is from the Jews” (John 4:22)

Though historical Christendom has chosen to define itself as “not Jewish”, the truth is that the earliest Christianity was Judaism. Jesus was a Jew and He never changed His religion. Despite attempts to sever its Jewish connection, the Church has ever worshiped the God of the Jews, in a faith that is anchored in a Jewish book, and built on the foundation of a Jewish Messiah.

Whether your customers are Messianic Jews, part of the Charismatic movement or just want to be more in touch with their Jewish heritage by searching for their roots, you can better help them in this area by letting New Day help you!

This means selling items associated with Jewish culture to Christians: shofars, mezuzahs, menorahs (engraved with a Star of David merged with a Christian “ichthus” sign), Kiddush cups, tambourines (“mentioned in Psalms”) and, in particular, Tallit prayer shawls:

Worn in symbolic remembrance to Him and his commandments, used in prayer and worship (very popular with John Hagee, Juanita Bynum, Benny Hinn and Judy Jacobs Ministries)

The company’s website explains the shawl in more detail:

Wearing a prayer shawl establishes a special connection to God. A tallits is more than a prayer shawl. It is filled with profound meaning and religious significance. Just as Jesus (who was also a Jew) told us to take communion in remembrance of him, Christians today are wearing the shawls as a symbolic remembrance of Him. They are using it for worship, prayer and as a symbolic act of the covering that Christ gave us when he shed his blood, as a “covering” of our sins.

Of course, in some respects this isn’t all bad, given the unhappy history of Christian anti-Semitism (still in evidence: the head of the Coptic church recently complained about Vatican apologies for past anti-Semitism since the New Testament shows that Jews are Christ-killers), and Messianic Jews need their religious artefacts. However, one also wonders about the wholesale appropriation of the Jewish heritage by non-Jews; it wasn’t just “historical Christendom” that decided to “define itself as ‘not Jewish’” – Judaism also decided that Christianity was not Jewish. This reminds me of the way some New Agers have appropriated Native American customs and objects, leading to controversy.

Philo-semitism has a long history in America and elsewhere, and a desire to assert some sort of connection or identity with the “Chosen People” has been a perennial urge. However, some recent manifestations have tipped over into the morbid; recently we saw a Nigerian Christian leader tell the Jerusalem Post that “African Christians…would love to kiss the feet of a Jew”.