A prominent rabbi is speaking out against comments that were made earlier this month by former Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), who discussed the end times during a radio program and said that Christians should share Jesus Christ with everyone, "even among the Jews."
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, author of the book "Kosher Jesus" and founder of the World Values Network — a group devoted to defending the state of Israel — is now calling on Bachmann to "retract ‘misguided’ comments about bringing Jews into Christianity."
“The Jewish state of Israel truly is a miracle of the hand of God. This is a fulfillment of God’s word,” Bachmann said during the interview. “We recognize the shortness of the hour and that’s why we as a remnant want to be faithful in these days and do what it is that the Holy Spirit is speaking to each one of us, to be faithful in the kingdom and to help bring in as many as we can — even among the Jews — share Jesus Christ with everyone that we possibly can because, again, he’s coming soon.”
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, right, listens as World Values Network founder Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, left, addresses a gathering at the Chabad House at Rutgers University Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2015, in New Brunswick, N.J. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
It was her comments about sharing the Christian gospel with the Jews that upset Boteach, among others, with the rabbi telling TheBlaze that he believes evangelicals like Bachmann are "Israel's best friends," but that her comments were theologically inappropriate.
"She's a very fine woman and a great friend of Israel, but when that support comes with these seemingly strings attached — that we believe that Jews should embrace Christianity — it's a bit of a contradiction," Boteach said.
He said it is as though Bachmann is saying that Jews deserve a national identity, but that they do not deserve a religious identity with Judaism.
"We Jews are not going to become Christian," Boteach said.
The rabbi said that he enjoys seeing the spread of the Christian faith among Christians and that people like Bachmann should also feel the same about the spread of Judaism among the Jews.
"Our Christian brothers and sisters should be looking to bolster Judaism among the Jews, not saying that Jews should convert to Christianity," Boteach said. "Christianity is far better off when Jews embrace Judaism, because so much of Christianity is based on Judaism."
The rabbi said that his intention in speaking out isn't to criticize Bachmann, whom he considers a friend, but to instead "respectfully correct her," calling her comments "a misguided understanding of what's best for Christianity."
Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn. speaks at Faith and Freedom Coalition's Road to Majority event in Washington, Friday, June 20, 2014. (AP Photo/Molly Riley)
"I know Michele is a good friend and I know she will do the right thing and call on all Jews to practice the religion which Jesus himself practiced, Judaism," Boteach added through a press release.
As TheBlaze previously reported, Bachmann recently toured the Jewish State along with a group that was organized by Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council, recently making her comments while speaking with Perkins for a segment on his “Washington Watch” radio program.
Speaking of current events, Bachmann said that “almost every article” in the newspaper involving Israel “ties with so much biblical prophecy.”
“This week really was about biblical prophecy in many ways, and we’re seeing as events are speeding up — it seems like events are speeding up so quickly right now,” she continued. “And we see how relevant the Bible is, and we’re reading our newspaper, at the same time we’re learning about these biblical events … we’re seeing the fulfillment of scripture right in front of our eyes, even while we’re on the ground.”
Numerous outlets accused the former congresswoman of intently focusing on the need to convert the Jewish population, though it appears that this was in relation to comments about the need to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with “as many as we can.”
Bachmann's comments seem to be in reference to the Great Commission, a scriptural direction from Jesus calling on the disciples to "go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit," according to Matthew 28:19.
“The Jewish state of Israel truly is a miracle of the hand of God. This is a fulfillment of God’s word,” Bachmann said during the radio show. “We recognize the shortness of the hour and that’s why we as a remnant want to be faithful in these days and do what it is that the Holy Spirit is speaking to each one of us, to be faithful in the kingdom and to help bring in as many as we can — even among the Jews — share Jesus Christ with everyone that we possibly can because, again, he’s coming soon.”
Others spoke out as well against Bachmann's comments.
"A statement like Ms. Bachmann’s should serve to remind Jews that missionizing is, unfortunately, alive and well, and that we must always be on the lookout for it," Rabbi Avi Shafran, a spokesperson for Agudath Israel of America, told the Jerusalem Post. "It also should be a reminder of the importance of Jewish education, since the surest defense against missionizing is authentic Jewish knowledge."
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