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A Jew for Jesus

"A Jew for Jesus" Continued...

Issue: "How Mark Souder fell," June 19, 2010

More recently, Rosen cautioned messianic Jews against promoting Jewishness and Judaism as a priority. In a farewell letter he asked to be read following his death, he wrote: "I hope I can count on you to show love and respect for the Jewish people, but Jewishness never saved anybody. Judaism never saved anybody no matter how sincere."

Rosen acknowledged personal flaws that would interfere with his ministry but he could be self-deprecating: "God has a great sense of humor letting an over-aged, overweight, and overbearing person like me lead a youth movement." But longtime Jews for Jesus associate executive director Susan Perlman said he instilled pride among Jewish Christians for their heritage. That made him an antagonist to many Jewish leaders. The late Rabbi Marc Tanenbaum of the American Jewish Committee called it "a theological impossibility" to be a messianic Jew because "Judaism is incompatible with any belief in the divinity of a human being."

Among the books Rosen authored were Christ in Passover (1956); Share the New Life with a Jew (Moody Press, 1976, written with his wife); Jews for Jesus (Revell, 1974, with William Proctor); and The Sayings of Chairman Moishe (Creation Press, 1974). Rosen stepped down as executive director of Jews for Jesus in 1996 but continued to serve as a board member until his death. He died from prostate cancer at his home near San Francisco's Twin Peaks neighborhood. In a final farewell posted on the Jews for Jesus website following his death, he said he probably left many things undone, but noted that "anything done for Christ will last."

Rosenisms

"Being born in a Christian home doesn't make you a Christian any more than being born in a bakery makes you a bagel."

"Careless Christians vaccinate their friends against the gospel. They give them just enough of a dose that they never catch a case."

"The man who knows he's going to live for eternity can afford to be patient."

Rosen often told Jews for Jesus editors and writers: "Apart from God, everyone is subject to rewrite."

Edward E. Plowman
Edward E. Plowman

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