Monday, August 6, 2012

Called to Controversy [Book Review]

Called to Controversy by Ruth Rosen , shares an engaging story of a man's transformation from Jewish origin to God's messenger to convince many to believe in Jesus Christ the Messiah.  Moishe Rosen's life was Jewish in nationality, but few of the religious traditions were practiced in his home growing up or handed down to him.  His pride in Jewishness came more from the history of his people than their religion. By the time Moishe was a teen the Jewish religion held  no meaning for him.  However, he was loyal to his Jewish community.

Before graduating from high school, Moishe had made significant decisions: he met the girl who he would eventually marry, he chose not to work in his father's junkyard business, he joined the National Guard, and began studies towards a business career. He also met Orville, an outspoken Christian who eventually was instrumental in helping Moishe to a solid faith in Jesus. How Orville and his wife persisted in praying for the Rosen's salvation is very inspirational.

"It's no wonder the Bible describes this [conversion] as being born again," Moishe thought. "There's so much to learn!" (p. 68) To Moishe and his wife, Ceil, Christianity was very foreign. Yet from the start he witnessed to everyone.  After receiving a call to ministry the Rosens packed up and moved from Denver to New Jersey where Moishe attended Northeastern Bible Institute in Essex Falls; he was sponsored by ABMJ, American Board of Missions to the Jews.

Adjusting to college culture was difficult and Moishe was outspoken. "Anything stated in absolutes rubbed him the wrong way and he often challenged his teachers." (p. 95) The structured activities and opportunities of school zapped Moishe's natural enthusiasm for witnessing.  The book showcases Moishes's strong self-motivation.  Determined to not become passive he strives to set goals for evangelism which are not possible during his studies.  He learns more of God's grace yet never becomes complacent about sharing his faith. He also learns to rely on God for personal needs as God provides during these years in miraculous ways.

While a student, AMBJ assigned Moishe to street preaching without any training. Moishe sought his own mentors.  Hecklers became a sport to Moishe as he used them to draw a crowd to a meeting.  The book highlights many men who mentored Moishe after he finished school and began to work for AMBJ.

In 1957, the Rosens relocate to California and Moishe becomes the director of the Los Angeles AMBJ. Very little guidance was given him during this time yet he grew as a leader. He became known as an expert in how to do Jewish evangelism.

Moishe is asked to go to New York in 1967, and here encounters the hippie culture as a new harvest field.  The Jews for Jesus slogan is birthed during this period. AMBJ had high hopes for Moishe in New York yet he never felt that he was given the authority to carry out his vision. After three years, Moishe requests a transfer back to California and is placed in San Francisco.  Jews for Jesus was becoming an entity of its own and God was bringing together a very diverse group of people for a very specific purpose; to tell the world that Jesus is the Jewish Messiah. "They were unconventional people following an unconventional leader to perform an unconventional task." (p. 191)

Eventually Moishe and AMBJ parted ways. Issues concerning leadership and authority led to the separation and Moishe acknowledges that both sides could have handled things differently.  But it was also time for Jews for Jesus to be on their own. There was much to learn in the new organization and both of the Rosen's adult daughters become involved the work.

Ruth, the younger daughter and author of the book shares honestly about contention and controversy regarding Moishe's issues with anger, control and leadership styles. Consequently, many people he worked with were disappointed and hurt. However, "Moishe retained and, in some cases, regained many wonderful friendships throughout his life through the grace that he both gave and received". (p. 222)

Moishe's influence increases beyond Jews for Jesus to Jewish missions all over North America and other countries. He invested time to teaching in Bible colleges, upholding the inerrancy of Scripture.  During the 1980s he wrote articles for Christian magazines.

After stepping down from leadership of Jews for Jesus, Moishe travels and speaks worldwide.  His activities in latter years included training missionaries, writing books and expanding ministry into the Internet.

The book ends with Moishe's death in 2010. An epilogue, several appendix and a letter from Ceil complete the book. Appendix B is a letter from Moishe pleading for the church to support ministry to Jewish people that promotes Jesus Christ as the only way to be saved. He is clear that there are no shortcuts.

I received this book free of charge from the program in exchange for my honest review.

1 comment:

  1. I was somewhat familiar with "Jews for Jesus", but didn't know very much about Mr. Rosen, so found your review very interesting.


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