Promise Keepers founder planning alliance with Messianic Jews

Posted: Friday, August 13, 2004

DENVER (AP) Promise Keepers founder Bill McCartney has reportedly been planning a new initiative for strengthening ties between evangelicals and Messianic Jews a move that could damage relations between conservative Christians and Jewish leaders.

McCartney and the Rev. Raleigh Washington, an elder at a Denver church led by a Messianic Jew, plan to announce the campaign called ''Road to Jerusalem'' on Dec. 3 in Palm Springs, Calif., The Denver Post reported.

Neither McCartney nor Washington would comment on the report.

Messianic Jews believe Jesus is the Messiah, but consider themselves Jewish and observe Jewish rituals. Jewish religious leaders, however, consider them Christian and are offended by their efforts to evangelize Jews.

While evangelical Christians have become strong supporters of Israel, they usually don't associate with Messianic Jews to avoid offending Jewish leaders, said Russ Resnick, executive director of the Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations.

Resnick said having McCartney's support would be ''a significant thing.''

The Anti-Defamation League and other Jewish leaders have warned that any such alliance would make it impossible for them to work with evangelicals.

McCartney has had previous ties to Messianic Jews. Leaders of the movement participated in a large Promise Keepers rally in Washington in 1997.

McCartney founded the Christian men's organization in 1990, the same year he coached the University of Colorado to a share of the national football championship.

He left the school in 1994 to run the ministry full time and resigned his post at Promise Keepers last September, saying he would devote more time to his family and his ill wife.

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