UPDATE: Since this posting we note that Pastor Vineyard's assistant, Pastor David Sloan and his wife, were working as missionaries in Israel. Writings are available on their efforts to evangelize Jews.
Mike Huckabee was the keynote speaker at the annual banquet of a major messianic missionary organization which targets Jews for conversion (see full report)
The red, white, and blue - plus orange - pastor, who valiantly defended the Jewish community in Gush Katif and penned heart-felt letters to President Bush in defense of Israel, has come out of the closet as a flaming Baptist missionary. And his eyes are now set on converting Jewish IDF soldiers to Christianity.
Dr. Jim (James) Vineyard the purportedly true blue friend of the Jews who led the pre-Gaza Disengagement protest in Crawford Texas, and who accompanied Dov Hikind on a solidarity visit to Gush Katif in the summer of 2005,was exposed by blogger Geula Girl of The Key to Redemption.
An ad for the 2009 national conference of Pastor Vineyard’s organization Yedidim of Israel invited participants to “Join us for three days of study on Israel and find out what you can do to get involved in evangelizing the Jew”
The brochure for the conference was equally telling:
“While in Israel, Brother Vineyard met Guy Markizano, an IDF
artillery commander. This opened a huge door to several battalions
of IDF soldiers, to whom we were able to feed a full hot
meal. Three short years later, because of that relationship, we
have been able to place several library containers on military
installations across Israel. These are evangelistic tools because
they contain both Old and New Testament Bibles, and are airconditioned
units the soldiers can escape to, to read a book or
God’s Word. Could these be some of the 144,000 that the book of
Revelation speaks of?”
More than four years ago this writer expressed apprehension over Pastor Vineyard and his agenda in an article posted by Arutz 7 and Israelinsider, I advised the national camp to exercise caution. At the time I urged, “…our nationalist rabbis and Christian Zionist leaders to lay everything out on the table and draw-up some principles, ethical codes and red lines to guide our relationship and activities before we run into any misunderstandings.”
In an October 2008 Jewish Israel update, I wondered why Pastor Vineyard was "hooked up" with 80 IDF officers at a "War College" in France in late September of that year. Vineyard stayed at the same hotel with "these 80 Hebrews to study primarily, the Normandy Invasion". According to one of Vineyard's letters, packages were distributed to the IDF officers. "when we put that package of books and DVDs into their hands. They would ask, "For Me?" Then they would walk away amazed."
A word of caution:
It was Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind who helped Jim Vineyard become the “save Gush Katif” poster pastor back in 2005. Rabbi MK Benny Elon also encouraged Vineyard to join a widely publicized solidarity mission of “Bible Belt Baptist ministers” and American Jews, which Hikind organized and led. According to an article in The Jewish Week, at the time it was reported that Hikind was unconcerned about the issue of proselytizing by Vineyard and his Baptist pastors’ group:
“Hikind said he was undaunted by the proselytizing activities of the Evangelical ministers, a source of concern to some Jewish organizations that are skeptical about fundamentalist Christian support for Israel. “As far as I know they are not directly involved in [proselytizing]”… Hikind expressed frustration [during a solidarity rally] that more Jewish leaders had not signed on to his trip.
“It is easier for me to find Baptist ministers than rabbis,” he said in a booming voice.
Pastor Vineyard remained the trusted friend of a number is right-wing activists including Ruth Matar of Women in Green. When Mike Huckabee was running for the Republican primaries, Ruth penned a widely distributed letter which stated in part, “ My personal friend, Dr. Jim Vineyard, knows him[Huckabee] personally, and assures me that Mike Huckabee is a very good and loyal friend of Israel.”
Well, now we know that Pastor Vineyard is not to be trusted, as he lied about not having an evangelizing agenda in Israel. And thanks to the “generosity” of the good Pastor our soldiers across Israel can now read the new testament in air-conditioned comfort.
Governor Mike Huckabee is currently in Israel on a widely publicized trip, and is being accompanied by Assemblyman Dov Hikind . Jewish Israel wants to make it clear that we have absolutely no information with regards to any history of Huckabee having evangelized Jews. Nor do we have any reason to doubt Governor Huckabee’s sincerity and commitment to Israel.
However, we do know that Huckabee was an active and devout Baptist pastor for 12 years prior to his launching a political career. Last month he was a featured speaker at the Southern Baptist Convention. That means he takes “the Great Commission” (missionary work and spreading the gospel) seriously. At that convention “The Great Commission Resurgence Declaration” was passed. Jewish Israel will keep readers abreast of developments on that bill and what it could mean for the Jewish people.
So Jewish Israel thinks that any relationship with Mike Huckabee needs to be approached with the old “respect and suspect” formula. The unveiling of Pastor Dr. Jim Vineyard’s true colors should alert every Jew to the possibility that those who praise, throw banquets for, and honor pastors and/or politicians could – down the road - end up eating their words and having to imbibe some pretty bitter waters.
Jewish Israel thinks “respect and suspect” is the order of the day – now more than ever.