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CBA Bible Bestsellers- June 2012

Book Review- Called to Controversy: The Unlikely Story of Moishe Rosen and the Founding of Jews for Jesus

[I received a free copy of this book in ebook format from the blogger program at]

I thought Called to Controversy: The Unlikely Story of Moishe Rosen and the Founding of Jews for Jesus (by Moishe Rosen's daughter, Ruth Rosen) sounded like it would be an interesting story, despite its ponderous title.  Boy, was I wrong.  It was dull, excruciatingly dull.  And although the author seems to be trying throughout the book to impress us with Moishe's accomplishments, my overall impression of Moishe Rosen was that he must have been a pompous ass.  Over and over, we read of how Moishe ignored people's feelings or ideas, in his zeal for doing and saying things his way.  We even read how Moishe, in an attempt to make a point, smacked one of his female assistants full in the face, supposedly to demonstrate her "trust" for him.  
I don't know if I thought Moishe's journey from his mostly secular Jewish upbringing to Christian faith would be inspiring or fascinating, but it mostly made me sad.  Not because he was such a good Jew or anything (he had been an agnostic, more or less), but because, in typical missionary style, once he decided all Jews must accept Jesus, he insisted on trying to convert his whole family, and just couldn't understand why they would not jump right on board!  That attitude is simply part and parcel of Moishe's lifelong inability to empathize with anyone.  Ruth Rosen even points out his lack of empathy towards the end of the book, and oddly points it out as one of Moishe's strengths.  Apparently, she (like her father) believes that missionaries have no need to empathize with those whom they are trying to convert.  "Get the job done, and get 'em on our side," seems to be the Moishe Rosen (and Jews for Jesus) motto.
Honestly, before I read this boring book, I used to think Jews for Jesus was a worthwhile ministry.  Having read the book, I don't think they're really doing anything very laudable.  I don't believe they make a very good case for why a Jew should abandon his or her heritage.  I imagine many Christians will read this book and find it an amazing story.  I struggled to finish it, and found it a waste of time.  One star.

Posted via email from CORYBANTER II: babble and banter, bypassing banality


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