Earlier this week I got a call from a musician from Europe who is currently in Israel. He is going to be producing a CD in several months and was looking for a woman singer to provide harmonies for some of the songs, and he got my telephone number from a mutual acquaintance. When I asked him what kinds of songs he wanted to record, he told me: Religious, spiritual, with Biblical texts. He said that they had been written by a particular songwriter, someone with an Israeli-sounding name whom I’d never heard of.
We made a date to meet earlier this morning, and soon after we began speaking together a tendril of suspicion wound its way into my mind. I had no overt reason for it, since I had never heard of the songwriter he named, but after only a few minutes I found myself asking: “Is this songwriter a member of the Messianic community?”
“Yes,” he said.
“Oh, no,” I said. “I think we have a problem.”
And I told him what I had told the previous two musicians from that community who asked me to work with them: as a professional singer, I do not work with Messianics. Maybe I should rephrase that, actually, since after all there is a difference between working on a project where a Messianic may happen to be a co-worker but not the one in charge, and working on a project where a Messianic is the leader or sponsor. So let me be more specific: I will not record or perform any religious songs that I know to have been written by Messianics, and I will not be involved in any musical project, particularly one of a religious character, in which they have an influential role.
Why not? Because the so-called Messianic movement is actually a missionary group whose goal is to convert Jews to Christianity. In order to do this they use lies, deception, deliberate mistranslation of Biblical texts and fear tactics. (Yes, I said “fear tactics.” If you tell me, even with all the politeness and compassion in the world, that I am going to burn forever in the fires of Hell unless I believe and worship the way you do, you are using a fear tactic to get me to change my religion.) In short, they are trying to make my people disappear off the face of the earth, even if by non-violent means. If I were to lend my voice to such an effort, I would be putting the gift that God gave me to the worst possible use—treason against my own people.
The musician himself does not belong to the Messianic community nor, to the best of my knowledge, is he Jewish by birth. As we spoke, I felt that despite my best attempts to explain why I cannot become involved with his project, I don’t think he really got it. In fact, I got the feeling that he thought I ought to be more inclusive, especially when he said: “But doesn’t God say in the Bible that His House will be called a house of prayer for all nations?”
I said: “Yes, absolutely. Jews do not believe that God will punish people who do not believe and worship as we do. It’s the Messianics who believe that. Ask them. They may be very polite about it at first, but if you insist on the truth, they will tell you eventually.”
I apologized for not having asked the question sooner, which would have saved him the trip to my place. I truly hadn’t meant to inconvenience him. Maybe one day we will work together after all.
But it won’t be on a project of Messianic music.