Former President George W. Bush spoke Thursday at a fundraiser for the Messianic Jewish Bible Institute, a group that promotes the idea that salvation through Jesus is consistent with Jewish teachings.
An announcement ahead of the event about the former president’s planned keynote drew criticism from Jewish leaders and groups. Under traditional Judaism, Jews do not regard Jesus as the divine messiah.
In a column called “Why Jews Should Not Accept Jesus — Whatever George W. Bush Thinks,” Rabbi David Wolpe wrote that he was “bothered” by Bush’s plans.
“The sudden rise of ‘Messianic Jews’ owes more to a clever way of misleading untutored Jews than to making theological sense. It should not receive the imprimatur of a former President of the United States.”
Bush is an outspoken Christian, who has spoken extensively about the role his faith has had in his life. In 2005, he was sworn in for his second term as President of the United States with his family bible.
According to the Messianic Jewish Bible Institute web site, they work to “bring Jewish people into a personal relationship of faith with Yeshua the Messiah."
The annual fundraiser, dubbed “Rekindle 2013,” took place in Texas. Tickets ranged from $100 to $100,000.
Read more about Bush’s planned speech here.