Evangelizing - Black Hebrew Israelites
If you've ever spent much time on the streets evangelizing or simply enjoying time with your family, there is a chance you've encountered a group called "Black Hebrew Israelites."
They typically wear bright robes, are very combative, and shout raucously at people for various things. Worse, they take verses out of context, usually from the Old Testament, to support their view that Jesus was black, King James was black, the Israelites were black, and that salvation is only for blacks, although some Black Hebrew Israelites claim it can also extend to Native Americans, Hispanics, and other ethnic groups (except Caucasian). They believe we are now living in the Caucasian heaven, but that when Jesus returns the situation will be reversed and the Caucasian will become the slaves of other ethnic groups.
Their theology is built upon racial prejudice and law-keeping, not the gospel, which through Christ "has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility" (Eph. 2:14-16).
The gospel shows there is no longer Jew, Greek, black or white, since we are all one in Christ and we're all saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.
Black Hebrew Israelites can be seen in every major city in America, and now across the world. As racial tension proliferates, so do the Black Hebrew Israelites. This article is not meant to communicate all of what this group believes, but rather to share how I have learned to deal with them whenever they are in an area where I am evangelizing.
I have been street preaching in a particular spot in Oklahoma City Bricktown for ten years. Over the last year or so, a group of Hebrew Israelites has been set up in the same spot. At first, I made a mess of things by trying to dialogue with them and, at times, even argue. Then I decided to set up directly across from them and preach the Gospel to them! This is a challenge, of course, since this group is typically very belligerent. They continually try to pull us away from our mission as gospel preachers. It is very tempting to be sidetracked by their blatant misinterpretations of Scripture. It is also very exhausting. The temptation is to try and correct everything they say, but from my experience, this is fruitless.
Simple gospel preaching is the goal. It takes a considerable amount of concentration and discipline to use this approach, but I have seen much fruit from it. It is especially helpful if you have a team of people with you because boldly preaching the gospel to this group will draw big crowds of people. The other people who are with you can be in the crowd handing out tracts and conversing with people who would normally walk by. This is not to say that every encounter with Hebrew Israelites should be done in this manner, but it is something we feel the Lord has led us to do in our location.
I have seen one or two of the Hebrew Israelites seemingly humbled by the relentless proclamation of God's holiness, man's sinfulness, and the glorious gospel of Christ. Remember, "The Gospel is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes" (Rom. 1:16), and this is true even with a group as bitter as Black Hebrew Israelites. Simple gospel proclamation is what's needed since wrangling with them only leads to rabbit trails and bickering.
When we see evil men and perversions of the Scripture, we are not to retreat but rather must confront it with the gospel! I have a burden for these men to be saved out of such a cult. I desire them to be reconciled to Christ. I pray that the Lord would open their eyes to the Truth of the gospel. But I know it won't be done through gimmicks, nor retreat-ism, nor rabbit trails. We must confront it head on with the gospel. Christ has all authority in heaven and on earth, therefore let us go to the Black Hebrew Israelites and share with them all that Christ has done.
- Brady Brewer
Jeremiah Cry Ministries - NoKingButChrist