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DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
April 30, 1993

Pro-Israel Christian To Speak Here May 4
Lesley Pearl � Staff Writer

Pastor Rawson:  �Don�t convert.�

Like any religious leader, Pastor Kenneth Rawson would like to see his congregation flourish�not with Jews, though.

The spiritual leader of Bible Students Congregation of New Brunswick, N.J., is against Christian missionizing to Jews.

�Our message is: �Do not convert; do not assimilate; cherish your heritage; support Israel.� The journey has been too long and too difficult to turn back,�� Pastor Rawson said.

Pastor Rawson will speak about his beliefs and present a video titled Israel: Appointment With Destiny, at 8 p.m. May 4, at Young Israel of Southfield.

The video, a 45-minute presentation filmed in Israel, has been shown at synagogues and Jewish federations across the United States and in Israel for three years. Pastor Rawson is continually updating the film with new material.

�This endeavor is a natural for me. Bible Students Congregation has been historically documented as pro-Zionist, non-proselytizing,� Pastor Rawson said.  �I am concerned about the high level of assimilation and anti-Semitism and I feel this message is urgent.�

Bible Students Congregation is non-denominational and worldwide. Its distinguishing features are a belief in non-proselytizing and the idea of one God as opposed to the Christian divinity of �Father, Son and Holy Spirit.�

In addition to traveling the country with his video and message, Pastor Rawson has waged an active editorial campaign against anti-Semitism, anti-Israel propaganda and Holocaust revisionism. His congregation places ads refuting such information, and Pastor Rawson often writs opinion pieces for publications.

Israel:  Appointment With Destiny has been translated into Russian and is being shown in the former Soviet Union with the assistance of SHAMIR�the Association of Jewish Professionals from the former Soviet Union In Israel.

�The Jews in the former Soviet republics are especially vulnerable. We have to help establish Jewish roots there,� Pastor Rawson said.

Pastor Rawson and the Bible Students Congregation now receive the support of Reform, Conservative and Orthodox congregations. However, he met with resistance when he first approached Jews with his video and presentation three years ago.

�There was a great deal of skepticism at first�an attitude of �this is our problem.�  The reception is good now.�

The program May 4 is open to the community.

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