Mike Pence Brought A Messianic Rabbi To Honor Pittsburgh Shooting Victims & Unsurprisingly, It Did Not Go Over Well

Vice President Mike Pence was highly criticized Monday after appearing at a campaign rally for Lena Epstein, a Republican candidate for the open congressional seat in Michigan's 11th District, where a "Messianic rabbi" invoked Jesus during a tribute mourning the deaths of 11 people from the recent shooting at Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh

Messianic Judaism believes that Jesus is the messiah and considers the New Testament to be authentic.Accordingly, it is not recognized as Jewish by mainstream Judaism in the U.S. nor by the Chief Rabbinate, the supreme spiritual authority for Judaism in Israel.

The movement is most known for the organization Jews for Jesus, founded in 1970, which declares that "Jesus the Messiah was eternally pre-existent and is co-equal with God the Father."

According to NBC News, Pence invited Rabbi Loren Jacobs to the stage after hearing him give a prayer backstage. 

"We often have ecumenical prayers at the beginning of events that aren't an endorsement of any particular faith," Pence's deputy chief of staff, Jarrod Agen told NBC News.

Jacobs graduated in 1979 from the Jewish studies program at Moody Bible Institute, a leading Christian college in Chicago, and was ordained as a rabbi by the Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations, located in Florida, soon after. Since being ordained, Jacobs has contributed a a number of columns to the Jews for Jesus publication Issues. Jacobs is currently the senior rabbi, and founder, of Congregation Shema Yisrael, a Messianic congregation in Michigan.