GETTING OUR PRIORITIES RIGHT
From Herald, the magazine to
By Mike Moore.
Dear Fellow Worker
I may be in danger of preaching to the converted, but there are times when it is good to remind ourselves of our basics. I was recently asked to contribute an article for a Church magazine to explain why Christians should be interested in reaching Jewish people with the gospel. I was, of course, more than happy to write the piece but my problem was limiting the article to 500 words. Anyway, this is what I wrote and I hope its helpful to you too.
There are almost seven billion people in the world, and less than one in five hundred of them is Jewish. Why should the Jewish people command our special attention in evangelism?
First of all, God has special love for the Jewish people. The Hebrew Scriptures testify so clearly to the closeness of the Jews but the New Testament is also clear on the subject: Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of their fathers (Romans 11: 28).
Speaking to a crowd of thousands in
Secondly, the Jewish people are in graver spiritual danger than others. In Amos 6: 2 God declares: You only have I known of all the families of the earth; therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities. Paul reminds his readers in Romans 2: 9 that there will be tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first.
In an 1893 sermon, Our Duty to Israel, Robert Murray Mc Chyne reasoned: The kind Physician runs first to the bed where the sick man lies who is nearest to die. When a ship is sinking, [do not] the gallant sailors stretch out the arm of help first to those that are readiest to perish beneath the waves? And shall we not do the same for Israel?
Thirdly, a fundamental principle in New Testament mission-logy is that the gospel is to the Jew first. Galatians 2, the Apostle Paul reveals that two decades after the great commission was issued by the Lord Jesus, he alone of the apostles was reaching out to the Gentiles: James, Cephas, and John gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. Even though Paul alone was entrusted with the mission to the uncircumcised, his invariable practice was to preach the gospel to the Jew first (see Acts 13: 5, 14, 46; 14: 1; 17: 1, 10, 16f; 18: 4, 19, etc.)
world will benefit from
A few months ago, in a letter to the Evangelical Times, a lady drew attention to an article on the Christian Witness to Israel website (www.cwi.org.uk/library/articles/HAFJ,html) by D M Lloyd-Jones, in which the Doctor expresses the hope that there shall be a tremendous conversion of the mass of the nation of Israel and when it happens the church will be so amazed and astonished that it will veritably be like life from the dead!
Why, she asked, do we not hear that preached from our pulpits more frequently?
Yours for the salvation
By J. STUART CONNING, D.D.
has been my privilege through a long lifetime to become acquainted with many
Jews who have become Christians. With
some of these Christian Jews I have been closely associated, and they have
become cherished and highly esteemed friends. With hundreds of others I have had those
occasional contacts which enable one to share some of their experiences and
form a just estimate of their character and worth. Most of them live in the
It is in my heart to say a few things about these friends of mine that may be of general interest, and about the things we may learn from them as we journey together through the years.
Every Jew I have known has had to make a real sacrifice in becoming a follower of Christ. The adherent of no other faith has to encounter greater difficulties in becoming a Christian. Expulsion from the synagogue, ostracism by the community, loss of employment, scorn and abuse from ones own family and friends, the charge of being renegades from their faith and traitors to their people are often the price a Jew must pay in taking upon himself the name of Christ, the greatest Jew of history. Yet for love of Christ they have sincerely accepted all the hardships, and gladly confess Jesus Christ to be their Messiah and Lord. And never have I found one who has counted the cost too great to pay for the blessings that have come to him from his new-found faith.
It is interesting to note that those Jews who respond to the appeal of the Gospel are, as far as my knowledge goes, those who have been loyal to the faith of their fathers. In these days many Jews have become thoroughly secularized. They have given up most of the ritual observances of Judaism, and rarely set foot in a synagogue. The only worship they render is to the gods of pleasure and gain. They belong to the godless multitude of our time who must be won, just as other pagans, to a belief in God, and as sinners to repentance and pardon through the Divine Redeemer. But Jews who are sincerely religious, who believe in the God of Israel, and in the scriptures of the Old Testament as the Word of God, are open to the appeal of Christ as the promised Messiah, when wisely and sympathetically approached. They find that He fulfils the ancient prophecies, and answers the cry of their hearts for pardon and peace and fellowship with God. He provides the key that fits every ward of the Old Testaments complicated lock.
I have been greatly impressed with the fact that Jews almost universally testify that the main factor which led to their acceptance of the Christian faith was the friendly interest of some sincere and warm-hearted Christian. Other impressions may have been received from Christian literature, occasional contacts with individual Christians, or messages through radio or press, but the winning factor has been the friendship of some earnest Christian whose love for Christ has led him to share with his Jewish friend the treasures he had found in Christ. Friendship is the alembic that can dissolve suspicion and prejudice and open the way for the Divine Spirit to work His miracle of grace. It is here that Christians have so miserably failed to take advantage of their contacts with Jews, and it is here that churches having Jewish neighbours can render a service of incalculable worth by establishing with them friendly relations and exhibiting to them the spirit of Christ.
is a striking fact that it is Christ Himself who makes the mightiest appeal to
Jews. To the average Jew He is entirely
unknown. Knowing the special attraction
that Jesus has always had for His own people, Jewish leaders have diligently
sought by every means to immunize their people from His influence. Any reference to Him was deprecated. The very use of His name was banned. The New Testament was a forbidden book.
Attendance at any place of Christian worship was condemned as a sin. When any reference was made to Jesus, it was
as the hanged one or as the troubler of
is also characteristic of Jewish Christians is the ardour and intensity which
the new faith inspires. Jews are a warm-hearted,
demonstrative, and active people. What
they believe they believe intensely, and what they do they do intensely. And when they become followers of Christ they
display an ardour and zeal that distinguishes them from their more formal and
less enthusiastic Aryan brethren. They
become active church members and are zealous in their efforts to advance the
cause of Christ. Out of all proportion
to their numbers they furnish the Church with officers, teachers, pastors, and
missionaries. The names of Neander, Pascal,
‑The Hebrew Christian Quarterly.
The population of the world (says The Prophetic News) is said to have doubled in the last century, but the number of Jews has been multiplied by five. Think of the influence of this little nation. Only, those who do not know, act as if the Jew stopped thinking 2,000 years ago. The list of world names is long, but take these well known to us: in art, Mendelssohn for music, Heine for poetry, Sarah Bernhardt for the stage; in philosophy, Spinoza, whom Renan called the greatest Jew of modern times, and Bergson; in psychology, Freud, the psychoanalyst; in science, Albert Einstein, the incomprehensible; in politics, Disraeli, Queen Victorias favourite minister, Earl Rufus Daniel Isaacs Reading, Chief justice of Britain during World War I, Viceroy of India from 1921-26, and Henry Morgenthau, the efficient U.S. ambassador at Constantinople during the last war; in Christian scholarship, Neander and Edersheim.
Fairly recent figures gave more than seventy per cent. of the Jewish people as engaged in trade and industry, almost seven per cent. in professional and governmental occupations, and about five per cent. in agriculture. Had Jews no special ability in finance, they would have learned nothing from history, yet their control of money makes them all Shylocks to the Gentiles. It was foretold. As Isaiah says:‑Ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves (Is. 61: 6). Zephaniah adds his testimony:‑I will get them praise and fame in every land where they have been put to shame (Zeph. 3: 19).
But with all their
The Jewish Missionary
says:‑According to the Survey
Graphic, there are about eight hundred organizations in the