Reaching the People of the Book
The Jewish people are known as the people of the Book,” referring to the Bible, but in general they read a great deal. I have discovered that along with the Scriptures, I can use well-chosen publications effectively in reaching my people for our Messiah.
For example, across the country, thousands of Jewish people receive Issues, a Jews for Jesus evangelistic publication that helps explain how we integrate our faith in Yeshua with our Jewish identity. Thousands have been wooed and many have come to the Savior through this publication.
Periodically we missionaries call people on this Issues mailing list to offer dialogue on matters of faith. That was how I met Bill.
In our initial conversation, Bill said he believed in Jesus in his own way and would be willing to meet with me. When we met, Bill brought along books concerning his “spiritual master,” Sathya Sai Baba. A Hindu antichrist, this guru reputedly works astounding miracles, such as producing out of thin air medallions with his image on them and golden statues of Krishna. Sai Baba’s 20 million devotees consider him God in human form.
In God’s sovereignty, the day I met with Bill I “just happened” to have in my car a copy of a book by Christian author Tal Brooke, who before his conversion had spent two years in India as one of Sai Baba’s closest disciples. At the conclusion of my first visit with Bill, I gave him a copy of Tal Brooke’s book and took one of his, which alleged that between the ages of 12 and 30, which some call “the lost years,” Jesus had spent time in India imbibing Hinduism. This myth is quite popular with New Age-influenced people whose philosophy seeks to convert Christ into merely another guru (spiritual master), or “avatar” (one of many recurrent appearances of a pantheistic God in human form).
I was able to obtain yet another book which, in a scholarly fashion, exposed the spurious roots of this myth, which is founded on a fraudulent document created by a Russian journalist. I photocopied the relevant material and sent it to Bill with a gently worded letter. Again, a well-chosen publication played a role in ministering to one of the “people of the Book.”
On a subsequent visit, it became quite clear that Bill’s Hindu philosophy is inhospitable to the idea of truth and error. Instead, Bill prefers to think of all persons and all views as somehow being a manifestation of God. Therefore, I found he resisted my challenge that he consider whether Sai Baba’s power might not be from an evil source. In fact, Bill would not receive from me another excellent book by Tal Brooke that examines and exposes the demonic source of power behind three well-known gurus. However, when I told Bill that I had with me a longer book in which Tal chronicled his years with Sai Baba in India, Bill asked if he might see it.
We went out to my car, and while Bill examined the book, I prayed against the spiritual forces that held him in bondage, and for the intervention of the Spirit of God. After skimming the book, Bill said he had changed his mind and would take it. As of this writing, he is reading it, and I am praying that the light of the glorious gospel might break forth into his heart.
This incident shows that we ought to include publications as a means of witness to our Jewish friends. Because Jewish culture places a high value on literacy and information, books can often “speak” to our Jewish friends better than we can. We must be careful, however, to choose appropriate literature for the particular person we’re trying to reach. The more the literature addresses the person’s background, outlook and current situation, the more likely it is to be read with interest.
We should also remember that our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against wicked principalities and powers, and that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but spiritual and mighty to the pulling down of strongholds. Therefore, while our friends are reading the material we supply, we ought to be praying much, exercising our authority as priests, servants and children of the Most High God.
A final word of caution: while good literature is effective in witnessing, the “Book of books,” the Bible, is irreplaceable as the sword of the Spirit which cuts through arguments and vanquishes the forces of darkness. It is always good to get unbelievers into the Word of God and to get the Word of God into them. If we pile them high with books, but never get them into the Bible, we deprive ourselves and them of an irreplaceable resource.
Highly recommended books alluded to in this article:
Brooke, Tal: Avatar of Night (1982; Vikas Publishing, India); a detailed account of Brooke’s years with Sai Baba and how Brooke came to faith in Christ, and discovered the evil source of Sai Baba’s power.
Brooke, Tal: Riders of the Cosmic Circuit (1986; Lion Publishing Corp., Batavia, Illinois); an examination and expose of the Satanic nature of the “enlightenment” offered by Sai Baba, Muktananda, and Rajneesh, three 20th century Hindu gurus.
Beskow, Per: Strange Tales About Jesus (1983); a Swedish scholar’s examination and refutation of ancient and modern spurious “gospels” that present a distorted and dangerous view of Jesus Christ.