Jewish Evangelism in Germany?
*While Jonathan Bernd spends most of his time at our London branch, he makes regular evangelistic forays into Germany. Pray the Lord will continue to open doors for him to minister there.
Most people know what Hitler did to the Jews of central Europe. Fewer people realize that his heinous crimes against the Jewish people also left terrible scars upon the church. It is not surprising that the memory of Nazi butchery hangs especially heavy over Germany, nor that sensitive Christians there found themselves reluctant to tell Jewish people that they need Jesus. As a result, previously well-developed Jewish outreach in central Europe more or less halted because of the Third Reich. Today, Jewish believers are quite rare in Germany, and Jewish evangelism is extremely controversial. Against that backdrop, you can understand why we were so excited about the following opportunity:
A couple of months ago, 30,000 Christians (mostly German youth between the ages of fourteen and eighteen) flocked to Dresden for Christival.” In addition to the vast number of participants, this Christian conference attracted wide media attention. The main forums offered a platform for reaching Christians all over the country and beyond.
Thanks to some dear friends of Jews for Jesus in Germany, we were invited to take part in this most significant gathering. Susan Perlman, a spiritual dynamo, had the opportunity to speak at various events and seminars. We praise the Lord for giving us that platform to show the biblical basis of Jewish missions and to excite German Christians about what the Lord is doing in their country.
The final service was held in a football stadium that was packed to overflowing. It was a historic occasion—and Susan was invited to give her story, including the fact that she works with Jews for Jesus! This enabled us to reach beyond the 30,000 present, to many more thousands via television. And though it was a secular network broadcast, the Bishop of the state church opened the session, giving it an official church status. Furthermore, Susan’s story was translated and published in two magazines with a circulation of 240,000 or more.
Whereas some of the liberal elements of the state church had felt that the cause of Christ among Jewish people was a non-issue for the churches of Germany, this one event put it into the national spotlight. It remains to be seen what, if any, reaction will result. Nevertheless, this is the time to bring the issue of Jewish evangelism before the churches of Germany because this is the time God has chosen to bring tens of thousands of Jews into Germany from the CIS. These Jewish people are hungry to know God. They are settling throughout Germany and will only hear the Good News if Christians there are willing to tell them about Jesus.
Let’s pray that this youth conference will make a lasting impression on a new generation of Christian brothers and sisters in Germany. Let’s pray that many will embrace the moment and reach out to Jewish people with a forthright and loving proclamation of God’s redemptive plan. Where there was death and suffering, now there are opportunities to impart the message of healing and everlasting life.
Various staff members have been entrusted with “portfolios” for parts of the world in which they have a special interest. Susan Perlman holds our European portfolio, which involves some oversight of our staff and outreach there, as well as a particular burden for the salvation of our Jewish people scattered throughout these countries.