You Are Not Alone,” read the subject line of a recent email. It was a response to a letter I wrote titled “The War on Jewish Evangelism.” The letter highlighted disturbing trends regarding Jewish evangelism in various sectors of the church. While appreciating my concerns, one of our readers wrote to remind me of the stance that the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS) continues to have in favor of Jewish evangelism. She was right to remind me and so I want to remind you, dear friend of Jews for Jesus.
We are not alone. Along with the LCMS, the Southern Baptist Convention maintains a firm position in favor of Jewish evangelism. Numerous other evangelical churches have also stood with us and other Jewish missions in our efforts to make Christ known among our Jewish people.
What is more, God is using countless individual Christians who not only love and pray for their Jewish friends, but speak out to help them know the Savior. Recognizing this, Rabbi Tovia Singer, an antimissionary and vocal opponent of Jews for Jesus, has warned his constituency: “There are two rules of Jewish evangelism you never want to forget. Rule number one: In virtually all cases, the person who is most likely to succeed in converting the Jew is a Gentile evangelical Christian from the church, not a Jew who has already converted. The second rule is that it is not done by professional staff missionaries, it is done on a lay level between classmates on a university campus, someone you are going to meet in a dorm or on a basketball court, in the cafeteria, someone that you work with.” While “rule number one” is exaggerated, Singer is absolutely right about the effectiveness with which Gentile Christians witness to Jewish friends in everyday circumstances and how very necessary these Christian friends are in helping most Jewish believers on their faith journey.
The fact is, whenever anyone comes to Christ, usually a number of people have had a part in that person’s spiritual pilgrimage. While our Jews for Jesus missionaries do have the privilege of leading Jewish people to Christ each month, we often do so in partnership with at least one Christian who has loved, prayed for and witnessed to that person.
Christians like you also partner with us through our letter of witness program. Our readers send us names and addresses of their Jewish friends and we do our best to write a sensitive and loving letter that shares the gospel, gives a word of story and offers a free book and subscription to our publication ISSUES, written especially for unbelieving Jewish people. Whenever possible, our missionaries follow up those letters of witness with a personal phone call to those nearer our branch offices.
Last year, folks like you enabled us to send out approximately 3,000 of those letters of witness, and we spoke with many more Jewish people at the request of Christian friends. Recently, I had lunch with a businessman from my home church. He had several matters to discuss, all of them having to do with Jewish people who need Jesus. One of his neighbors is a Holocaust survivor. His best friend growing up is Jewish and has been more open about spiritual matters lately because his father has cancer. Several of his clients are Jewish. This man was eager to ask me how he could share Jesus with them. I was happy to advise and provide materials for him to use, including a story of a Jewish believer who has faced cancer and a video of the stories of Holocaust survivors who came to faith in Jesus. Only God knows what will come of my friend’s efforts to share Jesus with these people, but when I think of him and others in my church family, I know that I am not alone.
What amazes me is how many people in the church really do care about Jewish evangelism when there are so many other important things to care about. There are people in the church who care about the homeless. There are those who care about the problems of abortion or AIDS or alcoholism, children’s ministry, the elderly, ministry to those in prison, missions to China, Africa, Latin America, Bible translation, Muslim evangelism and Hindu evangelism. The list goes on and on.
We should all care about these issues and pray and give to see God’s work accomplished—but none except God Himself can care for all of these concerns equally. That is why He has called His church into being. His body on this earth reflects the breadth of His love and concern like no one individual can. In the world, people join a variety of organizations to share their concerns for various causes. Those of us who are united in Yeshua (Jesus) have a wonderful bond that not only draws us together but moves us out into the world to care for what He cares about. God has given the church a big, beautiful heart to care for so many people and so many important issues. If He has laid a special burden on your heart, no matter what it is, you are not alone.
When I have the opportunity to minister in a church I never expect all the people sitting in the pews to respond equally to the cause of Jews for Jesus. But there are always some, a handful of caring Christians on whose hearts God has placed the burden of Jewish evangelism. I imagine that since you are reading this article, you may be one of those people. I want to tell you that I am grateful to God for you and I want to thank you for making yourself available to care for something that is near and dear to the heart of God. I pray that by God’s grace we may set an example of faithfulness in proclaiming the gospel that will also encourage and stir you to love and good works. “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works.” (Hebrews 10:24)
It also works the other way around. Your caring helps renew my own commitment to serve the Lord and I know the same is true for others who serve in Jews for Jesus.
When it’s just me, or just our staff, or just you…the burdens are too great to bear. Thanks to God’s wisdom and grace in putting together His Church, together we can care a whole lot about a whole lot of wonderful and important things. Aren’t you glad that you are not alone?