Stuart is a new Jewish believer in Jesus. He lives not too far from New York City. Like most new believers, he’s eager to share his faith, especially when an opportunity comes along to witness to one of his own Jewish people. When Stuart had a chance to talk to an Orthodox rabbi, he naturally assumed that God was providing a valuable occasion for witnessing. Stuart never imagined that this opportunity” to share the gospel could have led to the undermining—perhaps even the destruction—of his faith.
The visit with the rabbi went as might have been expected. Stuart laid out the gospel as he understood it, citing both Old and New Testament scriptures. The rabbi became angry and began to denounce Stuart and his belief in Jesus. But Stuart stood firm, knowing what Jesus had done for him. All in all, that seemed a relatively easy test of his faith, but then came the rabbi’s son, and that was another story.
“Overhearing” the conversation, the rabbi’s son entered the room. He told Stuart about a group in Brooklyn called the “Jewish Perspective.” Those Jewish people loved to get together to discuss matters of faith and surely would be delighted to hear about Jesus from Stuart. In fact, they would gladly put him up for a weekend in New York so he could spend the Sabbath with them and discuss his faith and theirs. He need only call their director in Brooklyn to make the arrangements. And by the way, he should be sure to come alone.
Stuart was thrilled. What Jewish believer wouldn’t jump at such an opportunity? Indeed, a “prophecy” had been given at his church that one of their members would soon have a great witnessing opportunity. Again Stuart made an assumption. The “prophecy” was to come to pass in him! Little did he know that except for God’s intervention, the stage was being set for his spiritual demise.
Fortunately, one of our Co-Laborers in the Messiah got wind of this setup and let me know about it. I did some checking and was informed that the “Jewish Perspective” is a front for some of the leading anti-missionaries and deprogrammers in the United States. Such groups are skilled at snatching new Jewish believers away from their faith in Jesus.
They don’t argue. They don’t persuade. They listen. They make the believer feel comfortable and trusting. Then slowly they unravel the supposed “fallacies” in the case for Christian faith. They introduce the new Jewish believer to supposedly “authentic” Jewish spiritual experiences. If necessary, they will detain such contacts—confuse them—get them to subtly renounce their faith, and even to blaspheme. Such methods are seductive and difficult to withstand, especially for one who is new in the faith and overconfident.
A call to Stuart to explain what he was about to get into gave him cause to pray and reconsider God’s direction in the matter. Hopefully Stuart will not go to see that rabbi again until he is much more experienced in discerning the dynamics of such an encounter.
How many more “Stuarts” are out there? We need to be aware and watchful. We need to pray for our newer brothers and sisters and give them sound instruction in discerning the Lord’s leading. There are wolves waiting to devour the sheep. We must not be ignorant of the devil’s devices. We must protect the new sheep with the admonition, “Wherefore, let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall” (I Corinthians 10:12).