Jewish Evangelism Then and Now part 4
Part four in a series, condensed from a paper presented to the Lausanne Consultation on Jewish Evangelism
By the end of World War II, there was no longer a need for the large institutional missions that provided relief and aid to the poor on a regular basis. That need had previously been a strong draw to bring Jewish people within talking distance of the missionary.
However, distribution of literature and Bible portions remained a big part of missionary work in the previous generation. One fellow stood on 34th Street in Manhattan by the side of Macy’s Department Store with a sign that proclaimed, Free New Testament to any Jew who will promise to read it.” He offered the pocket-size Prophecy Edition New Testament. I was told that this was the best size to offer. Jewish inquirers could keep them on their person all the time, thus avoiding the fear of having family members find New Testaments or other Christian literature around the house.
Tracts, for the most part, were discourses or sermons. They were generally well written and studded with Scripture from beginning to end. Many of them were testimonies, also packed with Bible verses.
Henry Einspruch had a special literature ministry. In the late 1930s, he translated the New Testament into high-quality Yiddish and published it with a superb binding. Many of the Jewish newspapers reviewed Einspruch’s New Testament. Surprisingly, he received accolades for his style of Yiddish and applause for his translation. Not so surprisingly, he was also reviled for publishing the New Testament message. Through the Lederer Foundation, Einspruch also published several brief books and lengthy pamphlets.
Dr. David L. Cooper was a contemporary of Henry Einspruch. He produced the Messiah series of books, which were sent free to all rabbis and Jewish doctors in the United States. If I recall, it was a set of nine books that were extremely well written and indexed. The prose was a bit difficult to understand, but the books were published at a time when people were accustomed to reading at a more difficult level. I’m sure that Dr. Cooper’s books must have influenced some unbelieving Jewish people, but I know firsthand that they served another purpose as well. His set on messianic prophecies influenced an entire generation of missionaries and taught us messianic prophecy.
Another interesting character of this era was Dr. Lawrence Duff-Forbes. His widely circulated booklet titled Out of the Clouds was written in rather flowery prose. Dr. Duff-Forbes was an Australian who came to this country to attend the Hebrew Christian Alliance. He was a mysterious, even shadowy person. No one was sure where he received his doctorate, or in what field it might have been. Nevertheless, he began regular Friday night meetings in the Grauman Mortuary Chapel, where he donned the regalia of a cantor or rabbi. He rented time on a local radio station and proclaimed himself a rabbi in the Jewish messianic movement.
more to come…