Updating the War on Jewish Evangelism
People’s response to that letter exceeded my expectations. So many recognized the importance of this issue and wrote to express their strong support for the proclamation of the gospel to the Jewish people. Others misunderstood the letter, seeing it as an attack on the evangelical leaders mentioned. That misunderstanding was compounded by a front-page article that the Washington Times” printed. Their article was titled “Jews for Jesus Criticizes Evangelicals.” Naturally, that title alarmed me because it misrepresented the point of my letter. I wrote a letter to the editor, which the newspaper declined to publish. Here is the gist of that unpublished :
“Your article about our Jews for Jesus ministry on Tuesday was generally good except for the headline. We are not criticizing evangelicals. We are evangelicals. We are . . . raising a concern that some evangelical leaders have been deceived. . . . certain members of the Jewish community leadership . . . are putting pressure on evangelical leaders or, in the case of Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, deceiving evangelicals. . . . As many of my Jewish people are beginning to understand, evangelical Christians are among the best friends Israel has. But one of the definitions of being an evangelical is believing that the gospel of Messiah Jesus is for all peoples, including the Jews.
Whether it is by claiming to be offended or by any other means, some Jewish leaders will continue to try and pressure evangelicals to change their longstanding commitment with regard to Jewish evangelism. My hope and confidence is that regardless of how great the pressure or widespread the disinformation campaign, they will not in the end succeed. Evangelical leaders ultimately know what I and my colleagues in Jews for Jesus know. The most loving thing that anyone can do is to bring the saving message of Messiah Jesus to everyone, including my Jewish people.
David Brickner, Executive Director
I want to alert you to the fact that this war on Jewish evangelism is continuing. Six months after I wrote that letter, John Hagee, well-known Christian pastor and television personality, was featured in an article in “Charisma” magazine. In it, Hagee uses Romans 11 to justify his statement that “Christians have no duty to evangelize Jews.” And, according to the article, “While Hagee doesn’t think evangelizing Jews is an essential part of the Christian life, he believes that loving them is…”
I wrote a letter to the editor of “Charisma” magazine which was published and which you can read here. I am grateful that the magazine published the letter, which expresses my concern that Rev. Hagee is loving my people into a Christless eternity. While I don’t expect it will change his mind, perhaps it will be a reality check for the magazine’s readers.
It is no surprise when liberal Christian leaders go soft on the issue of Jewish evangelism. When conservative charismatic Christians such as Rev. Hagee say such things, we need to see that a serious erosion of commitment to Jewish evangelism is taking place. And it is taking place within a community that should be most supportive.
I saw no letters from any other evangelical Christian leader taking exception to Rev. Hagee’s remarks. Even “Charisma” magazine, which has been strongly supportive of Jewish evangelism, made no editorial comment on this important subject.
The tide is rising against the cause of Christ among the Jewish people. Thankfully, we are not losing the battle on all fronts. I’m happy to tell you that recently one of our board members, Rev. Lon Solomon, and I were able to speak with Dr. James Dobson on his national radio program “Focus on the Family” about this subject. Members of the Jewish community who would like to see him join the ranks of Rev. Hagee and others who are opposed to Jewish evangelism have courted Dr. Dobson. Nevertheless, Dr. Dobson has stood firm and he spoke forcefully in support of preaching the good news of Jesus to the Jewish people. That national broadcast is set to air on stations around the country on March 25.
I want to urge you not only to listen to the program, but to encourage others to listen in as well and to join Jews for Jesus and Dr. Dobson in turning back this tide that is rising against the mandate to preach the gospel to the Jew first. Please ask your pastor to listen in as well.
There is much more at stake in this matter than Jewish evangelism. I believe this issue is the camel’s nose of universalism pushing its way into the tent of the Body of Christ. If the church fails to hold the line on the necessity of the gospel for salvation of Jewish people, it will be on the slippery slope toward a weakened and watered-down gospel for the rest of the world.
I’m grateful for Christian leaders like Dr. Dobson who are willing to take the heat that will likely come as a result of this radio program. Please join us in praying that many more will voice their concern and support for bringing the good news of Messiah to my Jewish people. We need evangelical leaders and laypeople alike to speak out regarding this issue so crucial to our generation.
I am grateful to you, dear reader, for standing with us and helping us to relentlessly pursue God’s plan for the salvation of the Jewish people.
Executive Director, Missionary
David Brickner is executive director of Jews for Jesus. David oversees the world-wide ministry from its headquarters in San Francisco. David received his Master’s degree in Missiology with a concentration in Jewish Evangelism and Judaic Studies from the Fuller School of World Mission. He has authored several books, and has been interviewed on national television shows such as Larry King Live. David’s daughter, Ilana is a recent graduate of Biola. His son, Isaac is on the missionary staff of Jews for Jesus. Isaac and his wife, Shaina, have one daughter, Nora, which makes David part of the grandparent club, a membership he is very proud of. See more here.