Here’s a typical Pittsburgh reaction: We’ll Behold Our Own God, Thank You Very Much.” That was actually the title of a column in the city’s second most widely read newspaper, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. You can see it here.
We also had a letter to the editor published in response to a previous article in the Post Gazette:
We’re Not Outcasts
I thank Ann Rodgers for her balanced story on our Behold Your God campaign this month (“Jews for Jesus on Way to Town: Two-Week Stop Part of Worldwide Outreach,” Sept. 18). I do, however, want to comment on the quote by Lisa Steindel, director of the Pittsburgh chapter of the American Jewish Committee, who charges that we are deceptive.
Behold Your God is about talking to those Jewish people who want to find out about Jesus. Saying that those who do consider the message are victims of deception demeans Jews and Christians in Pittsburgh. It grieves us that instead of dealing with and debating the issue—is Jesus the promised messiah of Israel?—we are treated like sinister outcasts. Isn’t this a place where all people can think for themselves?
We had a great debate between Dr. Michael Brown (a Jewish believer in Jesus who is well versed in countering anti-missionariy arguments) and Rabbi Boteach. At least 400 people attended, of which about half were students. From what we could tell there were at least 100 Jewish people in the audience. Michael Brown told us that a Jewish student came up to him after and said “I felt both loved and offended at the same time!”
Some Christian friends of ours picked up one of our broadside tracts from the ground in Squirrel Hill (a predominantly Jewish area) before driving to Erie. The waiter at the restaurant where they ate was Jewish. The couple witnessed to him and then the husband pulled the tract from his pocket and asked the waiter, Joshua, to read it. He said that he would. Pray that this little gospel seed will bear fruit.
One student wrote in University of Pittsburgh News (a campus newspaper), “The complete lack of respect that Jews for Jesus show in their unwillingness to understand and tolerate real Jews’ choice not to recognize Christ demonstrates their own lack of humility, understanding and respect.” Convoluted though the sentence may be, it once again spells out that in today’s society, humility is seen as a lack of conviction, and tolerance is seen as a commitment to the notion that one’s religious beliefs ought to be kept to oneself. Here is the rest of the article.
From campaigner Deb Banhart: “I was in Squirrel Hill last week and felt a tremendous amount of resistance. Two days later when I went returned to the area, my teammate and I ran into a Christian woman. She got so excited that she ran back into the building where she and seven of her Christian friends committed to pray for us. After that, the whole atmosphere of Squirrel Hill changed. I had good conversations with three Jewish people.”
Campaigner Harry Brown reports: “On Forbes and Grant, a young man came up and asked, ‘Do you have time to talk with me?’ He said he was a drug addict and that he knew he was doing wrong. Two years ago his mother had committed suicide. That day Ben asked Jesus to forgive his sins. Please pray for him to grow in faith and be delivered from substance abuse.”
Campaigner Rick Banhart reports: “On campus at Carnegie Mellon University I met a very difficult, resistant crowd. I said, ‘Lord, you ask us to be prepared to give an answer to anyone who asks. Please give me someone.’ I met Dan, who asked me how Jews could believe in Jesus. I turned to Isaiah 48. He read out loud, verses 12 through 16. Then he read Jeremiah 31. I asked, ‘Is there any reason you wouldn’t want to consider accepting your Messiah?’ He said he wanted to get together and talk a little more. Pray for Dan’s salvation.”
Garrett Smith reports: “I was walking Forbes Boulevard on Squirrel Hill during a noontime sortie last week, when an elderly, slightly stooped Jewish man approached and asked if I was Jewish and what had made me convert. His demeanor was gentle and sincere. I told him that I am still Jewish, but that I have found my Messiah. I told him how I had searched the Tanakh and had seen so many passages written by our prophets that clearly pointed to the fact that Yeshua truly is our Messiah. He appeared to be considering my story. I asked if he had a Bible and if he would read Isaiah 53, and he volunteered that he would read it that evening. His eyes and facial expressions showed that he was really searching. Pleae pray for this man and many like him who did not necessarily give us their contact information, but who seem interested enough to talk and to search their Scriptures.”