A Reason For Rejoicing A Word Of Caution
In 1968 the secretary of the Hebrew Christian Alliance International gave a pessimistic report on the Hebrew Christian movement throughout the world. He stated:
“Churches have been closing down. Missionary causes have suffered financially. The lack of evangelical fervor has made its impact on Jewish evangelism. There does not seem to be the number of converts that there were in the past. Whatever numbers there are in the institutional church seem to be lost in assimilation. THERE IS A DISTINCT EROSION OF THE HEBREW CHRISTIAN MOVEMENT IN AMERICA.”
This observation, made five years ago may have been historically accurate but it most certainly was not prophetic of 1973. It does serve, however, as a backdrop to highlight the miraculous inroads of the Gospel message within the Jewish community.
If Hebrew Christian converts were on the decrease in 1968, today they are on the increase.
If Hebrew Christians were being assimilated in 1968, today the tendency is toward isolationism.
If the Hebrew Christian movement was eroding in 1968, today it is solidifying.
This dramatic reversal of attitude by a large segment of the Jewish community Is nothing less than miraculous.
What caused this unprecedented change of attitude? The answer is complicated—the reasons, many. In the brevity of this article let me suggest a few:
First: More and more Jews from every strata of Jewish society are facing the simple but irrefutable fact that “contemporary” Judaism does not answer the basic questions of life nor does it give hope in death. In a word, many have found “contemporary” Judaism to be spiritually bankrupt.
Second: The college and university campus has encouraged academic freedom. One result—more and more young Jews have been willing to give an honest hearing to the claims of Christ on their lives.
Third: Hebrew Christians have begun to stop apologizing for their faith. Courage, tactfulness, patience, and love characterize many who are sharing their faith today.
Fourth: Jewish leaders have overreacted to the revitalized Hebrew Christian missionary fervor. The result—they primed the pump of curiosity on the part of many Jews.
Fifth: Strangely enough Zionism spurred on by Israel’s amazing accomplishments in almost every area of endeavor (including her military success) has given a sense of pnde to Jews the world over. A by-product has been a vicarious identification with Israel and a renewed interest in their religious heritage.
Sixth: It may well be that the favorable response on the part of many Jews is closely associated with prophetic truth.
During the Six Day War in June 1967 Israel regained control for the first time in 2500 years the entire old City of Jerusalem. Did that event signal a new and preliminary working by the Holy Spirit among Jewish people? Perhaps’ It certainly coincides with the increased interest in the Gospel on the part of many Jews. OF THIS WE ARE SURE, MANY JEWS ARE ACCEPTING CHRIST AS PERSONAL SAVIOR, FINDING IN HIM: THE FULFILLMENT OF ALL WHICH THEIR REVERED PROPHETS WROTE.
In the midst of rejoicing a word of caution must be sounded. A few Hebrew Christian movements are attempting by isolationism and legalism to rebuild the middle wall of partition between Jew and Gentile which Christ by His death tore down. IN NO WAY; UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES ARE JEWS WHO ACCEPT CHRIST AS SAVIOUR PART OF A MOVEMENT WITHIN JUDAISM. Belief in the Messiah is not synonymous with Messianic Judaism. IF TRULY SAVED, JEWS AND GENTILES ARE PART OF THE TRUE CHURCH WHICH IS THE BODY OF CHRIST. NOTHING LESS, NOTHING MORE AND NOTHING DIFFERENT WILL SUFFICE.
Rejoice with us at what God is doing among- His ancient people Israel, but let us not let expediency mar our Biblical vision, lest we accept “another Gospel which is not another,” but a distortion of God’s redemptive plan and program for His blood-bought children.