The Gospel and the Jewish People

The World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) released the following statement on The Gospel and the Jewish People on March 28, 2008 (see below). The statement is being distributed in a variety of Christian and secular publications, including Christianity Today and the New York Times. Dr. Geoff Tunnicliffe, the CEO & International Director of WEA, comments,

Increasingly, Jewish Evangelism is being marginalized and even dismissed as irrelevant, inappropriate, unethical or deceptive by some segments of the church. This statement is an attempt to speak to the evangelical community about the biblical basis for sharing their faith with all people, including Jews. It is our hope that it will be received in the spirit it is intended by the non-evangelicals who see it. Namely, that it is a statement of friendship and profound respect for the Jewish people, a commitment to stand with the Jewish people who have suffered mistreatment simply for being Jewish. And that part of our friendship and care and respect is shown is our commitment to share the love of God in Christ whom we believe is their Savior as well as ours.

Here is the wording of the actual statement:

The Gospel and the Jewish People – An Evangelical Statement
March 28, 2008

As evangelical Christians, we want to express our genuine friendship and love for the Jewish people. We sadly acknowledge that church history has been marred with anti-Semitic words and deeds; and that at times when the Jewish people were in great peril, the church did far less than it should have.

  • We pledge our commitment to be loving friends and to stand against such injustice in our generation. At the same time, we want to be transparent in affirming that we believe the most loving and Scriptural expression of our friendship toward Jewish people, and to anyone we call friend, is to forthrightly share the love of God in the person of Jesus Christ.
  • We believe that it is only through Jesus that all people can receive eternal life. If Jesus is not the Messiah of the Jewish people, He cannot be the Savior of the World (Acts 4:12).
  • We recognize that it is good and right for those with specialized knowledge, history and skills to use these gifts to introduce individuals to the Messiah, and that includes those ministries specifically directed to the Jewish people (1 Corinthians 9:20-22).
  • We deplore the use of deception or coercion in evangelism; however, we reject the notion that it is deceptive for followers of Jesus Christ who were born Jewish to continue to identify as Jews (Romans 11:1).

We want to make it clear that, as evangelical Christians, we do not wish to offend our Jewish friends by the above statements; but we are compelled by our faith and commitment to the Scriptures to stand by these principles. It is out of our profound respect for Jewish people that we seek to share the good news of Jesus Christ with them, and encourage others to do the same, for we believe that salvation is only found in Jesus, the Messiah of Israel and Savior of the World.

The statement has been affirmed by a wide variety of Christian leaders including the following:

  • Rev. Dr. Lon Allison—Director, Billy Graham Center
  • Dr. Mark Bailey—President, Dallas Theological Seminary
  • Joel Belz—Founder, World Magazine
  • Doug Birdsall—Executive Chair, Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization
  • Dr. D. A. Carson—Research Professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
  • Chuck Colson—Founder, Prison Fellowship
  • Mark Greene—Executive Director, London Institute of Contemporary Christianity
  • Stan Guthrie—Managing Editor, Special Projects, Christianity Today
  • Dr. Walter C. Kaiser, Jr.—President Emeritus, Professor of Old Testament, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
  • Dr. Haddon Robinson—President, Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary
  • Dr. Geoff Tunnecliffe—International Director, World Evangelical Alliance

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has condemned the statement as “offensive and insulting to the Jewish people,” while the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) maintains that it is “a statement of friendship and profound respect for the Jewish people.” I agree with the WEA. What do you think?

Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Berlin Declaration: The Uniqueness of Christ and Jewish Evangelism at Ray Fowler .org

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