World Evangelical Alliance reaffirms commitment to Jewish evangelism

Posted: Friday, October 11, 2002

WHEATON, Ill. (AP) -- The World Evangelical Alliance is taking issue with an August report from U.S. Roman Catholic bishops that opposes efforts to target Jews for conversion.

The evangelical organization, an alliance of 120 national and regional church fellowships and 75 non-denominational ministries, has reaffirmed and reissued a declaration defending Jewish evangelism that was written in 1989 by 16 theologians from nine nations.

One of those theologians, the Rev. J.I. Packer, an Anglican teaching at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia, endorsed the reaffirmation. ''Sharing Jesus Christ with our Jewish friends is as important a task as ever it was,'' he said.

The 27-point statement decries anti-Semitism and confesses that Christian churches have ''been much to blame for tolerating and encouraging it,'' but says this history doesn't remove the right to share Christianity with Jews.

The Catholic bishops said deepened appreciation of God's unbroken covenant with the Jewish people means ''campaigns that target Jews for conversion to Christianity are no longer acceptable in the Catholic Church.''

But the evangelical paper defends such targeted evangelism and denies that Israel's covenant relationship by itself brings salvation or that ''any person can enjoy God's favor apart from the mediation of Jesus Christ.''

''Faith in Jesus Christ is humanity's only way to come to know the Creator,'' the paper asserts.


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