Who's Anti-Semitic Anyway?

WOW! What can I say? When you and I take the gospel to an "unsuspecting Jewish person" we are told that what we espouse is "in no way related to authentic Judaism". We are told that when we see a Jewish person come to faith in the Messiah, Yeshua, this is a "truncated version of Christianity". We are told that we are preaching what is a "Fundamental distortion of authentic Christianity". We are told that when we lead Jewish people to the Messiah we have "produced forced conversions" and "should be condemned" (not "corrected", but "condemned"!). Then it gets even uglier.

The above quotes come from a Jewish Task Force that sees itself as fighting for Jewish survival. In that light, some of their rhetoric is understandable. They are terrified by the growing army of Jewish believers who long to see their fellow-Jews come to faith. They are even emerging as a formidable and respect-worthy adversary. But mainline Christian churches from most denominations are quick to join them. They produce a burst of pompous, pretentious, and pious pronouncements that warn against Jewish evangelism. They teach that we are wrong, because Jews do not need to be converted! Thus they become the darlings of modern Jewry. We who preach Christ as the "only name under heaven by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12) are branded as "bigots" and "hate-mongers". We are seen as anti-Semitic! The group "Jews for Jesus" is said to be "blatantly anti-Semitic and incredibly offensive". Why?

Because they teach that Jews who come to faith in Yeshua are by no means renouncing Judaism, but have come to that One on Whom the hope of Israel rests. All people who are confused by this debate should know that the churches that preach against proclaiming Yeshua to the Jews are the REAL ANTI-SEMITES! Their hatred, couched in a veneer of understanding and tolerance, would leave our Jewish people "without the Messiah and without hope in the world" (Ephesians 2:12). No Jew could ever hear the gospel from these (so-called) churches. But neither could a gentile hear the gospel in these churches. These people do not know the gospel.

I know that everyone (at heart) wants to be accepted. Most of us should have seen by now that the world will never accept us. Since that's the case, why should we expect the Jewish community to accept us? Praise God that we are a threat to their Christ-less religion. Because we are a threat, they must attack. So was Yeshua attacked. He was attacked by the orthodox and by the liberal Jews and was crucified by the gentiles. What do we care, anyway, about who accepts us, as long as we are acceptable to God? Let us welcome their challenge. The Apostle Paul did. He was tossed out of synagogues and once was even stoned and left for dead.

Friends, the gospel isn't going to break open hard hearts over a nice cup of tea and a biscuit. The Church has always advanced through conflict. Let's not be surprised about such fierce adversaries. Do we expect the Jewish community to say, "We are pleased that all of our people are turning to Yeshua"? I encourage you to read over past issues of the Herald. You will read of the harrowing and often extraordinary experiences of the Maoz family as they minister in Israel and are in continual battle with the government and furious Israelis who have even attempted to do serious physical harm to them. Ask them if Jewish hatred surprises them?

Things won't get easier and, with the increasing difficulty, we must not despise the trials (James 1:24). The standard for the Christian life is trouble, not triumph. Jesus said, "In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world" (John 16:33). Paul said, "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Gentile" (Romans 1:16). That's it friends. We bring a power-filled gospel that saves. Let's never forget: it's to the JEW FIRST, whether people like it or not.

— Richard L. Ganz

Richard Ganz is a Jewish believer and a member of the Council of Reference of our North American branch. He is the minister of Ottawa Reformed Presbyterian Church and teaches at the Ottawa Theological Hall of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America.

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