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Mailbag

Issue: "Clergy Sexual Abuse," March 30, 2002

A bright spot

The past few weeks have been pretty grim for us Jews who believe in Jesus. The intifada and increased violence in Israel, Billy Graham's lame excuse for his disparagement of Jews on the Nixon tapes, as well as a changing theology in the church that denies any kind of effective Jewish evangelism, all contributed to our burdens. But then came the bright spot of your March 3 Passover/Easter special issue, "O brother, where art thou?" which showed more insight than I have ever seen in print. We felt lifted, appreciated, and encouraged. Thank you for your courageous stand. - Moishe Rosen, Founder, Jews for Jesus, San Francisco, Calif.

Know their pain

I teach courses on Jewish history in local churches and a synagogue, and one of my students gave me a copy of your special issue. I expected to find only fluff, but I can't tell you how impressed I am. As a Christian, I never cease to be amazed at the number of Christians who know nothing about this history and wonder why Jews are sometimes "prickly" with them. I usually start my course with a story from the Talmud of the talmudim who keeps telling his rebbe how much he loves him. Finally, the rebbe says, "If you really love me, tell me where I hurt when I got up." Most evangelicals are like that; they say they "love" the Jewish people, but few know what causes their pain. - Monica McMillen, Fort Worth, Texas

Excellent

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"O brother, where art thou?" gives an excellent report on Jewish/Christian relations. The timeline of notable Jewish Christians of the last five centuries provided many insightful comments. John Piper gave compassionate reasons to reach out to Jews ("Jewish evangelism"). Marvin Olasky's keys to evangelism, "the willingness to be rejected and the assurance to be polite," are encouraging ("Two halves"). We plan to use these ideas and this issue with our Jewish neighbors. - J.D. Moyers, Littleton, Colo.

The only way

John Piper's article on "Jewish Evangelism" says it all. If Jesus is the only way, but our liberal friends don't want to offend our Jewish friends with the gospel, how will they be saved? Being offended is not as bad as ending up in hell. - Fred Limbach, East Northport, N.Y.

Inspiration

Marvin Olasky's timeline in your March 3 special issue is more than a memorial; it is also an inspiration and instruction. I weep when I think of it, perhaps because I believe that the facts and lives you presented have profound implications for the world, and for our future. - Avice-Marie Griffin, Irvine, Calif.

Thankful

As a Jewish believer, I can now see the blessing in being raised in a "Jewish heritage" home instead of a practicing one. By God's grace, four of five siblings in my family are saved. I see that as a miracle when I look at the low number of Jewish believers, and it makes me thankful for something I used to see as a major mistake by my parents. - Tanya Thielen, Fort Collins, Colo.

Inwardly

The special issue was magnificent. I, too, was raised in a Conservative-Reform Jewish home and had Jesus "crash my party." The issue reminded me of what I lost, what I gained, and renewed a desire to have the world know that he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, but one inwardly. - Jim Williams, St. Albans, W.Va.

Finding our roots

I greatly appreciated your Passover/Easter special issue. The church I pastor has forged a friendship with a Messianic congregation and benefited greatly. Messianic Judaism can link gentile Christians to the Jewish roots of our faith and open our eyes to some of the beautiful elements in the Jewish culture. Think of all the abuses Christianity could have avoided if we remained at least loosely linked with the Jewish community, such as the tolerance of biblical illiteracy predominant during the Middle Ages (Jews always emphasized the study of Torah by rabbis and laymen both). The Jews were not the only losers when Christians adopted an anti-Semitic viewpoint. - Ed Vasicek, Kokomo, Ind.

Too tolerant

The special issue was great, but Marvin Olasky leans too far toward tolerance sometimes. He comments that Mr. Lapin of Toward Tradition "understands that evangelistic efforts are signs of caring and respect, not threat," and describes Christians and Jews as allies in the battle against secular liberalism. Is it OK, then, that Mr. Lapin considers evangelizing away from Christianity also to be a sign of caring and respect? How can Jews and Christians ally to revive distinctly different ideas of religion? Are we naïve enough to think our methods, spawned from philosophies in conflict, will be compatible? It is not anti-Semitism to avoid alliances with people who teach false religion. - Barry Anderson, Tacoma, Wash.

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