Highlight: The bridge between Judaism and Christianity

Christians can sometimes be reluctant to share the gospel with people of the Jewish faith. However, Randy Newman says there are effective ways to reach them with grace and truth.

One way is to find connecting points between Judaism and Christianity throughout Scripture.

“The Jewish scriptures talk about a Messiah and talk about forgiveness of sin, and we as believers in Jesus believe that Jesus is the one who makes those connections possible.”

While mentioning this truth to a Jewish believer, Randy says we need to pay attention to our delivery and be sensitive to any offensive terms that may be instilled in our vocabulary.

“We need to talk about our faith in ways that use terms that build bridges rather than alienate by building walls.”

He shares several practical examples,

“I talk about being a believer in Jesus, rather than being a Christian. The word Christian has a lot of painful connotations for Jewish people and it doesn’t really communicate what we wanted to.”

“I would avoid using the word Christ when talking to Jewish people. Jewish people have been called ‘Christ-killers.’ It has been used in so many ways that when Jewish people hear it – it’s just not a word that communicates well. What I think we need is the word the Messiah; Jesus the Messiah.”

“I think it’s important to talk about people being Jewish people rather than “Jews.” The word Jew sounds a little harsh in Jewish ears.”

As Christians, we need to be aware of these sensitivities in order to effectively share our faith and build a bridge for Jewish people. When identifying the similarities between Hebrew and Christian Scriptures, Randy says it would be a good idea to start with Isaiah 53.

“The sooner you can get to Isaiah 53 the better. I have known many, many Jewish people who have heard that passage read and they said, ‘Wait a minute, is that in our Bible?’

Our main priority should be to point our Jewish friends towards the person of Jesus.

“We want to try to show that the Jewish prophets looked forward to a time of peace and time of culmination of all that the creation was moving toward, and a promise of a person; a specific person who, would be a great teacher and would be a great example, but would ultimately be an atoning sacrifice to pay for sins.”

Randy Newman is the Senior Fellow for Evangelism and Apologetics at The C. S. Lewis Institute in the Washington, DC area. He is also an adjunct faculty at Reformed Theological Seminary, the Talbot School of Theology and Patrick Henry College. After serving for over 30 years with Campus Crusade for Christ, he established Connection Points, a ministry to help Christians engage people’s hearts the way Jesus did.

Engaging with Jewish people
Also on this edition of Neil Stavem
Fouad Masri on Connecting with Muslims

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