Jewish Evangelical Conference
In mid-May, 2004, the second International Jewish Evangelical Fellowship conference was held in Fredericksburg, VA, USA. The IJEF conference was hosted by the New Life in Christ Church (PCA).
IJEF was formed:
1. to promote a clear presentation of the Gospel, unencumbered with rabbinic religious authority, to Jewish people;
2. to encourage Jewish Christians to be an active part of ordinary local and biblical Christian churches, rather than of ethnically and culturally focused congregations;
3. to create an alternative to Messianic Judaism by encouraging Jewish Christians to express their Jewish heritage outside the context of church life and worship, and by encouraging respect for the work of God in and through the universal Church, in existence since the days of Jesus the Messiah; and
4. to create a distinctly Jewish Christian voice that will address the church, the world, and the Jewish people.
The 2004 conference focused on a theme of comparing traditional rabbinic Judaism with the biblical Gospel. This was done on such doctrines as God, man, sin, salvation, worship, and the Messiah. Our last session was a sample of Gospel preaching from an Old Testament text. Repeated emphasis was given to the contrast between those whose religion represented the faith of Abraham, Moses, David, etc., and those who had distorted Old Testament Scriptural Judaism, such as the Scribes, Pharisees and Chief Priests. Both biblical and historic studies pointed up the contrasts. Judaism was torn with conflicts between a faithful Jewish remnant, from which Christianity originally arose, and false teachers within Judaism, in sects highly influenced by false religions from Babylon and from later kingdoms.
Again this year attention was given to Ephesians 2:11-22, which expressly states the Lord’s will that there not be separated Jewish and Gentile saints. The union between Jew and Gentile is to be built upon a common knowledge of Jesus, his teachings and his saving work. Commitment to Jewish rabbinic traditions in worship is a hindrance to this mandated union. This year’s conference had as speakers: Walt Chantry, Editor of The Banner of Truth magazine; Doug Kittredge, minister of the hosting church; Fred Klett, gospel minister set aside by the Presbyterian Church in America as an evangelist sent to American Jews; Baruch Maoz, minister of The Grace and Truth congregation of Rishon Le Tsion, Israel; Dr. Tom Nettles, professor of Church History at Southern Baptist Seminary; John Ross, former director of CWI (Christian Witness to Israel) and now minister of the Free Church of Scotland, Inverness; Stuart Sacks, gospel minister of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, who is himself Jewish; Stan Telchin, Jewish believer in Jesus Christ who served for fourteen years as a gospel minister in the US. Currently he serves with Jews for Jesus. Stan is known for his books, published by Chosen Books (Baker); and Al Tricario, gospel minister of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.
Biblical, theological, historic and devotional addresses furthered the understanding of those present to carry through the aims of IJEF and to stimulate prayer for Jewish Christians and Jewish evangelism. It is hoped that more Christians will adopt the principles of IJEF and will lend a hand in the organisation’s efforts.
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