Greg Strand is EFCA executive director of theology and credentialing, and he serves on the Board of Ministerial Standing as well as the Spiritual Heritage Committee. He and his family are members of Northfield (Minnesota) EFC.
Recently the German Evangelical Church rejected and abandoned its mission to proclaim the gospel to Jews for the purpose of salvation through Jesus Christ: German Evangelical Church Renounces Anti-Semitic Mission To Convert Jews
The Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) has officially renounced its mission to evangelize and convert Jews.
The EKD’s annual synod, a central decision-making body for one of the largest Christian denominations in Germany, unanimously approved a resolution on November 9 that declared that Christians “are not called to show Israel the path to God and his salvation.”
In light of the next year’s 500th anniversary of Luther’s posting of the 95 Theses (October 31, 1517), and in light of the German atrocity committed against the Jews in the holocaust, there is an impulse and desire to make it right.
I understand and heartily agree that any notion of anti-Semitism ought to be dismissed and repudiated. But to go so far as to rescind the mandate to preach the gospel to all, including Jews, is extremely disconcerting. It is to deny the exclusive claims of Jesus Christ, claims incumbent on all.
This is another instance of throwing the baby out with the bathwater. That is to say, rather than correcting Luther’s wrong and sinful application in his response to the Jews, cf. “On the Jews and their Lies” (1543), while upholding the mandate to proclaim the gospel to the Jews, they renounce both. We must correct the former while upholding the latter.
It is the Lord Jesus who commands all to “repent and believe in the gospel (Mk. 1:15), and following the Lord Jesus, Paul, in his Athenian message concludes with an exhortation from the Lord who “commands all people everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30). This command for all to repent and believe the gospel is not removed. To change that command, is to go contrary to the Lord’s mandate and is to compromise the very gospel itself.
My humble yet bold conclusion is the following: Gospel faithfulness requires that we strongly repudiate the one while faithfully retaining the latter. To give up the latter is to perpetuate hatred – eternal damnation – against the Jews.