Isn't Dialogue Enough?

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No, Dialogue Alone is Not Enough

Since the Holocaust, many have shifted from Jewish missions by substituting Dialogue. Dialogue can never replace the biblical mandate to go and make disciples as some have in this post-Holocaust era..

In 1973, the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS), through an omnibus resolution, established a Task Force on Witnessing to Jewish People. Dr. Erv Kolb, then Secretary for the Board for Evangelism, was the point person. He assembled a team of well-intentioned pastors and lay leaders. They produced a Workbook on Jewish Evangelism for congregational use. One of the appendices included a horrible caricature of Mr. Stereotypical Jew—a man with a large hooked nose.

That caricature caught the attention of Rabbi Rudin, recently retired from serving as the American Jewish Committee‘s Senior Interreligious Adviser. In order to express his concerns, he asked for a private meeting, no media involved, with Dr. Kolb and a few LCMS leaders. Following that gathering, Rabbi Rudin held a press conference denouncing the efforts of the LCMS to include Jewish people in the mission of the church. For the next couple of years, LCMS pastors responded by avoiding involvement in reaching Jewish people for fear that someone might take notice, take offense, and raise a ruckus.

Jewish leaders still complain about witnessing bodies under the flag that―the Holocaust had removed the right of the church to speak to Jewish people about Jesus. They propagandize by claiming now the church seeks spiritual genocide by making Jews into Christians.

Is The Good Neighbor Policy Good Enough?

Perhaps we have our priorities upside down? Perhaps for the sake of being good neighbors, we respect co-religionists by eschewing Gospel proclamation?

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Mt 5:10–11)

Jesus said we would be persecuted. That is to be expected in our sinful world. I believe we must intentionally be vulnerable and available to those who are lost. In Acts 4, we read:

When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus...What are we going to do with these men? they asked. Everybody living in Jerusalem knows they have done an outstanding miracle, and we cannot deny it. But to stop this thing from spreading any further among the people, we must warn these men to speak no longer to anyone in this name...But Peter and John replied, Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God‘s sight to obey you rather than God. For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard. (13–17, 19–20)

Excerpted from A Case for Romans 1:16...Again! by Steve Cohen