Jewish leaders finally are realizing that evangelical Christians are Israel's best friends. As a Jewish believer, I rejoice over this growing love and support for the country and the people. I am grateful for the rallies, financial support and efforts to lobby our government not to force Israel to trade land for peace.
Having said that, I have serious concern for the growing acceptance of "dual covenant theology." It promotes the idea that Jewish people have a separate path to salvation through the Abrahamic or Mosaic covenants. In other words, Jews don't need Jesus for personal salvation.
Proponents of this theology teach that Judaism and Christianity are valid yet distinct religions, each equally worthy of the other's respect. They say Christians should not challenge the traditional Jewish thought that Jesus was not the Messiah.
The debate is a result of guilt stemming from the murder of 6 million Jews under the guise of Christianity during the Holocaust. Scholars began to teach that Jews had suffered enough, and because much of their pain was due to attempts to force them to convert to Christianity they should be left alone. As a result, many believers, including evangelicals, consider it good will not to witness to Jews.
But the Bible declares that the gospel is for the Jew "first" (Rom. 1:16, NKJV). There is only one plan of salvation for all people. Jesus Himself said in John 14:6: "'I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.'"
I recently heard one prominent leader (who I otherwise greatly respect) say, "Jews do not come to Christ through proclamation, but through revelation." Apparently, this leader feels it is God's job to reveal Himself to Jewish people despite Christ's command to make disciples of all men.
Although his point of view is not exactly dual covenant theology, the result is the same-there is no need to share our faith with Jewish people.
But the Bible tells us that proclamation of the gospel is a prerequisite to faith:
"How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? ... So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Rom. 10:14-17). These verses are talking about the restoration of the Jewish people.
During our years of outreach to the former Soviet Union, I have seen thousands of Jewish people pray to receive Yeshua as their Messiah. It has been in response to the proclamation of the gospel, just as Paul said.
All would be better served-not to mention more faithful to the Great Commission-if Christian Zionist leaders would simply be honest in their relationships with Jewish leaders. Instead of saying they are against evangelizing Jewish people, they should say: "I'm an evangelical Christian, compelled to share the gospel with all people. That means I can't exclude you. I will share my faith openly, because that is what God calls me to do. But also know that my love for you and support of Israel is unconditional."
I assure you, Jewish leaders would respect and accept this position, and we all would be the better for it.
I pray that Christian Zionism will continue to flourish. Israel needs our support now more than ever. Anti-Semitism is on the rise worldwide, and Hezbollah, Iran and Syria are not going away. They hate Israel and want to see the tiny nation pushed into the sea.
We need friends, but not at the expense of withholding the gospel from our people. After all, there is no greater blessing you can give a Jewish person than eternal life through a relationship with their Messiah. His name is Yeshua.
Jonathan Bernis, a Jewish believer in Yeshua (Jesus), is founder of Hear O Israel Ministries, an organization doing extensive outreach and humanitarian aid around the world. He is also executive director of Phoenix-based Jewish Voice Ministries International. He founded two Messianic congregations and served them as a senior Messianic rabbi for 11 years.