Mohler: Scripture mandates evangelism 'to the Jew first'
PHOENIX–Jewish evangelism, homosexuality and the authority of Scripture are three “trip wires” confronting the evangelical Christian church, Al Mohler told a gathering of Messianic Jews June 16.
Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., and a frequent apologist for the Southern Baptist Convention on national TV, spoke to the Southern Baptist Messianic Fellowship. The fellowship held its gathering prior to the SBC annual meeting in Phoenix.
Jewish evangelism relates to homosexuality, Mohler declared, because both issues are based on the authority of the Bible.
If Christians reject the Bible's authority on Jewish evangelism, they also loosen the Bible's authority to call homosexuality sinful, he asserted, according to a Baptist Press report. “The bottom-line question is this: Will we obey or disobey the word of God?”
The Bible must be the absolute standard of truth and authority, Mohler said.
He called upon Romans 1:16 and passages in the Book of Acts to declare the Christian gospel is “the power of God unto salvation for the Jew first and then the Greek.”
“In the Book of Acts and in the apostolic age and in the opening chapter of Romans, you see there is no question about the necessity of Jewish evangelism,” Mohler said. “Not only that, but there is even a priority indicated in the text.”
Jewish evangelism begins with the understanding that Jesus Christ rightly claimed to be the promised Messiah who fulfilled Old Testament prophecies, he explained. “It is clear from the biblical text, in the Gospels, that Jesus is claiming to be none other than the Messiah, the promised one of Israel.”
Christians who shy away from Jewish evangelism misunderstand what it means to be a Jew, Mohler asserted. Previously, he said, a person who identified himself as a Jew made a statement about adherence to the Jewish faith, but today, claiming to be a Jew may mean only an ethnic designation, he added.
Thus, evangelism of Jews is viewed as aggressive imperialism or “ethnic genocide,” he said.
“Judaism has been turned into a folkway, a way of life, an ethnic identity, and it is now considered impossible in a postmodern society to address Jewish people theologically.”
Also, Christians who avoid Jewish evangelism by arguing that God established one covenant with Jews and another covenant with everyone else wrongly interpret Scripture, Mohler said.
Jews must hear the gospel just as much as anyone else who does not profess faith in Christ as the Messiah, Mohler said, comparing evangelists to doctors who warn patients about life-threatening tumors.
“The act of Christian truth-telling, telling the truth of the gospel to an unbeliever, Jew or Gentile, is the ultimate act of Christian love,” Mohler said.