July 1996 New Horizons

Christian Witness to the Jews

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"The Most Fruitful of All Missionary Work"

The 1838 General Assembly of the Church of Scotland appointed a four-man team to investigate evangelistic opportunities among Jews in Europe and Palestine. The older men were Dr. Alexander Keith and Dr. Alexander Black, and the younger two ministers were Robert Murray M'Cheyne and Andrew Bonar. On their return, the General Assembly debated at length the question of the most suitable location—either Pesth (Budapest) or Palestine. Eventually it was agreed that the work should begin in Pesth, and a team of workers led by Dr. John Duncan was appointed. John Duncan John Duncan was born in Aberdeen in 1796, the son of a poor shoemaker. Despite the evangelical influences surrounding him in his formative years, Duncan became an atheist. His views, however, did not hinder him from undertaking theological studies in 1816. Under the influence of one of his tutors, Dr. Mearns, his skepticism fell away and he was able to believe in the existence of God. It happened suddenly when he was crossing one of the ... Read more

A Continuing Purpose

Does God still have a plan for the Jewish people? Does he have a design that continues to this very day—and beyond? Or has God cast the Jews aside, rejecting them and replaced them with the church as God's "chosen people"? Such questions have been at issue in the church of God throughout the centuries. Numerous theologians at various times have developed opposing theories. There have been many attempts to understand and explain the tenacious unbelief of the majority of Jews. Why do they refuse to acknowledge Jesus as the promised Messiah? Also, there is the question of the church's relationship to them. In essence, the question is: If God has indeed called the Jews, why do they persist in their unbelief? And, how should the church relate and respond to them? God's Design for Israel It is this very issue that the apostle Paul addresses in chapters 9 through 11 of his letter to the Romans. "I say then, has God cast away His people?" (Rom. 11:1). Paul comes at this question from a perspective ... Read more

Anyone at the Cross Could Have Written That!

In my youth, I spent every afternoon studying Hebrew. As I grew older, I worshiped every morning and evening in the synagogue. Then one cold, clear, midwinter night, my life was shattered. My father had a heart attack, and when I ran to the one place where I thought I would find comfort and hope, the synagogue, I found the doors locked. As I banged on them, I looked into the star-filled sky, cursed God, and turned away from him. I went so far as to renounce my covenant name, Elkanah, meaning "God-possessed." I took for myself, instead, the name Kanah, a Hebrew version of Cain, "possessed." From that moment on, I was possessed with getting ahead. After graduating at the top of my class in graduate school, I got a top post-doctoral fellowship and internship in clinical psychology and became an adjunct faculty member of a medical school. I came to see that the area I thought provided the answer to life, psychoanalysis, was really just nonsense. But I decided that I would use it to become rich. I could ... Read more