60 Second Summary: What the Evangelicals Give the Jews

Articles you need to know about, summarized in 60 seconds (or less).

The Article: What the Evangelicals Give the Jews

The Source: Commentary (May 2012)

The Author: Michael Medved, a nationally syndicated radio talk-show host

The Gist: Medved considers the question, “Should Jews view our born-again fellow citizens as natural allies or inevitable adversaries?”

The Excerpt:

 In which areas, exactly, can committed Jews identify irreconcilable differences with serious Christians when it comes to most significant questions of morals, ethics, and righteous behavior? Does anyone suppose that our Baptist neighbors cherish the centrality of the family less passionately than we do, or display a weaker commitment to acts of compassion for the poor, or express a more feeble determination to repair a broken world in the tradition of tikkun olam? Anyone who honestly believes that born-again believers neglect their obligation to “love your neighbor as yourself” hasn’t visited their churches and schools and service organizations to witness the prodigious acts of loving kindness that sometimes put our communal efforts to shame. Aside from such impressionistic evidence, there’s a wealth of data in Arthur C. Brooks’s indispensable 2006 book, Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism, which shows that evangelicals honor the great Jewish tradition of tzedakah at least as well as we do.

The Bottom Line: Medved, an Orthodox Jew, dispels many of the myths about evangelicals: we aren’t trying to install a theocracy, we don’t support Israel only because we are expecting the Armageddon, and we aren’t particularly successful in converting Jews to Christianity. As Medved notes, less than half of 1 percent of the Jews alter their religious identity to join a Protestant denomination commonly counted as “evangelical” (such as Southern Baptist).

Rather than being a threat to their religion, Medved claims that Jewish faith is frequently strengthened because “conservative Christians raise serious issues of faith and morality in the public square, and normalize activities such as communal worship and Bible study. . .” Medved concludes that, “The stronger argument insists that evangelical Christians deserve our friendship and cooperation because they aren’t just good for Israel; they’re good for America.”

  • Jay

    I think the quoted article makes some great points. It is far too easy and common for groups to demonize those who hold different beliefs.

    I do think it is important to consider *why* myths like those need to be dispelled.

    “…we aren’t trying to install a theocracy, we don’t support Israel only because we are expecting the Armageddon, and we aren’t particularly successful in converting Jews to Christianity.”

    Unfortunately, there are *many* of Evangelicals who do believe those issues, and a decidedly quiet response from Evangelicals against them. In my opinion, those myths, and others like them, exist because by and large Evangelicals are too accepting of them in their midst.

  • Jack Brooks

    Medved would be like one of the Sanhedrin priestly sympathizers we read about in Acts — not converted, but not out to get us, either.

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  • Pam

    What’s the point, here?? Isn’t this the Gospel Coalition? Michael Medved is a lost person and his view of “nice” Christians is sweet but he is left spiritually dead in his sin. If the Christians he is in contact with were doing what they were called to do, they would witness to him and risk being offensive, not just great for America.
    What is the point of the post here? The statistics sited about Jewish conversion are sad.
    For a proper Christian perspective on being “friends” with Jewish people, I would recommend the book by Barry Horner called “Future Israel”.
    If I missed the point here, please inform me of my misunderstanding.

  • Travis

    Pam: The point is to dispel the idea that conservative Christians hate Jews for rejecting Jesus as their savior, and that we hate people who aren’t just like us. Many liberals excuse Muslim persecution of Jews (particularly Israeli ones), while they claim that trying to spread the Gospel (especially to Jews) is “anti-Semitic.”

    • Travis

      I meant to say that his point was to show that conservative Christians don’t hate people who aren’t just like them.