The last few weeks have been mindful of a certain Dickens novel as it has been the best of times and the worst of times. The excitement building as I try not to count down until I begin my first pilgrimage to Eretz Yisrael … 74 days! The intellectual rush I always experience during the one week per seminar sojourn to Liberty University for my Ph.D. program. The joy and pride I experienced upon discovering that my alma mater — East Texas Baptist University — has not only accepted my niece but is offering a large enough scholarship to make her academic journey much easier to travel.
However … it has also been a tough few weeks. My friend who “unfriended” me in a newspaper article last year for sharing Jesus with her is still distant. Churches are procrastinating about the need to learn more about Jewish missions. However, the toughest part of the last few weeks came via email. A missions director of a certain Christian denomination of which I have found myself aligned with in the past sent me an email explaining his rationale for not taking me up on the Tzedakah Ministries‘ offer to help train their Brazilian national pastors in the work of Jewish missions with these words —
Our philosophy of ministry definitely includes a heart for all people, including the Jews; however, we are not given to spending great financial and human resources on what we would classify as short-term missions. (emphasis added)
This one line truly broke my heart as I see incipient replacement theology in these words. This one line truly broke my heart as I saw God’s Chosen Ones reduced to nothing more than a line item on a budget and a fiscal determination that Romans 1:16 is too costly of a Return on Investment (ROI). This one line truly just broke my heart.
I also received another email in the last few weeks. This email was from a rabbi who did not agree with my challenges to his misstatements
of the Christian faith at a recent event. I had begun the conversation a few weeks earlier after I heard his presentation at an interfaith meeting between himself, a Christian pastor, and an imam. The email from the rabbi was accusatory. The email from the rabbi was angry. The email from the rabbi was in a unique way … thrilling. Thrilling because I understood that God had given Tzedakah Ministries a chance to plant a seed for the Gospel with an individual that in many ways would be unreachable. And I am hoping that a more public discussion might be possible in the days to come … PRAY!
So, ultimately one email was heartbreaking and one email was thrilling. One email was indicative of a mission organization that seems to be inviting God to write “Ichabod” about their endeavors because they choose not to include Jewish missions to their spiritual or economic spreadsheet. One email was indicative of a rabbi, a man, who is being confronted with the truth of Jesus and only the Messiah himself knows the end result of the conversation.
One only has one guess to uncover which email I preferred to receive.