Key 73 Leaders Urged to Acknowledge Jewish Heritage

Leaders of Key 73 were urged by a rabbi today to issue “a policy statement that takes into serious account the profound Biblical claims regarding the Jewish people.” Rabbi Marc H. Tanenbaum, director of the inter-religious affairs department of the American Jewish Committee, said that the leaders of the massive Christian evangelical drive must recognize that any attempt to convert large numbers of Jews “constitutes a negation of the 4000 years of suffering and martyrdom experienced by the Jewish people as well as the Jewish belief in God’s covenant with Abraham.”

Rabbi Tanenbaum spoke at a “trilogue” conference here which brought together 80 Jewish, Roman Catholic and Southern Baptist clergymen and academicians to discuss issues of concern in Jewish-Christian relations. The conference, which began Sunday and closed today, was sponsored by the AJ Committee, the Jewish Federation of Nashville, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Nashville and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Rabbi Tanenbaum told the participants that “many Jews have expressed fear that the theme of Key 73, ‘to call America to Christ.’ sought to undermine the faith of other religious bodies by fair means or foul.” Rev. Ron Kerr, a Methodist clergyman who is a member of the central committee of Key 73, said that in his own view, the campaign would reject the notion of some Christians that to be American one must be Christian. He said, “I believe Jewish criticisms and concern over Key 73 have been important. These concerns bring home to Christians the point that any evangelism which focuses on a specific group or specific individual lacks integrity.”

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