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Evangelicals defend missionizing to Jews

The Anti-Defamation League criticized a New York Times advertisement in which evangelicals defend their efforts to convert Jews.

Abraham Foxman, the ADL’s national director, called the ad “offensive and insulting.”

The ad, which appeared in the March 28 issue, was sponsored by the World Evangelical Alliance, a 162-year-old global network that claims to represent 420 million evangelicals.

In the ad, the alliance acknowledges that “church history has been marred” by anti-Semitism and that “the church did far less than it should have” to protect Jews at moments of peril. But it also defends conversion efforts, saying “it is out of our profound respect for Jewish people that we seek to share the good news of Jesus Christ with them.”

In a separate statement, the group’s CEO and international director, Dr. Geoff Tunnicliffe, said the advertisement was intended as a gesture of friendship.

“It is our hope that it will be received in the spirit it is intended by the non-evangelicals who see it,” Tunnicliffe said. “Namely that it is a statement of friendship and profound respect for the Jewish people, a commitment to stand with the Jewish people who have suffered mistreatment simply for being Jewish. And that part of our friendship and care and respect is shown in our commitment to share the love of God in Christ whom we believe is their Savior as well as ours.”

Among the signatories is Chuck Colson, a former Nixon aide who was jailed for involvement in the Watergate scandal and went on to found Prison Fellowship, a Christian group ministering to convicts.

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