Prayers for Jews

Prayers for Jews

The controversy about prayers for Jews of the past week in the “Letters” section has been interesting. However, something significant has been lacking and some misunderstandings prevail. What do I mean?

Some react to the idea of praying for Jews by saying that this is shows animosity toward the Jews. For instance, Ed Bond says that such praying “shows that anti-Semitism, bigotry and religious intolerance are still alive and well in 1999” (Star-Telegram, Sept. 8, 1999). On the contrary, when we pray for people, this should reflect love and concern rather than hatred for people. After all, Jesus was a Jew Himself and it was Jesus who said that one will “die in his sins” unless he believes that Jesus is Messiah (John 8:24).

Second, others say that praying for Jews is meaningless since this is “a group that is already faithful to God” (Billie Skinner, Sept. 8). Christ would have us pray for the salvation of Jews (and all others) for the very reason that everyone who does not know God through Christ are, in fact, not faithful to God. Many people, such as Jews, may be friendly neighbors and honorable citizens—but do not have a relationship with God through Christ.

Third, still others think that all religions are on the same level and that one is as good as another. For example, Leah Williams asks, “Why not respect one another’s religious preferences?” (Sept. 10). This misconceives the entire Christian message. Jesus declared, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father [God] but through Me” (John 14:6). Since no one can be received by God in heaven unless he goes through Christ Jesus, we can see that there is only one way—not multiple ways.

Fourth, while I am not a Baptist, I am assured that they would say that Christians should pray not only for Jews—but also for Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, cultists, and anyone else who does not have a living relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Jewish people should not think that Christians look upon them alone as being unsaved and in need of the gospel of Christ.

Fifth, many of the letter-writers should realize that this issue is not one of nationality, ancestry, or ethnic group. After all, some Jews have come to Jesus as Messiah for forgiveness—just as some Germans, Chinese, Italians, and French have accepted Christ’s message. The most loving, the most compassionate, and the most reasonable thing for true Christians to do is to share the good news that Christ offers forgiveness to all who will come to God on His terms.

Finally, instead of letter-writers reacting strongly against certain professing Christians who pray for Jews, they should realize that their controversy is against Jesus Christ Himself. People are not the center of the issue. Jesus Christ is. Jesus is the crux of the issue!

Richard Hollerman
(
Fort Worth Star-Telegram)

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