How should Christians witness to Jews? Messianic Jewish leader responds

 David Brickner
Jews for Jesus Executive Director David Brickner addressing the students at the Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary campus in Kansas City, Missouri. |

A leader in the Messianic Jewish movement laid out important steps on how Christians should witness to the Jewish community.  

David Brickner, author and executive director of Jews for Jesus, spoke with Mikel Del Rosario on an episode of the Dallas Theological Seminary podcast “The Table” where he said that an important first step is a “personal relationship,” noting that “you can then begin to explore matters of faith.”

“You’ll find very quickly that most Jewish people don’t really know what they believe. And if they’re curious enough to hear your story it’s not wrong for you to share, even though you may not be Jewish, the story of how God became real to you and how He’s part of your daily life,” Brickner said.

“Many times one of the first things that will happen with a Jewish person who encounters a lively Christian is they’re going to want to go and start reading their own Bible. And they won’t understand it but that’s a good step.”

Brickner went on to say that he considered the Orthodox Jewish community to be “the most unreached people group in the world because they are isolated,” dubbing them “like a Jewish form of Amish.”

“They really stick to themselves. They’re very much caught up in a very kind of strict form, almost syncretistic form of religious Judaism,” he continued.

“Because they are such an insular group their whole livelihood, their families, they’re all tied together. So for a religious Jew to even contemplate reading the New Testament they could find themselves out penniless, losing their families and nowhere to go.”

Brickner also told Del Rosario that it's important for Christians to recognize their Judaic heritage, believing that it further enforced the significance of their beliefs.

“Passover and other Jewish festivals are really of interest to Christians. Well, what does this mean? Since Jesus celebrated the Passover when He instituted communion, how do we understand? And how does that enrich our faith?” Brickner said.

“I think that the more evangelical Christians understand the Jewish roots of their faith, the more welcoming the Christian can be to their Jewish friends and neighbors and the more effective they can be in sharing the love of Jesus with them.”

Messianic Jews are a controversial group in the United States, as many non-Christian Jews do not consider them to legitimately Jewish.

In October 2018, Vice President Mike Pence garnered criticism for sharing a stage with Messianic Jewish leader Loren Jacobs who prayed in Jesus’ name at an event held in memory of 11 people murdered at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Earlier this month, the international Christian television network GOD TV told supporters that Israeli authorities were trying to “shut down” their new Hebrew-language Christian channel over concerns that they will proselytize Jews.

“Since we have started to broadcast, it has created quite a stir in Israel,” explained GOD TV CEO Ward Simpson in a video, noting that they were pursuing legal action to defend their right to broadcast in the nation.

“We have faith in the Israeli government and we have faith in their judicial system. We thank God that Israel is a nation that practices religion and freedom of worship. The fact that they gave us a license to broadcast Christian content in Hebrew is a testament to that truth.”

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