Now, this is just sad; but maybe it contains the seeds of hope, too. Apparently, the controversy over Avodat Yisrael, the Messianic Jewish congregation planted recently by Philadelphia Presbytery of the PCUSA, has started Presbyterians thinking about evangelism—many for the first time. According to Leslie Scanlon, the reporter who wrote the piece, “For some Presbyterians, the idea of evangelizing people in the United States—as opposed to China or Africa or Latin America—is sort of a new thought.” As a firm believer in the importance of sharing the gospel, I find that cause for depression. Still, if this is what it takes to start the PCUSA doing evangelism again, if this is what it takes to renew the denomination’s commitment to planting churches (which is the best large-scale evangelistic strategy there is), then so be it.
And as someone with good friends who are Messianic Jews (some of whom are part of the Messianic Jewish community in Jerusalem, which is not an easy place to be), here’s hoping more of them are like Avodat Yisrael—however much flak we take for it.