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Secularism, not Southern Baptists, is the greatest threat to Judaism

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)–The prayer efforts of Southern Baptists on behalf of their Jewish friends are motivated by love, wrote R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., in a Sept. 17 column in The Wall Street Journal.
Jewish leaders have criticized Southern Baptists in recent days because of a prayer guide published by the International Mission Board to assist Baptists in praying for the conversion of their Jewish friends. Mohler’s article, printed in the Journal’s weekly “Houses of Worship” section, supported the prayer guide.
“This prayer guide is clearly out of step with postmodern culture,” Mohler wrote. “As a matter of fact, it’s off the charts. Nevertheless, it is deeply rooted in Southern Baptists’ passion to see all persons come to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Mohler defended the “evangelistic mission of Christianity” to spread the gospel, despite the example of liberal churches which “have largely abandoned all conversionist missions.”
The prayer guide is not a “crusade to coerce conversions,” Mohler wrote.
“Instead, our denomination is bearing witness to the truth as we see it: the gospel as revealed in the New Testament.”
Nor is the guide an attempt to restrict Jews’ freedom of religion, the Southern president wrote. “Having felt the sting of persecution, Baptists are staunch defenders of religious liberty. But this liberty does not mean that it is ‘intolerant’ or ‘imperialistic’ to tell others the Good News.”
Mohler contended Jews have bigger problems to worry about than the evangelism efforts of Southern Baptists. “It has been argued that the real enemy of Judaism today is not Christian evangelism but the corrosive secularism that has so poisoned American culture,” he wrote. “According to some polls, many American Jews — even a majority — no longer believe in a personal God.”
Mohler took issue with Abraham Foxman, of the Anti-Defamation League, who has said it is “pure arrogance” for any religion to claim to know the truth. “But most religions, in one way or another, make this claim,” Mohler wrote. “It is certainly at the heart of Christian belief. After all, we are followers of the one who said: ‘I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.’”
What Jews fail to realize, Mohler argued, is Southern Baptists are attempting to give them “what we consider our greatest possession: our faith.”
“Southern Baptists have not singled out the Jews as more needful of the gospel than others,” he said. “But this prayer guide reminds Christians that the Jewish people are not less needful, either.”

    About the Author

  • Tim Ellsworth
    Tim Ellsworth is associate vice president for university communications at Union University in Jackson, Tenn. BP reports on missions, ministry and witness advanced through the Cooperative Program and on news related to Southern Baptists’ concerns nationally and globally.Read All by Tim Ellsworth ›