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Christian Evangelizing of Jews

September 14, 2002

Re "Catholics Called Wrong Not to Evangelize Jews," Sept. 7: This Jew would like to take the opportunity to say something to those windbag Neanderthal evangelicals: Leave us alone! At least the Catholic Church, which persecuted us viciously for centuries, sort of "gets it," however halfheartedly.

We Jews would appreciate it if you would stop making us the target of your obsessions. It's like we're a lover who left you and you keep stalking us, hoping we'll come back to you. Every time you make statements about us "going to hell" for not accepting Jesus Christ as our savior, you show your extreme ignorance and hatred. Get over it. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go have some gefilte fish.

Alvin Epstein

Santa Monica

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What most Christians don't get is that although the belief is that we are saved through Christ and him alone, this salvation happens whether we know him or not. People--be they Jew, Muslim, Christian or agnostic--who do the will of God and do not believe in Christ through ignorance participate in God's plan of salvation. This, however, should not preclude one from sharing the love of Christ with others, as this is something that he has commissioned all Christians to do with charity.

The essence of evangelization is living the life, thus allowing for evangelization by example. St. Francis said it best, telling us to evangelize always but use words only when necessary. Unfortunately, we are often guilty of more words than works.

Carl Kishel

Valencia

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Only someone visiting here from another planet could possibly believe that evangelism has any purpose except conversion. The phrase "Jews need to hear the Gospel" is truly chilling. What if we don't want to hear, knowing full well that what "hear" really means is "accept." As soon as a person believes that his god is the one true god, then anyone who believes something different must be mistaken. The evangelist sees it as his obligation to educate those who are mistaken.

But if education doesn't work, try indoctrination; if that doesn't work, try expulsion; and if that doesn't work, well, we all know too well what's next. I have a suggestion for evangelists of all persuasions: Be the most ethical Christian/Jew/Muslim you can be. Self-improvement is a full-time job and, if undertaken seriously, will leave you no time to subvert the faith of others.

Rose Cohen

Woodland Hills

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In your article, Southern Baptist official Jim Sibley states that asking Christians to stop evangelizing Jews is "akin to asking Jews to eat ham and cheese sandwiches." Has it escaped him that in evangelizing Jews, he is essentially doing exactly that? I wonder how well Sibley would respond if another denomination made a point of aggressively instructing Southern Baptists on why their cherished and deeply held beliefs will doom them to eternal damnation.

Michael Chaskes

Los Angeles

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