An Evangelical Perspective On Judaism -- By: Marvin R. Wilson

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 19:3 (Summer 1976)
Article: An Evangelical Perspective On Judaism
Author: Marvin R. Wilson


An Evangelical Perspective On Judaism

Marvin R. Wilson*

Modern religious history painfully indicates that evangelical Protestants and American Jews have largely remained aloof from one another. Especially since the twenties, American religious life has been characterized by a noticeable lack of communication and dialogue between evangelicals and non-evangelical groups. To be sure, until most recently if one were to suggest that meaningful interreligious discussion could be pursued between American Jews and evangelical Christians, it would have been “rejected out of hand.”1

But today we hopefully stand at the threshold of a new era. It is my conviction that we must heed the words of evangelical writer Paul Carlson, who states in his book O Christian! O Jew.! that both communities must now enter into a “deeper understanding of their Akeida—or binding—to one another. For the survival of the one is eternally linked to the survival of the other.”2

Over the years I have learned much from my varied contacts within the Jewish community. I have especially grown to appreciate the significant contribution they have made to my understanding of the background of the Christian faith.3 For me, therefore, to try and concisely present an evangelical perspective on Judaism within the confines of this paper is indeed a difficult task. In so doing, however, it must be emphasized that I do not speak for all evangelicals, for we—like Jews—are in certain ways a diverse people. Rather, I speak as only one evangelical within a vast and growing movement. Nonetheless, in this paper I trust that I speak as much—if not more—to my own evangelical community as I do the Jewish community.

The approach I have followed is not that of a definitive discussion of one single issue. Rather, I have deemed it to be more appropriate to present an overview of several important preliminary matters of concern relating to the broad areas of Scripture, faith and history. It is my belief

*Marvin Wilson is professor of Biblical and theological studies at Gordon College, Wenham, Massachusetts. His article is taken from a forthcoming volume to be published by Baker Book House entitled Evangelicals and Jews in Conversation on Scripture, Theology, and History and is used by permission.

that this approach will be especially useful in pointing to the need for further clarification of self-definition4 within each community. Accordingly it is ...

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