Jesus, still a Light to his People in the post-Holocaust Era
The Tenth European Conference of the Lausanne Consultation on Jewish Evangelism
Over eighty participants from 19 countries, including Israel, met in Kiev, Ukraine from 28th April to 1st May 2014, to exchange information and reflect on the uniqueness of Jesus Christ in relation to the evangelisation of the Jewish people. At the conclusion of the conference the delegates issued the following statement:
We, the participants of the 10th European Conference of the Lausanne Consultation on Jewish Evangelism (LCJE), as Jewish and Gentile followers of Jesus the Messiah, rejoice that many Jewish people are coming to faith in Messiah in places that witnessed some of the worst atrocities of the Holocaust period.
We give thanks to God for the increasing number of European and Ukrainian Jews who embrace Jesus as the Messiah while continuing to identify themselves as Jews. For the organisers of the conference, a major motivation for meeting in Kiev was their desire to affirm and encourage these Jewish followers of Jesus.
We, the participants therefore affirm, in unison with the global Lausanne Movement, that Messiah has abolished ‘the divided world of Jew and Gentile’ through his work on the cross. We also affirm:
- The Jewishness of our Saviour Jesus, the Messiah and Redeemer of Israel, according to his humanity.
- The uniqueness of Jesus as the only way to God for both Jews and Gentiles.
- The Jewishness of the Christian faith, grounded as it is on the core Old Testament concept of atonement through vicarious sacrifice.
- God’s irrevocable calling of the people of Israel to be a light to the nations.
- The obligation to oppose all expressions of anti-Semitism.
- The duty of the church to proclaim the gospel to the Jewish people and to accept, encourage and pray for Jewish believers and their witness to their own people.
LCJE is affiliated to the global Lausanne Movement. It was significant that the conference convened in a city which is home to half the Jewish population of Ukraine and where, historically, the Jewish people have suffered immeasurably and where the infamous ‘holocaust of bullets’ took place in which 1.5 million Jews were murdered.
Papers presented at the conference covered a diverse range of subjects relating to the conference theme. The number of Jewish followers of Jesus who perished in the Holocaust was enormous and so it was particularly gratifying to have leaders of the growing Ukrainian Messianic Jewish movement participating in the event. This international gathering was a demonstration of solidarity and encouragement by Christian organisations from the rest of Europe ror the growing body of Messianic Jews at a time of national crisis and uncertainty. Papers from the conference will be available on the LCJE website (www.lcje.net).
For further reading: The Willowbank Declaration on the Christian Gospel and the Jewish People (www.lcje.net/willowbank.html).