Southern Baptists, whose 1996 Resolution on Jewish Evangelism provoked anger and charges of anti-Semitism, are once again at the center of a controversy over whether Jews may come to God only through Christ.

The recent protests against the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) began after the denomination's International Mission Board published a booklet in September titled Days of Awe: Prayer for Jews. "The Bible is clear in giving Christ's followers guidance regarding the necessity of sharing the gospel with the Jews," the booklet states, urging special prayers during the first 10 days of the Jewish calendar, from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur.

The prayer guides have prompted heated responses from the American Jewish community. "It is pure arrogance for any one religion to assume that they hold the truth," says Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League. "The call to prayer among Southern Baptists is doubly offensive and disrespectful in light of the High Holidays."

In a related event, a summer advertising campaign by Jews for Jesus also sparked public ire. The Internet search engine Lycos decided not to renew a Jews for Jesus banner ad after complaints from the Jewish community. Joan Rivers publicly denounced the Messianic Jewish organization after a Jews for Jesus ad was aired during a live broadcast of her radio show in July. "I am a Jew, I was born a Jew, and I plan to die a Jew," Rivers said. "How dare you advertise on my show!"

MILLENNIAL STRATEGY: Despite pockets of public opposition to Jewish evangelism efforts, the SBC's actions garnered strong support among many evangelicals during "To the Jew First in the New Millennium: A Conference on Jewish Evangelism," September 23-25 at Calvary Baptist Church ...

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Evangelism: To the Jew First?
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November 15, 1999

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