Evangelicals are not the only group gearing up for Key 73. The Jewish community, led by the American Jewish Committee (AJC), is engaged in a crash program of “deepening” Jewish spiritual life to counter evangelism efforts next year. The AJC considers Key 73 an opening to anti-Semitic feeling because, said leaders, Key 73 suggests that Christianity is a substitute for Judaism. In fact, Key 73 “is an assault on the honor, dignity, and truth of Judaism,” said AJC interreligious-affairs director Rabbi Marc Tanenbaum.
AJC annoyance with Key 73 has increased steadily. Tanenbaum’s major complaint concerns the theological relation between Christianity and Judaism. “To suggest that Christianity—and a particular brand of Christianity at that—is a substitute for Judaism is wholly insensitive. That version of Christianity says Judaism is a footstool to stand on and then kick away. It’s a venomous attack.” Tanenbaum made similar charges against Campus Crusade’s Explo ’72 earlier this year and has expressed his Key 73 sentiments at various meetings around the country.
Last month at an interfaith colloquium at Southeastern Baptist Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina, Tanenbaum co-authored a resolution warning that religious pluralism was a basic feature of American civic religion but that civic religion often masked anti-Semitism (see December 8 issue, page 45). The statement repudiated proselytism of various religious groups and said mass-evangelism movements ignore the diversity of American religious life.
“I think Key 73’s logic of witnessing to everyone is inadequate in relation to Jewish theology,” said Tanenbaum. Christianity, like Islam, is a daughter faith of Judaism, he said, “but now the child turns around and says Judaism has ...1
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