The Look Backwards And Forward

Dr. Louis Goldberg
Scholar In Residence
Jews For Jesus - New York

Dr. Louis Goldberg died October 23, 2002. Here is a reprint of his contribution at the LCJE conference in New York, 1999.

The usual notion of "veterans" is to hear them talk about the "good old days," when "giants" once walked the land, sigh, and wish such a taste of glory could now be present. Life and ministry would be so much better!

Well, the backward look is good to assess what had been accomplished with people available then for the task of the evangelization of Jewish people. But then, our responsibility is to take past lessons, yes, even learn from the mistakes of the past, and bring this focus into the present and future, assess what can be used, and then chart a brave new path for the continuity of the vision of the evangelization of our people.

Looking Back

I came to the Lord in 1948 (I am old as the modern State of Israel) and it wasn't long before I was involved with the then Hebrew Christian Alliance where I met North American leaders, Arthur Kac, Aaron Judah Kligerman. Joseph Peltz and a whole host of others. Seven years later, as already president of the Chicago branch of the Alliance, the International Alliance met in conference there, affording me opportunity to meet many of the European leaders of the Alliance. It was my privilege, along with Jacob Gartenhaus, to host the 50th Anniversary of the International Alliance in Chattanooga at the Tennessee Temple Schools where I was already a professor. Many delegates came from North and South America as well as Europe to this conference. I was then elected to the Executive Committee of the American Alliance, a post which I held until 1973.

At each branch meeting, national and international conferences, we had opportunity to deliver lectures which covered the gamut of theology and practical matters, all for the purpose of enhancing our outreach to our Jewish brethren. Many of the delegates were themselves missionaries with their particular organizations or were pastors of Hebrew Christian congregations.

Some of us were professors at various schools, Yakov Jocz taught at the Anglican seminary in Toronto, H. Ellison wrote a number of books and taught in England and this writer has taught at the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago since 1965 where a Jewish studies program had been set in place in 1923 by the American Alliance for the purpose of training young people for Jewish work.

The Outlook Today

As the seventies wore on, it became apparent that another venue was necessary by which to draw together the leaders of missionary organizations and spiritual leaders of Messianic Jewish organizations for the purpose of networking and encouragement in the outreach to our Jewish brethren. And so, at the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization, leaders of the widest number of missionary organizations were brought together in Pattaya, Thailand, for the purpose of defining the people groups to be reached, and they came from many countries, including some of the communist states. Among this plethora of attenders of almost a thousand people was a smaller task force of folk who sought to identify the work and spell out the means by which the various societies could work together to best reach Jewish people. We were from various countries where interested organizations existed and for ten days, we talked among ourselves, morning, afternoon and evening sessions, as we sought to draw up a statement defining our outreach. Ole Kvarme and I stayed up late during the nights working on a doctrinal statement that would reflect our ministry as we would stand together in the outreach to our Jewish people.

Out of this conference and task force came the Lausanne Consultation on Jewish Evangelism, one of the "success" stories of the 1980 conference. National conferences are organized on various continents meeting yearly and international conferences occur every four years, this year for the first time in North America. The conferences have been well organized, a lot of networking goes on between the various organizations comprising the Consultation, and this writer has profited greatly from the opportunities for personal acquain

tance with fellow workers today as well as obtaining invaluable information on how various organizations structure their ideology and carry on their ministries. The quarterly published by the International Coordinator has been a good source of information concerning the work in various countries and the articles contained have been invaluable for this writer's ministry and work in theology and practical matters.

A Look To The Future

This writer, even though classified as a veteran, has refused to live in the past and speak of past giants. I think the giants of the future are in formation today and will make their mark yet in a dynamic way as has been done already.

I think the greatest outreach is yet ahead. This writer has spent the past thirty summers in Israel and never has he seen so many young Israelis as today who are desperately looking for meaning to life. Past ideologies do not suffice to meet their needs. Even though it appears some of the toughest opposition will yet arise, I think we will also see some of the greatest reaping. I have never seen as many Israeli youth sitting the congregations and have had good opportunities to share with them.

The work in the former Soviet Union is fruitful. Through the work of Avi Snyder of Jews for Jesus since 1991, thirty-one outreach workers are now located in ten cities in Russia and the Ukraine, and fruit is being realized. While the pressure of antisemitism will come, but this will only serve to open the hearts of former Soviet Jews to the message of Yeshua, either where they live, or in Israel to where they will flee. At Jews for Jesus today in New York, we are training a cadre of young Jewish believers, and our sessions are international in character, with students from Israel, Macedonia, South Africa and the United States. For this writer, his work now in teaching young people will go on in the lives of his present students for the next thirty to forty years should the Messiah tarry.

One issue is a real concern. This writer would like to see more of the leaders of the Messianic congregations involved in the Consultation. We have something to contribute to them, and they likewise have a lot to share with us. I would hope we can extend ourselves so as to encourage these our brethren to be among us in greater numbers that together we can do an even more effective work.

The ministry goes on, brethren, among a people who are the Lord's as He prepares for the day when an entire generation of Israel will come to know Him. In anticipation of living for that day, brethren, this veteran can hardly wait! Hallelujah!

Lois Goldberg
1923 - 2002