Lausanne Consultation on Jewish Evangelism Helsinki 2003: Jesus and His People
The Seventh International Conference of the Lausanne Consultation on Jewish Evangelism (LCJE), a worldwide network of organizations and individuals involved in sharing the gospel among Jewish people, met in Finland August 7-12, 2003. This venue was chosen because of its proximity to the former Soviet Union and because of the Nordic region’s historic concern for the spiritual and physical well-being of the Jewish people. More than 200 participants from 18 countries and five continents met to consider the challenge of Jesus and His People.
Founded in 1980, the LCJE provides a forum for cooperation among mission agencies, theological institutions and other organizations, alerting the Church to the priority of Jewish evangelism.
The Reunion of Jesus and His people
We rejoice that Jewish people worldwide are finding their Messiah. Wherever the name of Jesus (Yeshua) is being proclaimed, He is being recognized by His own, despite the obstacles of misunderstanding, opposition, anti-Semitism and prejudice. We are particularly encouraged by the vibrant witness of Russian-speaking Jewish believers worldwide and the creative and courageous indigenous leadership they bring to our movement.
We also rejoice in the breaking down of barriers among those in local congregations and communities who were formerly divided on religious, ethnic and other grounds. True reconciliation takes place through the receiving of the peacemaking love of God, demonstrated in the life, death and resurrection of the Messiah.
We observe with concern that there are those who do not consider verbal proclamation of the gospel to Jewish people a necessary part of the Great Commission. While we appreciate all those who care for the material needs of Jewish people, we are saddened when the eternal need of the Jewish people is not directly addressed.
We acclaim Jesus, who, like His people, experienced persecution and rejection. He is their Lord and Savior. We rejoice that despite efforts to legislate against evangelism Jesus and His People are being reunited.
Who is this Jesus?
We rejoice that in spite of current spiritual counterfeits and mystical speculation prevalent in the search for Jewish identity today, Jewish people are recognizing the uniqueness of Jesus and embracing Him as their Messiah.
We observe with concern the challenge to the deity of Jesus by some in the broader Messianic movement. A proclamation of a lesser Jesus, though more palatable to the Jewish community at large, will inevitably lead to a false gospel message.
We acclaim that Jesus is the one whom Moses called “a greater prophet” than himself. Indeed He is the one of whom the law and the prophets speak. There is salvation in no other name. He is both the suffering servant and God incarnate. This Christology is fundamental to our evangelism.
What of His people?
We rejoice that there is today increased freedom and opportunity to proclaim the Good News of the Messiah to Jewish people in areas that were previously closed, such as the former Soviet Union.
We rejoice in the progress towards reconciliation between Jewish and Arab believers which testifies that the bond believers share in Jesus transcends all political and geographic barriers.
We observe with concern whenever the national identity of Jewish believers takes precedence over their unity with others in the universal body of believers.
We observe with concern the need of the Jewish people for safety and security throughout a world where anti-Semitism and racial prejudice are still active. We also note the concern for preservation of Jewish identity in post-modern and pluralistic environments.
We acclaim Jesus as both the road and map to true shalom with God and one another, and pray that those who seek peace and pursue it will know the presence and help of the Prince of Peace in all they do.
We acclaim Jesus, the true representative of Israel, as the key to His people’s search for identity and purpose.
What is our response?
We call on one another, as those involved in the ministries of evangelism, teaching and congregational planting, to work in cooperation to bring Jesus and His People together. May we be quick to resolve issues among us and be united in the highest standards of ethical conduct and personal relationships. May we celebrate our diversity within our unity in Jesus.
We call on one another to share the need for Jewish evangelism with the emerging churches in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
We call on our brothers and sisters there to pray and work for the salvation of the Jewish people.
We call on believers worldwide to share the Good News with the Jewish people, making every effort to relate the gospel in culturally appropriate ways, while maintaining that there is salvation in no other name.
We call on the Jewish people to recognize their Messiah and to follow Him. Israel is still chosen to fulfill her calling as His people, and this can only be accomplished when she recognizes the rightful place of Jesus as her Lord and Savior.
Ultimately we call on the name of the Lord and implore Jesus, in the power of His Spirit, and to the glory of His Father, to strengthen us for the task, to unite us in His name, and to come quickly for His people and for all the world.