by Jim Congdon, ed.
This book is a fine tribute to a singular individual whose powerful impact on Jewish outreach has yet to be measured.
Kregel, P.O. Box 2607, Grand Rapids, MI 49501, 271 pages, 2009, $18.99.
—Reviewed by Wes Taber, who has served for thirty-five years with Life in Messiah International (formerly known as American Messianic Fellowship), directing the expanding work of Jewish evangelism and discipleship.
Festschrifts present an interesting challenge: honoring a singular individual through a series of (often) unrelated articles by diverse authors. What if the individual being honored is as complex a personality as the larger-than-life founder of Jews for Jesus, Moishe Rosen? In reading through Jews and the Gospel at the End of History, I felt myself a privileged guest at a sumptuous three-course meal served up by fourteen highly skilled chefs, each sharing something of his or her specialties.
The first course, Evangelism, includes heaping portions of Pauline theology from Romans served up by theologians J. I. Packer and Harold W. Hoehner. Jewish mission veteran Steve Cohen’s observations whet the appetite for more. The second course, Ethics, provides helpings of history (Kai Kjaer-Hansen’s more-than-a-mouthful study on Melchior Tschoudy); practical matters (Jewish-Gentile intermarriage; the believer’s relationship to the Law); and Richard Harvey’s hearty contribution, a review of current discussions on God, Jesus, and Torah in the developing theology of the Messianic movement.
The last course, Eschatology, ranges from Walt Kaiser’s treatment of Ezekiel 37 to David Larsen’s inquiry into Jewish evangelism in the Tribulation, with nourishing portions of Arnie Fruchtenbaum on the Second Advent and Harold Horner’s call for a right view of Israel (yes, more from Romans!). David Brickner, Rosen’s successor at the helm of Jews for Jesus, leaves the reader with a wonderful dessert: the stirring vision of our Savior’s return in glory to Jerusalem as our impetus to evangelize.
This fine tribute to a singular individual whose powerful impact on Jewish outreach has yet to be measured does not approach hagiography. Colleagues and co-workers render honor where honor is due throughout the book, but the focus of the material remains on subjects dear to the heart of the honoree. Providing perspective for those who at times have been subjected to Rosen’s ire or were irked by his unorthodox approach to ministry, Ruth Tucker reminds us that throughout the ages God has used “eccentrics” such as St. Francis, Martin Luther, and D. L. Moody to accomplish his purposes. As a bonus, each chapter title is accompanied by a photo of Moishe, providing a wonderful “through the years” montage in various poses. [NOTE: these pictures appear directly under the chapter author’s name—which juxtaposition also evokes more than one smile.]
All in all, Jews and the Gospel at the End of History serves up a very satisfying meal to suit a variety of tastes. To get additional nourishment from many of these authors and others engaged in bringing the good news to Jacob’s offspring, check out Mishkan (a quarterly journal dedicated to biblical and theological thinking on issues related to Jewish evangelism, Hebrew-Christian/Messianic-Jewish identity, and Jewish-Christian relations) at www.mishkanstore.org.
EMQ, Vol. 46, No. 3, pp. 376-377. Copyright © 2010 Evangelism and Missions Information Service (EMIS). All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced or copied in any form without written permission from EMIS.