Keszthely, Hungary, 24 August 2007 - Over 160 participants from 18 countries, representing 16 agencies and congregations involved in Jewish evangelism participated in The Lausanne Consultation on Jewish Evangelism’s (LCJE) eighth international gathering. The six-day meeting, with the theme “Jewish Evangelism – Telling the Story,” was a time for leaders to relate stories from the field, consider trends, coordinate strategies and stimulate both theological and missiological thinking on issues related to their movement.
Notable, was the participation of Doug Birdsall, Executive Chair of the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization (LCWE), the parent body from which LCJE was launched in 1980. Birdsall encouraged participants as he affirmed a special place for Jewish Evangelism on the church’s agenda:
“The story of Jesus Christ is a message to be shared with the whole world, but especially with the Jewish people, as it is the fullest expression of God's love relationship with His people.”
His statement was particular fitting in light of the location and timing of this quadrennial conference. Eighty years earlier, the International Committee on the Christian Approach to the Jews (ICCAJ), a network launched by the International Missionary Council (a counterpart to the LCWE of today) met in Hungary with a similar mandate as those meeting in Hungary this past week. The 1927 conferees described a unique opportunity to share the gospel in the Europe of their day.
The 2007 conferees see an opportunity to bring the message of Christ to the present Jewish community around the globe.
Tuvya Zaretsky, president of the LCJE, explained, “The 1927 Budapest Report documented a growing interest among Jewish people worldwide regarding their destiny and a homeland. Now, on the eve of the State of Israel’s 60th anniversary we rejoice in the stories of an unprecedented openness and opportunity as the gospel is penetrating Israeli society. The gospel of Jesus Christ is as relevant and as unique a spiritual hope today for the Jewish people as it ever has been.”