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Catholics who wish to evangelize Jews are free to do so. My book, Second Exodus, was specifically written to help Catholics explain their faith to inquiring Jews. About Second Exodus Buy Second Exodus
Second Exodus shows that the Catholic faith completes what you have already begun. A Jew called by the Holy Spirit to explore the Catholic faith is often very unsure of himself or the path on which he has embarked. We do not hurry him or become too enthusiastic, but rather offer a copy of Second Exodus and let him read it on his own, assuring him that if he has any questions we will be happy to answer them, and that if we cannot, he can always e-mail the Second Exodus Apostolate.
We invite our Jewish friends to read Second Exodus using one of these five basic approaches:
You have married into a Catholic family. Would you like to know more about what Catholics believe? If a Jewish man truly loves his Catholic wife and wants to know her at a deep level, he has to know something of the greatest love of her life, the Catholic Church.
Few people realize how very Jewish the Catholic Church is. Jews and Catholics have had a difficult relationship during most of the past two thousand years without realizing that it is the relationship of brothers growing up together in the same household as God’s covenant family. Most Jews will reject this proposition. We invite them to read Second Exodus for themselves and see whether it is true.
You might be interested in refuting this. Second Exodus is deeply rooted in truth, and in evidence for the truth. It is hard to refute. But the challenge might appeal to some Jews.
The Catholic Church is scriptural. Messianic Jews are evangelical Protestants, so we evangelize them as Protestants. However, we put special emphasis on Cephas because Messianic Jews are typically proud of their Jewish heritage.
Protestants often object that in classical Greek the word petra means a great rock, while petros means a small stone. They argue that since the four evangelists translated the name Jesus gave Peter as Petros, Jesus must have meant a small stone. Of course, the evangelists could not very well have given Peter a feminine name, so Petros was their only practical alternative. Now, Greek had a much more common word for a small stone, lithos (plural: lithoi). The evangelists used it: Mt 4:3 “Command these stones (lithoi) to become loaves of bread.” Jn 10:31 “The Jews took up stones (lithoi) again to stone him.” 1 Pet 2:5 “ and like living stones (lithoi) be yourselves built into a spiritual house.” The Greek Petros becomes the English Peter. However, the New Testament was not written for the elites, who spoke classical Greek. The New Testament was written for the multitudes, who spoke koine Greek, in koine Greek. In koine Greek, petros means a great rock.
It is not even necessary to look at the koine Greek. Sts. John and Paul preserved the original Aramaic term that Jesus actually used. St. John referred to Peter as Cephas: Jn 1:42 “So you are Simon the son of John? You shall be called Cephas.” St. Paul referred to Peter as Cephas eight times, four in 1 Corinthians (1:12, 3:22, 9:5, 15:5) and four in Galatians (1:18, 2:9, 2:11, 2:14). That is nine authoritative references in Scripture. Cephas is an Aramaic word meaning “rock” that specifically refers to a huge boulder. There is a common Aramaic word for a small stone, evna, so Jesus obviously meant a great rock. Moreover, Jesus made this promise to Peter in a very special place, Caesarea Philippi, at the headwaters of the Jordan, the sacred river that had stopped flowing so the Israelites could carry the Ark of the Covenant across dry-shod, and in which Jesus was baptized by John, in sight of a huge wall of rock, about 200’ high and 500’ wide, the southern end of a foothill of Mt. Hermon. This great wall of rock would have been described as kepha in Aramaic.
We never send Second Exodus in the mail to a Jew unless he has asked us to. If you or I received in the mail a tract urging us to abandon the Catholic faith and become Protestant, we would instantly pitch it in the trash. A Jew who is close to his faith and has expressed no interest in the Catholic Church will do the same. Worse, he will be offended. Christians accustomed to Christ’s call to Mt 28:19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations...” see evangelization as a friendly approach. Jews have not evangelized during the past 900 years, and so they see evangelization as an attack on their faith.
We try to stay below the radar of Jewish anti-missionaries. Therefore, we would not offer a copy of Second Exodus to a rabbi or to a very religious Jew unless he has specifically expressed interest in the book and is friendly toward, or interested in, the Catholic Church.
Catholics in doubt about a particular situation are welcome to e-mail me for advice.
Marty Barrack’s two-part article in The Catholic Faith magazine, From Memory to Reconciliation, part 1, and From Memory to Reconciliation, part 2
Copyright © 1999-2009 Martin K Barrack. All rights reserved.