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Questions and Responses

            9. Should Christians evangelize Jews?

                Not if by use of the word "evangelize" we are masking any attitude of contempt, and not if
            we intend anything disrespectful or coercive. A major reason for special caution in this regard
            has to do with the dark history of Christian-Jewish relations cited in section 5 above. With
            ample justification Jews are likely to be unusually sensitive about any approach Christians make
            to them, however well-meaning.

                Properly understood and practiced, evangelism is nothing more or less than the Christian's
            honest response by testimony and actions to the forgiving love of God known and experienced
            through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. It is, first of all, an expression of joy, gratitude,
            and praise. Its subject matter and sole focus is God's gracious, saving, healing, revelatory
            activity. Whenever evangelistic testimony is tainted by contempt, whenever evangelistic actions
            are disrespectful of any human being or are otherwise inconsistent with the demands of love,
            they betray the Lord they are intended to honor and praise.

                Strongly supported by Orthodox, Protestant, and Anglican theologians, the Roman
            Catholic Church in its Second Vatican Council decree, Nostra aetate (1965), set a new course
            for all Christians in relation to Jews. Mutual understanding and respect are to be the constant
            rule as Christians and Jews together explore the mystery of the one God's saving presence and
            work among us. Christians begin by acknowledging that Jews as a people do not need to be
            introduced to God, that they already have a relationship with God and understand it and its
            salvific integrity differently from the way we understand our own. The one God, living and
            active, if also mysterious, excites and delights Jews as well as Christians. The one God,
            understood by us so differently, calls us all, in loving cooperation with God and one another, to
            mend this broken world. Beyond any doctrinal differences and disagreements we are united in
            God's service. Our dialogue confirms and strengthens this unity.

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