NEW YORK (Mar. 20)
Some 350,000 Jews already believe in Jesus as their saviour, and the number may swell to half a million by the year 2000, according to a recent study by a Christian fundamentalist group.
The results were reported by the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, which found the study in a Christian fundamentalist magazine, titled A.D. 2000 Together.
The study, which was conducted by an Anglican missionary, David Barret, was commissioned by the North American Renewal Service Committee, an organization in Oklahoma City that studies the growth of charismatic and Pentecostal Christians.
A.D. 2000 Together is published by Charismatic Renewal Services, a group in South Bend, Ind., that “does work on behalf of the North American Renewal Service,” said a spokesperson reached by telephone in South Bend.
Barret was an Anglican missionary to Kenya, a Vatican consultant on world evangelism, editor of the World Christian Encyclopedia and a statistician for the Foreign Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, according to Michael Skobac, who is special consultant to the JCRC’s Task Force on Missionaries and Cults.
Skobac, who is also New York director for “Jews for Judaism,” did not speak with Barret, the magazine’s publishers or the parent group in Oklahoma.
2 PERCENT OF WORLD JEWRY
Barret’s report places the number of Jewish believers in Jesus at about 2 percent of the world Jewish population, according to Skobac.
He said Barret’s study examined the numbers of Pentecostal-Charismatic Christians worldwide over the past 90 years.
The charismatic branch of Christianity emphasizes the work of the “Holy Spirit” and is often associated with ecstatic practices by faith-healers and those who speak in tongues.
The study asserts that there are over 1 million Pentecostal missionaries in the world today.
The report, which is divided into different ethnic groups, has an entry on Hebrew Christians, according to Skobac.
Barret writes that of the 350,000 Jews who have converted to Christianity, about 140,000 have continued to identify as Jews and have chosen to affiliate with “Messianic synagogues,” rather than assimilating into Christian churches.
Messianic churches hold Christian prayer services with Jewish “flavor,” Skobac said.
The Jewish Telegraphic Agency was unable to obtain a copy of the report or determine how the statistics were computed.