The Anti-Defamation League has condemned remarks by a Southern Baptist leader calling for renewed attempts to evangelize Jews as “outrageous and offensive.”
The ADL, the world’s leading organization opposing anti-Semitism, released a statement Thursday criticizing Al Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, for comparing Jewish religion to a “deadly tumor” and describing the act of warning Jews about the dangers of their beliefs as “the ultimate act of Christian love.”
“We are shocked and outraged that a leader in the Southern Baptist church would compare Judaism to a deadly tumor that needs to be removed,” said Abraham Foxman, ADL national director.
Ironically, Southern Baptists at this year’s convention passed a resolution denouncing “all forms of anti-Semitism as contrary to the teachings of our Messiah and an assault on the revelation of Holy Scripture.”
Jewish leaders have accused the SBC of insensitivity before for a 1996 resolution targeting Jews for conversion and a 1999 prayer pamphlet focusing on Jewish evangelism during Judaism’s High Holy Days.
Foxman said Mohler’s “offensive remarks highlight the dangers of the Southern Baptist effort now going on for several years to convert Jews.”
“We have said many times that it is pure arrogance for any one religion to assume that they hold ‘the truth,'” Foxman said in his statement. “The Southern Baptist leadership clearly has not gotten the message.”
EthicsDaily.com reported Mohler’s comments on Wednesday. Addressing a messianic fellowship held in conjunction with the Southern Baptist Convention, Mohler said June 16 that the New Testament teaches that Christians are to proclaim the gospel to Jewish persons, according to Baptist Press, which first reported the remarks.
Acknowledging that Jewish evangelism is controversial today, Mohler said Christians do Jewish people a disservice by failing to confront them with the gospel. He compared it to a person with a potentially deadly tumor, who would rather have a doctor give a truthful diagnosis than say all is well to avoid offending him.
In the same way, telling a Jewish person she is in danger of hell “is the ultimate act of Christian love,” Mohler said.
Foxman said the fact that Mohler made his statement to a Jewish messianic group illustrates “the dangers and deceptiveness of that movement, who falsely claim that they are interested in Jewish practices when the real goal is to convert Jews to Christianity.”
“Unfortunately, at a time when many faiths have moved closer toward mutual respect and understanding, the Southern Baptist leadership continues their backward slide,” he said.
Bob Allen is managing editor of EthicsDaily.com