Sharing Christ's love
Ray Gannon is U.S. Missions National Representative for Jewish Ministries and visiting professor of Missions and Jewish Studies at Assemblies of God Theological Seminary. He spoke recently with Managing Editor Ken Horn.
PE: How did you become involved in Jewish ministry?
GANNON: Saved as California teenagers, my wife, Kassiani, and I began Jewish ministry in Los Angeles after graduating from Bethany University in 1970.
PE: What advice would you give to readers who want to witness to Jewish people?
GANNON: Of the 150,000 Jewish believers across America today, most accepted Christ thanks to the witness of Gentile Christians. Pentecostals are especially equipped to witness to Jewish friends thanks to the present reality of the living God in our lives. Signs, wonders and miracles should accompany our uncompromising testimony to Jesus, Israel's Redeemer.
PE: What is "Israel's Redemption" and your role in U.S. Missions?
GANNON: Our present responsibilities include serving as national representatives for Jewish Ministries. Our Israel's Redemption ministry is focused on bringing the essential gospel to "all Israel" in this generation. The 6,155,000 Jewish people in America who need to be reached by Spirit-filled Christians.
PE: Your Web site says that your desire is "to partner with AG missionaries, pastors, churches and educators to foster a strong Pentecostal witness to substantial American Jewish communities." How will this be done?
GANNON: We have identified 101 Jewish population centers in the U.S. that have anywhere from 11,000 to 100,000 Jewish residents. We are educating, equipping, and mentoring our local AG congregations and Jewish outreaches as part of the local body's evangelistic and discipling programs.
PE: You have spent a lot of time in Israel. What is the benefit of believers physically going to the Holy Land?
GANNON: We lived 15 years in Jerusalem under World Missions appointment working with Russian and Ethiopian Jewish immigrants and founding the Israel College of the Bible. Walking the streets of Jerusalem and traversing the Promised Land of Israel creates a renewed appreciation for the Bible and the fulfillment of biblical prophecy.
PE: What Jewish customs are appropriate to retain when Jews become Christians?
GANNON: Perhaps the flip side of this question would bring greater clarity to the issue: "What Jewish customs become inappropriate when Jews become Christians?" The lives of Jesus, Paul and the balance of the apostolic community are instructive. These New Testament people did not feel obliged to abandon Jewish customs or life-style. The first-century Messianic Jewish faith community saw no conflict between their unadulterated faith in Jesus as Lord and continued full participation in Jewish society.
PE: Can you share a testimony of a Jewish believer?
GANNON: Murray Cantor came to faith at age 81. God miraculously saved him, filled him with the Spirit, made him a dynamic soul-winner, and gave Murray a phenomenal healing ministry. Six months into his new ministry in Jesus, Murray was livid. "Where were you people all my life? I am born in this country and nobody ever told me about Jesus! I could have been living my whole life for Him."
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