Most helpful positive review
Well-written, detailed and accurate, but pointless
on August 27, 2003
This is a planned four-volume set.
Dr. Brown is the leading expert on responding to objections to Jesus and Christian theology raised by knowledgeable Orthodox Jews. He has a doctorate in Semitic languages, the books are well-researched and well-written and he covers the material in detail, going into Talmudic interpretations, Rashi, Maimonedes, etc. Although such Jewish theologians are unfamiliar to most Christians, their names are as familiar to knowledgeable Jews as Moody and Scofield are to Christians.
Although most purchasers are gentile evangelists, material is arranged essentially as dialogues between an Orthodox Jew and a responding Messianic.
Unfortunately, the books are rather pointless. Why? See Evangelism Explosion. If a person is not open to the gospel, no amount of arguments will matter. You can see similar debates in Internet newsgroups between Protestants and Catholics, Protestants and Mormons, Messianics and non-messianic Jews, etc.
I recently took Brown's course on Messianic Apologetics. He started by having two Messianic Jews try evangelizing him and he responded as an Orthodox would, with arguments from his books. One of the evangelists is an Israeli graduate of the Jewish Studies program at Christ for the Nations experienced at Jewish evangelism.
Responding like a non-messianic Orthodox, Brown "wiped the floor" with both of them, with things like "Are you Jewish?" "Is your mother Jewish?" "Is HER mother Jewish?" "Do you keep kosher?" (Contrary to the Bible, the Israeli Supreme Court says a person only is Jewish if their mother is Jewish. Hence, if the mother's mother wasn't Jewish, the mother isn't Jewish, so he's not Jewish, etc.)
It then moved on to, "Numbers 23 says, 'God is not a man'. Since Jesus can't be God, all your so-called 'messianic prophecy proofs' are worthless. Also, they can't be proofs, since Messiah has not come yet. Where do Hebrew Scriptures say Messiah will be God? He will be anointed, but only a man. Where does Isaiah 53 talk about Messiah? It's not a messianic prophecy; it's talking about Israel."
One evangelist said, "Since the Temple is destroyed, sacrifices can't be offered. How do you get atonement for your sin?" The response was, "After Solomon's Temple was destroyed there were no sacrifices. How were Daniel's sins forgiven?"
For non-Christians reading this review, understand that Brown didn't "wipe the floor" with them because their arguments were wrong. They had never heard Orthodox arguments and were not prepared to respond "off the cuff". Brown's books show that many Orthodox arguments contradict Scripture or historic Jewish interpretations or both.
For gentiles considering Jewish evangelism, an argument often raised by Orthodox Jews is, "If you could read Hebrew you would know that's not what it says." Brown studied Semitic languages because he kept getting that argument even though he's Jewish. He said materials written by Christians for Jewish evangelism routinely have Hebrew errors.
Sadly, despite claims to the contrary, what comes across in the 15-hour course and books is the attitude of "I am going to convince THAT person." An informal survey has indicated it is EXTREMELY rare for a Jewish person to accept Jesus unless the person (1) was raised secular or (2) marries a Christian. Such people are willing to listen to and honestly evaluate the beliefs of Christianity. Missiology studies show that 80% of people raised in a religion stay in that religion.
Jesus interacted with religious leaders who disputed him but he did not get into extended debates like those in Brown's books. Also see Matthew 10:14
Although Dr. Brown is VERY active in evangelism, I can't help thinking, "How many hundreds of times MORE people could have been brought to Jesus if time spent researching and writing for a VERY small audience almost totally resistant to the gospel had been spent reaching out to the MILLIONS of people who are simply indifferent and uninformed but are willing to listen if someone tells them?"
If you are a Christian considering Jewish evangelism, review the sample pages, examine the books if you get a chance and visit "anti-missionary" websites, e.g., Tovia Singer. You'll see this is EXTREMELY unproductive SUPER-specialized work requiring responses to arguments you won't hear ANYWHERE elsewhere.
But don't let that deter you from GENERAL Jewish evangelism. MANY Jews are quite secular. Their main arguments are "I'm Jewish. Jews don't believe in Jesus." and "What about all the persecution the Church has done against Jews?" They are open to the gospel if you hang in there and honestly address their concerns with sensitivity.
And if YOU think Jesus or the apostles CONVERTED from Judaism to Christianity, YOU need to learn about the history of the Church BEFORE 100 A.D. In Acts 15 the apostles created "Christianity" for GENTILES, as a religion PARALLEL to Messianic Judaism.
TELL your Jewish friends that JESUS IS JEWISH. He was born Jewish, he was Torah-observant, he died Jewish, came back from the dead Jewish and he's STILL Jewish.
Hebrews 4:14 ... WE HAVE A GREAT HIGH PRIEST who has gone through the heavens, JESUS ...
THE HIGH PRIEST ISN'T CATHOLIC AND HE ISN'T PROTESTANT--HE'S JEWISH!
Check these out:
Our Hands Are Stained With Blood-Michael Brown
Restoring the Jewishness of the Gospel-David Stern
Messianic Jewish Manifesto-David Stern
Complete Jewish Bible-David Stern
Evangelism Explosion-D. James Kennedy