Glossary of evangelical terminology

Note: for the purposes of this site and in order to avoid unnecessary confusion and theological debate, Jewish Israel has referred to standard dictionary definitions as well as recognized evangelical sources and personalities to explicate on a limited selection of essential evangelical concepts and terms. We've also consulted with former missionaries with a strong Christian theological background. Jewish Israel in no way supports or encourages the usage or in depth exploration of Christological terminology and ideas, but we urge the Jewish people to educate themselves with the intention of understanding the dangers inherent in these ideologies and concepts.

Bible: a book of Christianity, the scriptures of Christians comprising the “Old Testament” and the “New Testament”

Bible-Believer: A Christian - One who believes in Christian scripture (the term “bible-believing Jew” when used by an evangelical, or when used by a Jew in conversation with evangelicals, would refer to a Jew who has abandoned recognized and traditional Jewish faith and embraced Jesus).

Instead of the term "Christian," “messianic Jews” refer to themselves as "believers."

This deceptive practice has recently been endorsed in a statement by the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA):

“We deplore the use of deception or coercion in evangelism; however, we reject the notion that it is deceptive for followers of Jesus Christ who were born Jewish to continue to identify as Jews (Romans 11:1)”

Body of christ: "the Church, made up of all those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. Each Christian, then, is a part of the body of Christ." See further definition

Bride of messiah, Bride of christ: the Church

Brit Hadasha: the “new testament” in Hebrew (often disguised – for the purpose of missionary work - to look like Tanach or other Jewish scriptural publications)

Christianity: a religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as presented in the New Testament. Christians believe Jesus is the son of god, god having become man and the savior of humanity. The central tenet of Christianity is the belief of Jesus as the son of god and the messiah. (source: dictionary and wikipedia)

Davidic Covenant: For Christians, the "Davidic Covenant" confirms the doctrine of a future reign of christ on earth

Devil:  see definition of "Satan"

Ephramite: The "Ephraimite," "Restoration of Israel," or "Two House" movements are cults which promote the idea that certain "born-again", “Christian Zionist” sectors of the church are part of the “lost tribes” and actual blood descendants of the ancient Israelites. They ( referred to as “Ephramites”, “Joes” –for the house of Joseph , and “Israelites”)consider themselves grafted-in to the Jewish root through Jesus. They believe that the Land of Israel is their eternal inheritance which they will share with “their brother Judah”( the Jews) under a new covenant.

Evangelical: the following is a comprehensive and updated 2007 definition by G. Stackhouse, Jr., Senior Advisor, CRCE The Centre for Research on Canadian Evangelicalism:
Crucicentric: Evangelicals are Christocentric in their piety and preaching, and emphasize particularly the necessity of Christ’s salvific work on the Cross.
Biblicist: Evangelicals affirm the Bible as God’s Word written, true in what it says and functioning as their supreme written guide for life.
Conversionist: Evangelicals believe that (1)everyone must trust Jesus as Saviour and follow him as Lord; and (2) everyone must co-operate with God in a life of growing spiritual maturity.
Missional: Evangelicals actively co-operate with God in his mission of redeeming the world, and particularly in the proclamation of the gospel.
Transdenominational: Evangelicals gladly partner with other Christians who hold these concerns, regardless of denominational stripe, in work to advance the Kingdom of God.

Also see "What is an Evangelical" by Michael Youssef, Phd

Evangelism: Any religious activity with an emphasis on encouraging others to accept Jesus Christ. The practice of relaying information about a particular set of beliefs to others who do not hold those beliefs. The term is often used in reference to Christianity, where the scriptures often describe "evangelism" as "spreading the Gospel".

(the following explanation is by Evangelical author Mark Dever, senior pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, DC. , and appeared in an article Christianity Today)

“Displaying God's compassion and kindness by our actions is a good and appropriate thing for Christians to do. But such actions are not evangelism. They commend the gospel, but they share it with no one. To be evangelism, the gospel must be clearly communicated, whether in written or oral form.

The Christian call to evangelism is a call not simply to persuade people to make decisions but rather to proclaim to them the good news of salvation in Christ, to call them to repentance, and to give God the glory for regeneration and conversion. We don't fail in our evangelism if we faithfully tell the gospel to someone who is not converted; we fail only if we don't faithfully tell the gospel at all. Evangelism itself isn't converting people; it's telling them that they need to be converted and telling them how they can be. “


Evangelizing: proselytizing; missionizing; witnessing; outreach; preaching or sharing the gospel; fulfilling the great commission; harvesting, fishing, spreading the word; with the purpose of converting people to Christian belief.

Gospel: the "good news"; the new testament; the word; Christian scripture describing the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Teachings on redemption as preached by Jesus and the apostles, which is the central content of Christian revelation.

Grafted: When you hear someone say: "And Lord, we're so thankful for the Jewish people, that we're grafted in, that we're one, one new man in Messiah.”… they are referring to Paul’s Epistle to the Romans which says that "the Gentiles are grafted onto the olive tree of the Chosen People in which he says that Gentiles and Israel are no longer distinct. Christ has abolished in his flesh Jewish laws and ordinances, reconciling the Gentiles and Israel as one body, understood as the Church…” ------Source: “Evangelicals and Israel” by Stephen Spector

Harvest:  Penina Taylor of Shomrei Emet reminds us that when evangelicals speak about “the harvest”, it is intrinsically connected to “harvesting Jewish souls”.

"We rejoice and give thanks for those who are on the "front lines" of Jewish evangelism-and for all who pray and give in order to bring the harvest home." -Chosen People Ministries


Jews for Jesus: a Christian evangelistic organization that focuses specifically on the conversion of Jews to Christianity.

Jewish Messiah: according to Christians (including messianic sects), Jesus of Nazareth is the "Jewish Messiah"

Judeo-Christian: please refer to Jewish Israel’s special section on the Judeo-Christian fiction
Evangelicals use the term "Judeo-Christian" in the context of scripture and theology.
Judeo-Christian Values: according to Janet Parshall - award-winning conservative radio talk show host and former co - chairwoman of the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus Women's Council,
this is a reference to biblical Christian values.

“Judeo-Christian values have no meaning apart from Scripture… the proclamation of the Good News is the ultimate Judeo-Christian value”

"Kingdom of God": A number of evangelical groups refer to the “Kingdom of God” as physical reign of Jesus on earth after the “second coming”. These groups often place special emphasis on the role of a restored kingdom of Israel. Penina Taylor of Shomrei Emet explains that evangelicals perceive the” Kingdom of God” as "an entity which exists in both the present and the future in which God rules and Jesus also rules and in which one must believe in Jesus to partake. Its reality is both now, here on earth (this powerful new life that Christianity promises) and now in the heavenly realm (the heavenly court in which Jesus presides) and in the future which will be heaven on earth."

King of Kings:  appellation for jesus christ in the Christian bible (source: Wikipedia, Glossary of Biblical Christianity, online Dictionary)

 

Lion of Judah: "In Christian tradition, the Lion of Judah represents Jesus. Many Christian organizations and ministries use the lion of Judah as their emblem or even their name." (see new testament book of Revelation 5:5)

Messiah: Christians believe it is Jesus who they worship as the son of god and eternal king, and who they believe saves sinners from sin and will judge the living and the dead at the end of time.

Messianic Age: A thousand year period where Jesus will, according to Christian belief, rule the earth as its king.

Messianic Congregation:
Chosen Peoples Ministries uses the following definition :
How is a Messianic congregation different from a church? Messianic congregations are the same in the sense that they support and teach the basic tenets of evangelical Christianity. They are different because they do so in a Jewish way, with Jewish liturgy, music and other features of Jewish community life, which adds a dimension not found in other Christian traditions. "

*Messianic Jew: a Christian.

Jewish Israel sees those referring to themselves as Messianic Jews or Hebrew Christians as members of varying Christian sects who may or may not have been born Jewish, but who often use claims of Jewish identity as a means to convince Jews to convert to Christianity. These individuals and groups often exhibit an attraction toward external Jewish things and rituals, but are not interested in, nor respectful of, the fundamentals of Judaism.

Jewish Israel, therefore proposes that the following term be used to describe these lost and/or deceptive souls:

Messianic Christian: a broad range of evangelizing "Judeo-Christian" sects defined as
a) evangelical Christians who pretend to be Jews in order to missionize.
b) Jews who have left the faith and now believe in Jesus, but who deny they are Christians.
c) Those who are the product of Jewish fathers and Christian mothers who claim to be Jewish but who believe in Jesus.
d) Those who claim to be part of the ten lost tribes and who have given up most of Christian trappings, beliefs, and rituals, but who retain their belief in Jesus
e) Those who claim to be Noahides, but who retain a belief in Jesus
f) Those who dress the dress, walk the walk, and talk the talk of Jews, but who retain a belief in Jesus

Missionary: A missionary is a member of a religious group sent on a faith-based mission into an area to carry on ministries of the word and literacy, or ministries of service, such as education, social justice, health care and economic development.
[Jewish Israel notes that in and of itself, being a missionary is not a negative thing. However, it becomes problematic when missionary projects and activities are directed at the Jewish people in the land of Israel with the purpose of exposing them to foreign theologies and influencing them to draw close to, accept, or incorporate those beliefs. It is known that evangelical Christians are obligated to "share their faith" via various missionary activities]

"A Christian is either a missionary or an imposter." ---Charles Spurgeon the "Prince of Preachers"

The following explanation is from "Understanding Christian Missions" by J. Herbert Kane , a textbook used for missions classes in Evangelical Bible colleges

"The worldwide mission of the Christian church is rooted in the Incarnation and is part of God's redemptive purpose for the world. God is a missionary God. The Bible is a missionary book. The gospel is a missionary message. The church is a missionary institution. And when the church ceases to be missionary minded, it has denied its faith and betrayed its trust."

"In the traditional sense the term missionary has been reserved for those who have been called by God to a full-time ministry of the Word and prayer (Acts 6:4), and who have crossed geographical and/or cultural boundaries (Acts 22:21) to preach the gospel in those areas of the world where Jesus Christ is largely, if not entirely, unknown...every dedicated Christian, regardless of his vocation, is in full-time Christian Service. If every Christian is in full-time service, then it is only a step to saying, as many do today, that every Christian is a missionary"

Christian Mission: "A God who sends. 'Mission' is an activity of God arising out of the very nature of God. The living God of the Bible is a sending God, which is what 'mission' means. He sent the prophets to Israel. He sent his Son into the world. His Son sent out the apostles, and the seventy, and the church. He also sent the Spirit to the church and sends him into our hearts today". --- -From 'The Biblical Basis of Evangelism', in "Let the Earth Hear His Voice", ed. J. D. Douglas --- -Excerpted from "Authentic Christianity" by John R.W. Stott

Noahide: Referring to the "seven laws of Noah"

One New Man: refer to definition of "Grafted"

Order of Melchizedek:according to many Christian groups Melchizedek is a symbol of christ and his new priesthood and law. A Melchizedek = Jesus connection is widely accepted across Christian denominations and is especially popular among evangelical sectors due to the eschatological implications. Some Christians hold that Melchizedek – King of Yeru-Shalem “was a type of christ, and some other Christians hold that Melchizedek indeed was christ.” “The epistle goes on to say that the covenant of Jesus is superior to the covenant the Levitical priesthood is under.” See Jewish Israel report

Proselytizing is the act of attempting to convert people to another opinion and, particularly, another religion…the connotations of proselytizing are often negative and the word is commonly used to describe attempts to force people to convert. Many Christian groups have organizations devoted to missionary work which in whole or in part includes proselytism of people of other faiths (including sometimes other variants of Christianity).

Satan: the devil; the deceiver, "the ruler of the world" or "the god of this world." A rebellious power ; a rival power and an enemy to what the Christians perceive as God.

[Note: Judaism has no such concept. The satan referred to in Jewish sources has no independent power and is under the full control and orders of Hashem]

Sefer HaBritot The Hebrew translation of the Christian Bible (new and old testaments combined). It is frequently distributed in missionary work and disguised to look like a Tanach or other Jewish scriptural publication. Halachically this is considered a heretical work.

Witnessing: A Christian missionary can be defined as "one who is to witness across cultures." (Source: Thomas Hale 'On Being a Missionary' 2003)

One who publicly affirms religious faith. To testify to one's religious beliefs.

(Source: the Free Dictionary)

In the New Testament, a witness is one who can testify to the deed of Jesus in his ministry, death, and resurrection (Acts 1: 22). The word has come to have a specialized meaning when applied to someone who has witnessed to Jesus even to the extent of dying for him—hence a ‘martyr’ (derived from the Greek martus, ‘witness’). The word is on the way to this meaning in Hebrews 12: 1, where the ‘cloud of witnesses’ who in spite of suffering have retained the faith are compared to cheering spectators in a stadium.
(Source: A Dictionary of the Bible, 1997,W. R. F. Browning)


Yeshua: Jesus. (Evangelical and Messianic Christian missionaries claim that this is the Hebrew name of Jesus – although there is no proof of that – and they use it as a means to confuse and deceive Jews, and to try and validate the erroneous claim that he is “the Jewish Messiah”.

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