Elder of Grace & Truth Christian Assembly in the city of Rishon LeTsion, Israel.
What is the impact that WSC has made on your life and work?
"I don't know when and I don't how, but one day I would like to go and study at Westminster Seminary in California". This was the second thing that I told my wife-to-be on our second date. The first thing I told her was the five points of Calvinism, which of course she had no idea what I was talking about. She still married me, so I think I told her other things as well!
In God’s sovereignty, it took us twelve years before we were able to come to WSCAL. But the studies and the experience were some of the best things that happened to us as a family. I believe that God used those three years to prepare us further and more thoroughly for our ministry here in Israel.
While we were at WSC, the Lord called us to go back home to Israel to full time ministry. So we returned home to head the HaGefen Publishing Company and to continue to serve the Grace and Truth church congregation as an elder.
HaGefen Publishing is a local non-profit organization that oversees the work of Christian Witness to Israel (CWI) in Israel, which is the only international Reformed mission to the Jewish People. CWI has work among Jewish People in at least seven countries. HaGefen Publishing helps the church in gaining a better understanding of the Word of God, through our publications, teaching and training. Our goal is to support the churches in their God-given tasks of evangelism and disciple-making. We publish tracts and other materials that can be used as evangelistic tools by the churches and their evangelists.
Since the church in Israel is relatively young (although throughout the past 2,000 years there have always been Jewish people that believed in Jesus as their Lord and Messiah), it faces many challenges. There are challenges from outside and from within the church.
The main challenge from outside is the need to present the whole counsel of God to our people. As a country we have been influenced by the health and wealth gospel, one that is void of any need for repentance or concept of the holiness of God, but rather focuses on the individual need and self fulfillment. This is a real challenge, particularly because there is a real openness and hunger for the gospel, especially among the young Israelis. I see the urgency for the books we publish at HaGefen Publishing and our evangelistic activities, since we are fighting for the souls of the Jewish people. Once they are sold to the health and wealth gospel, it is hard to bring them to see their need for repentance. Currently, HaGefen Publishing is coordinating a national evangelistic campaign to take place at the end of 2009.
There are challenges from within the church as well. The main challenge is that there are relatively few scholarly and seminary-trained people in the land. And since the church in Israel is young, there are very few books and other materials that are available in the Hebrew language. Our choice of books in Israel is very limited—in fact, there are hardly any commentaries in Hebrew. One of the most important books we recently published in the Hebrew language is the Heidelberg Catechism, which was re-titled “My Only Comfort” (based on Question and Answer 1) because the city of Heidelberg, Germany is still a sensitive spot for many Jews.
What particular truths or experiences that you gained from WSC do you find most important and valuable now?
One of the things that I often remind our staff is the fact that we are not publishing books only for this generation but also for generations to come. I want to give my children and their children's children access to Christian books in Hebrew. It is important that they read these books in their mother tongue, and to realize that faith in Jesus is not something foreign, but it is ours and in our language. This is my challenge, and this is my hope.
I am so very thankful for the three years that I attended Westminster Seminary California. Those years provided me with the training and the tools that now help me to fulfill my calling and my desire. I ask for your prayers that the Creator of the universe will grant us wisdom to know how best to accomplish the tasks that he has set before us.