How to combat culture’s eroding effect on Evangelical youth

Opinion: "Despite Trump’s leaving office more than a year ago, mainstream media can’t get enough of their cheap shots and right-wing bashing," writes Rabbi Tuly Weisz.

African-American supporters, including Terrence Williams, Angela Stanton and Diamond and Silk, pray with U.S. President Donald Trump in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, US. (photo credit: REUTERS)
African-American supporters, including Terrence Williams, Angela Stanton and Diamond and Silk, pray with U.S. President Donald Trump in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, US.
(photo credit: REUTERS)

My wife just returned from a visit to the United States and brought me my favorite present: a stack of magazines straight from the airport. There are still some things that you just can’t get in Israel! Even as an Orthodox Jew, I was disgusted to see a recent cover of Newsweek with large letters screaming across the top, “Christian Prophets and Trump.”

The article claims, “There were hundreds of prophets - famous and obscure - whose predictions about Trump being restored to his rightful place in the White House provided a theological framework for the January 6 attack on the US Capitol last year.” And since a picture is worth a thousand words, eight photos in the article juxtaposed images of Christian leaders laying hands on President Trump, supporters praying during an “Evangelicals for Trump” event in January 2020, with another photo featuring demonstrators carrying a large cross to the Capitol on January 6, 2021.

Despite Trump’s leaving office more than a year ago, mainstream media can’t get enough of their cheap shots and right-wing bashing. This is precisely why America is more polarized than ever.

Rabbi Tuly Weisz (Credit: Israel365)Rabbi Tuly Weisz (Credit: Israel365)

The constant media barrage against Christianity has led to a sharp decline in the faith of younger and more impressionable Christians. Recent polls and surveys have reported that more millennials follow horoscopes than believe in God while only 9% of Christian millennials read the Bible daily. 

Newsweek’s mockery of Christianity was a gratuitous swipe, but only another example of the mainstream media’s increasingly hostile assaults on Christianity. If there is anyone who knows a thing or two about media bias, it’s the Jews. After all, we’ve been under attack since, well, since always. Therefore, I’d like to propose a very Jewish solution to the media’s attack on Christianity. 

Rule number one is that, rather than just complaining about unfair treatment, it’s imperative to gain control over the deteriorating situation. The wise words of Israel’s first chief rabbi are particularly instructive. Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook eloquently wrote, “The righteous do not complain of the dark, but increase the light. They do not complain of evil but increase justice. They do not complain of heresy but increase faith. They do not complain of ignorance, but increase wisdom.”

In today’s age of appalling Biblical ignorance, we must urgently increase Biblical wisdom.

In my interactions with Christians as the director of Israel365, I am constantly reminded of a major difference between Jews and Christians. I have found that Christians relate to God primarily through prayer while Jews relate to the Divine mainly through Torah study. In fact, we begin our daily prayers by reading an ancient passage that lists several daily religious obligations and concludes with the reminder that, “Torah study is more valuable than everything else!”

To Jews, Torah study invigorates us morally, strengthens us spiritually, and even fortifies us physically. 

When the young State of Israel was birthed in 1948 and immediately attacked by overwhelming Arab forces, Israel’s first Prime Minister David Ben Gurion made a remarkable decision. While he enacted compulsory military service on all young men and women, he exempted 400 full time Torah students from the draft in respect to the Jewish belief that studying God’s Word protects Israel from physical harm.

In hindsight, Ben Gurion’s decision seemed to have worked, in that Israel is safer than ever today while the amount of full-time Torah students has exploded into the tens of thousands. The Orthodox Jewish community is enjoying a Torah renaissance with more Jews studying Torah today than at any point in our long history. 

In order to combat culture’s eroding effect on Evangelical youngsters, Christianity should take a page out of Judaism’s playbook and embark upon a Bible study revolution. This advice is not my own, I actually got the idea from the Torah itself! 

As the editor of “The Israel Bible”, I have the privilege of spending each day with the Hebrew Bible. The 24 books known as the “Tanakh” can roughly be divided into three sections: the historical parts, the sections that deal with ritual laws, and the passages that contain prophecy.

The prophetic sections of the Bible contain some remarkably accurate descriptions of our own generation. Written thousands of years ago, the Bible predicts the ingathering of the Jewish people from the four corners of the world and the miraculous restoration of the Land of Israel. Against all odds and unprecedented in human history, both of these ancient prophecies have been fulfilled!

Following the prophecies describing physical restoration, the Bible then promises a spiritual renaissance that we are still waiting for. The depiction by both Hebrew prophets Isaiah and Micah are extremely precise:

“The word that Isaiah son of Amotz prophesied concerning Judah and Jerusalem. In the days to come, the Mount of God’s House shall stand firm above the mountains and tower above the hills, and all the nations shall gaze on it with joy.

And the many peoples shall go and say, “Come, let us go up to the Mount of the Lord, to the House of the God of Jacob; That He may instruct us in His ways, and that we may walk in His paths.” For Torah shall come forth from Zion, and the word of God from Jerusalem.

Thus He will judge among the nations and arbitrate for the many peoples, and they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not take up sword against nation; they shall never again know war.”

(Isaiah 2:1-4, The Israel Bible)

Despite Newsweek’s utter contempt for prophecy, the Hebrew Prophets call explicitly for a day when non-Jews will turn towards the Bible. A Torah study revolution will not merely reverse the declining trends when it comes to the millennial generation, it will pave the way for true world peace, the ultimate spiritual solution for the next millennium.

Rabbi Tuly Weisz is the editor of “The Israel Bible” and founder of Israel365, which connects Evangelical Christian Zionists with the Land and People of Israel each day.