The Lasusanne Consultation on Jewish Evangelism -North America chapter – devoted time at its conference in Dallas for two papers on Messianic Judaism – from William Currie of the American Messianic Fellowship (now “Life in Messiah”) and from Rich Nichol, Messianic Rabbi of Ruach Israel, Boston.
Currie’s paper reproduced the critical observations of the Missions movement, and Nichol’s stated the positions of the Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations (UMJC). The papers make interesting reading today. Currie’s objections still hold, to some extent, but the perspective has broadened, and over the last 30 years more tolerance and understanding has developed. Nichol’s paper gives an apologia for Messianic Judaism, but again, after thirty years, the theological rationale and the contours of the movement – its diversity, breadth of theological positions, and engagement with both Jewish and Christian communities, have deepened.
The LCJE was and still is a forum for those interested in evangelism among the Jewish people. The present LCJE -North America conference in Vancouver is tackling issues of Reconciliation in Israel/Palestine, also from a Jewish missions perspective. Some of those attending were present at the 1985 meeting – it would be interesting to see how their views have changed.
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for the work of the LCJE, in bringing together those interested in evangelism and Messianic Judaism, to discuss, reflect and pray. Help us to see the issues clearly today, and seek unity in the Messiah, among his people Israel, and all nations. In Yeshua’s name we pray. Amen.
Rev. William E. “Bill” Currie, 72, of Highland, Ind., a former instructor at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago and for 12 years pastor of Cicero Bible Church, died Monday, July 10, of heart failure in Munster Community Hospital in Munster, Ind., said his wife, Swantina “Swannee” Currie.
Rev. Currie was general director of American Messianic Fellowship International from 1975-89, and he remained a missionary for the organization for the past 10 years, making annual trips to Israel. Rev. Currie was born outside Windsor, Ontario, and was raised in Detroit. He joined the Navy in 1945 and served for 15 months, primarily sweeping mines in the Mediterranean. In 1949, he earned a history degree from Houghton College in New York, where he met his wife, a Chicago native, and was pastor of his first church, in Mt. Morris, N.Y., during his senior year.
After earning his master of theology degree from Dallas Theological Seminary in 1954, Rev. Currie moved his family to western Michigan, where he was pastor of two churches and also taught theology and Bible studies. In 1959, they moved to Riverside when Rev. Currie became pastor of Cicero Bible Church. He taught in a non-faculty position at Moody Bible Institute from 1960-81. In 1971, they moved to Highland, Ind.. Rev. Currie served on the American Messianic Fellowship International board from 1960 until his death.
During his life, Rev. Currie made at least five international ministry trips to countries such as Mexico, Kenya, Japan, Russia, Singapore and India.