Shalom International Outreach president and founder Frank Eiklor was reared in an Illinois home where the word “Jew” was used to malign and stereotype. His life was transformed while a U.S. Marine in the Far East when he discovered
- the Bible-both Testaments-were Jewish
- John was not a “Baptist” but a Jew
- Jesus was not a blue-eyed Swede from Chicago and
- Paul was Saul-God’s Jewish missionary to pagans like Frank.
A WITNESS IN WORD-NOT ACTION
As a new creation in Christ, Frank reversed his roots during a 20 year career in world missions that took him to some 80 countries. This included Israel and the Jewish people worldwide. However, while sharing Isaiah chapter 53 with Jewish faces, Frank didn’t notice numbers etched into Jewish flesh-survivors of Auschwitz and other Nazi death camps. Nor was he aware of anti-Semitic incidents taking place across America. It was not until 1979 that Eiklor was brought up short when he saw himself preaching at Jews but failing to defend them from anti-Semitic threats and attacks.
THE WAKE-UP CALL
Hatred is always ugly. Especially today’s swastikas, synagogue desecrations and threats to harm Jews and/or other minorities. The Eiklors lived in the Boston area during their wake-up call to such violence. Those whom the devil used were bold. Would Christians be equally bold to obey the scriptural mandate to bless the Jewish people (Genesis 12:3) and bring them comfort (Isaiah 40:1)?
THE BATTLE BEGINS
Eiklor challenged Christian leaders to take a stand against hatred aimed at Jewish neighbors. A Christian task force was organized to repair the damages and, through the media reports, let haters know that Jews or others suffering from bigotry would have Christian support. Heavy media coverage proved favorable to this “different kind of Christianity” that added deed to creed, walk to talk. This example spread across the country and into Canada.
A WITNESS OF INTEGRITY
A true Christian witness is based on I John 3:18-not love in word only but in deed and in truth. This became the hallmark of Shalom-to Jew and Gentile. During the 1980’s, when the ministry spread from East Coast to West Coast, this unique battle against hate was given prominence in Israel, at the White House and other places where Eiklor was invited.
THE REFUSAL TO COMPROMISE
Frank and the Shalom team were straight in their declaring to Jewish leadership: “We will love and stand by you unconditionally. But we can never compromise our conviction that Jesus is the source of this love and the Messiah of Israel and Savior of the world.” Many Jewish leaders applauded the first part-but distanced themselves when there would be no compromise concerning Jesus. Yet many Jewish friends quietly applauded a ministry that could not be bought.
CHALLENGING THE CHURCH
Centuries of theological anti-Semitism lie at the root of present day hatred of, and Christian indifference toward, the Jewish people and Israel. While the church is not called to agree on Israeli politics, we are called to speak out for Israel’s right to live. Thus Eiklor teaches the church worldwide that it is the responsibility of Christians to bless, pray for, comfort, and support the Jewish people and Israel with unconditional love that continues to flow even if our witness concerning Jesus is unwelcome. That same quality of love must reach out to all-Jew and Gentile.
WORLD EVANGELISM – GOD’S WAY
Today, the Shalom outreach takes in the world-as near as Mexico and as far as India. The apostle to the Gentiles-Paul-never lost his burden for Israel and Romans 1:16 should be part of every church’s ministry: “to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile.” That is the message of Shalom in living and giving the good news of Jesus Christ to the Jews, Israel and the world.