A new study reveals that the number of American Jews who believe in Jesus is much larger than previously believed.
The survey, called "Evangelical Attitudes Toward Israel and the Peace Process," found that an estimated 871,000 Americans who embrace evangelicalism today have a Jewish parent or grandparent.
"The study indicates unprecedented openness and responsiveness to the Gospel among American Jews and Americans with Jewish roots," said Joel Rosenberg, a messianic Jew who helped facilitate the project in partnership with LifeWay Research and Chosen People Ministries.
According to the study, the number of Christians who reported having Jewish ancestry is nearly three times higher than previous estimates.
"We are thrilled with the growth of the messianic movement both within and outside of the nation of Israel," said Dr. Mitch Glaser, president of Chosen People Ministries. "Probably one of the reasons for this, according to the LifeWay Survey, is because over 70 percent of Evangelicals in the United States believe in the importance of reaching out to their Jewish friends with the good news of Jesus."
In fact, the study found that 86% of Americans with evangelical beliefs say sharing the Gospel with the Jews is important. However, only 32 percent of evangelicals who have Jewish friends actually shared the gospel with them last year.
"We must always be loving and humble when we share the message of Jesus with anyone," Rosenberg continued. "But the Church must never be ashamed of the Gospel because it is, as the Apostle Paul instructs us, the power of salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jews first and also for the Gentiles."
However, evangelicals disagree about God's current relationship with Jews.
While many of those surveyed (44%) reject replacement theology – the idea that God has abandoned his covenant with the nation of Israel and replaced the Jews with the Christian church – this isn't the case with younger evangelicals.
Evangelical Christians between the ages 18-34 are more likely to say Christians have replaced the Jews in the God's plan. Thirty-four percent agree, and 30% disagree. Thirty-six percent are not sure.
"To see nearly 40% of younger evangelicals unsure of how Israel fits into God's larger story tells me we have a huge opportunity to educate the next generation to appreciate God's love and plan for both Israel and the nations," said Esther Fleece, international speaker, author and millennial influencer. "Millennials don't need help getting involved, we need help understanding a theology that gives Israel and the Jewish people a place in God's ongoing story."
"The Scripture places God's commitment to Israel as an expression of his faithfulness and grace. God made promises to Israel as a people long ago Scripture says He will keep," said Darrell L. Bock, New Testament professor at Dallas Theological Seminary.