19 October 1878 Haim Lipshytz declares his faith in Yeshua #otdimjh

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From Rev. A. Bernstein, B.D.,  Some Jewish Witnesses For Christ  (London: Operative Jewish Converts Institution, 1909),  339-341. Online:http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/37734 (free download)

Haim Lipshytz was Director of the Barbican Mission to the Jews, London. Born in 1858 at Warsaw, the capital of Poland, he was brought up in strict Judaism, according to the principles of his orthodox Jewish parents. It was essential that he should undergo a Talmudical Jewish training, and in addition he was given a thorough secular education.

When he was five years of age, his eldest sister became a Christian, and for this she endured severe persecution. Her testimony made a deep impression on the mind of her brother, and awakened a desire in his heart to know what it was that Christianity really taught. So strong was this desire that while at the secular high school in his native city, he embraced every possible opportunity of listening to the religious instruction given to the Gentile pupils. For this he was chastised by his father, but the severe punishment inflicted was of no avail, for the Spirit of God had directed the message of the Gospel home to his heart, and within a short time he surrendered to the Lord. The bitter persecution through which his sister had[340] passed was a vivid and painful memory, and it is not surprising that Lipshytz hesitated to incur the same suffering by making a public confession in his native place.

Eventually he went away to Königsberg. Here, after a course of instruction by a missionary of the London Jews’ Society (Mr. Skolkowski) and the Rev. Konsistorialrath Dr. Kahle, he was baptized on the 19th October, 1878. [He then assumed the names Christlieb (Love of Christ )Traugott  (Trust God)]. After further study and preparation he worked under the auspices of the home mission in the North of Germany, and afterwards in connexion with the mission among Jews in the West of Germany. Coming to England, Mr. Lipshytz was for some time superintendent of the Wanderers’ Home, under the direction of the late Rev. J. M. Eppstein. At the close of 1887 he became assistant missionary to the Rev. Paul Warschawski. When the latter relinquished the mission on account of failing health, the work was in danger of coming to an untimely end. At this crisis Prebendary Gordon Calthrop, who became the first President, called together a number of friends, with the result that Mr. Lipshytz was asked to undertake the re-organization of the work.

After prayerful consideration, the invitation was accepted. For two years and a-half the mission was housed in London Wall, thence a removal was made to larger premises in Finsbury Square, which were occupied for seven years. From the first, Mr. Lipshytz exercised remarkable tact and ability, and it became increasingly evident that under his able direction the mission was destined to become a powerful agency in proclaiming the Gospel to the [341] Jews and winning their allegiance to Christ. Prebendary Gordon Calthrop had now passed to his rest, and Archdeacon Sinclair succeeded as President, to be followed after a time by Prebendary H. W. Webb-Peploe, a life-long friend of Israel. With his unfailing energy and enthusiasm, Mr. Lipshytz set about raising a memorial to the memory of the first President of the mission, and in this he had from the first the hearty co-operation of the devoted men who formed his council.

The outcome was the erection of the perfectly equipped and commodious headquarters of the Barbican Mission situated on the main thoroughfare of Whitechapel, and known as “The Gordon Calthrop Memorial,” which was dedicated and opened in the spring of 1901. Besides the mission house and church, the property includes a spacious open-air preaching ground, with a stone pulpit. The entire scheme involved an outlay of £13,000, the whole of which sum was soon raised.

Having succeeded in this matter, Mr. Lipshytz realized the necessity for providing a Home for Converts and Enquirers, and a permanent residence for the head of the mission. This he was also able to accomplish, and the Home at Mitcham, which cost £3,500, was soon freed from debt. With all his undertakings Mr. Lipshytz was careful to see that the spiritual work of the mission was not neglected. “First things” were given first place: hence the mission abundantly prospered in his hands.

Prayer: Thank you Lord for this distinguished and diligent servant of yours, whose life, ministry and legacy speak volumes. Help us to learn from his example, and follow in his ways, and in the footsteps of Yeshua. In His name we pray. Amen.

On the Barbican Mission here

[29] The Barbican Mission to the Jews began work in that area in 1879, taking its title in 1891. It was staffed by Jewish Christian converts, and held missionary meetings (at which hymns were set to well-known Hebrew or Yiddish melodies), ran a children’s home, and offered medical assistance, which desperate Jewish families took up despite their suspicion of its conversionist approach. From 1889 the director was the Rev, or Prediger [preacher] Haim Christlieb Traugott Lipshytz, a learned man who was a member of the Royal Astronomical Society. Here [Mark Kagan’s reminiscence of Lipshytz – ed.- he lived into his hundreds and was known to many of us in the British Messianic Jewish Alliance in the 1970s and 1980s] is an account by a Jewish convert who worked at the mission’s reading room in Whitechapel. The society expanded into work in Eastern Europe, particularly Poland, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia; see here for the rescue work of the Revd and Mrs I.E. Davidson of a hundred children from Prague during World War II. In 1976 the mission merged with the International Society for Evangelisation of the Jews as Christian Witness to Israel.

His views on Hebrew Christian churches/Messianic Congregations were not positive. Michael Darby writes:

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Michael R. Darby, The Emergence of the Hebrew Christian Movement in Nineteenth-Century Britain `(Netherlands: Brill, 2010)

For more information on Lipshytz see also the biography of Ernest Lloyd who also served with the Barbican Mission – search for his name here

If you know of other significant dates in the history of Messianic Jews and Messianic Judaism please let me know and I will try to cover them in this daily blog. Thanks!

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About richardsh

Messianic Jewish teacher in UK
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