A genuinely nice guy
A tribute to Stan Telchin (1924-2012)
Stan Telchin, the author of the classic autobiography Betrayed, which tells the dramatic story of how he came to faith in Jesus, died on 4 June, aged 87.
I read Betrayed for the first time on an overnight train journey from Glasgow to London. I was in my mid-thirties and imagined I could still sleep any time, any place, and so I declined CWI’s urging to book a sleeping carriage. Around 2am, in a bleary-eyed effort to overcome my insomnia, I took Stan’s book from my case and began to read. I finished Betrayed as the train pulled into Euston station at 6.30am.
Since it was first published in 1981, millions of copies of Betrayed have been sold around the world in many languages, and it has become the most read Jewish testimony in the world. Stan benefitted very little from sales of the book, however. Due to the deal he signed, for every copy sold Stan received just one cent! In the early nineties, HaGefen Publishing produced the first Hebrew edition of the book. The first run sold out quickly, as did the second. And the third. And the fourth . . . And so on. Over the last twenty years, HaGefen has printed hundreds of thousands of copies of Betrayed in both Hebrew and Russian.
Betrayed played a major role in Helen Shapiro’s journey to faith in Jesus and, in 1995, I had the immense privilege of transporting Stan, his wife Ethel and Helen around the country for a series of unforgettable ‘Evenings with Helen and Stan’. Night after night, from Bournemouth to Newcastle, I witnessed Jews and Gentiles moved to tears as they heard Stan and Helen relate how they came to believe Jesus is the Messiah.
Stan impressed me as a genuinely nice guy. Whenever he talked to you he was always smiling, laughing and constantly touching your arm with genuine affection. Driving round the country, as we talked about other people, and problems and difficulties, he would call to Ethel in the back of the car, ‘Honey, do you wanna just pray about that?’ But there was another side to Stan. I recall him being furious two Messianic leaders who, he felt, were placing too much emphasis on Jewishness. One of those leaders now lives with his seven ‘wives’ as the reincarnation of an Old Testament Hebrew king; the other was courageous and humble enough to drive 100 miles the next night in order to seek reconciliation with Stan.
After the success of Betrayed, Stan authored two more books: Abandoned and Messianic Judaism is Not Christianity. He served for fourteen years as the pastor of Living Word Fellowship in Gaithersburg, Maryland but in 1994 he set up Stan Telchin Ministries, which opened many opportunities for ministry, including the hosting of a daily radio programme and appearances on national television in the United States, Canada and Ukraine. Though Stan did not come to faith until the age of fifty, he spent his remaining 37 years in the service of Messiah. He once said that although many Jewish people, including rabbis, denounced him for writing Betrayed, no one ever said to him, ‘Stan, you are wrong because…’
Ethel died in 2000, after which Stan met, fell in love with and married Elaine. He served with Jews for Jesus from2003 until his death in June. Stan is survived by Elaine and his daughters Judy and Ann, to whom we send our condolences.
An Evening with Helen & Stan: Helen Shapiro & Stan Telchin in Conversation is available on audio CD from the CWI Bookroom for £5.00 (includes P&P). Betrayed is also available from the CWI Bookroom for £5.99 + P&P.