Posted by: Elena's Israel Blog | 04/29/2011

CHRISTIAN ANTI-SEMITISM – AN OXYMORON

Have you ever wondered how a faith that is anchored in the sacrificial love of a Jewish Messiah could become one that would persecute, condemn and murder the very people their Savior came to redeem? I have always wondered about that. How did this ‘Christian anti-semitism’ take root? In the New Testament we see the birth of the Church, but we also see the work of Satan, insidiously orchestrating his Final Solution which would be carried out in the future through pogroms, Crusades, Inquisitions and Hitler’s Holocaust. Without Christian anti-semitism, these events would have been inconceivable.

Talmud burning

So what happened? The early believers were all Jewish, so how did anti-Jewish thought permeate Christianity? There was a ‘parting of the ways’ that took place after the Church was born in Jerusalem. The early Jewish believers in Y’shua (Jesus) saw Him as the fulfillment of Judaism, rather than a replacement of it. They did not see this belief as a new religion at all. Yet, there was a dilemma when gentiles (non Jews) were beginning to believe in Jesus as well. What were they to do with these ‘pagans’ who were coming into a Jewish faith? (see Romans chapter 11 for God’s purpose in all this). Also, after the Roman destruction of the second Jewish Temple in A.D. 70, the Church began to define itself as a distinct entity from Judaism, which was heresy according to Jews (Amos). This resulted in the loss of the ‘Jewish flavor’ of the Church. And, the influence of the gentile believers caused the erroneous philosophy that we know as ‘replacement theology’ which claims that the Church has replaced Israel (Jews) and that all references to ‘Israel’ in the bible should be replaced with ‘church’.

Another cause of this ‘parting of the ways’ was the difficulty Jews and gentiles had in living harmoniously in the same body, due to the Jews continuing their Jewish practices while the gentiles were ‘free’ from Jewish rituals and regulations.

The early Church Fathers continued this de-Judaizing of the Church for the next centuries, teaching that the ‘unfaithfulness of the Jewish people had resulted in a collective guilt, which made them subject to the permanent curse of God’. You can read about the works of such people as Ephraim the Syrian, John Chrysostom, St. Jerome, St. Augustine, Thomas Aquinas and Pope Clement VIII, who cemented this Christian anti-semitism into the theologies of many Christian denominations. Even the reformer Martin Luther, who originally was sympathetic to the Jewish people, turned savagely against them when they refused to be converted to his new Protestant theology. In fact he wrote “The Jews are brutes. Their synagogues are pig sties; they ought to be burned. They live by evil and plunder. They are evil beasts that ought to be driven out like mad dogs”. He advocated their expulsion from Germany and the destruction of all their religious books. When the Nazis came into power, they used Luther’s writings to justify the atrocities committed in the Holocaust. You can see that the most important reason that the Holocaust happened is that the Church had forgotten its Jewish roots.

Bless Israel Day - Tampa

There is hope however. Although Replacement Theology still has a stronghold in many denominations, many are returning to the Jewish roots of the faith and are blessing Israel and the Jewish people. I went to a ‘Bless Israel Day’ four years ago and learned so much about this phenomenon and realized I am one of those Christians who love and want to bless Israel and the Jews. Christians must return to the Jewish roots of our faith or it is a watered down, and dangerously hateful hypocrisy. We should educate ourselves about God’s unbroken covenant with Israel – the ‘apple of His eye’ (Zechariah 2:8). His covenant with Israel is forever and we have been GRAFTED IN to that covenant but have not superseded it (again, see Romans chapter 11).  Then we must educate other Christians of this truth and our responsibility before God to stand firm with those from whom our Savior came. That’s what I’m trying to do in this blog, aided by His Spirit. If you love Israel and want to bless them, please look into the links at the right of this post. My two favorite ministries are Bridges For Peace and The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, but there are a great many organizations which comfort Holocaust survivors, provide food and shelter for new immigrants, help dispersed Jews return to their homeland, and much more. Most importantly, “pray for the peace of Jerusalem!” (Psalms 122:6)

–          some info taken from Israel and the Church: God’s Road Map by R. J. Brimmer

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Responses

  1. Here is a sad example of Christian anti-Semitism in a sermon http://roshpinaproject.com/2011/10/05/british-preacher-stuart-olyott-claims-jews-are-not-jews/


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