The charge of Christian anti-Semitism more often than not elicits emotionally charged responses from both sides of the aisle. These emotions are real and should not be taken lightly, often times however they cloud our thinking and do not allow us to examine the heart of the issue. Is True Christianity by nature anti-Semitic? To understand this properly it is important to define Christianity is and how it can be hijacked by those who exploit it to their own ends.
The truth of Christian anti-Semitism.
The first step is be honest regarding our Christian heritage. There is no question that through 1700 years of Church history the treatment of Jews by those who have used the term “Christian” has been tragic and is an issue that still needs to be fully dealt with by the body of believers in Jesus. Many of the “fathers” of Christendom have in their attempt to remove Christianity from its Jewish heritage slandered and encouraged violence against the Jewish people for their unbelief.
In his book “The City of G-D” Augustine of Hippo the influential Christian theologian calls the Jews the enemy of the Christian Church.
Thomas of Monmouth, a Benedictine monastery monk wrote a tractate that claims Jews tortured Christian children to death during the Passover season.
Thomas of Aquines claimed that Jews were damned because they had killed Jesus, and their only hope to be saved was to renounce their faith and convert to Christianity.
Saint John Chrystom wrote “But do their (the Jews) festivals have something solemn and great about them? They have shown that these, too, are impure.”
In 1543 the church reformer Martin Luther wrote his 65,000 word treaties “On the Jews and Their Lies”, in which he argues Jewish books and synagogues be burnt and advocated their persecution.
There are numerous examples of such rhetoric, and are rightly condemned as anti-Semitic.
We also cannot deny that atrocities have been committed in our Messiahs name against His beloved people.
The Rhineland massacre on 1096 that led to the first Crusades.
The expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492 by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella.
The Spanish Inquisition beginning in 1478.
The Portuguese Inquisition beginning in 1536.
These are just a few examples of horrific crimes against the Jewish people at the hands of those who call themselves Christians.
Because of these abominations the name of our Messiah has become a curse to them. The sin of their unbelief to some degree has to be poured out upon those who have defiled His name with hatred toward His treasured people. While I do not stand as their judge I am confident in saying that this does not represent true Christianity.
From the time of the Apostles writings in the 1st century AD to the first formation of a Church state in the 4th century AD a drastic face lift had taken place within the gentile believing church. The prevailing question of the early Jewish believers was what to do with the Gentile who has come to faith in Jesus. Some wanted to take them under the knife and convert them to Judaism insisting that only Jews could receive eternal salvation. The Messianic leadership under James, the brother of Jesus, insisted that the Gentiles should be accepted as covenant members along with Israel, grafted on as a new branch because of their trust in GOD’S atoning work. There is every indication that the Jewish believers continued to live as Jews, worshiping at the Temple, making sacrifice, and going to the local Synagogues (James 2:2) just as Jesus had done (Luke 4:16).
It is without any doubt that contrary to the teachings of the early church fathers original Christianity is completely Jewish and completely Messianic. Some of the church fathers have so twisted the truth of our Messiah that the question of what to do with the gentiles has been flipped on its head to what shall we do with the Jewish believers. Can a person be Jewish and also a believer in Jesus?
Have we forgotten our own identity?
As the body of believers we must come to the realization that the Church has removed itself from its Jewish heritage. Consequently the Jewish Messiah has been stripped of his own identity as a Jew and His brothers have been disowned from the family.
We all remember the story of Joseph who was sold as a slave into Egypt by his brothers. He was dressed like an Egyptian and ultimately rose to prominence within the Egyptian court. But let us not forget the eternal lesson that though he was a slave in a foreign country Joseph never forgot his identity as a son of Jacob and Hebrew.
So it is with our Messiah and His followers. There has always been a remnant of Christians that have never completely forgotten the identity of their Messiah and have never ceased to extend a loving hand to His brethren in hopes of their ultimate faith in their Jewish Messiah.
Still more, Christians in greater numbers than ever have awakened to the fact that their heritage and identity has been concealed from them for over 1700 years and they are falling in love with the heritage of their faith. They have embraced the Jewish people with open arms and have befriended and fallen in love with their Jewish brethren.
Christian antisemitism is impossible; followers in Jesus recognize the debt owed to the Jewish people, the full identity of the Jewish Messiah, and their own heritage as covenant members. True Christianity is not defined by the antisemitism, but by; as Dr. Michael Brown calls it, Philo-Semitism. Those who love the Jewish people, those who pray daily for the deliverance of the Jewish people, and those who earnestly seek their politicians to support the modern state of Israel. The Jewish people could have no better friend than the Christian.
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