Anti-Semitism in the Church
by Lonnie Lane
We received an email from a high school teacher questioning the premise of one of our newsletter articles entitled, Adam’s Mistake, in which we stated that the church is under a curse for her centuries of anti-Semitism and that repentance would bring about the blessings God promised Abraham in Gen.12:3: “I will bless those who bless my people [Israel and the Jews] and I will curse those who curse them too.” This woman was under the impression that the church is and has always been supportive and prayerful on behalf of the Jewish people. Following is part of her email to us and our response.
(From Original E-mail Message) Your insistence that the Church has a curse on it because of our forefathers’ mistakes is ludicrous. The Church of today has nothing but respect for the Jewish race, even though they feel frustrated that Judaism still refutes Jesus as their Messiah.
You are stirring up dissention with your words. The Church prays for the peace of Israel constantly. It does not deserve such disrespect from you. Why?
Dear Ms. H., I am writing in answer to your email with regard to your concerns about the “Adam’s Mistake” article. What I was writing had to do with 2,000 years of persecution by the church. I rejoice that today we hear little against the Jewish people in America in particular. America has been the safest country in the world for Jews and today is no exception. May it ever continue to be so!
However, this has not always been the case elsewhere. Before and during World War II, for instance. It was actually Martin Luther who earlier laid the ground work for the systematic demise of 6,000,000 Jews by the Nazis through his vitriolic writings against them. He, not realizing Israel had to be come a nation before the Jews would return to the Lord, turned viciously against the Jews when they did not join his cause. And this during the Protestant Reformation! The Nazis basically copied what Luther has to say and used it as justification for the extermination of Jews.
The Spanish Inquisition is an instance of a church-directed another systematic persecution against the Jews as were many other recorded episodes throughout history, some causing thousands of Jewish families to die horrible deaths, supposedly in the name of the Lord. Early in church history, Christians locked hundreds of Jews in a synagogue and set it on fire and marched around it singing, “Christ We Adore Thee,” amid the screams until both the building and the Jews were reduced to ashes. This is not an isolated incident. History is replete with stories and unfortunately almost all of them were church inspired by those who thought of themselves as faithful Christians.
Jesus Himself had said, “An hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God. And these things they will do, because they have not known the Father or me” (John 16:2, 3). Many who no doubt thought they were doing “service to God” by killing Jews (or anyone else) in His Name may have found themselves in an eternity they had not anticipated. The fact remains, these things happened. And it is those who considered that they were “the church” who were largely responsible.
Your email stirred me to question whether I would find many instances on the Internet about “church anti-Semitism” so I typed these words in and found that there are more than I would have imagined. Here is what I found (I copied this from the website):
Web Search Results – 85,700 for church anti-Semitism
I really do understand your concern. Please be assured that I love the church almost as much as I love the Lord. I am a part of this Church, even as a Jew. It is my identity as well. My intention was not to put judgment on the church but to free the church from any residual past judgments against her. I have learned from those wiser than I that in order to be free of past sins, even those of our ancestors back to the 3rd and 4th generations and beyond, we must take responsibility for them and repent for them in our generational line to stop the consequences in our own lives and the lives of our children.
For the church to take responsibility for past anti-Semitism is to free us to receive greater blessings from God. It is also my heart’s deep longing to make the Church aware of what may possibly become a dangerous increase in anti-Jewish or anti-Israel biases in the world. I pray this increase will not take place. But should this turn out to be the case, the question again presents itself… On which side will each of us find ourselves?
I thank you for caring enough to write and for giving me the opportunity to answer your concerns.
Scripture quotations are from the New American Standard Bible Copyright ©1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundationk, La Habra, Calif. All rights reserved. Used by permission.