The Church of England has received praise from the Jewish community for its major statement repudiating anti-Semitism in Church history. At the same time, “While Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis welcomed the report in the main, he simultaneously launched a blistering reproach of Anglican leaders for failing to disavow their institution with those who still seek to convert Jews to Christianity.”
Personally, as a Jewish believer in Jesus, I’m thrilled to see this statement, since many Jews have a terrible view of Jesus due to centuries of mistreatment at the hands of professing Christians. In fact, Church history is one of the biggest reasons that Jewish people, especially religious Jews, do not even consider the possibility that Jesus is the Messiah.
I devoted an entire book to this subject, including insightful quotes like this, from the 19th century Old Testament scholar Franz Delitzsch. He said, “The Church still owes the Jews the actual proof of Christianity’s truth. Is it surprising that the Jewish people are such an insensitive and barren field for the Gospel? The Church itself has drenched it in blood and then heaped stones upon it.”
Yet many Christians are unaware of this bloody history.
As noted by the Catholic scholar Edward Flannery, “The vast majority of Christians, even well educated, are all but totally ignorant of what happened to Jews in history and of the culpable involvement of the Church. … It is little exaggeration to state that those pages of history Jews have committed to memory are the very ones that have been torn from Christian (and secular) history books.”
Now, in a 100-page report titled God’s Unfailing Word: Theological and Practical Perspectives on Christian–Jewish Relations, the Church of England seeks to set this right, noting that “Christians have been guilty of promoting and fostering negative stereotypes of Jewish people that have contributed to grave suffering and injustice.”
Indeed, “Within living memory, such ideas contributed to fostering the passive acquiescence if not positive support of many Christians in actions that led to the Holocaust.”
With sensitivity and clarity, this important document utterly repudiates this ugly history, making no excuses and not attempting to minimize the guilt.
It also addresses antisemitic attitudes toward the State of Israel, such as, “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.” (For the record, the statement rightly affirms “that it is not anti-Semitic to apply to the State of Israel the same standards of justice that are used with regard to other democratic nations.”)
Yet the statement also affirms the Church’s calling to share the Gospel with all people, including the Jewish community.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Michael Brown