religion, christianity, articles
Firm Foundation Logo

Hating Jews

By Bill Lockwood

religion, articles, christianity

Anti­semitic is defined as "one who cherishes hatred for Jews and their influence." Those acquainted with the currents of society know that the millstone of anti­semitic is draped around the neck of one who merely entertains the belief that the Jews were responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus (1 Thess. 2:15). The factual account of the crucifixion we may preach boldly in our small community church­houses, but one wishing be a public figure must avoid acknowledging it. For, this is catalogued as anti­semitic for which there is no expiation in this life nor in that which is to come. If the reader is not aware of this I suggest some musings through 20th­century political or religious literature.

Illustrations

For example, Patrick Buchanan was branded by Alan Dershowitz in a March issue of the Jewish Bulletin as a "bigot and anti­Semite." As a spokesman for "the lunatic fringe" which feeds him information of a "pro­Nazi nature," Buchanan primarily gains a hearing with "kooks." What evidence indicts him? He questioned the historical accuracy of a certain account which tells that "Jews were gassed at Treblinka" earlier this century. Even William F. Buckley had to fall in line and confess this amounts to being a "hater of Jewish people."

In a paper called The Indiana Alumni it was reported that Roy Eckardt (Christian News, Nov. 9, 1992), professor of religious studies at Lehigh University and a clergyman in the United Methodist Church, called for a "radical redefinition of Christianity" at a gathering of Jewish and Christian scholars from around the world. The meeting occurred on the Bloomington campus in 1980 in which they discussed the theme of the Holocaust. This self­appointed Sanhedrin concluded that one type of anti­Jewish bigotry is the "conversion" of Jewish peoples. Eckhardt suggests that a "fitting response to the Holocaust requires the elimination of Christianity as a set of doctrines centering around a triumphant Christ. " As a matter of fact, per Eckhardt, "the Christian doctrine of the Resurrection helped to create the Holocaust event because Christian triumphalism (the belief of its ultimate triumph) meant the eventual elimination of Judaism."

United Methodist minister­historian Franklin H. Littell warns us that "the cornerstone of Christian anti­semiticism is the superseding or displacement myth, which already rings with the genocidal note." In other words. if you suppose that Israel is no longer God's chosen people, but that the church is the Israel of God (Gal. 6:16), then you hate the Jewish race and are extending fellowship to ideas which form the foundation for mass genocide, such as Hitler practiced in Germany. You are a Hitlerite. To convert the Jew is to pour vials of hate upon Semitic heads.

In a recent book by Dr. Norman Beck of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, a professor of Texas Lutheran College in Seguin, Texas, entitled Mature Christianity in the 21st Century (reviewed by Christian News, June 5, 1995) the unsuspecting public is pounded once more with the twaddle that "many sections in the Bible should be repudiated because they are anti­Jewish and anti­semitic."

Anti­Semiticism?

I do not deny that some persons today may harbor hatred for Jewish people within the depths of their heart, but it is absolutely nonsensical to interpret doubts as to the number of Jews killed during the Holocaust, or belief that Jews must become Christians to be saved as enmity for a race of people. It is not more malicious than believing that illegal aliens must become naturalized citizens of this country, though I realize some foreigners on American soil today tell us this is hatred for non­Americans.

Note the following. First, Norman Beck lectures us by saying, "[A]lthough the way to God through Jesus as the Christian Messiah may be the only way to God for us from our standpoint, ultimately God cannot be limited nor access to God restricted by any of us. Only God can limit God's self." I wonder what our Pentecostal friends would answer to this familiar sounding accusation? The Lord's church is falsely charged by them for limiting God because we realize the Bible teaches the cessation of miraculous gifts after the first century. The question hinges upon God's will - what has he said? - it does not "limit God" to recognize his restrictions upon who may be saved nor to whom the miraculous was bestowed.

Second, to believe that Christianity "supersedes" or replaces Judaism as God's law for the salvation of mankind is not an "anti­Semitic" polemic. If it were, the last thing I would expect to find is that the gospel of Jesus Christ is extended to the Jew. However, as the New Testament reveals, the message was to the "Jew first" then to the Gentile. Further, how is it that a denial that Judaism is God's chosen system constitutes hatred for the Jew, but that the belief that the Jew continues today as God's chosen person does not constitute hatred for Christian people? And when was the last time you heard Judaism railed upon as fostering hatred of non­Jews? This fact alone ought to alarm the unenlightened as to what is occurring in our society. Is it not a bizarre twist of logic that the gospel of Christ "breaks down the middle wall of partition" - the Old Testament law (Eph. 2:11­18) - and renders all mankind on equal footing before God as far as the ability to come to God is concerned, as amounting to "hating Jews"? But this is what one must swallow to be "somebody" in popular religion. I call this brainwashing.

Modern Translation

Third, of utmost interest to those who study the version issue, a summons for modern translations which "excise" the "anti­Jewish polemic" of the New Testament has been repeatedly issued since the World Council of Churches began this campaign in 1948. Joined by the Lutheran World Federation, the House of Bishops of the Protestant Episcopal Church in 1964, the Second Vatican Council in 1965, the Lutheran Council in 1971 and the American Lutheran Church in 1974 the desire to "repudiate the defamatory anti­Jewish rhetoric" in the Bible has become more pronounced. Norman Beck predicts that the modern translation will "reduce to small­print status its most viciously defamatory particles" and committees will utilize "circumlocution and translation according to the sense of the text in order to reduce pejorative statements about the Jews, Jewish religion, and the Pharisees." Beck also stated that "we will be more selective in our choice of lectionary texts, providing readings that are less blatantly anti­Jewish" (CN, June 5, 1995).

These liars­in­wait ought to warn Bible believers on the Version issue. For, instead of naively surmising that lower criticism, the so­called "discipline" of Bible translation, is becoming more "scientific," a reality check discovers that the field is becoming more saturated with political correctness than anything else. Let my brotherhood peers and elders beware of plunging unawares into the translation/version issue. As Beck reminds us, even the methods of the selection of Greek manuscripts and texts fall prey to this criteria. The field is loaded with politics of which, if we are uninformed, our vision of the real issues will be clouded.

Apparently, however, a translation "according to the sense" of the text will be joyfully received by the churches of Christ for the most part-regardless of what foolish agenda the translation committee seeks to fill, for this is the principle of translation beneath the best-selling New International Version which confesses to have "striven to pursue 'thought patterns and contextual meanings"' instead of an outdated "word for word translation." God's people have eaten up the NIV and filled their bellies in childlike simplicity with this putrid principle. Why should they not be satisfied that the same operative principle is being utilized to gratify a different denominational lust?

Hateful Teachings of the New Testament

Under the above caption Norman Beck places Paul's statement in 1 Thessalonians 2:14­16 in which inspiration indicated that the Jews had not only "killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets" but had become contrary to all men "forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles." The historical accuracy of such a summation is beside the point to modernists. When the apostle declares that "the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost" - evidently referring to the destruction of Jerusalem - he was yielding to bigotry by venting the "evil desire" to put "his boot on the Jews' necks." Let alone our Lord's weeping over the harlot city of Jerusalem, or Paul's intense love for his fellows (cf. Rom 9:1­4). He has become anti­Semitic, an inspirer of Adolf Hitler.

Other anti­Semitic lines in the New Testament include the phrase "his blood be upon us and upon our children" (Matt. 27:25) and "when Herod saw that it had pleased the Jews that he had killed James, the brother of John, he arrested Peter also" (Acts 12:3). We may expect these as well as similar sentences in future translations to be relegated to footnotes or eliminated altogether.

Why is it not anti­Germanic hatred to relate facts of Hitler's genocide against the Jews but it is anti­Semitic to discuss historical biblical events in which Jews were culprits? Why ignore the NT directive of "love your enemies" (Matt. 5:44) which incidentally set aside the Jewish canonized tradition of "love thy neighbor and hate shine enemy?" But this phrase will probably fall beneath the modernist's axe, who will find "insufficient textual data" to support its reading in Matthew. Why mutilate Paul's historical statement regarding the cause of his persecution by paraphrasing it to demonize him? I suppose modernists find no more difficulty in sprinkling in a few pejorative ideas to the apostle's words to poison his memory among us than in removing texts which they find offensive.


Published June 1997