Aug 31, 2009

The Christian Brown Shirts

Jim FletcherBy Jim Fletcher

In the not-too-distant-past, I received an email from a ministry leader who took exception to something I had written. This person indicated that he was severing our friendship (we were never friends), and his ire was raised because he doesn’t like my views on Israel.

That’s my loose interpretation.

The problem for him is that I don’t care what he thinks. If European Christians hadn’t embraced the anti-Semitic views of various scholars, politicians, and members of the clergy, the Holocaust wouldn’t have happened.

I will say this clearly: I do have a problem with Christians who don’t like Jews or Israel. That’s a general statement, but there’s plenty of evidence that tons of Christians — a growing number of evangelicals — have a bone to pick with Jews.

Often, it centers around the fact that relatively large numbers of Jews don’t respond well to evangelism, to the Gospel message. Of course, if it weren’t tragic, my phrase “large numbers of Jews” would be comical. Most of them were stuffed into ovens in Christian Europe a mere 60 years ago.

The majority of Christians are ignorant of the fact that persecution of Jews — by Christians and “Christian” nations — has been the worst possible calling card for evangelists who are out to convert Jews. Take Martin Luther, for example.

The leader of the Reformation started out friendly to the Jews. Then he tried to convert them. When they didn’t respond well, he turned on them. Luther’s comments about Jews later in his life sound like a transcript from a Nazi rally. Germany had 400 years to ingest Luther’s Jew-hatred.

You can guess the rest.

As I’ve said before, one’s spiritual heritage leaves an indelible stamp. For example, if I grew up in the Word of Faith movement, I’d tend to believe it’s valid. If I grew up Lutheran, the chances are good that I wouldn’t be pro Israel.

It’s just the way things are.

But where Israel is concerned (and by extension, Bible prophecy), there is a growing hostility coming from the Christians. This week, a famous American Christian, former Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter, announced that in order to advance the “peace process,” Israel would have to work with Hamas. As in, Hamas that wants to wipe Israel off the map.

Although they aren’t in the mainstream, there are quite a few Christian leaders who are now working with Sabeel, the radical Palestinian organization in Israel that demonizes the Jewish state. American Christian colleges are populated by professors who decry “the occupation,” and minimize Arab terrorism. Institutions like Fuller and Wheaton come to mind.

What I find particularly disturbing is the widespread indifference, or outright dislike of Jews and Israel in the American church. This is exactly the path Germany found herself on only decades ago.

When the Nazis came to power in 1933, they began implementing all sorts of evil policies to control the state. They succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. The one group most demonized, of course, was the Jews.

A fascinating fact about this era centers around the Nazis’ attempts to sanitize the Hebrews from Scripture. Now, of course, we know how absurd this is. The Savior of the world is a Jew. The Bible was written by Jews, about Jews.

Still, the Jews had plenty of willing executioners.

In an extraordinary book, The Holocaust and the Christian World, we learn that “Seventh Day Adventists offered an immediate public statement of nationalism and support for the Party. They implemented changes to remove the language of the Hebrew Scriptures from their liturgy.”

Amazing! They had company.

In the so-called German Christian movement, pro-Nazi Christians “embraced Nazism and tried to Nazify Christianity by suppressing the Old Testament, revising liturgics and hymns, and promoting Jesus as an Aryan hero who embodied the idea of the new Germany.” Further, it is noted that “Centuries of Christian anti-Jewish teachings served as a precursor to Nazi anti-Semitism.” Two-thirds of the German population was Protestant, and they served the killing machine that wiped-out European Jewry.

This systematic effort to marginalize the Jews, within Christendom, was diabolical and deadly effective. Hear again from the authors of The Holocaust and the Christian World:

“The negation of Jewish existence, which the Christian churches had symbolized in their liturgy and doctrines, their sermons and teaching materials helped to produce an endless series of persecutions and pogroms.”
It is interesting that just as America has followed England’s lead by allowing Darwinian philosophy to put deep roots into society (British churches are virtually museums today), so too is America following the wider European path of presenting the Jews as “Other.” The American church is contributing to this in a big way.

There are very influential forces in Christendom that don’t like Jews, and they don’t like Israel. They do not say this publicly, of course. But they are the spiritual heirs to the thugs who bludgeoned Jews in the streets of Germany, on their way to transport trains.

I would encourage you to pay close attention to pastors, ministries, and evangelists, and notice their stance on Israel. That will telegraph in a big way where their hearts are.

If your church would like to hear apologetics teaching that speaks to these and many other issues, contact us at Prophecy Matters; we’d love to conduct a seminar for you, emphasizing the whole counsel of God.

He loves the Jews.

Related Links

American Jewish Group Blasts WCC Head for Israel Comment - Christian Post
Anti-Semitic Christians assail New York Jews - Israel Today
It's the End of the World as We Know It (and I Feel Fine): How to stop worrying and learn to love these End Times - Jim Fletcher (Book)