By David Lazarus, Israel Today—
We received a letter to the editor of Israel Today asking us to answer some concerns one reader had about a report in the radical Christian website TruNews regarding the recent debate we covered between Dr. Michael Brown and Rabbi Shmuley Boteach on “Antisemitism in the New Testament.”
First of all, let’s understand that the idea that the New Testament is antisemitic is a controversy that goes back to the beginnings of institutional Christianity and the dreadful Church theology that teaches that because the Jews killed Jesus, the entire nation is cursed and to be punished. In this way, the Church has justified her Crusades, Inquisitions and the ongoing antisemitic hatred of modern Israel in some Christian circles.
There certainly are passages in the NT, as in the OT, that openly rebuke the Jewish people. Consider the “synagogue of Satan” or Jesus calling Jews “vipers” or “you are descendants of your father the devil.” Does this mean that the New Testament is antisemitic and God curses the Jews?
Of course not.
These passages are windows through which we can watch firsthand the heated conflict that Jesus and his followers had with the religious leaders who rejected their Messiah. Jesus is speaking only to those leaders of the sects of Judaism like the Pharisees, Sadducees and Zealots who were leading the people astray. Jesus and the NT nowhere condemn the entire Jewish nation, nor any people group, for that matter.
Sadly, however, historical Christianity has chosen to believe that in these difficult passages Jesus is talking about the Jewish people as a whole, and not just the religious leaders who were responsible for misinforming the people. For most of its 2,000-year history, the Church has believed and acted (many still do) on this misinterpretation that Jews are somehow inherently God-haters more than any other people group in the world. Therefore, goes the misguided theology, the Jews have been set apart as a nation to be cursed by God and hated by man. That, my friends, is the definition of antisemitism. These ideas held by TruNews and some so-called Christians, but it is far afield from the teachings of Jesus or the Bible. Continue Reading…