A Question I Was Asked:

"Have Christians Always Persecuted Jews?"

The Question:

"Should Christians Support Groups Like 'The Friends of Israel'? Plainly the Christian Church has persecuted Jews for over a thousand years and many say that Hitler was influenced by the anti-Jewish rhetoric of certain Christian leaders when deciding upon the anti-semitic teachings of Nazism. Some are now saying that Christianity itself and the hateful comments of Christian leaders are largely responsible for the holocaust. Isn't that true?"

UK Apologetics Reply:

No, it is absolutely not true and I utterly reject this monstrous slander. This is anti-Christian propaganda and rhetoric which is not based on any hard evidence whatsoever!

Sometimes Christian leaders, around the time of the Reformation for example, went maybe a little too far in being critical of the Jewish community for their opposition to the Gospel, however, I submit that all Christians should wholeheartedly reject this most biased and unfair charge!

Regarding the holocaust, the claim that Christianity, or a sizable portion of the Christian community, was responsible for the holocaust is not only grossly inaccurate, it is outrageous! Yet this unhistorical and foolish claim has started to appear in several places. I first heard the claim at university and it has developed some support among liberal Anglicans; the same claim can be found on several pro-state of Israel loosely Christian websites.

'The Friends of Israel' is supposedly a Christian inter-denominational grouping which seeks support for the modern state of Israel and pushes for Christians to get involved in Hebraic studies. One should not doubt that some very sincere people are involved, but this group - and similar groups - do not have the mission to preach the Gospel to all the world, rather, their mission appears to be to encourage Christians to sympathetically turn back towards a more pro-Jewish slant and to learn, and sometimes appropriate, things which Christianity should now understand as standing under the Old Covenant and having little or no relevance for the Church today.

Without doubt much evil was indeed done toward Jewish people in the last century, Nazism, the pogroms and the holocaust were evil events of great magnitude, but these things were caused by evil, envious, atheistic and greedy men who tied themselves to various perverted and malevolent political philosophies. If Christian leaders of an earlier century, such as Martin Luther, occasionally made strongish statements against those who opposed the spreading of the Gospel, this should in no sense be taken as encouragement for any later large scale persecution of any racial group which would have certainly appalled him, and similar leaders.

We should also note the heroic efforts of numerous Christians during World War II to protect groups of Jews at potentially huge cost to the individuals involved. Without question much of this has never even been written about. The claim has been made, for instance, that monasteries and convents right across Europe probably sheltered several hundreds of Jews between them.

So I do not accept the claim that, "the Christian Church has persecuted Jews for over a thousand years." This seems to be yet another arm of the modern tendency to attack the Church in all areas and by any means possible, hard facts being considered irrelevant.
Robin A. Brace. February 2nd, 2011.