In many cathedrals across Europe stands sculptures and replicas of ecclesia and synagoga, a pair of medieval figures personifying the church and the Jewish synagogue. Ecclesia, representing the church, stands as a beautiful and confident woman holding a cross-topped staff and wearing a crown. Synagoga, on the other hand, droops blindfolded while barely holding onto a broken staff and the tablets of the Law. One is triumphant, the other despised and cast down.
As depicted in the sculptures of ecclesia and synagoga and for the majority of the last 2,000 years, some Christians have sadly contributed to, and often spearheaded the hatred and injustice shown toward the Jewish people. The current period of affinity between Christians and Jews must be celebrated. Yet in light of the recent attacks against the Jewish people here in the United States as well as the rise of anti-Semitism across Europe, there is not a more crucial time for Christians to take action.
Too many Christians do not remember the anti-Semitism of the past, but it is critical to know the history so we do not repeat it. It was the fourth century early-church father John Chrysostum who referred to the Jews as "dogs, stiff-necked, gluttonous, drunkards"; the synagogue as "worse than a brothel and a drinking shop ... a den of scoundrels, a temple of demons, the cavern of devils" and said the Christian duty is to hate the Jews. It was the great reformer and father of the Protestant church, Martin Luther, who even more famously listed what he prescribed as rightful treatment of the Jews: a list that included but was not limited to burning synagogues, Jewish homes and their prayer books and Talmuds. And let us not forget the silence that pervaded across churches in Nazi Germany and throughout the world as the horrors of the Holocaust took place. Finally, let us acknowledge that John A. Earnest, shooter at the synagogue outside San Diego last month, cited Hitler and Jesus Christ as two of his role models prior to the shooting.
Luke Moon is the deputy director of The Philos Project. Luke has lived, worked and taught in over 45 countries and has advocated on a number of human rights issues along the way. He holds a B.A. in biblical studies from the University of the Nations and an M.A. in global politics from Regent University. Luke is also an ordained Southern Baptist minister. The Philos Project has launched a campaign calling for Christians to stand against anti-Semitism. Join the Philos Project in ensuring that anti-Semitism will not be a part of our future by signing our resolution today. Visit philosproject.org to learn more.
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