“There is an unnerving trend toward a renewed anti-Semitic spirit, even among Christians, not only in the United States but worldwide”
Dr. Michael Brown warns in his book, “Our Hands Are Stained with Blood: The Tragic Story of the “Church” and the Jewish People”. After the tragedy that took place at the Tree of Life Synagogue this past Saturday, I recalled those words written by the man who is often described as the world’s foremost Messianic Jewish apologist and was once again reminded of how right he was.
News That Hit Close To Home
As I’ve stated many times here on A Clear Lens, I attend a Messianic Congregation. It was the historicity of the Gospel that led me on my journey into apologetics and ultimately, dedicating my life to Christ. It was important to me to find a church that was as close to the Christianity taught by the Apostle Paul as I could possibly get. Because Christianity was first a sect of Judaism, I looked to find a church environment that reflected that First Century spirit and was reinforced by sound, theological teaching.
When the details of Saturday’s mass-shooting rolled in, I struggled to find the right words. What could I say that would ease the heartache felt by so many across the country? Moreover, what could I say to my Jewish friends or my Jewish brothers and sisters with whom I attend Saturday services?
Words failed me. I was heartbroken. I tried to find a way to turn my sadness into something useful and the only thing I could think of was to revisit a book I read about a year ago from Dr. Michael Brown, “Our Hands Are Stained with Blood: The Tragic Story of the “Church” and the Jewish People” . Perhaps, in talking about it here (in some small way) I can make a dent in the monster that is anti-Semitism.
Dr. Brown points out:
“In the words of Catholic scholar Edward Flannery:
The vast majority of Christians, even well educated, are all but totally ignorant of what happened to Jews in history and of the culpable involvement of the Church…It is of little exaggeration to state that those pages of history Jews have committed to memory are the very ones that have been torn from Christian (and secular) history books”
Dr. Brown’s book on that forgotten history isn’t terribly new. It was first published in 1992. Admittedly, the book is emotionally difficult to get through. There are times I wanted to put the book down and walk away. Before I read this book, I thought I understood the depths of human depravity, but I was wrong.
Dr. Brown lists in specific detail, the horrors that Jewish communities faced in Europe throughout the centuries. Such as:
“In Prague, in 1389, the Jewish community was collectively accused of attacking a monk carrying a wafer. Large mobs of Christians surrounded the Jewish neighborhood and offered the Jews the choice of baptism or death. Refusing to be baptized, three thousand Jews were murdered.”
Or, “In 1243…[Berlin’s] entire Jewish community was burned alive for allegedly torturing a wafer…”
“April 26, 1343. A ritual murder accusation is raised against the Jews of Germersheim, Germany. Thereupon, the town’s whole Jewish community is burned at the stake.”
Dr. Brown makes it clear that those who committed these heinous acts were Christian in name only. However, he rightly points out that sadly, many who think of themselves as Christians today, believe insidious anti-Semitic lies. As such, he does an incredible job of breaking down those lies and exposing them for the repugnant nonsense they are with both secular facts and biblical text.
Finding A Way Forward
The only way we can combat the lies is by learning the truth. Study history and in particular, church history… even the dark and ugly parts. I can’t stress enough how much I recommend “Our Hands Are Stained with Blood.”
It is a difficult book to read on an emotional level but it is very informative. In light of the murders in Pittsburgh, the church should soberly look at its own history and come to terms with it. We shouldn’t bury that ugly part of our history. Only by exposing it can we truly find a way forward.
In the words of Dr. Michael Brown:
“The Church still owes the Jews the actual proof of Christianity’s truth. Is it surprising that the Jewish people are such an insensitive and barren field for the Gospel? The Church itself has drenched it in blood and then heaped stones upon it…Deep, repentant love is the only cure.”