The recent synagogue shooting in Poway, California, has focused attention on an abiding question regarding Christians and Jews: Is Christianity inherently anti-Semitic?
According to The Washington Post, John Earnest, the young man allegedly responsible for the death of one Jewish worshiper and injuries to a rabbi, a child, and another synagogue-goer, was a member of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Escondido, a suburb of San Diego. And before he walked into the Jewish house of worship to open fire, he apparently penned a seven-page letter that, among other things, connected his murderous actions with traditional teachings of his evangelical church.
The particular teachings most relevant to the violence were two: (1) that Jews were responsible for the death of Jesus Christ; and (2) that the promises made in the Old Testament to Israel have been transferred to the Christian Church, which supercedes the nation of Israel in God’s global plan of salvation.
By the middle ages, furthermore, teaching (1) had morphed into the idea that not only did the Jewish authorities of his day kill Jesus, but all Jews ever since collectively bear the guilt of that unjust and terrible act.
So let’s sort things out.
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