Hebraic Heritage: Our Jewish roots - Educate, Educate, Educate

Arab and Christian propaganda that delegitimizes the right of Jews to live in their ancient homeland is now more prevalent. We must all resist this with education.

Jim Fletcher 88 224 (photo credit: )
Jim Fletcher 88 224
(photo credit: )
In the run-up to World War II, when the "German Christian Movement" began to "Nazify" Christianity by de-emphasizing the Old Testament, several groups followed suit. The Seventh Day Adventists altered their liturgy by excising passages from the Hebrew Scriptures. What followed like a flood of course was the final demonization of the Jews. Professor Dan Bar-On has pointed out that in addition to the men of the Wehrmacht and SS who made up the Nazi killing units in Europe, local citizens also took part in the butchery, and have been referred to as "ordinary men." In other words, they were raised in a "normal," "ordinary," even educated society, but one that was fundamentally anti-Jew. This is not meant to single-out the Adventists, or any Protestant or Catholic group. It is meant to point out that similar strategies are being followed by various Christian denominations, with the soul of the United States at stake this time. Too alarmist? Consider that for decades, the mainline churches in the US have sought to sanitize the Jewish roots of Christianity. The Interpreter's Study Bible, especially the versions published in the '20s and '50s, is a mishmash of allegorical interpretation of the Old Testament. The result is that millions of church members no longer recognize obvious truths such as the Jewishness of Jesus and His disciples. Consider that even brilliant writers and thinkers like Philip Yancey refer to Jesus as a Palestinian! Some important groups, such as Hebraic Heritage Christian Center (www.hebraiccenter.org) have dedicated themselves to rectifying this tragedy. They teach that a proper understanding of the Jewish roots of our faith not only ultimately enhances the Christian's individual faith, but it helps them better love their fellow man, including the Jews. The key is to educate. We can all do this in a variety of ways, from connecting with groups like HHCC, to daily readings of the Jerusalem Post, HonestReporting, Palestinian Media Watch, etc. Recently, during a Jerusalem visit with Itamar Marcus of PMW, I was shocked to learn more details of just how debased the Arab demonization of Jews really is. Cartoons and turgid editorials and feature articles characterize Jews everywhere as Shylock-types: greedy, controlling, evil. This is turning the truth on its head. Unfortunately, though more subtle and therefore amenable to many people - including a growing number of evangelicals - the American Christian community is allowing the same wrong-headed thinking to accomplish the same things the Arab press does. Many, many "ordinary" Americans think that Israelis brutalize local Arab populations. They hear that Israel restricts access to holy sites - one of the more outrageous lies I've come across. Arab and Christian propaganda that delegitimizes the rights of Jews to live in their ancient homeland is becoming more prevalent. We must all resist this teaching, by teaching the right things. By teaching the truth. By standing in solidarity with our Jewish friends the world over. In that way, we will bind ourselves to the God of the Bible, and in so doing, become the very best kind of ordinary men. Jim Fletcher is a member of the executive committee of the National Christian Leadership Conference for Israel. He can be reached at [email protected]