How to Become an Advocate for the Jewish People
One of the great tragedies of the Holocaust was not just that culturally sophisticated Germans – for the most part baptized Christians - reasoned that shooting, torturing, and gassing six million Jews was an act of righteousness, or that Europeans under German occupation - for the most part baptized Christians - willingly and often gleefully turned in their Jewish neighbors to the S.S., but that running parallel to the genocidal rage of the perpetrators was the indifference of the bystanders – Christians who did nothing to stop the carnage. This too is a great tragedy. Silence is evils greatest ally and when you remain silent in the face of evil you command evil to exist.
People Looking on the Jews Being Persecuted
So, how many individuals interfered with evil in order to rescue Jews during the Holocaust? The tragic number is 00.1. This number represents the percentage of the 300 million Europeans who lived during the Holocaust which means there were only 30,000 courageous righteous rescuers from the nations- a number recognized by the Holocaust research center at Yad Veshem. 00.1 is the tragic number of indifference. Few cared about the plight of the Jews. Will our generation be held responsible for the same indifference? Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel once said, “The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.” He was right, of course.
Today in America alone there are 150 million people who identify as Protestant and 75 million people who identify as Catholic for a total of 225 million Christians. This means to reach the minimal threshold of the righteous from the nations during the Shoah – 00.1 percent- there would need to be 22,500 people like Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Oskar Schindler, and Corrie Ten Boom active in Jewish advocacy willing to stand in harms way in order to protest the growing violence against the Jews – the righteous protecting the righteous. Sadly, I don’t think we are even close, and our combined efforts must reach far beyond 00.1, otherwise we fall prey to the hideous indifference of the past and we will be known as a generation void of both righteousness and moral clarity. The clock is ticking.
Why must every Christian today determine to be an advocate not only for the State of Israel but for the Jewish people themselves who are being targeted with hate crimes? Why care? Why take the risk? Why? Because the Jewish people for millennia have been the protectors and bearers of God’s righteous and moral law – the guardians of civilization. The Jews are hated because it was through them that God brought His righteousness into the world and for this they have never been forgiven. If Christians truly value God’s righteousness they will defend the womb of that righteousness – the Jewish people – come what may.
Historically, when Antisemitism is allowed to expand in a country it is a sign the pillars of that society are crumbling. Because the majority of German Christians did nothing to stop the genocide of the bearers of God’s truth it was evident they did not value truth and as a result truth fell in the streets and Germany suffered incalculable loss for which it has not recovered.\
We should already know from history that the uptick of Nazi graffiti scribbled on synagogue exteriors, the desecration of Jewish cemeteries, the rhetoric pronounced against Jewish students on college campuses, and the recent homicidal attacks on Jews in their places of worship are not random lone wolf anomalies but the tip of a smoldering volcano ready to spew its furry. Again, when Jews are targeted for violence it is because they represent the righteousness of the God who identifies Himself as, “The God of Israel.” So, how do you become an advocate for the Jewish people?
1. Become a person of history
Read books that will help you understand the historic hatred of the Jewish people. Here are just a few: The Crucifixion of the Jews by Franklin H. Littell; The Holy Reich by Richard Steigmann-Gall; The Aryan Jesus by Susannah Heschel; The Casualty of Contempt edited by Aaron Fruh; Two Minute Warning by Coach Bill McCartney and Aaron Fruh; Christian Antisemitism by Michael L. Brown.
2. Challenge the Heresy of Replacement Theology
Replacement theology declares that God has forgotten and rejected His own chosen people and the church has become the new Israel. To challenge this ancient heresy that is still being taught in our churches and seminaries you will need to study it. A good place to start is with the books, Future Israel by Barry E. Horner and Israel Matters by Gerald McDermott. You can also read articles about Replacement theology in the issues section of Israel Team’s website, israelteam.org. Once you’re equipped, listen carefully to the sermons in your local church and in Christian media. It won’t be long before you hear things that will disturb you. When you do, speak the truth in love and challenge the speaker with what he or she has said by leading them to the truth of the scriptures. You can do this by writing letters or speaking with the individual in person. The scourge of Replacement theology was what led German pastors to encourage their flocks to turn on the Jews. The same is happening today. One seminary professor recently proclaimed that if Jews don’t convert, they should be burned. I dare to think what his student will be preaching one day. Think of what would have been the result if just 1 percent of Europeans opposed the Nazi genocide of the Jews. There would have been 3 million people raising their voice in protest and the Holocaust may have been averted.
3. Be a Voice of Influence
Many German pastors during the Holocaust begged the Nazi’s to allow them to hang the swastika from their pulpits. Some joined the Nazi party. Remember, Hitler did not act alone. He needed willing executioners, so he relied on pastors to communicate an eliminationist ideology to their congregations. These pastors were Germans first and Christians second. There is little evidence that any German local congregation opposed the murder of Jews. One pastor, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, was the exception but not the rule. Bonhoeffer is memorialized in our memory because he was martyred for standing against evil. The embarrassing truth is that courageous pastors like Bonhoeffer were scarce – that’s also why he is memorialized – he was one of only a few pastors who protested the genocide of the Jews. It’s a pity that other pastors had no conscience. Presently, in this horrific rise of Antisemitism what we hear from local Christian pastors is merely crickets. Hopefully this will change, and moral courage will arise. But why wait when you yourself can become a voice of influence. History teaches us that you don’t need a multitude to change history. You just need a few people willing to speak truth. Use your God-given platform and speak up and speak out. Write, speak out on social media, challenge pastoral leaders, interfere. One young woman named Esther rescued the entire Jewish population on the planet by one act of courage (see the book of Esther in the Bible). You can do the same.
Remember the words of Elie Wiesel, “The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.”
President of Israel Team Advocates