Has God Rejected His People?

Anti-Judaism in the Christian Church

By Clark M. Williamson

Has God Rejected His People?

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  • ISBN: 9781532618598
  • Pages: 190
  • Publication Date: 11/3/2017
  • Retail Price: $22.00
Web Price: $17.60
BUY FROM AMAZON.COM
Web Price: $17.60

Has God Rejected His People?

Anti-Judaism in the Christian Church

By Clark M. Williamson

paperback-logo

PAPERBACK

  • ISBN: 9781532618598
  • Pages: 190
  • Publication Date: 11/3/2017
  • Retail Price: $22.00
Web Price: $17.60
BUY FROM AMAZON.COM

About-

The point of this book is simple: to make Christians aware of a story that they have not been told—the story of relations between Christians and Jews. This involves tracing the church's anti-Judaism to its source in the gospels and the Book of Acts and describing the development of the church's displacement-replacement theology according to which we new Gentiles, spiritual, universal, inclusive Christians replace the old, carnal, ethnocentric legalist and works-righteous Jews in the favor of God.

The story also details the actions of the churches, specifically a long chain of canons (laws) governing relations between Jews and Christians, all the way from banning Christians for socializing or dining with Jews, marrying Jews, and asking rabbis for blessings, to requiring all Jews to live in ghettos. This history of actions comes down to the present and its consequences in the Holocaust in which all the killers were Christians and in the Nazi laws governing Jewish behavior. Each such law took its precedent from a canon law passed by a council of the church. The recent rash of bomb threats against Jewish Community Centers and synagogues reminds us of how deeply this bigotry is embedded in people.

The point of making people aware of anti-Judaism is to prompt them not to shrug if off when scripture readings regularly teach contempt for Jews with the rhetoric of vilification. Words are important. Teaching contempt should be called out and rejected. This can be done pastorally and gently, but it should be done. Otherwise the church's language reinforces a deeply embedded bigotry.

Most Christian pastors are unaware of this reality and prone to thinking that anti-Judaism is not a serious problem for the church. Hence most anti-Judaism in Christian preaching is unintentional. Awareness of the story of Christian anti-Judaism prods us to move from unintentional anti-Judaism to intentional teaching of respect for Jews and Judaism.

Endorsements & Reviews-

“Better than any other book in post-Holocaust theology, this classic volume brings together consideration of the Bible, the history of the church, and contemporary constructive theology, in Jewish-Christian relationships. While the book lays bare the church's anti-Judaism and anti-semitism, and their painful consequences, Williamson moves us toward a vital relationship of mutual support, and, indeed, mutual witness, between Judaism and Christianity. The only other book that has affected me more profoundly is Williamson's own Way of Blessing, Way of Life: A Christian Theology.”

—Ronald J. Allen. Nettie Sweeney and Hugh Th. Miller Professor of Preaching and New Testament at Christian Theological Seminary.



“After my visit to Hitler's death camp Dachau in 1979, I looked at the sky and whispered ‘My God...what have we done?’ Clark Williamson has helped us answer that terrible question with this clear explanation of what has been called ‘the teaching of contempt’ and ‘the left hand of Christology,’ the built-in belief that in order for Christianity to be proclaimed, Judaism and Jews must be disparaged and negated. We must read this book.”

—Prof. Richard K. Thewlis, Hiram College.



“Historically informed, pastorally responsible, and theologically creative, Williamson's classic work remains both a warning against the toxicity of much Christian preaching and a bright beacon shining light on new ways of envisioning the relationship between the church and the Jewish people.”

—Amy-Jill Levine, University Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies, E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Professor of New Testament Studies, Professor of Jewish Studies, Divinity School and College of Arts and Sciences, Vanderbilt University.



“When Clark Williamson's Has God Rejected His People? was first published in 1982 it set a standard for an honest and penetrating critique of anti-Judaism in the Christian tradition. Its re-publication comes at a time when events have reminded us that the ugly legacy of anti-Judaism is still with us. Williamson's voice is as timely today as it was then.”

—Perry Kea, University of Indianapolis.

Contributors-

Clark M. Williamson

Bio(s)-

Clark Williamson is Indiana Professor of Christian Thought, emeritus, at Christian Theological Seminary. Long concerned with the state of relations between Jews and Christians, he wrote with Ronald J. Allen the lectionary commentary Preaching without Prejudice, as well as Interpreting Difficult Texts: Anti-Judaism and Christian Preaching. His other works include A Guest in the House of Israel, and When Jews and Christians Meet. His constructive theology in conversation with Jews is Way of Blessing, Way of Life.

Succinctly put, the purpose of the church is to spread in the world the love of God and the love of the neighbor. Intentionally or unintentionally teaching contempt for Jewish neighbors results in a self-contradictory message. For its own sake as well as that of its neighbors, the church's talk must be appropriate to the gospel and morally plausible.

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