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We are a Christian Fellowship meeting in North London with a strong interest in teaching the Bible and understanding our time in

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Should we repent?

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Should we repent for 2000 years of Christian anti-Semitism?

 

Many Christians who know about the sad history of anti-Semitism in the church believe they should repent about this. There has been a movement to express this by holding services to repent for 2000 years of Christian anti-Semitism.

 

In my view this is a mistake for the following reasons:

 

There has not been 2000 years of Christianity. The Christian faith began with the resurrection of Jesus and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, not with the birth of Jesus.

 

The above is a relatively trivial point. What is fundamental is that if we say we are repenting for 2000 years of Christianity we are in fact saying that Christianity has been anti-Semitic from its foundation. In other words Jesus and the Apostles were anti-Semites. This undermines a major point we are trying to make to the Jewish community, that in origin Christianity is Jewish and that its founders were Jews whose roots went back to Moses and the Prophets. The anti-Semitism came in later with the corruption of the early Messianic movement, reaching its high point with the establishment of Christianity as the state religion of Rome under Constantine in 312 AD and the later development of the Papacy.

 

To repent for other peoples sins may be a fashionable trend in both the religious and the political world, but it undermines the basis of the Gospel. I am responsible before God for my sins. When I repented of my sins and accepted Jesus as Saviour I did so to remove from myself the burden of sin, not to take on other peoples sins. The implication of this teaching is that by becoming a Christian I take on the sins of other people who may have

called themselves Christians, but with whom I have nothing in common. In other words becoming a Christian burdens me with the sin of past generations of anti-Semites who called themselves Christians. Presumably if I remain an atheist I do not have this burden of sin to repent of! The message of the Gospel is plain, that accepting Christ takes away my sin and does not add to it. If before or after becoming a Christian I am anti-Semitic, then I need to repent of that sin. Not otherwise.

 

This teaching blackens all Christians with the sins of some Christians (mainly Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox). I wrote to Lynn Green of YWAM on the same issue to say that by repenting to Jews and Muslims for the Crusades, he is saying that he stands in the same spiritual line of descent as the Crusaders. In fact Bible believing Christians were also victims of the gangs of thugs sent out by the popes and priests to plunder the Holy

Land in the name of Jesus. This may get some praise from Rabbis and Islamic Imams, and from the growing ranks of apostate Christendom, but it gets no praise from those who seek to understand history from a biblical point of view, nor from those who wish to continue to present the good news of salvation to those of other faiths.

 

The whole concept of corporate repentance is basically a Roman Catholic one and has no place in New Testament theology. It is a means of binding together what God has not bound together and placing true believers in bondage to false guilt.

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