Bernard Fellay is a Bishop in the Traditionalist Catholic Church. This ‘sect’ of the Catholic Church was formed after the Second Vatican Council, in the 1960s, modernized some of the teachings and practices of the Catholic Church. The Traditionalists obviously disagreed with the modernization. Recently Bishop Fellay made the statement that “The Jews, the Masons, and the Modernists” are enemies of the Church.
Immediately upon making that statement, a great hue and cry arose over its “anti-Semitism”. So far as I am aware, though, no one has protested the “anti-Modernist” and “anti-Masonic” elements of the statement. 😀 As the linked article points out, “In 1985, one of the Society’s founders, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, also identified enemies of the faith as “Jews, Communists and Freemasons,””. Again, I’m not aware of any protest of the “anti-Communism” of the statement. But then, “anti-Modernist”, “anti-Masonic”, and “anti-Communist” just don’t carry the same stigma as “anti-Semitic”, do they? In fact, an “anti-Communist” might be considered a “hero” by many people!
But I have to ask: why all the uproar over Bishop Fellay’s statement? Are we really being asked to believe that the Jews are the friends of the Christian Church in any of its branches? 😆 Nothing can be more obvious to anyone with open eyes and the least bit of common sense than that the Jews have been enemies of Jesus Christ and the “Church” of his followers from the very beginning of the “Christian era”; and that has not changed yet.
There are a number of reasons for this enmity. For instance, Jesus Christ and his ‘forerunner’ John “the Baptist” unhesitatingly exposed the wickedness of the Jewish nation – just as all the Hebrew prophets before them had done – and warned of coming judgment on that wicked nation. They castigated both Pharisees and Sadducees in strong language like “seed of vipers”, “children of the devil”, and “whitewashed sepulchers”. They said that Jesus had come as a light, and the Jewish people would not come to the light because they did not want their evil deeds to be exposed. They preferred darkness to light.
Again, the Jews tended to reject Jesus as being the “Christ” or “Messiah”, because the “Messiah” they were expecting would lead an army to deliver the Jewish people from Roman bondage – and Jesus most certainly did not meet that expectation. He said that “the kingdom of God is within you” and told the people that his kingdom was not “of this world”. (Yet the Jews had the hypocritical audacity to incite the Roman Government against Jesus, saying he claimed to be a king – and “we have no king but Caesar!”) The Jews today have not changed a whit in this rejection of Jesus as the Messiah – and they still despise those who do acknowledge the “Messiahship” of Jesus the Nazarene.
Jesus over and over repudiated “the traditions of the elders” (known today as the Talmud), saying that by these traditions the Jews made void God’s law. When he was accused of destroying the law because of his rejection of the “traditions”, he responded that his mission was not to destroy the law, but to complete and perfect it – that is, to restore it to its purity in contrast to the nullifying traditions, and to bring out the inner meaning or “spirit” of the law in contrast to mere ritual observance of outward forms.
The Jews deliberately and maliciously misinterpreted Jesus’ statements in order to be able to accuse him of blasphemy and heresy. Because Jesus said God is his Father, they said he was blasphemously claiming to be God (or a god). Jesus of course denied that he was claiming any other deity than what the Psalmist had ascribed to humans in general: I have said you are gods; you are all sons of the Most High. Because the Jews had no answer for that, it just made them even more furious.
Of course, in that regard “the Church” today has ignored Jesus’ denial that he is “God” in any sense other than is true of other humans, and has maintained that the Jews correctly understood Jesus when they accused him of making himself “God” (or “a god”). But “the Church” is so far from accusing Jesus of blasphemy for that, that they insist on the Deity of Jesus as a glorious fundamental of the faith! 🙄 I guess I too am an “enemy of the Church” in that regard (as well as in many other points). But you won’t see me getting all upset if some “Bishop”, “pastor”, or “evangelist” accuses me of being an enemy of “the Church” for this reason. I am a believer in Jesus as Christ and Prophet – but I deny the “Church” doctrine of “the Deity of Christ” – and I openly acknowledge this fact.
Why do the Jews get upset when a “Bishop” states what is an obvious truth, which the Jews themselves know very well? Why are they afraid of being honest and “up front” about their enmity to “the Church” and to Jesus Christ? Yet it surely does make them furious when someone points out the obvious.
When Mel Gibson produced the movie “The Passion of the Christ”, the Jews considered it “anti-Semitic” despite (or because of?) the fact that it just for the most part clearly presented the Biblical “New Testament” narrative of the life and death of Jesus. Nowadays we’re supposed to reject the Christian narrative in favor of a Jewish lie that the Jews had nothing to do with inciting the Romans against Jesus! And it’s “anti-Semitic” if we refuse to disparage the Christian narrative of that terrible event. Yet we’re also “anti-Semitic” if we point out that the Jewish hatred for the Christian narrative constitutes an “anti-Christian” attitude and enmity to “the Church”. What nonsense!
The really sad thing is that so many “modernist Christians” have been suckered by the Jews into accepting the Jewish lies rather than the teaching of Jesus, John “the Baptist” and the apostles of Jesus Christ. One of the acts of the Second Vatican Council was to absolve the Jews of complicity in the crucifixion of Christ. Well, the Pope and his Cardinals and Councils can ‘absolve’ all they want to; but they can’t alter the historical facts. Nor can they alter the fact that the Jews are no doubt laughing themselves to tears at the gullibility of “the Church” in believing their lies and fables to the detriment of the Christian Gospel narrative – and in fact joining in with the Jews in calling Jesus and his apostles liars!
Jesus warned us that the Jews are liars who follow the desires of their “father, the devil” who was a liar and murderer “from the beginning”; and Paul warned Titus not to follow “Jewish fables” (Titus 1:14). If many modern Christians would rather follow Jewish deception and fables than the teachings of Jesus whom they claim to recognize as the Christ and even “God the Son”, then so be it. They are responsible for their own actions and beliefs; but many of us will not join in with them.
Now perhaps some readers who managed to get this far in my “anti-Semitic rant” will be asking: how can you accuse all Jews, and every Jew, of being collectively guilty of what is true of some Jews? In answer, I just say that I have not at all accused “all Jews” or “every Jew” of being enemies of Jesus Christ and his Church (or others who believe in Jesus, such as Muslims).
It is a common manner of expression to use terms in a general sense, while recognizing (even if not directly stated) that the general term does not apply to every person in that category. For instance, it is not unusual to say something like “the people of the USA have elected Barack Obama as President twice”. Yet everyone understands that a large portion of the people of the USA did not vote for Barack Obama. He got a relatively slim majority of the popular vote (although the votes in the “electoral college” gave him a much bigger winning margin). Despite this recognition, we don’t get up in arms when the general statement is made concerning “the people of the USA”.
The same is true in the Bible (and the Qur’an) with reference to the usage of the general term “the Jews” (or “the Pharisees” and “the Sadducees”). With the exception of “Luke”, the “New Testament” books and letters were all written by Jewish followers of Jesus Christ; and those Jewish disciples certainly didn’t believe they were included in the castigation of “the Jews” in their writings. There were more than just a handful of Jewish followers of Jesus even in his earthly lifetime, and such followers were not included when “the Jews” were condemned.
The apostle Paul, in 1 Thessalonians 2, made some strong denunciations of “the Jews”: 1Th 2:14 For you, brothers, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea. For you suffered the same things from your own countrymen as they did from the Jews, 1Th 2:15 who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out, and displease God and oppose all mankind 1Th 2:16 by hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles that they might be saved—so as always to fill up the measure of their sins. But wrath has come upon them at last!
The “churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea” were most certainly Jewish believers in Jesus Christ; yet Paul said they were persecuted by “the Jews”! Surely Paul was not saying that the Jewish believers were persecuting themselves when he used the general term “the Jews” to refer to the persecutors!!
So it has been throughout the roughly 2000 years of “Christian” history, and it’s still the same today. There are today, and have been throughout the centuries, Jewish people who at the very least considered Jesus a ‘good man’ who did not deserve to be murdered. Some have ‘converted’ to Christianity in one form or another; others have embraced Islam, which highly honors Jesus as “the Christ” and among the greatest of God’s Prophets. Still others have embraced other religions such as Buddhism which highly honor Jesus. Buddhism considers him as one of the ‘enlightened’ Buddhas. Hinduism considers him as one of the ‘incarnations’ of The One (such as Krishna). Among the major religions of the world, Judaism appears to be the only one that does not honor Jesus the son of Mary – showing the truth of the proverb quoted by Jesus: “no prophet is without honor except in his own country”.
Many years ago I read a book by a Jewish man named Richard Rubenstein entitled “When Jesus Became God: The Struggle to Define Christianity during the Last Days of Rome”. Mr. Rubenstein said that he had been fascinated by the man Jesus from childhood; so as an adult he decided the best way to understand Jesus was to do research concerning the controversy between the Arians and the Athanasians over the deity of Jesus Christ. The Arians insisted he was just a man (or at least something less than God), while the followers of the teaching of Athanasius maintained what is today the “orthodox” teaching of the full Deity of Jesus. Richard did a very good job of presenting the historical debate; and if I remember correctly, he maintained that he – as a Jew – could feel fairly comfortable with an Arian position which recognized Jesus as “just a man” who was a wonderful teacher and prophet of God. (I don’t remember whether he went so far as to say he could recognize Jesus as “the Christ”).
One example of a Jewish person who embraced Islam is Muhammad Asad, well known for his English ‘interpretation’ (‘translation’) of the Qur’an.
Recently I checked out a book from the library by a man named Lama Surya Das (I believe I have spelled that correctly). He is a Jewish man who embraced Buddhism in the late 1960s or early 1970s, and is today a fairly well known Buddhist teacher. He still appreciates the Jewish culture in which he was raised, but he is through and through a Buddhist who has a very high regard for the man known as Jesus Christ.
Those are just a handful out of what is no doubt a relatively large number of Jewish people who do not follow the general Jewish hatred for Jesus Christ and the “Gospel narrative” about him. When the Bible, the Qur’an, or modern people like Bishop Fellay refer to “the Jews” in a general way as enemies of Jesus Christ and “the Church”, such people are not included in the general category being ‘condemned’. At least, I know that such people are not ‘condemned’ in my estimation. Even though “the Jews” may be called “children of the devil” or “the synagogue of Satan”, we recognize that – as the Bible puts it – there is always a “remnant” (even though perhaps a “very small” one at times) who are in fact ‘righteous’ and ‘the people of God’. As the Qur’an puts it, “they are not all alike”. There are some among them who are devout; they believe in God and do righteous deeds.
Nevertheless, we will still use the general expression “the Jews” as the Bible and Qur’an use them to reference the majority of Jewish ‘leaders and followers’ who are the enemies of God, the “Church”, and “all men”.