Anti-Christian Bias a Blotch on Media (2 April 2004)


Cape Times
Attention: The Editor

In response to Douglas Bax's "Anti-Semitism a blotch on history", it needs to be noted that the very same "Christians" being blamed for mistreating Jews, were also guilty of persecuting Protestants as well.

The vast majority of those burned at the stake by the Inquisition were not witches at all, but Protestant believers. To study the court records of the Inquisitors makes it very clear that the inquisitors were by no means Christians at all. They would vindictively condemn to death Christians who believed in, translated or taught the Scriptures. Often they contemptuously toss the victim's Bible into the fire to be burnt with the martyr.

Anyone who has read Foxe's Book of Martyrs, or similar historical records of the cruel persecutions endured by the Waldensians, Huguenots and other Protestants and Reformers, will know that the Inquisition was anti-Christian.

This was at a time of blatant corruption, when priesthoods, bishophoods and even papal seats were bought and sold and when many ungodly men dominated all levels of leadership in medieval Roman Church. Far from the Inquisition being Christians persecuting non-Christians, the reality is that it was the very opposite. The Inquisition was an anti-Christian persecution of Protestant believers.

Similarly Rev. Bax's characterisation of Martin Luther as an anti-Semite who incited violence needs to be challenged. The great German Reformer, Martin Luther, was pro-Christ and zealous in evangelism. For decades he lovingly and patiently reached out to the Jewish people in his area with the Gospel. Luther wrote against the mistreatment of Jews by the Catholics. Luther wrote: "I would request and advise that one deal gently the Jews.if we really want to help them, we must be guided in our dealing with them, not by papal law, but by the Law of Christian love. We must receive them cordially, and permit them to trade and work with us, hear our Christian teaching and witness our Christian life. If some of them should prove stiffed necked, what of it? After all, we ourselves are not all good Christians either."

However, fifteen years later the persistent rejection of Christ and repeated blasphemies of those Jewish people in his community, provoked Luther to write: "On The Jews and Their Lies". In this pamphlet Luther wrote against the "madness and blindness that blasphemes Christ" in the Rabbinic teachings. Luther declared that he could not "have any fellowship or patience with obstinate blasphemers and those who defame our dear Saviour." These blasphemies included describing our Lord Jesus Christ "the bastard son" of "that whore, Mary" , and even worse. Blasphemy was a civil crime. Luther taught that to tolerate such blasphemy was to share in the guilt for it. Therefore, he proposed measures of "sharp mercy" which included confiscating all Jewish literature, which was blasphemous, and prohibiting Rabbis to teach such blasphemy.

However, to quote these reactions of Luther without explaining their local context of opposing the repeated blasphemies of Jewish individuals in his community is most unfair.

Similarly to accuse the medieval theologian Bernard of Clairvaux, the author of On Loving God, of "whipping up the crusaders to rape, pillage and kill Jews." is ludicrous and slanderous. Bernard of Clairvaux is not around to defend himself, but to suggest that such a devout Christian would seriously incite anyone to rape need only be mentioned to be dismissed with the contempt it deserves.

For contemporary examples of intolerance we need look no further than the hostility evidenced in so much of our media against Mel Gibson's film The Passion of The Christ. Here we see the same people who normally decry "censorship" and exalt "artistic freedom", railing against this film with an intensity that has not been seen in recent years.

It is also notable how many of those same people who were praising Monster as Academy Award material are in many cases the same people condemning the Passion as "too violent!"

Apparently a lesbian prostitute serial killer deserves our attention and praise, whereas the sacrifices of Jesus Christ for our sins is to be rejected and abhored.

The hypocrisy and selective squeamishness of all too many reviewers is remarkable. So too is the tendency of even some Christian ministers to denigrate Christianity. Karl Marx declared that the first battlefield is the rewriting of history.

Only those ignorant of history could fail to acknowledge that Christianity has made more positive changes on earth than any other force or movement. Most of the languages of the world were first codified and put into writing by Christian missionaries. More schools and universities have been started by Christians than by any other group. The elevation of women from the second-class status they were assigned to by other religions was a Christian achievement. So too was the abolition of slavery, cannibalism, child sacrifice and widow burning. Those countries, which enjoy the most civil liberties, are generally those lands where the Gospel of Christ has penetrated the most.

Christianity gave birth to liberty. Constitutional republics, the separation of powers, limited government and freedom of conscience are a result of the Protestant Reformation.

It is the secular humanists who have a heritage of oppression. The 44 secular or atheistic states have caused the deaths of over 160 million people in the twentieth century alone. The abuses of human rights, atrocities and massacres in the Soviet Union, Red China, North Korea, Eastern Europe, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Angola, Cuba and Zimbabwe were the inevitable results of rejecting God's Law. Either men will be governed by God's Law or they will be ruled by tyrants.

It is easy for the opponents of Christianity to criticise, but what are our critics doing for the lonely, the widows, the orphans, the sick, and the refugees?

Dr Peter Hammond

Christian Action P.O.Box 23632 Claremont 7735 Cape Town South Africa - 021-689-4481 -
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