The Synagogue Shooter’s Reformed Theology – A Recipe for Disaster?

The Synagogue Shooter’s Reformed Theology – A Recipe for Disaster? May 3, 2019

No shortage of talking points has been spurred by Julie Zauzmer in her Washington Post article on the recent synagogue shooting in Poway, California. Several internet commentators have taken this incident to the front lines of the racial reconciliation debate amongst Evangelicals, claiming Earnest’s manifesto is the natural result of his Reformed roots. The reason being (according to some): Reformed Christians have not done enough to condemn the evils of white supremacy in the church and broader American culture. The system itself can also breed contempt of the Jewish people because it fails to properly nuance the historical, Jewish people as those who are guilty of crucifying Christ rather than all Jews, and it teaches that the Jewish people no longer bear a special place in God’s economy.

First, we ought to address the fact that this incident has provided many with a measure of grand-standing in order to peddle one’s pet hobby-horse in the midst of tragedy. This is common in our day simply because the internet has given rise to the likes of people like me, who naturally comment on various issues in our times. Yet there is a time for decorum. That isn’t to say such issues are unrelated to the talking points, but simply to say there is a simple wisdom to be had in slowing down, closing our mouths for a brief moment, and thinking through these issues a bit more than we are prone to do in the age of likes, hearts, and shares. The temptation of many, regardless of their socio-political persuasion, is to rush into publishing something simply because news these days dies fast. In but a few short weeks, only a handful will recall hearing the news of John Earnest walking into a synagogue, and opening fire on innocents. Fewer will remember why, unless of course his actions can be used alongside the next tragedy to conveniently bolster one’s hobby-horse.

It must also be recognized that the Reformed camp is not monolithic in their understanding of racial reconciliation, systemic oppression, the solution to the evils of racism, and much of anything related to this issue. There is a strong divide taking place simply due to much of the language and world views borrowed from ideologies like intersectionality and the social phenomenon known as cultural Marxism. Yet this is no different than the broader Evangelical culture on issues of systemic racism and the like. The issues then here are not relegated strictly to the Reformed camp, yet it also must be plainly stated that disagreement with proponents of the “social justice” movement aren’t any closer to embracing white nationalism than those who do affirm the movement.

No person with a sound mind can affirm gospel truth and a doctrine like Kinism, and people on both sides of the “social justice” debate have had no issues denouncing these ideals. While the internet may bring fools to prominence, it seems the broader church has no issues embracing the reality that ethnic discrimination in all of its forms is an affront to God and our fellow man. Yet it is equally an affront to God for there to be factions among the brethren because of the prominence of the flesh (I use this term rather ironically, as it imbibes both a Pauline feel, as well as the colloquial understanding). One could, for example, draw upon the radicalized actions of social justicians as fuel for the fodder, yet both sides know it is disingenuous to criticize ideas merely on the merits of cause and effect from proponents thereof.

Now, one might have historic precedent to say such ideas have had a long track record of producing such actions (and in rather large quantities), but these types of arguments are typically only used for a certain rhetorical flair. As an extremely leaky Dispensationalist, I’ll be truthful: I don’t have much of a dog in this fight. I have a fundamental disagreement with my Reformed brothers in terms eschatology and ecclesiology – yet my convictions behoove me to represent these things honestly. Surely, there is warrant to say these theological positions have been used to support all sorts of evil – I think of Hitler’s justification for exterminating the Jewish people using Martin Luther’s own diatribes against the Jews. Yet Luther’s other writings have been used to inspire Christians of all stripes and certainly have no track record of being used to solicit extermination of entire people groups. Suffice it to say, an abuse of a theological system does not necessitate the roots of the well are poisoned. One must critique the constituent parts, not only to assess if they are true, but moral in and of themselves. It is no secret to the informed reader that several Reformed thinkers through the ages have swiftly condemned Luther’s own diatribes on the Jews and used it as an example of not finishing well.

Secondly, intrinsic to Reformed theology is the teaching that all of mankind is in utter rebellion to their Creator and this produces men capable of manifesting this rebellion in some incredibly perverse ways. A people who believe this earnestly don’t think that somehow their little families and churches in suburbia are incapable of having members in their midst holding to doctrines of demons. Understand that doesn’t mean one isn’t shocked by how this might make itself known and be brought to light. What it does indicate though is that an accurate picture of the depravity of mankind necessitates the embrace that any person can believe and act upon some incredibly vile things.

This is what indwelling sin produces. We must be quick to remember that those who do not truly love God curl up in the lap of the evil one like a child does with their own father. The child of the devil not only embraces the “warmth” and “comfort” of Satan, they love him as their “papa” and hate the Lord who reigns over all. While I am not a pastor, one of the things I have been learning over the past few years is just how prevalent sin truly is within local churches. People can sit under sound teaching for years and still produce some of the vilest beliefs contrary to what they’ve been taught for years. People can and do hide it quite well, turn on the charm when they need to, or perhaps even squeeze out some tears to feign godly sorrow.

As a friend intimated on Facebook, “…it is worth remembering that Judas Iscariot spent over 3 years with the Son of God, with the privilege of hearing His divine preaching, teaching, and counsel. And yet what do we see in the Passion? This isn’t a new phenomenon.” I would add that this pattern of violence among those who should know better has been evident all throughout the history of mankind. Cain killed Abel, Edom persecuted Israel, the prophets were routinely killed by an apostate Israel, and the surrounding pagan nations were even more rooted in their perversions than Israel. The trajectory then is one wherein we find in the midst of the people of God one child who genuinely reflects the ideals of their heavenly Father, and one who reflects the ideals of their father, Satan.

Just as was seen with Judas Iscariot, people can expertly maintain a façade amongst their closest friends; they can retain an appearance of godliness even though their hearts remain far from God. They can ask tough questions and handle deep-level theology with acumen and precision – yet never love the God of sound theology. We ought not to be so foolish as to think it can’t happen in churches intimating theological depth, yet we also ought not to be so foolish as to assume that someone who should know better does know better, or that such a theology harbors lingering, yet latent, Antisemitism. To suggest such a notion imbibes the same attitude of those who blamed Christian teaching on homosexuality for the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando. I would suggest something that is perhaps a bit more close to home: a person who does not truly love his neighbor does not love God, and thereby, no amount of theological acumen shall spare him of the evil within and the wrath to come. In similar fashion, the broader culture ought not to be so foolish as to think that they are immune to embracing forms of barbarism if they do not love their Creator.

What this reveals then, rather than what some might suggest is the racial canary in the theologically Reformed coal mine, is that one reveling in hatred of any man is in essence, a ticking time bomb. Whether this hatred is expressed through a kiss of betrayal or the shooting of a synagogue, it is the manifestation of the heart’s desires in the physical realm. More clearly, it is the revelation of the crime the heart has already committed: murder. You don’t have to hold to the Reformed scheme in order to walk in this vileness – you simply have to reject the second Greatest Commandment: love your neighbor as yourself. Arguably, in our age of outrage, this ought to cause us all to pause for a moment as we examine the most basic of all Christian doctrines: do we love even the one who considers us an enemy? If you don’t, you’d better not think for a moment you are incapable of stooping to the same level. Given the right circumstances, influences, lack of restraint, and a heart predisposed to sin, any society can skip right into genocide and barbarism. Autonomous individuals are no exception to this rule either; murder always finds its roots in the sin of Cain.


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  • Salvatore Anthony Luiso

    Thank you for this article. I believe Reformed theology is in no way to blame for the Poway synagogue shooting. I think the notion that it was is ludicrous.

    That said, regarding “While the internet may bring fools to prominence, it seems the broader church has no issues embracing the reality that ethnic discrimination in all of its forms is an affront to God and our fellow man”: And yet, as you know, throughout most of American history, this was not so. The sad fact is that Reformed Christians have been deeply involved in racial discrimination from the days of the Puritans to those of people who promoted and defended racial segregation to the bitter end: and they have used the Bible to justify and condone it. Other Christians did likewise, but, it seems to me, to a lesser extent than the Reformed–at least from colonial times to the Civil War. At a time in America when Methodists and Baptists had reputations for opposition to slavery, Presbyterians did not. When I learn of someone who has nostalgia for the Antebellum South and the Confederacy, I am not surprised if I also learn that the person is Reformed, because I have seen this combination enough times to notice a connection.

    I believe, though, that this connection is not theological, but, rather, cultural. I do not believe Reformed theology is inherently racist, nor anti-Semitic. To the contrary: I believe Reformed theology can, and should, be used to counter racism and anti-Semitism.

    Regarding “Surely, there is warrant to say these theological positions have been used to support all sorts of evil – I think of Hitler’s justification for exterminating the Jewish people using Martin Luther’s own diatribes against the Jews”: To my knowledge, Lutheran theology has not been used by orthodox Lutherans to justify or condone racial discrimination and oppression, including anti-Semitism. As bad as Luther’s diatribes were, Hitler used them dishonestly and contrary to Luther’s intent for an end Luther had no inkling of: Aryan supremacy.

    Regarding: “To suggest such a notion imbibes the same attitude of those who blamed Christian teaching on homosexuality for the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando”: That mass murder was perpetrated by a Muslim. Did you mean to say “Muslim teaching on homosexuality”? There are more than a few Christians in America who believe and stubbornly insist that if one is a faithful and devout Muslim, one will commit, or at least condone, wars of aggression and acts of terrorism against non-Muslims. (I am not one of them.)

    Regarding “In similar fashion, the broader culture ought not to be so foolish as to think that they are immune to embracing forms of barbarism if they do not love their Creator”: The widespread acceptance and practice of abortion proves this.

    • Bones

      Comment by nazi propagandist julius streicher on Luthers “On the Jews and their lies” on trial in nuremburg after the war.

      “Dr. Martin Luther would very probably sit in my place in the defendants’ dock today, if this book had been taken into consideration by the prosecution.”

      • Salvatore Anthony Luiso

        Yes: one of the many lies of the Nazis.

        • Bones

          Except it wasn’t.

          • Salvatore Anthony Luiso

            Sounds like you trust, and have been fooled by, someone you call a “nazi propagandist”.

          • Bones

            Sounds like revisionism and Christians trying to run from their own responsibility….

            Luther

            The Jews are a “base, whoring people, that is, no people of God, and their boast of lineage, circumcision, and law must be accounted as filth.”[14] They are full of the “devil’s feces … which they wallow in like swine.”[15] The synagogue was a “defiled bride, yes, an incorrigible whore and an evil s**t …”[16] He argues that their synagogues and schools be set on fire, their prayer books destroyed, rabbis forbidden to preach, homes razed, and property and money confiscated. They should be shown no mercy or kindness,[17] afforded no legal protection,[18] and these “poisonous envenomed worms” should be drafted into forced labor or expelled for all time.[19] He also seems to advocate their murder, writing “[w]e are at fault in not slaying them”.[20]

            The prevailing view[32] among historians is that Luther’s anti-Jewish rhetoric contributed significantly to the development of antisemitism in Germany,[33] and in the 1930s and 1940s provided an ideal foundation for the Nazi Party’s attacks on Jews.[34] Reinhold Lewin writes that “whoever wrote against the Jews for whatever reason believed he had the right to justify himself by triumphantly referring to Luther.” According to Michael, just about every anti-Jewish book printed in the Third Reich contained references to and quotations from Luther. Diarmaid MacCulloch argues that Luther’s 1543 pamphlet On the Jews and Their Lies was a “blueprint” for the Kristallnacht.[35] Shortly after the Kristallnacht, Martin Sasse, Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Thuringia, published a compendium of Martin Luther’s writings; Sasse “applauded the burning of the synagogues” and the coincidence of the day, writing in the introduction, “On November 10, 1938, on Luther’s birthday, the synagogues are burning in Germany.” The German people, he urged, ought to heed these words “of the greatest anti-Semite of his time, the warner of his people against the Jews.”[36]

            Christopher J. Probst, in his book Demonizing the Jews: Luther and the Protestant Church in Nazi Germany (2012), shows that a large number of German Protestant clergy and theologians during the Nazi Third Reich used Luther’s hostile publications towards the Jews and their Jewish religion to justify at least in part the anti-Semitic policies of the National Socialists.[37] Published In 1940, Heinrich Himmler wrote admiringly of Luther’s writings and sermons on the Jews.[38] The city of Nuremberg presented a first edition of On the Jews and their Lies to Julius Streicher, editor of the Nazi newspaper Der Stürmer, on his birthday in 1937; the newspaper described it as the most radically antisemitic tract ever published.[39] It was publicly exhibited in a glass case at the Nuremberg rallies and quoted in a 54-page explanation of the Aryan Law by Dr. E.H. Schulz and Dr. R. Frercks.[40] On December 17, 1941, seven Lutheran regional church confederations issued a statement agreeing with the policy of forcing Jews to wear the yellow badge, “since after his bitter experience Luther had [strongly] suggested preventive measures against the Jews and their expulsion from German territory.”

            Michael states “Luther wrote of the Jews as if they were a race that could not truly convert to Christianity. Indeed, like so many Christian writers before him, Luther, by making the Jews the devil’s people, put them beyond conversion.” He notes that in a sermon of September 25, 1539, “Luther tried to demonstrate through several examples that individual Jews could not convert permanently, and in several passages of The Jews and Their Lies, Luther appeared to reject the possibility that the Jews would or could convert.”[41]

            Franklin Sherman, editor of volume 47 of the American Edition of Luther’s Works in which On the Jews and Their Lies appears,[42] responds to the claim that “Luther’s antipathy towards the Jews was religious rather than racial in nature,” Luther’s writings against the Jews, he explains, are not “merely a set of cool, calm and collected theological judgments. His writings are full of rage, and indeed hatred, against an identifiable human group, not just against a religious point of view; it is against that group that his action proposals are directed.” Sherman argues that Luther “cannot be distanced completely from modern antisemites”. Regarding Luther’s treatise, On the Jews and Their Lies, the German philosopher Karl Jaspers wrote: “There you already have the whole Nazi program”.[43]

          • Salvatore Anthony Luiso

            I am well aware that Luther said many deplorable things about the Jews. I have never denied that.

            I also do not deny that he said things about the Jews which sound like things which the Nazis said, and which Nazis propagandists quoted in support of their anti-Semitic policies.

            I do deny that Luther advocated the genocide of the Jews. This is not to say that what he did advocated was not terrible. Yet as bad as banishment is, it is preferable to genocide.

            You have quoted at length from the Wikipedia article “Martin Luther and antisemitism”, without identifying this source. Here is another part of that article, which provides helpful perspective:

            It is believed that Luther was influenced by Anton Margaritha’s book Der gantze Jüdisch Glaub (The Whole Jewish Belief).[11] Margaritha, a convert to Christianity who had become a Lutheran, published his antisemitic book in 1530 which was read by Luther in 1539. In 1539, Luther got his hands on the book and immediately fell in love with it.

            Note that Margaritha was a convert from Judaism. Hence his criticisms of the Jews could seem authoritative to people, such as Luther, who had never been Jewish–just as the criticisms of a former Muslim about Islam can seem authoritative to people who have never been Muslim.

            The article also says the following about one of Luther’s last sermons:

            We want to deal with them in a Christian manner now. Offer them the Christian faith that they would accept the Messiah, who is even their cousin and has been born of their flesh and blood; and is rightly Abraham’s Seed, of which they boast. Even so, I am concerned [that] Jewish blood may no longer become watery and wild. First of all, you should propose to them that they be converted to the Messiah and allow themselves to be baptized, that one may see that this is a serious matter to them. If not, then we would not permit them [to live among us], for Christ commands us to be baptized and believe in Him, even though we cannot now believe so strongly as we should, God is still patient with us.[27]

            Does this sound like Nazi propaganda to you?

            Luther continued, “However, if they are converted, abandon their usury, and receive Christ, then we will willingly regard them our brothers.

            How about that? Would an anti-Semite say that he was willing to regard the Jewish converts as “brothers”?

            No, one wouldn’t. And an anti-Semite would either deny that Jesus was Jewish, or say that He was Jewish, and therefore had all the bad qualities which are inherent to Jews. They would not worship a man whom they believed to be a Jew, as Luther did.

          • Bones

            Lol antisemitism was rife in Europe going back to the inquisition at least and the crusades. Remember when Jews were baptised on pain of death. Oh maybe they weren’t antisemitic after all? And in Christianity going back to the early church.

            Luther advocates a final solution

            “Seventh, I recommend putting a flail, an ax, a hoe, a spade, a distaff, or a spindle into the hands of young, strong Jews and Jewesses and letting them earn their bread in the sweat of their brow … But if we are afraid that they might harm us or our wives, children, servants, cattle, etc., … then let us emulate the common sense of other nations such as France, Spain, Bohemia, etc., … then eject them forever from the country …”

            And what effect did Luther have….

            Luther successfully campaigned against the Jews in Saxony, Brandenburg, and Silesia. In August 1536 Luther’s prince, Elector of Saxony John Frederick, issued a mandate that prohibited Jews from inhabiting, engaging in business in, or passing through his realm. An Alsatian shtadlan, Rabbi Josel of Rosheim, asked a reformer Wolfgang Capito to approach Luther in order to obtain an audience with the prince, but Luther refused every intercession.[5] In response to Josel, Luther referred to his unsuccessful attempts to convert the Jews: “… I would willingly do my best for your people but I will not contribute to your [Jewish] obstinacy by my own kind actions. You must find another intermediary with my good lord.”[6] Heiko Oberman notes this event as significant in Luther’s attitude toward the Jews: “Even today this refusal is often judged to be the decisive turning point in Luther’s career from friendliness to hostility toward the Jews.”[7]

            Josel of Rosheim, who tried to help the Jews of Saxony, wrote in his memoir that their situation was “due to that priest whose name was Martin Luther — may his body and soul be bound up in hell!! — who wrote and issued many heretical books in which he said that whoever would help the Jews was doomed to perdition.”[8] Robert Michael, Professor Emeritus of European History at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth writes that Josel asked the city of Strasbourg to forbid the sale of Luther’s anti-Jewish works; they refused initially, but relented when a Lutheran pastor in Hochfelden argued in a sermon that his parishioners should murder Jews.[9]

            In 1543 Luther’s Prince, John Frederick I, Elector of Saxony, revoked some of the concessions he gave to Josel of Rosheim in 1539[citation needed]. Luther’s influence persisted after his death. John of Brandenburg-Küstrin, Margrave of the New March, repealed the safe conduct of Jews in his territories. Philip of Hesse added restrictions to his Order Concerning the Jews. Luther’s followers sacked the synagogue of Berlin in 1572 and in the following year the Jews were driven out of the entire Margravate of Brandenburg.[29] In the 1580s riots led to expulsion of Jews from several German Lutheran states.[9]

            Nevertheless, no ruler enacted all of Luther’s anti-Jewish recommendations.[30]

            According to Michael, Luther’s work acquired the status of Scripture within Germany, and he became the most widely read author of his generation, in part because of the coarse and passionate nature of the writing.[9] In the 1570s Pastor Georg Nigrinus published Enemy Jew, which reiterated Luther’s program in On the Jews and Their Lies, and Nikolaus Selnecker, one of the authors of the Formula of Concord, reprinted Luther’s Against the Sabbatarians, On the Jews and Their Lies, and Vom Schem Hamphoras.

            Luther’s treatises against the Jews were reprinted again early in the 17th century at Dortmund, where they were seized by the Emperor. In 1613 and 1617 they were published in Frankfurt am Main in support of the banishment of Jews from Frankfurt and Worms. Vincenz Fettmilch, a Calvinist, reprinted On the Jews and Their Lies in 1612 to stir up hatred against the Jews of Frankfurt. Two years later, riots in Frankfurt saw the deaths of 3,000 Jews and the expulsion of the rest. Fettmilch was executed by the Lutheran city authorities, but Michael writes that his execution was for attempting to overthrow the authorities, not for his offenses against the Jews.

            These reprints were the last popular publication of these works until they were revived in the 20th century.[31]

            Influence on modern antisemitism

            The prevailing view[32] among historians is that Luther’s anti-Jewish rhetoric contributed significantly to the development of antisemitism in Germany,[33] and in the 1930s and 1940s provided an ideal foundation for the Nazi Party’s attacks on Jews.[34] Reinhold Lewin writes that “whoever wrote against the Jews for whatever reason believed he had the right to justify himself by triumphantly referring to Luther.” According to Michael, just about every anti-Jewish book printed in the Third Reich contained references to and quotations from Luther. Diarmaid MacCulloch argues that Luther’s 1543 pamphlet On the Jews and Their Lies was a “blueprint” for the Kristallnacht.[35] Shortly after the Kristallnacht, Martin Sasse, Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Thuringia, published a compendium of Martin Luther’s writings; Sasse “applauded the burning of the synagogues” and the coincidence of the day, writing in the introduction, “On November 10, 1938, on Luther’s birthday, the synagogues are burning in Germany.” The German people, he urged, ought to heed these words “of the greatest anti-Semite of his time, the warner of his people against the Jews.”[36]

          • Salvatore Anthony Luiso

            “Oh maybe they weren’t antisemitic after all?”: Not in the sense in which the Nazis were. The Nazis believed that Jews were racially inferior and corrupt, and that nothing could change this–not even conversion to Christianity. To them, if one was a Christian, and a member of a line of Christians going back to the Middle Ages, one was still a Jew if one was a descendant of Jews, and, therefore, a threat to Aryans. In fact, to them, the most dangerous Jew was the one who appeared most like an Aryan. Thus they feared and hated the assimilation of Jews into German society.

            Luther’s so-called “final solution” was, of course, not the same as that of the Nazis. That of the Nazis was genocide. What, according to you, was Luther’s? First, to attempt to forcibly assimilate the Jews into German society. Needless to say, that would never have been a Nazi policy. Second, if that didn’t work, and if Jews were perceived to be a threat to the nation, to expel them. As you can see, he was not the first person in Europe to advocate expulsion: it had already been done in other countries, including England in the year 1290 and Spain in 1492. And, as you can also see, it wasn’t his preference. His preference was that Jews would assimilate into German society, as opposed to what they were doing, which was living separately as a nation within a nation.

          • Bones

            Lol we have a new excuse for antisemitism now. Apparently antisemitism only began in Germany in the1930s.

            Yeah nah we can see through your pathetic attempt to excuse hundreds of years of antisemitic Christian teaching AND its ultimate outcome.

            See, you reformed types can try and hide behind (but Jews were tortured and killed because of their religion) all you want but the responsibility for the holocaust is there for all to see and is acknowledged by historians. And Luthers evil influence can be seen in his own time. 3000 Jews killed in a riot in Frankfurt 2 years after republication of on the jews and their lies in the city.

            It was only killing Jews for their religion… Not antisemitism.

            Only reformed apologists attempt that sort of argument. And of course Luther later claims that the Jews are beyond conversion.

            From the Lutheran Church itself….

            “The assertion that Luther’s expressions of anti-Jewish sentiment have been of major and persistent influence in the centuries after the Reformation, and that there exists a continuity between Protestant anti-Judaism and modern racially oriented anti-Semitism, is at present wide-spread in the literature; since the Second World War it has understandably become the prevailing opinion.” (Lutheran Quarterly)

            As for the final solution – one option for the Nazis was to exile Jews to Madagascar. A Lutheran plan.

            And kystallnacht was Luther’s birthday present. Nazis doing what Luther taught.

          • Salvatore Anthony Luiso

            No, anti-Semitism did not begin in Germany in the 1930s. There is a long history of anti-Jewish beliefs and practices in Europe. The Wikipedia article “Antisemitism” says the following:

            According to Jonathan M. Hess, the term was originally used by its authors to “stress the radical difference between their own ‘antisemitism’ and earlier forms of antagonism toward Jews and Judaism.”[20]

            Note those words “the radical difference”. What is that difference? One can see it in the fact that as hostile to Jews as Luther was, he was still willing to call Jewish convert to Christianity “brothers”. One can see it in the fact that he recognized Jesus of Nazareth to be a Jew, and worshiped him. One can see it in fact that he admired and studied other figures of the Bible who were Jewish, and learned Hebrew in order to study the Old Testament. (One can also see it in his trust of the Jewish convert Anton Margaritha.)

            You say “we can see through your pathetic attempt to excuse hundreds of years of antisemitic Christian teaching”. In fact what you think you “see through” cannot be seen at all, because it does not exist outside of your mind.

            Regarding “And of course Luther later claims that the Jews are beyond conversion”: Where did he say that? In a previous comment I quoted from one of his last sermons, in which he advocated for presenting the Gospel to the Jews.

            Regarding “From the Lutheran Church itself….”: That quotation says nothing disputable.

            Regarding “As for the final solution – one option for the Nazis was to exile Jews to Madagascar”: And yet they chose quite a different option, didn’t they? One Luther did not advocate.

            The date of Kristallnacht was not chosen in connection with Luther’s birthday. That crime was immediate retribution for the assassination of a German diplomat by a Jew on November 9th, 1938.

          • Bones

            Except Luther was an antisemite for racially profiling Jews and comparing them with pigs.

            The quotation from the Lutheran quarterly directly addresses the influence Luther had on the holocaust. Which you deny.

            Luther did advocate most of it. Even saying we are at fault in not killing them.

            Only someone living in complete denial refuses to see that.

            No amount of sweeping under the carpet will change that.

            Just think according to you if the Nazis only gassed Jews who didn’t convert they wouldn’t be antisemite using your lack of logic.

            There must be something wrong with you.

          • Salvatore Anthony Luiso

            OxfordDictionaries.com defines “racial profiling” as “the use of race or ethnicity as grounds for suspecting someone of having committed an offense”. Is that what Luther did?

            He did not compare all Jews with pigs. Some he accepted as “brothers”.

            The quotation from Lutheran Quarterly says that many people believe certain things about Luther and his influence with respect to anti-Semitism–it does not say that those beliefs are correct. Whether the article supports those beliefs, or refutes them, I do not know.

            Given the differences between the circumstances of the German states in the 1540s and Germany in the 1930s, we should not assume that Luther would have advocated the same policy toward Jews in the latter as he did in the former.

            “Just think according to you if the Nazis only gassed Jews who didn’t convert they wouldn’t be antisemite using your lack of logic”. Using your logic, Luther advocated killing Jews who refused to convert, when in fact he did not.

            It is obvious that the Nazis were not following Luther’s advice, but were merely misusing his words as a pretext for their own ends. If the Nazis had followed Luther’s advice, then they would not have committed genocide. Instead, they might have expelled Jews who refused to convert and assimilate–as England did in 1290, and Spain did when Luther was a child. “Only someone living in complete denial refuses to see that.”

            Such a person can also deny that there is a significant difference between the antagonism toward Jews which was common throughout Europe for many centuries, which motivated those expulsions, and anti-Semitism, which motivated genocide. Luther is justly blamed for promoting the older form of antagonism, but not the new one.

          • Bones

            Actually racial profiling is a very accurate description of Luther. Why do you think he had them driven out of German towns?

            He most certainly did compare all Jews with pigs and rabbis get the torah from the pigs arse.

            Derp the quotation from Lutheran quarterly admits Luthers influence on the holocaust. Can you not read?

            Lol, the Nazis were merely enacting Luthers writings.

            Gee how about you advocate burning synagogues and forcefully removing Jews and see how you go.

            “oh but the converted ones are OK”.

            Still antisemitism no matter how you want to coat. Shit covered with sugar is still shit.
            Luther did advocate killing jews. “We are at fault in not slaying them.”

            And as seen his writings were used to kill Jews in the 17th century.

            Lol Luther calls for Jews to be killed, nazis kill Jews…..

            “But Luther didn’t mean to kill Jews. ”

            Do you know how stupid you sound, defending the indefensible?

            And by the end Luther was saying Jews can’t be converted anyway.

            Lol…. Of course your argument is “Hey we’re not antisemitic. We just kill Jews who don’t convert… ” is shown to be completely and utterly contemptible.

            Unfortunately for you, Luther’s legacy will forever be known for not only attacking Jews at his time but also their destruction in the 20th century. He was the prophet of the Nazis – the progeny of over a thousand years of Christian antisemitism.

          • Salvatore Anthony Luiso

            I think it is anachronistic to say that Luther employed “racial profiling” against anyone.

            Luther called Jews who had converted to Christianity “brothers”. I don’t think that he called them “pigs”. One who has the anti-Semitic beliefs of the Nazis might, but not Luther.

            The quotation from Lutheran Quarterly does not admit Luther’s influence on the Holocaust. It merely acknowledges the fact that “since the Second World War it has understandably become the prevailing opinion” that “there exists a continuity between Protestant anti-Judaism and modern racially oriented anti-Semitism”. That’s like saying: “Many centuries ago, it was understandably the prevailing opinion that the earth is flat”.

            “Lol the Nazis were merely enacting Luthers writings”: The facts don’t support this laughable assertion.

            Regarding Luther’s saying “[w]e are at fault in not slaying them”: In the following sentence, he accuses Jews of certain crimes, including murder, which he believes German Christians were allowing without punishment. Thus one should not conclude from these statements that he advocated the indiscriminate killing of Jews, let alone of all Jews.

            “Lol Luther calls for Jews to be killed, nazis kill Jews…..”: Luther did not call for genocide, nor for the indiscriminate killing of Jews merely because they were Jews according to race.

            “Do you know how stupid you sound, defending the indefensible?”: No, I don’t, because I’m not defending the indefensible. I’ve said repeatedly that Luther is blameworthy for his anti-Jewish advocacy. I’m defending him against the ludicrous charge that he advocated the Nazi’s anti-Semitic policies.

            “And by the end Luther was saying Jews can’t be converted anyway”: I’ve already presented evidence to the contrary. Apparently you prefer to ignore it.

            Since you like to use quote from the Wikipedia article “Martin Luther and antisemitism”, here’s one for you:

            Paul Halsall argues that Luther’s views had a part in laying the groundwork for the racial European antisemitism of the nineteenth century. He writes that “although Luther’s comments seem to be proto-Nazi, they are better seen as part of tradition [sic] of Medieval Christian anti-semitism. While there is little doubt that Christian anti-semitism laid the social and cultural basis for modern anti-semitism, modern anti-semitism does differ in being based on pseudo-scientific notions of race. The Nazis imprisoned and killed even those ethnic Jews who had converted to Christianity: Luther would have welcomed their conversions.”[45]

          • Ron McPherson

            Speaking of Luther, I find it funny that there are religious conservatives who condemn progressives for their liberal (sometimes even just moderate) views of scripture, while at the same time revering Luther who stuck Hebrews, James, Jude, and Revelation in the back of his bible as a type of appendix. If the progressives they condemn advocated half of the things Luther did, they’d want to burn them at the stake.

          • Bones

            Well they would argue the ol Saint and Sinner line….Meh he only advocated a holocaust on the Jews. He was a sinner but God made him a saint. He had his weaknesses. Like they do with Calvin burning people alive.

            Now if Luther had’ve say been a closet gay, that would send them apeshit.

          • Ron McPherson
          • Matthew

            I read somewhere that Luther may have been bipolar …

          • Bones

            According to Michael, Luther’s work acquired the status of Scripture within Germany, and he became the most widely read author of his generation, in part because of the coarse and passionate nature of the writing.[9] In the 1570s Pastor Georg Nigrinus published Enemy Jew, which reiterated Luther’s program in On the Jews and Their Lies, and Nikolaus Selnecker, one of the authors of the Formula of Concord, reprinted Luther’s Against the Sabbatarians, On the Jews and Their Lies, and Vom Schem Hamphoras.

            Luther’s treatises against the Jews were reprinted again early in the 17th century at Dortmund, where they were seized by the Emperor. In 1613 and 1617 they were published in Frankfurt am Main in support of the banishment of Jews from Frankfurt and Worms. Vincenz Fettmilch, a Calvinist, reprinted On the Jews and Their Lies in 1612 to stir up hatred against the Jews of Frankfurt. Two years later, riots in Frankfurt saw the deaths of 3,000 Jews and the expulsion of the rest. Fettmilch was executed by the Lutheran city authorities, but Michael writes that his execution was for attempting to overthrow the authorities, not for his offenses against the Jews.

            These reprints were the last popular publication of these works until they were revived in the 20th century.[31]

            Influence on modern antisemitism

            The prevailing view[32] among historians is that Luther’s anti-Jewish rhetoric contributed significantly to the development of antisemitism in Germany,[33] and in the 1930s and 1940s provided an ideal foundation for the Nazi Party’s attacks on Jews.[34] Reinhold Lewin writes that “whoever wrote against the Jews for whatever reason believed he had the right to justify himself by triumphantly referring to Luther.” According to Michael, just about every anti-Jewish book printed in the Third Reich contained references to and quotations from Luther. Diarmaid MacCulloch argues that Luther’s 1543 pamphlet On the Jews and Their Lies was a “blueprint” for the Kristallnacht.[35] Shortly after the Kristallnacht, Martin Sasse, Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Thuringia, published a compendium of Martin Luther’s writings; Sasse “applauded the burning of the synagogues” and the coincidence of the day, writing in the introduction, “On November 10, 1938, on Luther’s birthday, the synagogues are burning in Germany.” The German people, he urged, ought to heed these words “of the greatest anti-Semite of his time, the warner of his people against the Jews.”[36]

          • Salvatore Anthony Luiso

            More copying and pasting from the Wikipedia article.

            Notice this sentence:

            These reprints were the last popular publication of these works until they were revived in the 20th century.[31]

            This means the last time Luther’s anti-Jewish writings were easily available to the German public was the early 17th Century–three centuries before the creation of the Nazi party. How much influence do you think they had during that time?

            Luther wrote his works in the 16th Century. He is not responsible for the dishonest use of his writings by Nazi propagandists in the 20th Century. If the Nazis had done what Luther had advocated, they would not have attempted to exterminate the Jews, but, rather, would have preached the Gospel to them.

          • Bones

            Yeah because Luther preached the gospel to Jews he had exiled in Saxony and a heap of other German towns. “We are at fault in not slaying them…”. Lol the Nazis took Luther at his word.

            Another lie from reformed apologists.

            Luthers work was done and he influenced those who came after him.

            Including Hitler.

            Nice try but bad luck for you Luther was a fervent protonazi.

            You seem surprised that his call for burning synagogues, exiling Jews and placing them in forced hard labour was adhered to.

            This wraps up people like yourself.

            “I’ve noticed a pattern when Christians address the subject of Luther’s hostility to the Jews. First there’s acknowledgement; then comes an attempt to dial down the awfulness and make it less troubling. The desire to defend Luther is understandable—we owe him so much. But the excuses don’t stand up to scrutiny.

            “For example, at one recent conference a speaker said this: “Luther was wrong . . . but this isn’t necessarily anti-Semitism. That’s really a 20th-century phenomenon. . . . It wasn’t an ethnic motivation that prompted Luther to this; it was a theological one.” You can almost hear the audience’s sigh of relief. But the notion that anti-Semitism is a modern phenomenon is a fallacy. Although the term itself is relatively recent (according to the Anti-Defamation League it was first used in 1873), the reality it describes dates back to the 5th century B.C., when Haman “sought to destroy the Jews” simply because they were “the people of Mordecai,” his enemy (Est. 3:6). Whenever Jews are singled out for hostile treatment, that behavior can rightly be described as anti-Semitism. In any case, there’s ample evidence that Luther’s theological opposition to Jews was paired with ethnic hatred. Why else would he repeatedly picture them smeared with pig manure? To take a people’s distinctive feature—in this case Jewish avoidance of pigs—and maliciously turn it against them is textbook racism.”

          • Salvatore Anthony Luiso

            From what I have read, Luther did present the Gospel to Jews.

            I’m not a Reformed apologist.

            Do you have any evidence that Hitler, who was raised a Catholic and was anti-Christian as an adult, was influenced by Luther? I see no reason to believe that were it not for Luther, Hitler’s policies against the Jews would have been less egregious.

            I’m not surprised that “his call for burning synagogues” etc. “was adhered to” because Hitler and his henchmen were not following Luther’s advice. As I’ve already stated, whereas Luther advocated the use of force to assimilate Jews into German society, the Nazi used force to remove assimilated Jews from German society. Being the dishonest yet shrewd apologists they were, they used Luther’s words for their own purposes, not his.

            Regarding the long quotation of the article “Luther’s Jewish Problem”, by Bernard N. Howard: I have not attempted to “dial down the awfulness and make it less troubling”. One can believe that Luther said dreadful things concerning the Jews, and yet recognized that it is absurd to call him “a fervent protonazi”.

            I will address the definition of anti-Semitism in another comment.

          • Bones

            No he didn’t. Luther had them removed from German towns.

            Why did the holocaust originate in Germany and not say England???

            It started in Germany for a reason.

            Because its roots go back at least to Luther.

          • Salvatore Anthony Luiso

            “No he didn’t.”: Editions of Luther’s Table Talk relate an incident in which Luther debated two rabbis, who were convinced by him to convert and be baptized.

            As the Wikipedia article “Martin Luther and antisemitism” states repeatedly, he desired that all Jews believe that Jesus is their Messiah. It quotes the following passage of an early work of his entitled That Jesus Christ Was Born a Jew (1523):

            When we are inclined to boast of our position [as Christians] we should remember that we are but Gentiles, while the Jews are of the lineage of Christ. We are aliens and in-laws; they are blood relatives, cousins, and brothers of our Lord. Therefore, if one is to boast of flesh and blood the Jews are actually nearer to Christ than we are…If we really want to help them, we must be guided in our dealings 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, that they may have occasion and opportunity to associate with us, hear our Christian teaching, and witness our Christian life. If some of them should prove stiff-necked, what of it? After all, we ourselves are not all good Christians either.[4]

            “Why did the holocaust originate in Germany and not say England???”: Here are three reasons:

            1. Pseudo-scientific theories of Aryan racial superiority and Jewish racial inferiority took hold among intellectuals in Germany and not in England. This combination of theories–not anti-Semtiism alone–motivated the Holocaust. The Nazis believed first that it was necessary to remove Jews from society, and later to kill them, in order to preserve the Aryan race.
            2. Because Germany came to be ruled by a totalitarian government which based policy upon these pseudo-scientific theories, whereas England did not.
            3. In the 1930s there were more Jews in Germany than in England, and they had more power and influence in Germany than in England. Therefore the populace of Germany could more easily believe that Jewish power and influence were a threat to their nation than could the populace of England.
            4. Many Germans did not correctly understand, and resented, their country’s defeat in the First World War on Jews. The Nazis blamed this loss in part on the Jews. England, of course, was a victor in the war, so the English had no such resentment which could be directed at a scapegoat.

  • Bones

    Oh the irony.

    Apparently a Muslim terrorist is just following Islam.

    A Christian terrorist though is not following Christianity.

    I think you’d better go look at 2000 years of church history.

    • Gilsongraybert

      Ahhhh, yes, because there’s a modern equivalent of a subgroup in Christianity that adheres to violence as a means of creating converts. Or, perhaps your ignorance is just loudly on display.

      • Bones

        Heaps of ignorance on this thread including by the author of the post.

        Just whitewash that history.

        It must be a reformed mindset.

        Trying to excuse shithouse human beings like Luther and Calvin.