A Theology of Jewish-Christian Relations

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Still today a famous German New Testament professor can say (as he did) to his students: “If you want to be a good Christian, you must kill the Jew in your heart.” I quote this professor’s words not because I am a Jew, but because he used the word “kill” as if it were a Christian virtue. Furthermore, the opinion that “you have to kill the Jew in your heart” is not unconnected with an important trend that existed in Christianity from its beginnings.

This piece of writing is a rare glimpse of David Flusser the theologian. Flusser, who died in Jerusalem in 2000, penned the article as an introduction to Israel, God’s Key to World Redemption, a book written in 1974 by his close friend, the late Elmer A. Josephson. In 1956 Josephson founded Bible Light International, a non-profit religious organization that seeks to “arouse the Christian evangelical community’s conscience toward the emerging nation of Israel and stimulate expressions of encouragement to the Jewish community in its Zionist aspirations.” Jerusalem Perspective Online wishes to thank Bible Light International for permission to publish this article in electronic format. Jerusalem Perspective supplied the article’s title. — JP

Elmer Josephson’s book deals with a special problem: the people of Israel and their task and aim in the history of mankind. It is written for Christians who believe that the Bible is a holy book.

The “Jewish problem” should not be on the periphery of Christianity though there have been many Christians who were sure that they were good Christians, yet almost never thought about the Jews. In reality, the Jewish problem is one of the central Christian problems: a wrong position toward the Jews means a distorted approach to God and his Word and a misunderstanding of the very claim of the Christian message. This I say, not because I myself am a believing Jew, but because I have learned and have taught the New Testament and early Christianity many years at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. It would be easier for me to study and teach my subject as a detached, objective scholar, but when one is a serious scholar, such an attitude is false even when one occupies oneself with obsolete problems, for example, with the pagan Greek religion.

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