Updated: Jun 18, 2022
Soon after I came to faith in Christ, I shared my faith with a close friend. I remember him expressing shock and disbelief that I had changed my mind regarding Christianity. I was once very skeptical, convinced all religion was for the uneducated, unscientific and uninformed simply seeking comfort. I remember my friend expressing disbelief about Christianity because of the Crusades, Inquisition and Holocaust. My reply was along the lines of admitting these were tragic abuses of Christianity, but that the truth of the faith itself shouldn’t be judged on the basis of those events.
While there’s some validity in my response, the truth is I really didn’t know the history of Christianity. The sacred texts I held up as the inspired, authoritative Word of God (a.k.a., the Bible) are thoroughly Jewish. The Bible was written by Jews, in Jewish places about a Jewish King. Historically, the Gentile (i.e., non-Jewish) Christian Church has inflicted great pain on the Jewish people especially during the Crusades, Inquisition and Holocaust.
The parting of the ways between Jew and Gentile is the greatest tragedy in the history of the Church.
What can we do to help heal the wounds of history and bring Jew and Gentile back together?
First, we need to recognize the pattern. “When Christians write about Jesus, they write with the weight of theology. When Jews write about Jesus, they write with the weight of history (Brad H. Young, Jesus The Jewish Theologian, from the Forward by Rabbi David Wolpe).”
Romans 12:2 - ….do not let yourselves be conformed to the standards (some translations say patterns) of this world. Instead, keep letting yourselves be transformed by the renewing of your minds (CJB);
As Christians, to renew our minds, we need to learn and understand our heritage and history. We need to know the good, the bad and the ugly and vicariously repent when moved by the Holy Spirit. Then, we need to break free from the patterns of this world by writing, teaching and worshiping with the weight of history in mind. I think these are the keys to revival.
I recently heard it suggested that Christians, “Give the Bible back to the Jewish people.” In other words, understand Romans 3:1-2, "Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision? Much in every way. To begin with, the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God (ESV)." The Bible was written, protected and preserved by the Jewish people. As Christians, we have the Bible because of them. A good first step in healing the wounds of history is to humbly recognize this and be thankful.