First, I want to make it clear that I have no intentions of offending fellow believers. I just believe as Christians, we have some not-so-nice things about Christianity and Church History that we need to deal with, and we cannot continue censoring these truths.
I've com across information about the Church Fathers that is very disturbing to me as a Christian.
The Church Fathers were anti-semitic, and were hostile towards the Jews in early church history.
Here are some anti-semitic quotes by some of the church fathers:
John Chrysostom (344-407 A.D.) One of the "greatest" of church fathers; known as "The Golden Mouthed." A missionary preacher famous for his sermons and addresses.
"The synagogue is worse than a brothelit is the den of scoundrels and the repair of wild beaststhe temple of demons devoted to idolatrous cultsthe refuge of brigands and dabauchees, and the cavern of devils. It is a criminal assembly of Jewsa place of meeting for the assassins of Christ a house worse than a drinking shopa den of thieves, a house of ill fame, a dwelling of iniquity, the refuge of devils, a gulf and a abyss of perdition.""I would say the same things about their souls As for me, I hate the synagogueI hate the Jews for the same reason."
Peter the Venerable known as "the meekest of men, a model of Christian charity"
"Yes, you Jews. I say, do I address you; you, who till this very day, deny the Son of God. How long, poor wretches, will ye not believe the truth? Truly I doubt whether a Jew can be really human I lead out from its den a monstrous animal, and show it as a laughing stock in the amphitheater of the world, in the sight of all the people. I bring thee forward, thou Jew, thou brute beast, in the sight of all men."
Ignatius Bishop of Antioch (98-117A.D.) Epistle to the Magnesians
"For if we are still practicing Judaism, we admit that we have not received God's favorit is wrong to talk about Jesus Christ and live like Jews. For Christianity did not believe in Judaism, but Judaism in Christianity"
Justin Martyr - Dialogue with Trypho (Between 138A.D. and 161 A.D.)
"We too, would observe your circumcision of the flesh, your Sabbath days, and in a word, all you festivals, if we were not aware of the reason why they were imposed upon you, namely, because of your sins and the hardness of heart.
The custom of circumcising the flesh, handed down from Abraham, was given to you as a distinguishing mark, to set you off from other nations and from us Christians. The purpose of this was that you and only you might suffer the afflictions that are now justly yours; that only your land be desolated, and you cities ruined by fire, that the fruits of you land be eaten by strangers before your very eyes; that not one of you be permitted to enter your city of Jerusalem. Your circumcision of the flesh is the only mark by which you can certainly be distinguished from other menas I stated before it was by reason of your sins and the sins of your fathers that, among other precepts, God imposed upon you the observence of the sabbath as a mark."
Martin Luther 1543
A piece Martin Luther wrote called, "On The Jews and Their Lies"
"What then shall we Christians do with this damned, rejected race of Jews? Since they live among us and we know about their lying and blasphemy and cursing, we can not tolerate them if we do not wish to share in their lies, curses, and blasphemy. In this way we cannot quench the inextinguishable fire of divine rage nor convert the Jews. We must prayerfully and reverentially practice a merciful severity. Perhaps we may save a few from the fire and flames [of hell]. We must not seek vengeance. They are surely being punished a thousand times more than we might wish them. Let me give you my honest advice.
First, their synagogues should be set on fire, and whatever does not burn up should be covered or spread over with dirt so that no one may ever be able to see a cinder or stone of it. And this ought to be done for the honor of God and of Christianity in order that God may see that we are Christians, and that we have not wittingly tolerated or approved of such public lying, cursing, and blaspheming of His Son and His Christians.
Secondly, their homes should likewise be broken down and destroyed. For they perpetrate the same things there that they do in their synagogues. For this reason they ought to be put under one roof or in a stable, like gypsies, in order that they may realize that they are not masters in our land, as they boast, but miserable captives, as they complain of incessantly before God with bitter wailing.
Thirdly, they should be deprived of their prayer-books and Talmuds in which such idolatry, lies, cursing, and blasphemy are taught.
Fourthly, their rabbis must be forbidden under threat of death to teach any more...
Fifthly, passport and traveling privileges should be absolutely forbidden to the Jews. For they have no business in the rural districts since they are not nobles, nor officials, nor merchants, nor the like. Let them stay at home...If you princes and nobles do not close the road legally to such exploiters, then some troop ought to ride against them, for they will learn from this pamphlet what the Jews are and how to handle them and that they ought not to be protected. You ought not, you cannot protect them, unless in the eyes of God you want to share all their abomination...
To sum up, dear princes and nobles who have Jews in your domains, if this advice of mine does not suit you, then find a better one so that you and we may all be free of this insufferable devilish burden - the Jews..."
I find this very troubling because the Church Fathers were the men who carried on the Christian faith after the apostles. They shaped and molded Christian theologies and traditions that are practiced even to this day. They are Christian men who are highly respected by the Christians of today.
After reading these and other quotes by the Church Fathers, I concluded that it makes no sense for them to be anti-semitic and hostile towards the Jewish people. The God we worship is the God of the Jews. The Savior we believe in is the King of the Jews. He is the Jewish Messiah. After all, the religion that Jesus and all the apostles were indeed Judaism. The first people called Christians were Jews. Jesus is a rabbi, and Paul is a rabbi which meant they were obedient to the Torah, and practiced the Jewish customs. So how can the Church Fathers hate the Jews so much? How can one say, "I love you, God and Jesus, but I hate the people you have chosen, and I hate their ways which are the ways you commanded them to live?" I have to ask, did they also hated the Jewishness of God, Jesus, the apostles, and the Jewishness of the Bible. After all, the Bible is a Jewish book.
To know that many of the practices and traditions we do today originated from people who are anti-semitic is very troubling. It calls me to question the practices and the traditions we Christians keep. I am sad and troubled by these findings, but I am still a believer in our God and Savior Jesus. I just want to get down to understanding God and Jesus the way they were intended to be understood.
I'd appreciate your responses as fellow believers on this subject matter because I believe this is an important issue that we, Christians need to deal with.