“Covenant and Controversy”: Examining the Christian Roots of Anti-Semitism

By Joshua Sharf, Originally published in Patheos

Over the last 50 years, the success of Israel, America’s movement toward a more open society, and a desire for a closer relationship between Christians and Jews, have led American Christians to begin to confront the Christian roots of anti-Semitism in a serious way.

The reorientation really began in late 1965, with Pope John XXIII’s Nostra Aetate, where he disavowed Jewish responsibility for the crucifixion and acknowledged the continuance of God’s covenant with the Jews, a statement reinforced by Pope John Paul II in November 1980.  It was affirmed by Israel’s stunning victory in 1967’s Six Day War, which showed the world Jews who fight.  If there’s anything Americans respect, it’s people who fight for themselves.

Now a new movie, Covenant and Controversy, takes on replacement theology, or supersessionism, with mixed results.  Still preached by many evangelical faiths, replacement theology has been responsible for some of the deepest anti-Semitic attitudes in Europe and what used to be known as Christendom.

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