In 1914, one of Reformer Martin Luther’s letters resurfaced as part of a German baron’s private collection. Fast forward to 2018 and that controversial letter is up for auction by a German document collector. It’s expected to fetch $300,000. What makes it so special, so controversial? The one-page letter contains language which highlights Martin Luther’s reputed anti-Semitism.
The letter was a response Luther wrote to a fellow clergyman at St. Nicholas Church in Berlin, Germany, in 1543. Georg Buchholzer had asked Luther his opinion on whether or not to preach negative words about Jews who had rejected their Messiah. Buchholzer had been approached by a former friend and ex-colleague of Luther’s named Johann Agricola who quoted Bible verses on why it was best to treat German Jews as friends. It was then that Luther responded, “…these Jews are not Jews, but devils incarnate who curse our Lord,” as he encouraged Buchholzer to keep on preaching against the Jews and even called Agricola a habitual liar.
Scholars claim, given Luther’s whole body of writings, that he merely expressed such sentiments based on his theological disagreements with Jewish doctrine. Luther supposedly had expressed several times in his writings he was against any physical harm to the Jews and thought Christians should be tolerant of them. Luther even went so far as to argue against the common belief of Medieval Christians that Jews should be blamed for Christ’s deadly crucifixion.
Nevertheless, scholars acknowledge that Luther’s words criticizing Jews were largely used to form the basis of European anti-Semitic violence against Jews, including rhetoric used by Hitler and his Third Reich. Even today, Luther is used by anti-Semites to justify hate for all Jews, Christian or non-Christian, rich or poor, as they proclaim all Jews are as evil as globalist Jews such as George Soros and the Rothchilds. I won’t even tell you what racist, vile language has been hurled at me for suggesting that Jews should be judged by the content of their character on a case-by-case basis just like any other people group. One anti-Semitic commenter told me once that it was stupid and a waste of time to try to distinguish a good Jew from a bad Jew.
Although it’s true Christ in Revelation said unbelieving Jews who persecuted Christians weren’t really Jews but the synagogue of Satan and Paul criticized Jews for their unbelief, there was a point at which their criticism stopped. Anti-Semites who use the Bible to justify their hate for Jews totally ignore that. Christ and his disciples, being mostly Jews themselves, never called for the total annihilation of Jews as anti-Semites do these days. While Christ and his apostles criticized their evil behavior, they also criticized the evil behavior of Gentiles in an equal manner. They also taught us to love our enemies whether Jew or Gentile and also pointed out how Jews would not only be part of Christ’s church, but would also play a positive, vital role in the endtimes, especially during the tribulation.
What then? are we better than they [i.e. unbelieving Jews]? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; Romans 3:9