During World War II and immediately following, a widespread distaste for National Socialist antisemitism was fostered in the USA and Western Europe. The Jews exploited this distaste and were successful in drawing Christians away from the Biblical teaching on the wickedness of the Pharisaic Jewish religion. As part of their efforts, the Jews established the International Council of Christians and Jews (ICCJ), an organization devoted to “Christian-Jewish dialogue.” Of course whenever Jews engage in “dialogue” with Christians, the only allowable topic of discussion is how to help the Jews and make Christianity more Jew-friendly.
The ICCJ arranged a meeting of 65 Christians and Jews during the summer of 1947 in Seelisberg, Switzerland. This group, which included rabbis as well as Protestant and Catholic clergy, produced a document known as the 10 Points of Seelisberg. The Christians who endorsed this document entered into a Satanic pact: they repudiated the teaching of the Bible and the tradition of the Church at the direction and instigation of Pharisaic rabbis, and they did this in order to win the favor of the world. At the time, the secular culture had already become fiercely liberal and anti-Christian, and Christian doctrine was blamed, at least in part, for the events of the War. Rather than stand firm against the calumnies of the Jews and gentile liberals and say that Christian doctrine is true and unalterable, the cowardly clergy gave in to worldly pressure and sought the approval of unbelievers by condemning previous generations of Christians as sinful “antisemites.” The Seelisberg Pact is a clear, succinct expression of the heresy of philosemitism—the false doctrine that Christianity and Judaism are somehow compatible, rather than diametrically opposed. In the following paragraphs I provide a close reading of the Seelisberg Pact, and show that the 10 points are meant to undermine the message of the Bible.
The introduction to the Seelisberg Pact from the ICCJ website reads:
The following statement, produced by the Christian participants at the Second conference of the newly formed International Council of Christians and Jews, was one of the first statements following World War II in which Christians, with the advice and counsel of Jews, began to come to terms with the implications of the Shoa (Holocaust).
At once we see the two major misconceptions associated with heretical philosemitism: 1) that the Church should change its teachings because of the events of WWII, and 2) that Jews are qualified to give advice to Christians on theological matters. All Christians should understand that actions carried out by sinful men, including those from a Christian cultural background, have absolutely no bearing on the truth of the Scriptures. We must make our every thought subject to Christ, and not alter His message to suit the times. Regarding the second point, we must recognize that allowing the input of Jews, or of any unbelievers, to influence Christian theological decisions is completely unacceptable. The Jews absurdly claim that their unique historical suffering gives them the right to interfere with Christianity, as if unbelievers who have been maltreated by others thereby become authorities on Christian doctrine. When Jesus was being arrested and Peter inappropriately used violence against their enemies, Jesus rebuked him for it, but Jesus did not then tell Peter to look to the priests and the Pharisees for guidance on interpreting the Gospel message. Those who came to arrest Christ were spiritually blind, and no amount of injustice or violence done to the spiritually blind makes them theological authorities.
Moving on to the Pact itself, the text begins by saying that the antisemitism that was prevalent in the National Socialist regime threatens “to poison the minds of Christians and to involve humanity more and more in a grave guilt with disastrous consequences.” This is a common tactic used by the Jews to attack the Church: they claim that all Christians harbor latent fascist tendencies that can be awakened at any moment unless Christians enlist the healing wisdom of the Jews to purge themselves of “sinful” antisemitism. According to the Jews, throughout the 19 centuries of the Church’s existence, the faithful have been unable to remove the “poison” of antisemitism, and only by letting the Jew meddle with Christian doctrine can Christians avoid future “guilt”. The text continues:
The Christian Churches have indeed always affirmed the un-Christian character of antisemitism, as of all forms of racial hatred, but this has not sufficed to prevent the manifestation among Christians, in various forms, of an undiscriminating racial hatred of the Jews as a people. This would have been impossible if all Christians had been true to the teaching of Jesus Christ on the mercy of God and love of one’s neighbour.
Here we see one of the main tactics of confusion used by the Jews against Christians: by associating Christian doctrine on Judaism with racial beliefs, Christians somehow become responsible for racial theories about the Jews promoted by non-Christians. The National Socialist regime did promote various scientific racial theories about ethnic Jews, but these are questions of biology or sociology, not religion. These racial theories frequently assert that the biology of the Jew is inherently flawed; from a Christian perspective, we do not comment on biology but merely affirm the truth of the Bible: being a Jew by blood is not a sin, but practicing Judaism (i.e., denying that Jesus is the Messiah) is a sin. Just like all sins, Christians are bound to speak the truth on the subject: “When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand” (Ezekiel 3:18). We also see that the Seelisberg Pact makes use of the word “hatred”, another common Jewish tactic. Christians are required to love our enemies, but to hate their sin. Like much of Christian living, this is a very high standard, and I do not doubt that Christians often let their hatred of sin obscure their love for the sinner; however, this does not mean that we should change the Biblical standard. The ultimate goal of the Jews is not to ensure that Christians live up to the command to love one’s neighbor, but to root out from Christianity the righteous hatred of sin. Christians should hate Judaism, just as we hate Islam or pagan idolatry. Any Christian treatment of Judaism that does not emphasize this point is concealing the truth. “Love thy neighbor” is a requirement of the Christian life, but it does not compel us to mollify the condemnations of the wicked found in the Bible.
Turning now to the 10 points of the Seelisberg Pact, I consider each point individually.
Point 1: Remember that One God speaks to us all through the Old and the New Testaments.
I have elsewhere shown that Christians and Jews do not belong to the same God, but the point deserves repeating here: One God did speak through both Testaments, but that One God is the Holy Trinity—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—and the Jews rejected this One God when they rejected the Son. The authors of the Pact say that “One God speaks to US ALL”, implying that Jews can claim the Old Testament to somehow be “their book”. I have shown that this is not the case: Jesus says to the unbelieving Jews, “had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me” (John 5:46). Jesus states that although the Jews read the books of Moses, the Jews do not believe them. From God’s own mouth we hear that Christians are those who believe the holy books, while Jews are those who do not believe them, and yet modern Christians dare to speak of the Old Testament as if it is a text that belongs equally to Christians and Jews.
Point 2: Remember that Jesus was born of a Jewish mother of the seed of David and the people of Israel, and that His everlasting love and forgiveness embraces His own people and the whole world.
I doubt that any Christian has ever forgotten that Jesus was born of the seed of David, but the Christians involved in drafting this document seem to have forgotten that being ethnically Jewish does not make one immune from harsh condemnation. Jesus is addressing ethnic Jews when he says “Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?” (Matthew 23:33). As long as the Jews persist in their rejection of the Word of God, they are worthy of such condemnation.
Point 3: Remember that the first disciples, the apostles and the first martyrs were Jews.
We remember that the first disciples, apostles and martyrs were Jews, and we also remember that those who first persecuted and Church and put the martyrs to death were Jews. More importantly, we remember that the apostles were Jews who accepted God’s New Covenant, and that those who persecuted the apostles were Jews who rejected God’s New Covenant. We Christians are of one spirit with the Jewish apostles and martyrs, those who call themselves Jews today are of one spirit with the Pharisees who murdered our Christ and persecuted his Church.
Point 4: Remember that the fundamental commandment of Christianity, to love God and one’s neighbour, proclaimed already in the Old Testament and confirmed by Jesus, is binding upon both Christians and Jews in all human relationships, without any exception.
I already addressed this issue in the above paragraphs, but to repeat briefly: while we are to strive to love the sinner, we must always denounce sin. Practicing Judaism is a sin, and we put our souls in danger if we refuse to admit this.
Point 5: Avoid distorting or misrepresenting Biblical or post-Biblical Judaism with the object of extolling Christianity.
Christianity is anti-Jewish because the Jews are the Pharisees of today. The Jews admit that the teaching of their rabbis is wholly derived from the tradition of the Pharisees, and therefore Christians must condemn the Pharisees of today as harshly as Jesus condemned the Pharisees of the 1st century. Those who claim that Judaism is the pure religion of the Old Testament are the ones who are guilty of misrepresentation.
Point 6: Avoid using the word Jews in the exclusive sense of the enemies of Jesus, and the words “the enemies of Jesus” to designate the whole Jewish people.
Let us look at how the authors of the New Testament use the word “Jews”: “And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release him: but the Jews cried out, saying, If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar’s friend” (John 19:12), “the Jews, who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men” (1 Thessalonians 2:14-15). By the time the New Testament was written, the word “Jew” was already used to refer to those of Jewish ethnicity who rejected the Messiah. I see no reason to stray from the example presented in Scripture.
Point 7: Avoid presenting the Passion in such a way as to bring the odium of the killing of Jesus upon all Jews or upon Jews alone. It was only a section of the Jews in Jerusalem who demanded the death of Jesus, and the Christian message has always been that it was the sins of mankind which were exemplified by those Jews and the sins in which all men share that brought Christ to the Cross.
The authors of the Pact humorously make an appeal to what “the Christian message has always been” to justify their distortion of the unanimous and clear teaching of the Church that the Jews played a unique role in the murder of Christ. Above I quoted from 1 Thessalonians, where the Apostle Paul clearly says that it was the Jews who killed Jesus, not all men. When speaking of the Jews of his day, Paul says that they are guilty not just of the murder of Jesus, but of the prophets as well, showing that later generations can be guilty of crimes committed in the past if they persist in the same false beliefs as those who actually committed the crime. We see the same idea in Matthew 23, where Christ tells the Pharisees that they bear the guilt of murders from long ago. Thus it is wrong to say that the only guilty Jews are those who were in Jerusalem at the time of the Crucifixion.
Point 8: Avoid referring to the scriptural curses, or the cry of a raging mob: “His blood be upon us and our children,” without remembering that this cry should not count against the infinitely more weighty words of our Lord: “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”
This is possibly the verse from the Bible that most offends the Jews: “His blood be on us, and on our children” (Matthew 27:25). The Church has always interpreted this to mean that those Jews who continue to support the teachings of the Pharisaic rabbis are especially cursed. As an example of a traditional Christian interpretation of this line, we cite Matthew Henry, the great Protestant Bible commentator of the early 18th century, who wrote that “The Jews’ curse upon themselves has been awfully answered in the sufferings of their nation”. The ICCJ was founded in order to save the Jews from further suffering, but the only truly Christian answer to the question of Jewish suffering is for the Jews to repent and accept Jesus as their Messiah. When we pray for the Jews, we pray not only that God forgive them, but that they convert to the Christian faith. Concealing from the world the horrible sins of the Jews as proclaimed in Scripture is a disservice to both Jews and Christians.
Point 9: Avoid promoting the superstitious notion that the Jewish people are reprobate, accursed, reserved for a destiny of suffering.
The “Christians” involved in drafting the Seelisberg Pact reveal their contempt for Scripture when they declare the opinion that unbelievers are destined to suffer to be “superstitious”. When addressing the unbelieving Jews of the 1st century, Jesus says, “I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee” (Matthew 11:24). Jesus here says not only that Jews who reject their own Messiah will suffer, but that they will suffer worse punishment than even the Sodomites. Denying that unrepentant Jews will suffer implies that the Jews are saved without Christ, an utterly blasphemous opinion.
Point 10: Avoid speaking of the Jews as if the first members of the Church had not been Jews.
We have already shown how the Apostle Paul, himself ethnically a Jew, uses the word “Jews” to refer to the enemies of Christ, and that the earliest persecutors of the Church were Jews. The fact that the Christ-denying Jews of today are the physical descendants of the original Covenant nation should not be a source of pride, but of shame. God prepared Israel as a special nation for the purpose of bringing the Messiah into the world, and by rejecting the Messiah, the Jews go against that divine purpose.
The authors of the Seelisberg Pact wrote that they hoped their project would “promote brotherly love towards the sorely-tried people of the old covenant.” The sufferings of the Jews will end only when they accept Jesus Christ, who is the only spiritual health and the only salvation. I have shown what true brotherly love is: fearless and unadulterated witnessing of the truth, regardless of the opinion of the world or of unbelieving Jews. The Gospel should be offensive to those who think they can live without the life-giving sacrifice of Jesus, and if we soften the Gospel to make it less offensive, we perform a great injustice.