Replacement Theory And Anti-Semitism
All of the interpreters, whom I examine in this article (with the exception of the last), regarded the first invited guests as the Jewish nation and the second invited guests as Gentiles. They all believed that the destruction of the city of the first guests represents the devastation of Jerusalem, which is God’s judgment on Jews. Chrysostom asserted that God foreknows the Jews’ refusals of Christ. He first sent his prophets and Christ to them in order to stop their mouths. Now they have no excuse to blame God for the expulsion. Augustine depicted the entire Jewish nation as cruel persecutors of Stephen, in order to elaborate his ‘garment of love’. Luther even claimed that God’s judgment on Jews, …show more content…
This ideology predominated within the Western Church for over thousand years, and provoked the hatred of Jews. The most disastrous example is the Holocaust. Over six million Jews were killed in this genocide. However, most German Christians and theologians at that time did not criticize the Nazis’ anti-Semitic policies, for they believed that Jews are the murderer of Christ so that they were cursed by God just as Luther said.
As we have discussed, the first invited guests should be regarded as Jewish leaders rather than the whole Jewish nation. For the evangelist, the former should bear the responsibility of the devastation of Jerusalem. Both Jews and Gentiles are welcome to the kingdom of heaven and have the same responsibility to wear their own wedding garment. The replacement theory is indeed a deplorable misinterpretation.
4.2 The Interpretation of …show more content…
Augustine, however, faced different rival. After Christianity became the state religion of the Roman Empire, a large number of people crowded into the church in order to take advantage of this religion. The clergymen who had compromised their faith with the empire during the persecution were restored, which resulted in the discontentment of the Donatists. They advocated excommunicating the traditors and claimed that the sacraments administered by them are ineffective.
Given this background, the interpretation of Augustine may be seen as a response to the Donatists. He highlighted that the church is a mixture of both ‘good’ and ‘evil’. Only God knows whether a believer is among the chosen, and has right to drive him out. Furthermore, by interpreting the wedding garment as charity, Augustine exhorted the Donatists to love their enemy, the traditors, and stop the schism.
On the other hand, Augustine also put stress on the final judgment in response to the loose discipline of the proselytes who merely thought of reaping benefits from the church.