Protestant churches in Germany have decided to stop any attempt to convert the Jews to the Christian faith and abandon their “Mission to the Jews.”
In a resolution passed Nov. 9, the synod of the Evangelical Church in Germany has formally renounced any effort to convert the Jews to Christianity, saying Christians “are not called to show Israel the path to God and his salvation,” Religion News Service reported.
The resolution stated that since God has not renounced his covenant with the Jews, the Jews don’t have to become Christians in order to be saved.
“All efforts to convert Jews contradict our commitment to the faithfulness of God and the election of Israel,” the resolution said. It adds that Christians seeing Jesus as their Savior and the Jews not sharing the same perspective is “a fact we leave up to God.”
The Evangelical Church in Germany is a group up of 20 Lutheran, United and Reformed churches and makes up about a third of the German population. Traditionally, the EKD has distanced itself from efforts to convert Jews to Christianity after the holocaust, but this is the first time it has done so officially.
“The historical argument that a Jewish mission is forbidden anyway after the Holocaust is addressed in one sentence: the confession of 'Christian responsibility' in the national socialist genocide and the associated rethinking also have consequences for a Christian testimony against Jews,” the EKD wrote.
Irmgard Schwaetzer, president of the EKD synod, said the decision is a “further step on the path of contemplation and reorientation in our relationship with Jews,” according to Fox News.
The EKD appears to be distancing itself from the anti-Semitic statements of Martin Luther, who began the Protestant Reformation, and announced its rejection of the “undisguised hatred to the Jews” last year. Luther wrote a treatise called ‘On the Jews and Their Lies’ and encouraged people to attack Jewish homes and synagogues.
However, the resolution brings to question some theological contradictions. Small evangelical groups have long opposed abandoning the Mission to the Jews. The Bible commands in the book of Matthew that believers should “go into all the world and make disciples of all nations.”
The Central Council of Jews in Germany expressed approval over the new resolution.
“This clear renunciation of the Mission to the Jews means very much for the Jewish community. With it, the EKD recognizes the suffering that the forced conversion of many Jews over the centuries has caused,” Josef Schuster, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, said.
Aside from the EKD, the Vatican has also renounced its anti-Semitic theology, announcing on December 2015 that it “neither conducts nor supports any specific institutional mission work directed towards Jews.”