By Robert Wurtz II
When I first heard of the tractate 'On the Jews and their Lies' by Martin Luther I was overcome with disbelief. It caused me to somewhat question a lot of teachings and things about him that I had held so dearly. But the thing that you must consider is that there are no 'Comic Book' figures in scripture. God has allowed nearly every man and woman of God in scripture to be shown in the light of their humanness and frailty. God did not hide David's sin, nor did He hide Moses' smiting of the rock. God told us about Elijah's trip to the cave and Samuels sons who 'knew not the Lord.' This list is almost as long as all the names in scripture. God never allows us to view his servants as anything more than what they are- humans with a fallen nature. Paul and Barnabus' split could have been hidden and so could have Peter's respect of persons that Paul refers to in Galatians. Men after the apostolic age are no different. They all had issues of some sort or another.
When it comes to past believers and teachers of truth after the apostolic age, there are some issues that immediately come into the limelight to demonstrate that we can never look back and try to emulate what these men were- and that, because God has consistently been leading Christ's bride (the Church) to perfection and getting Her ready for His return and these were imperfect men. We learn from them and appreciate the progress that God brought through them; but they are not where Christ wants us.
Since John the Revelator passed on the Church has lacked an emphasis on Love. As you follow the creeds, councils, and controversaries of the ante-nicene era you see a Church almost preoccupied with refining theological concepts. The Church moved to Ephesus (as it were) and then on to Rome. From there a struggle against those who oppose Christendom began. Even fighting in the later centuries with Muslim's. It is as though the Catholic Church at one point took up the whole 'Jihad' philosophy and began Crusades and other violent acts. I am told that the passage to justify these acts were 'The Kingdom of Heaven suffers violence and the violent take it by force.' This is wildly out of context. We know that this was not the "Remnant Church" acting and doing these things; but you must know that they were done in the name of Christianity and we are to some degree tainted by their iniquity many of the Jews eyes.
John Calvin and Martin Luther are who I wish to focus on in this immediate study. John Calvin had Michel Servetus burned alive at Geneva because of his heretical teachings. No matter what you say about Calvin's contributions to Christianity- this act stands out like a sore thumb. No one can give a biblical justification for such an act in scripture. Paul turned such people as this over to Satan so they would learn not to blaspheme. In the end Paul said 'Alexander the Coppersmith has done me much evil, the Lord reward him according to his works.' It is a meekness that acknowledged God's sovereignty as being in control of the affairs of men. Paul's method is what scripture teaches is to be done- not applying fire as did the Catholics to the Lollards at Smithfield and elsewhere. The Catholic's applied fire and later did the Protestants.
Martin Luther has a vile stain upon his life that has caused more pain and suffering than Calvin could have ever done by burning Severtus. He wrote a tractate called 'On the Jews and the Lies.' The Nazi's used this tractate in inferences and such in their philosophy of the 'Final Solution.' I have read a good portion of this translated work and could read no further. It is readily available for all to read and see discussed by simply typing in key words 'On the Jews and their Lies' into google or any search engine. The connection between this tractate and the holocaust is clear. Protestants who have never heard of this will likely be shocked. these were mortal men and do not deserve to be idolized as we often do. That does not please God. We have tried to hide their sin, but God never did that. You must understand that this is one of the great obstacles to sharing the faith with the Jews. They see the Cross as a Sword dipped in 1900 years of Jewish blood in many cases. I will leave you to your own studies.