Our Hands Are Stained With Blood by Michael Brown
(Shippensburg: Destiny Image, 2002)
This is a well-documented overview of the painful history of the Jewish people and the institution of the Church. From the early strains of anti-Semitism in the writings of the “Church Fathers” through the Crusades, the Inquisition, the Holocaust and even into current attitudes, Dr. Brown sets down the heartbreaking tale of Jewish maltreatment at the hands of the Church. Alongside of this, he builds a case, primarily based on Romans chapters 9-11, of the stance the Church should take toward the Jewish people.
Lutzer’s treatment of the rise of the Third Reich focuses on the diabolical forces of spiritual darkness behind Hitler’s strategy to replace authentic religion with the idolatry of National Socialism. In addition to the use of anti-Semitic propaganda, the Nazi machine also employed a well-developed strategy to deceive, divide and dismember the Church. Lutzer also draws some timely lessons for us today, as he considers the dangers of confusing Church and State.
This is an excellent primer for those new to the history of anti-Semitism. In addition to providing historical context, it also contains fresh material, most of which is being generated from Europe in recent years. Taken altogether, this is a thought-provoking study, written in a lively and readable style. In considering the contemporary dangers to the Jewish people, Melnick poses the sobering question of whether the Jewish people ought to be seriously alarmed by the trend he identifies.
First published in 1966, The Fixer garnered both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. Based on an actual historical case in Kiev just prior to World War I, it tells the story of Yakov Bok, an itinerant Jewish “fixer” who leaves his shtetl to encounter the wider world. Along the way, he is imprisoned without evidence for the crime of ritual murder – a horrific slander against the Jewish people, in which they are accused of using the blood of Gentile infants in the making of matzah. Placed in solitary confinement, Bok is subjected many indignities and tortures, but resolves not to confess his imaginary crime. The book explores not only the mentality of Bok’s anti-Semitic tormentors, but also his own growing awareness of his Jewish identity.
Written at the end of World War II, as the horrifying facts of Jewish extermination were beginning to be fully known, this short work is a cry from the heart by one of the towering figures of the Yiddish literary world. Although his own beliefs have been hotly debated, Asch, who was best known to the wider world for his New Testament novels (The Nazarene, The Apostle, Mary), had great sympathy for the Christian viewpoint. This passionate and well-crafted book is an essential read for every Christian who loves the Jewish people.