Thursday, August 30, 2007

The other calumny of Jeffrey John

Jeffrey John needs little introduction to British evangelicals: he made headlines in 2003 when he was the first person to have openly been in a sexually active gay relationship to be nominated to be a Church of England bishop. Owing to the consequent controversy, he was asked by archbishop Rowan Williams to stand down before he took up the bishopric. More recently, he has been rightly criticised by evangelical bishops for denying the doctrine of penal substitution. On Good Friday, however, he committed another calumny: he said that Jesus' Jewish disciples would have made "good Nazis".

Yes, he actually compared Jews to Nazis, a comparison which surely is as offensive as any, but sadly is all too widespread, whether in Ken Livingstone's likening of Jewish reporter to a concentration guard, or in the iniquitous inversion of terminology in the Arab-Israeli conflict where Israel is compared to the Nazi (the well-documented Nazi roots, shoots and salutes, of Islamic antisemitism notwithstanding).

I would hope that, if his statement was to become more widely known, the evangelical protests would be at least as loud as those over his sexual practices and doctrinal heresies; if not, it would sadly confirm the sneaking suspicion of many British Messianic Jews that antisemitism is British evangelicalism's "acceptable sin".

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