A work-group of Evangelical and Roman Catholic theologians met, May 6-8, 1950, at Bad Schwalbach, called together by the Hesse Council for Jewish-Christian Cooperation and the German Coordinating Committee for Christians and Jews.
Martin Buber’s house (1916–38) in Heppenheim, Germany. Now the headquarters of the International Council of Christians and Jews.
They worked over the Ten Points of Seelisberg and produced “Theses on Christian Doctrinal Pronouncement with regard to continuing errors about the People of God of the Old Covenant”. (Theses 1-5 corresponded to the first five Seelisberg points; theses 6-8 to points 6-10 in altered succession.) These elaborations were offered for study as points which every believing Christian can make his own without conflicting with “some ecclesiastical doctrinal decree of his own confession”.
These are the more important points presented:
“1) ,This one God is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. If we Christians do not believe in this one God then we believe in a false God, even if we call, him the Father of Jesus Christ….
2) When Christians name Jesus the Christ we acknowledge that, since He is the Son of David, … we participate in the redemption which, for Israel, is linked with the coming of the Messiah…. It is no less certain that we still await the day when we will see the manifest fulfillment.
3) The ‘Church … consists of Jews and Gentiles who are … joined together as the new people of God….
5) It would be wrong to haughtily disparage ‘the Jews’ of the biblical or post-biblical time in contrast to ‘the Christians’ instead of simply acknowledging the Gospel as the fulfillment of the Law.
7) In so far as men may judge …, the guilty attitudes of the contemporaries of Jesus can be divided into three very different degrees:
a) the commissions and omissions of the comparatively few who somehow became entangled in the Crucifixion, beginning with those who were driven by political ambition or religious fanaticism to plot the murder of Jesus, … even to the disciples who denied him out of cowardice;
b) the attitude of innumerable people who were irresolute to accept the witness of the Apostles to the Resurrection of Jesus and … his messianic mission rather than the arguments which seemed to charge the one executed for blashemy and rebellion;
c) the hatred with which the many persecutors and detractors pursued Jesus’ disciples. (It must not be forgotten however that since Maimonides the Jewish authorities in ever increasing number recognized the baptized Gentile as worshipper of the true God.)
8) What meaning the Crucifixion of Christ brings to the Alliance between God and Israel — this is a hidden decree within the inviolable faithfulness of God to His people which even … the Epistle to the Romans reveals but vaguely and rather by way of suggestion….
9) The unique New Testament passage which uses the word ‘rejection’ in reference to the destiny of the Jews (Rom. 11:15) is followed immediately by an allusion to their ‘assumption’. It would be a deformation of Revelation to stress the one side — the actual and temporary one —while neglecting the other — the final one —which will triumph over the first”.
What actual effect the Ten Points of Seelisberg and their elaboration has had on theological writings has yet to be studied. A parallel development, less comprehensive in theological thinking but more official is seen first at the World Council of Churches, then at Rome.
Prayer: For 2000 years the church’s teaching on Jews and Judaism has been marked with theological contempt and supersessionist polemic. Thank you Lord for the work that has been done to return to the scriptures and a right understanding of your ongoing love and purposes for your people Israel. There is still much work to be done in this area, so please forgive the errors of the past and set us firmly on the path of the truth of your word. In the name of Yeshua, the Incarnate Word of God we pray. Amen.
Among the 70 participants from 17 countries were:
- 28 Jews, including Jules Isaac, Jacob Kaplan, acting chief rabbi of France, Alexandre Safran, chief rabbi of Romania, the writer Josué Jéhouda, of Geneva; Professor Selig Brodetsky, president of the Representative Council of the Jews of England.
- 23 Protestants,
- 9 Catholics, including Père Marie-Benoît, Father Calliste Lopinot, Abbot Charles Journet, Father Jean de Menasce, Father Paul Démann.
International Council of Christians and Jews
The 10 Points of Seelisburg, 1947
“The following statement, produced by the Christian participants at the Second conference of the newly formed International Council of Christians and Jews, was one of the first statements following World War II in which Christians, with the advice and counsel of Jews, began to come to terms with the implications of the Shoa.”
Remember that One God speaks to us all through the Old and the New Testaments (see divine simplicity and monotheism).
Remember that Jesus was born of a Jewish mother of the seed of David and the people of Israel, and that His everlasting love and forgiveness embraces His own people and the whole world. (see Dual-covenant theology and Judaism’s view of Jesus)
Remember that the first disciples, the apostles and the first martyrs were Jews. (see Apostle (Christian))
Remember that the fundamental commandment of Christianity, to love God and one’s neighbour, proclaimed already in the Old Testament and confirmed by Jesus, is binding upon both Christians and Jews in all human relationship, without any exception (see Ethic of reciprocity).
Avoid distorting or misrepresenting biblical or post-biblical Judaism with the object of extolling Christianity. (see legalism and pharisees)
Avoid using the words Jews in the exclusive sense of the enemies of Jesus, and the words The Enemies of Jesus to designate the whole Jewish people. (see Jew (disambiguation))
Avoid presenting the Passion in such a way as to bring the odium of the killing of Jesus upon all Jews or upon Jews alone. It was only a section of the Jews in Jerusalem who demanded the death of Jesus, and the Christian message has always been that it was the sins of mankind which were exemplified by those Jews and the sins in which all men share that brought Christ to the Cross. (see Passion play and deicide)
Avoid referring to the scriptural curses, or the cry of a raging mob: His Blood be Upon Us and Our Children, without remembering that this cry should not count against the infinitely more weighty words of our Lord: Father Forgive Them, for They Know no What They Do. (see blood curse)
Avoid promoting the superstitious notion that the Jewish people are reprobate, accursed, reserved for a destiny of suffering. (see Wandering Jew)
Avoid speaking of the Jews as if the first members of the Church had not been Jews. (see Council of Jerusalem)