On the Eruption of Antisemitism/Anti-Judaism on University and College Campuses in the Wake of Hamas’ Terrorist Attack on Israel and Israel’s Declaration of War on Hamas A Declaration

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John Rasmussen


The Declaration views the events of October 7th through the eyes of a theologian of the cross. Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation (1518) is employed as a hermeneutical ‘lens’ to elucidate the shape of our witness as Christians to such events. The declaration:

  1. Confesses the past Christian penchant towards anti-Judaism;

  2. Asserts the inescapability for Christians to bear witness against evil, specifically here the hatred of Jews qua Jews;

  3. Points to the idolatry of being wholly conditioned by history, yet claiming the ability to make unconditional judgments about history from a position above history; 

  4. Declares the unity before God of Jew and Gentile (“one in Christ,” “one in sin,” and “one in our common humanity;”

  5. Asserts there is no moral equivalency between the unprovoked Hamas attack on October 7, and the Israeli response it precipitated;

  6. Confesses the bondage to sin expressed in anti-Judaism/antisemitism;

  7. Claims that the Lutheran doctrine of the two kingdoms is relevant to the issue (the judgment that must be made is one of God’s Left Hand);

  8. Declares that we are theologians of the cross in a situation of persecution of our neighbor, and that we cannot thus stand idle in our faith; freedom itself is at stake.

Consideration of these issues are critical to the formation of a faithful and loving witness to events like these that continue to shape the historical context within which we preach, teach, and act.


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How to Cite
Rasmussen, John. “On the Eruption of Antisemitism Anti-Judaism on University and College Campuses in the Wake of Hamas’ Terrorist Attack on Israel and Israel’s Declaration of War on Hamas: A Declaration”. Verba Vitae Journal 1, no. 1-2 (March 29, 2024): 71–86. Accessed June 24, 2024. https://verba-vitae.org/index.php/vvj/article/view/9.
Author Biography

John Rasmussen

John Rasmussen is Assistant Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology, Christ College, Institute of Lutheran Theology.


Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS); BBC; Reuters; The White House; AP News; Memri; Lieber Institute for Law & Warfare at West Point; Israel National News; ELCA News and Events; Brittanica; Wikipedia; Luther's Works (55 Vols.); Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism; Hau: Journal of Ethnographic Theory; Paul Hinlicky, "What Is Antisemitism?", Before Auschwitz: What Christian Theology Must Learn from the Rise of Nazism; Gerhard O. Forde, "Luther and the Jews," Lutheran Quarterly; Dennis Bielfeldt, "“Response to Bishop Eaton’s statement on the Israel-Hamas War,” Facebook Post (October 24, 2023); Robert Kolb, Robert Kolb, “Origin of the Twin Terms Jus Ad Bellum/Jus In Bello,” International Review of the Red Cross 320 (1997): 553-562; James Turner Johnson, “Just War as It Was and Is,” First Things 149 (January 2005): 14-24; Leif Grane, “Article 16: ‘Civil Affairs,’” in The Augsburg Confession: A Commentary, trans. John H. Rasmussen (Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1987), 166-177; Lutheran Book of Worship (Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1978), 56; Luther, The Bondage of the Will (1525), trans. Packer & Johnston (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1957), 162; cf. LW 33:130; Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “On Stupidity,” in Letters and Papers from Prison, Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Works, English ed., 17 vols. (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1996-2014), 8:43; hereafter cited as DBWE; Bonhoeffer, “Ethics as Formation,” in Ethics; DBWE 6:86; The Book of Concord: The Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, eds. Robert Kolb and Timothy Wengert (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2000), 516.6; hereafter cited as BC;