Thursday, June 25, 2015

Prager Does Not Understand Christ's Forgiveness

Dennis Prager is one of the foremost religious conservative minds of our time.

I have found a strong affiliation with many of his writings.

On the subject of forgiveness, however, he exposes his misunderstanding of the Old and the New Covenants (already prophesied in the Hebrew Bible).

He also misunderstands too much about New Testament doctrine, including his present rejection of Jesus Christ as the Messiah long-awaited by the Jewish people, yet rejected by many of them when He appeared, prophesied, died on the Cross, then rose again.

His latest remarks about the Charleston, South Carolina shooting again show the disjunction regarding the true meaning of forgiveness, as separated from civil penalties, and the basis by which Christians forgive evil doers and their deeds.

Although moved by the forgiveness of the victims' family members, he disagreed with it.


First, consistent with my religion, Judaism, I do not believe that anyone but the actual victim has the right to forgive someone for the evil they have inflicted. If I steal from you, you have the right to forgive me, but your best friend doesn't. If Jones rapes my daughter, my daughter can forgive Jones, but I cannot. Among other reasons, I don't own my daughter, and, as pained as I would be, I wasn't the person raped.

First, I would counter that Judaism is not Prager's religion, nor is he the final authority on its dictates or traditions.

Second, if Prager expects Jewish people to live by the tenets of the Hebrew Bible and the Midrashim, how does he explain what sets aside their sins? Throughout the first Five Books, the persons recorded in the several accounts rely on the blood of animals to atone for their sins.

What forgives the sins of Jewish people today?

If he read over the Navim (the prophets), they all speak of the Messiah:

"1Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?

Dennis Prager
2For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
3He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
5But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed." (Isaiah 53:1-5)
Then there's the New Covenant. Not the Ten Commandments (a pristine and righteous set of demands who no one can keep):
"8In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer.
9For this is as the waters of Noah unto me: for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee.
10For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee." (Isaiah 54: 8-10)
and then
"And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more." (Jeremiah 31: 34)
We have this forgiveness of sins -- all our sins -- because of Jesus' Work at the Cross.
The writer of the Book of Hebrews explains:
"Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;" (Hebrews 1: 3)
"But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;" (Hebrews 10:12)
Today, men and women who believe in Jesus do not forgive out of a sense of obligation.
We forgive graciously, because Jesus has so freely forgiven us!
"31Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: 32And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." (Ephesians 4: 31-32)
In fact, the blood of Jesus is so powerful, that His blood, far better than of bulls and goats, cleanses (present tense!) forever!
"But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." (1 John 1: 7)
"1My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 2And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." (1 John 2: 1-2)
Prager does not understand this forgiveness because Judaism is in fact a backtrack to Moses, when God had intended for every person, the Jew first and then the Gentile, to believe on His Son Jesus!
Many Christians believe that their faith demands forgiveness of everyone for everything. I don't know why they believe this. Certainly that is not standard Catholic or Protestant doctrine. Nor is Christ the model for this idea. He forgave those who crucified him, not all those who crucified others.
There may be Christians who believe that they "have to forgive", but that does not diminish the blessed goodness of God our Father, and the blessed sonship which we receive from Him through Jesus.
In fact, there is nothing but goodness and glory for Christians, many of whom have yet to learn of the incredible inheritance offered to us:
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ" (Ephesians 1: 3)
" God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: (Ephesians 2:4-6)
"31What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? 32He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? 33Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. 34Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us." (Romans 8: 31-34)
There is so much about the blood of Jesus, about the grace of God, which Prager simply does not understand. Forget the doctrines of men, but look at the Word of God.
Another thing that puzzles Prager:
Second, I am not aware of Roof having repented. And even God Himself doesn't forgive those who never repent.
The Bible answers this question:
6For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. 8But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him." (Romans 5:6-9)
The grace of God does not depend on us. He has provided a payment for our sins. We can extend this grace to others, but whether they accept it is up to them.
His third point is actually well worth considering:
Third, regarding whites, blacks and crimes, we seem to inhabit a strange moral universe. Great numbers of black Americans seem to be unable or unwilling to forgive America -- specifically white Americans -- for sins committed by whites who are long dead. But many seem to support the forgiveness of a white man who murdered nine blacks last week.

Indeed, there are elements in "black America" who insist on castigating this country over its past sins and failures. Sociologists still point to slavery as the cause for much of the pathology in black families (in reality, it's government subsidy and regulatory burdens which stifle freedom and responsibility).
Other than his third point, Prager's misunderstanding about the grace of God, and the Gospel of grace, underscores the truth about Christ Jesus and Christianity.

No comments:

Post a Comment