“Americans need national repentance and atonement.”
That was the headline of an editorial written by Rabbi Michael Lerner. He is editor of Tikkun http://www.tikkun.org, and chair of the Network of Spiritual Progressives (an interfaith organization, open to atheists as well). I got positively excited! It was published in Counter Currents, an alternative webjournal culling news and analysis on the fight against economic globalisation and other issues. A spiritual person, writing about needing atonement! How wonderful!
The declaration of the fact we are sinners is rare these days. I’ve become saddened that so many people refuse to see that they are indeed wretched sinners, in need of a savior. The mere mention of the fact that we sin is enough these days to engender a harsh reaction, even profanity and blasphemy. I’m not kidding, the reactions are loud and brash.
That was why I was excited to see a published column about national repentance and atonement. With beating heart, I began reading.
“Now that the Iraq war is supposedly winding down, America needs a period of reflection, repentance and atonement before rushing into more of the same mistakes we’ve been making globally and domestically.”
Oh. It’s about Iraq. The Rabbi continues, “So I’d like to invite my non-Jewish neighbors and friends and allies in the struggle to heal and transform America to join with Jews…”
‘Heal America’? How about healing the soul? A healing that only Jesus can accomplish? Nope, the Rabbi continues: “…taking collective responsibility for our larger world.” Unfortunately, the rabbi’s stance of taking collective responsibility for our larger world means that the rabbi is less interested in the front and center fact of individual sin, and would rather submerge that concept into a diluted context of national sin. Removing the immediacy of sin from the actions of the individual person to one that’s further afield (like a ‘nation’) makes it feel less convicting, that is for sure.
And then the horrible zinger comes: “Rather than see ourselves as at the core evil, the Jewish tradition sees us as created in the image of God and hence intrinsically good and worthy-and it is with this understanding that Americans can then feel safe to explore where we’ve gone off course, missed the mark, and hence need a mid-course correction.”
NOOOOOOOO! It is a pure satanic twist, perpetuating the oldest and most basic satanic lie: changing the fact of our craven sin nature to one of intrinsic goodness and worthiness. If we are intrinsically good and worthy, we do not believe we need a savior, which suits satan just fine. Satan’s first lie is that man is intrinsically good. We are not. Satan says if we are left to ourselves, we will do things that are moral, just and upright, (like heal the planet and refrain from wars, as the rabbi states.) Don’t you think that if we could collectively do that which is just and moral we would have already? Satan’s lie about just how good we are is refuted in Romans 5:12 “Wherefore by one man sin entered the world and death by sin, so then death is passed upon all men for all have sinned.”
The essay states that once the notion of sin is pushed from us to the realms of national stumbles, we can feel safe in taking the safe path toward a correction. That path is NOT safe, it is the worst of dangers and snares! “The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, That one may avoid the snares of death.” (Proverbs 14:7).
The rabbi then proposes a course of action, “It won’t take long to help each of us to construct a list of the areas that we need to address in our repentance. We could start with the easy ones: our inability to stop deep ocean drilling for oil and gas even after the Gulf oil disaster; our inability to limit carbon emissions even though the scientific evidence is clear that rising emissions are above the level consistent with continuing human life (and possibly all life) on earth; our inability to acknowledge the pain we’ve inflicted on the Iraqi people by our invasion,…” So the author believes the sins of the world can be cured by intrinsically good and worthy people working together to stop the ‘mistakes’ of oil drilling and excessive carbon emissions. This is another satanic lie, that we can control our own destiny. Certainly, making lists is not going to save us. Satan says man “is the captain of my own fate.” The LORD is the captain of our fate. The Scripture says, “A man can do nothing except it be given him from heaven.” (John 3:27) and “We can make our plans, but the final outcome is in God’s hands.” (Proverbs 16:1)
The worst is yet to come. There is included in the essay a prayer template in which we are to among other things, ask for atonement “For the sin of not doing enough to challenge racist, sexist, and homophobic institutions and practices…” I ask, just whom do we ask for atonement of these communal ‘sins’? He writes, “For these sins we ask the people of this planet and the Earth itself to forgive us.”
This essay dismisses the fact of individual sin, proposes safety on the path away from God, and ultimately removes God entirely from the conversation of Whom to ask for forgiveness. “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator–who is forever praised. Amen.” (Romans 1:25). Earth-worship is not new, but calling oil drilling a sin we need to ask each other for forgiveness of, is.
Now, the rabbi knows God, but “although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.” (Romans 1:23-24)
I don’t mean to pick on the Rabbi personally. He is likely a very nice man. He cares about the problems of the world. But he is in a position as editor and contributor to influence a great many people. In his widely circulated journals he has a responsibility to rightfully handle the word of Truth. As a Jew, he may not acknowledge the words in the New Testament but the Pharisees themselves said in Luke 5, when Jesus forgave the sins of the paralytic, “The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, “Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” Asking the ‘earth’ and ‘other men’ to forgive our sins is blasphemy, which the rabbi should well know.
It is the end time. “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. (1 Timothy 4:1). In the photo above, the author urges us to collectively lift up the earth as an object of worship, as a created thing we must exalt. In this illustration below, we are told what we must do:
In these days of doctrines of demons, we read a great many things that are couched slyly as satan would say, with insinuating concepts of God as outdated, of personal sin as too harsh to accept against our innate goodness, of men who can collectively make a list and change the world through strength and actions of their own control of destiny. Watch for articles like those, of conversations that accept these lies. We must be strong and call these statements what they are, not mistakes, or wrong thinking, but lies. We do not need correction of national mistakes, but forgiveness of personal sin. Why be so clear and pointed? Jesus calls them lies. Jesus calls them antichrists. “For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist.” (2 John 1:7). “Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour.”