(Photo: The Christian Post/Katherine Weber)
T.D. Jakes recently released a new book on forgiveness that has at least one critic accusing the renowned preacher of denying the doctrine of original sin.
Chris Rosebrough, an apologist, rejected Jakes' statement to CP that forgiveness is innate and unforgiveness is learned from one's environment. There isn't a "single passage (in Scripture) that says human beings are by nature forgiving," he argued.
Rosebrough explored the premise of Jakes' new book Let It Go: Forgive So You Can Be Forgiven on his radio program, "Fighting for the Faith."
Jakes is the pastor of the 30,000-member The Potter's House in Dallas, Texas, and his book claims that people learn how to be unforgiving by behavior modeled to them, so this means they can also unlearn it and become forgiving.
Listing some of the sources of unforgiveness, the Dallas pastor said that it often stems from people feeling their future has been damaged or taken from them, or if betrayal has not been sufficiently atoned.
Jakes also explained to The Christian Post in a previous interview that people develop the ability to forgive or not to forgive based on what they see demonstrated at a young age. "We don't come here unforgiving. Children are not unforgiving. You can punish them and they will hug you in a few minutes," Jakes told CP. "They can have an altercation with another child and want to go outside and play by lunch time."
But Rosebrough said not so fast. There are "many passages that say we are by nature evil, sinful, at war with God, objects of God's wrath, dead in trespasses and sins," he contended.
Jakes' idea of being forgiving in nature makes it seem like there is something good in our nature, which also would be running contrary to the Word of God, Rosebrough argued. He called the idea that children are naturally forgiving an "argument from limited experience."
Rosebrough noted that he has seen many children do just the opposite of what Jakes mentioned, such as pitching temper tantrums, or not always forgiving or wanting to forgive. It isn't part of our human nature to want that, he asserted.
Jakes, meanwhile, has stated in an earlier interview with CP that people "come here with a certain propensity to be open, loving, accepting, and trusting. We learn to be unforgiving, doubtful, suspicious, guilt-ridden, and anxious."
"When people feel the urge to go against someone, then they should try to go the opposite direction of the emotion," he writes in the book. "See, we are commanded to forgive [but] we are not commanded to trust. We wouldn't be commanded to do something we can't do."
Rosebrough called this a "classic argument" and also a "terrible one," because we are commanded to obey God's law perfectly even though this is impossible. Jesus was the only human that actually did that. He explained that if someone thinks they can keep God's law, then they don't understand the depth and magnitude of their inborn sinful nature.
What we can be sure of, Rosebrough said, is that "Jesus taught us to pray daily for God's forgiveness." And in talking about sinful or unforgiving behavior, it shouldn't be about you "unlearning" a behavior, it should be about asking, "Do I need a crucified and risen savior for any of that?"
For Rosebrough, the answer is a resounding yes.