32: Letter from the Front
Having spent three days with 11,000 professors of religion and Bible at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion (AAR) and the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) in Washington DC., I’m glad to be back in the peace of my Californian study. Every year, in the academy, orthodox biblical Christianity decreases in representation, while radical liberalism increases. The liberal SBL, founded in 1880, welcomed the fledgling AAR in 1963, but it is now being thrown out of AAR, apparently because privileging one religion in a meeting of “religion teachers” is too politically incorrect. So the cuckoo takes over the nest and the SBL must fend for itself.
While the joint arrangement persists (until 2008), I am able to observe religious history as it happens. Since 1991 I have witnessed the radical agenda stretch the liberal envelop to unimaginable extremes. I have deliberately attended the “cutting edge” seminars, since what the “cutting edge” conceives soon becomes acceptable to the liberal majority. Here is a sampling of this year’s offerings:
- In her plenary address, Diana Eck, president of AAR and professor at Harvard, introduced herself as a Montanan, a Methodist and a Massachusetts–recently–married gay—to enthusiastic applause. Her great contribution is the promotion of religious pluralism in America, but religious pluralism is often accompanied by sexual pluralism;
- In The Contemporary Pagan Studies Consultation, academic witches and warlocks conferred on the spiritual power of “fire circle drumming,” in which fire represents “hardly contained desire.” The audience heard about “Paganistan,” the thriving Wiccan community in Minnesota, and a lecture entitled “The Pagan Explosion,” documented that paganism has grown 38 fold in the USA in the last eleven years and 250–fold in Australia in the last five years;
- In The Theology and Religion Section: Jim Wallis’ God’s Politics, Wallis reduced the Christian message to a modern version of a social gospel for the Democratic party. An “evangelical feminist” railed against the genocidal foundation of America and called for the deconstruction of “normative heteropatriarchy.” One small but bright light came from a Canadian scholar who accused Wallis of nationalistic idolatry for making America, rather than the church, the source of Gospel action;
- In a review session of Christ and the Single Savior, Yale professor Dale B. Martin’s homoerotic interpretation of the New Testament teaching on sexuality began with a professor from Harvard Divinity School introducing herself by saying: “I do not know where I am in relation to Christianity.” Such confusion was hardly lifted when a Yale professor of theology asked Martin where Jesus had gay sex. Martin replied: “In the park, which is what the gospel writers meant by ‘garden.'” This trivialization and eroticization of Jesus Gethsemane suffering elicited not a single objection from the numerous theology professors in attendance;
- In The Queer Theory and LGBT Studies in Religion Consultation a paper “showed” the deep theological meaning of homosexual bathroom graffiti. With the verbal verve of a rap artist, gross sexual perversion was transformed into a noble response to “the dominant hegemonic power–structures of white, heterosexual, capitalistic society.” Another gay theologian argued that there was no genetic “binary template” (male/female) so we are all sexually becoming whatever we wish to be;
These professors constitute an armada of brain–power deployed on our campuses to form the thinking of the rising generation. They are succeeding.
Radio host Dennis Prager interviewed a university senior who went to college a confirmed heterosexual but leaves, like many, convinced that there are numerous valid forms of sexuality. On the related issue of abortion, a poll shows that while only 37% of high school graduates are pro–choice, 73% of women leaving college are.
Exposed to the extremist ideology I saw last week, our college students are crumbling. The students I met this year haunt my thinking and stir up my gospel passion. I pray fervently that God will use me to strengthen their hearts, encourage their minds and feed their souls. I’d like to provide them with a national conference, written materials, courses, lectures, CD’s–whatever I can to help them. I need an energetic, articulate assistant to help me plan conferences; some savvy researchers to understand and interact with the materials these students are reading; an army of parents, grandparents, pastors and Sunday School teachers who will pray for truthXchange and for these students. Will you help counter the influence of radical apostasy? Will you share this Newsletter with a few friends: Pray with and for me? Consider giving truthXchange a year–end donation to help us accomplish this enormous task? Pray that a courageous, convincing Christian witness might be heard in the halls of academia, in the corridors of our culture, in the intimacy of our families, and in the sanctity of our churches.
CHRISTOS KURIOS: CHRIST IS LORD.