WOULD YOU CONFESS YOUR SINS TO A PLANT? What if you were a seminary student learning to be a minister and this was taught by your professor? Wouldn’t you think something was amiss?
Of course, but that’s just what happened at New York’s Union Theological Seminary last week when an image was posted to Twitter of students gathered around a bunch of plants while one seminarian was apparently disclosing his deepest, darkest secrets to the flora fellowship.
This is the natural progression of “Liberal Theology,” not to be confused with Liberal politics.
Foremost expert on American theology, Gary Dorrien, an Episcopal priest and a professor at Union Theological Seminary, explains:
“Fundamentally, [Liberal Theology] is the idea of a genuine Christianity not based on external authority…[but] seeks to reinterpret the symbols of Christianity in a way that creates a progressive religious alternative…defined by its openness to the verdicts of modern intellectual inquiry, especially the natural and social sciences; its commitment to the authority of individual reason and experience; its conception of Christianity as an ethical way of life; its favoring of moral concepts of atonement; and its commitment to make Christianity credible and socially relevant to modern people.”
Though Union Theological Seminary shed its Presbyterian roots over a hundred years ago and became a flagship liberal institution devoted to many gods, there are other universities who also had a proud Christian heritage “based on an external authority” in the beginning, but then abandoned it for the spirit of the age.
“106 of the first 108 colleges were started on the Christian faith,” wrote April Shenandoah of the Sierra Times. “By the close of 1860 there were 246 colleges in America. Seventeen of these were state institutions; almost every other one was founded by Christian denominations or by individuals who avowed a religious purpose.”
Harvard College, named after a Christian minister, was founded in 1636 with this statement being its Original Rule: