This post first appeared at Fellowship of the Minds
“I am the first and the last, the one who lives.
Once I was dead, but now I am alive forever and ever.”
Union Theological Seminary (UTS) in New York City is the oldest independent seminary “in the Christian tradition”. Founded in 1836 by members of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A, the non-denominational UTS has an endowment of $108 million and is a bastion of “progressive Christianity” and the birthplace of Black theology, womanist theology, and other theological movements. (Wikipedia)
Although UTS’s founding constitution stated the seminary’s goal was to “promote” the “Kingdom of Christ”, and professors were required to affirm they believed “the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be the word of God” and the “only infallible rule of faith and practice,” today’s UTS is more about “progressive” ideology than religion, which is made clear in its “About” page:
Today, the Seminary lives out this formative call to service by training people of all faiths and none who are called to the work of social justice in the world. With roots that are firmly planted in the Protestant tradition, Union actively reforms itself in response to the changing needs of the world and an evolving understanding of what it means to be faithful.
Even worse, the president of Theological Seminary (and its Johnston Family Professor for Religion and Democracy), Serene Jones, 59, formerly the Titus Street Professor of Theology at Yale Divinity School and chair of Gender, Woman, and Sexuality Studies at Yale University, doesn’t even believe in the fundamental tenets of Christianity.
Michael Foust reports for Christian Headlines, April 25, 2019, that in an interview with Nicholas Kristof of The New York Times for an article published Easter weekend, Serene Jones rejects these fundamental beliefs of Christianity:
(1) The Resurrection
Jones, the president of a Christian seminary, does not believe in the literal bodily resurrection of Christ. She said: “When you look in the Gospels, the stories are all over the place. There’s no resurrection story in Mark, just an empty tomb. Those who claim to know whether or not it happened are kidding themselves…. Crucifixion is not something that God is orchestrating from upstairs. The pervasive idea of an abusive God-father who sends his own kid to the cross so God could forgive people is nuts. For me, the cross is an enactment of our human hatred. But what happens on Easter is the triumph of love in the midst of suffering. Isn’t that reason for hope?”
Jones rejects the idea that God miraculously heals through prayer: “I don’t believe in a God who, because of prayer, would decide to cure your mother’s cancer but not cure the mother of your nonpraying neighbor. We can’t manipulate God like that.”
(3) Virgin Birth
Jones said: “I find the virgin birth a bizarre claim. It has nothing to do with Jesus’ message. The virgin birth only becomes important if you have a theology in which sexuality is considered sinful. It also promotes this notion that the pure, untouched female body is the best body, and that idea has led to centuries of oppressing women.”
Nor does Jones believe in Heaven, Hell or an afterlife, all of which implies she does not believe that humans have immoral souls. Asked what happens when people die, Jones responded, “I don’t know! There may be something, there may be nothing. My faith is not tied to some divine promise about the afterlife.”
For that matter, it is doubtful whether Serene Jones even believes in the Christian understanding of God.
Asked how we can reconcile an “omnipotent, omniscient God” with evil and suffering, Jones responded: “At the heart of faith is mystery. God is beyond our knowing, not a being or an essence or an object. But I don’t worship an all-powerful, all-controlling omnipotent, omniscient being. That is a fabrication of Roman juridical theory and Greek mythology.”
Despite not believing in the fundamental tenets that make Christianity, Jones nevertheless calls herself Christian. When Kristof asked her if he can be considered a Christian though not believing in a virgin birth or resurrection, Jones answered, “Well, you sound an awful lot like me, and I’m a Christian minister.”
“This is not Christianity. This is a new religion, a new god, formed in an image intended not to offend modern secular sensibilities. She has constructed a god from post-modern theology that in no way resembles the God of the Bible – the one true God…. [Jones denies] the reality of the resurrection, the necessity of the virgin birth, the attributes of God, the power of prayer, and the existence of heaven and hell. According to Jones, there is no cross on which Jesus died for sin, there is no Father who sent the Son to pay our ransom, there is no bodily resurrection of Christ from the dead as a sign and seal of God’s promises – indeed, she has denied everything that makes the gospel good news. She even denies that God is a ‘being’…. Why would anyone identify as a Christian minister and then deny the entire superstructure of Christian theology? What we see here is a hope to replace biblical Christianity with a new religion without anyone noticing.”
Below is my rebuttal to Serene Jones’ apostasy:
- On the Resurrection, see:
- On Virgin Birth, see:
- “Sunday Devotional: The child to be born will be the Son of God,” on DNA evidence of Virgin Birth.
- On miracles (defined as phenomena that are not explicable by natural or scientific laws), see:
- The Smell of Rain
- Drowning men saved by a force
- The Miracle of the Sinking SUV
- The mysterious voice calling for help
- We have no nurse named Benjamin
- 10-year-old boy sees Jesus figure in hospital; begins recovery
- The Stranger in the Snow
- Miracle of the Hotwater Bottle
- Painting of Archangel Michael weeps
- The Bat Cave Miracle
- Fallen into the hollow of a tree, 9 y.o. girl met Jesus and unborn sister
- Invoking the name of Jesus Christ repels demons/alien abduction