Posted on | April 1, 2016 | 51 Comments
Augsburg College was once a conservative Christian school, but the salt has lost its savor (Matthew 5:13) and is now good for nothing. Founded in 1869 by Norwegian Luthern immigrants and named for the famous “Augsburg Confession” of 1530, the school was originally a seminary for the training of ministers and for its first 52 years of existence, Augsburg Seminary was a male-only institution. The school’s 20th-century conversion into a liberal arts college was accompanied by the slow-motion abandonment of its Christian heritage and mission. About 2,500 undergraduate students pay $34,431 annual tuition to attend Augsburg’s 24-acre campus on Riverside Avenue in Minneapolis.
Augsburg is affiliated with the ultra-liberal Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) which was formed in 1988 after a schism among Lutherans that emerged in the 1970s. A specific point of contention was the ordination of women, which the ELCA’s predecessor, the Lutheran Church in America, had endorsed in 1970. About one-third of ELCA pastors are now women and, having thus “baptized” radical feminism, so to speak, in 2013 the ELCA elected a woman as its presiding bishop.
To convey a general idea of what sort of ideas nowadays prevail in ELCA circles, the election of Elizabeth Eaton to the denomination’s top post prompted this enthusiastic outburst from Linda Post Bushkofsky, executive director of Women of the ELCA:
As the presiding bishop election process winnowed down nominees, three of the final four candidates were women. . . . As I’ve written before . . . it’s not just about numbers. To respond to the needs facing the church and society in the 21st century, a collaborative leadership style is needed, and studies show that women more naturally use this form of leadership.
See? It’s about “a collaborative leadership style . . . that women more naturally use.” In other words, women are superior to men, and therefore it is “not just about numbers,” but rather about women “naturally” taking control of every position of leadership, leaving men to do . . . what?
Questions like this are never supposed to be asked by those who ponder “the needs facing the church and society in the 21st century,” nor is anyone ever permitted to notice how the abandonment of biblical teaching is reflected by the collapse into secular decadence of formerly Christian schools like Augsburg College. Recall that it was Yale University’s abandonment of its own Christian heritage that was a major focus of William F. Buckley’s famous 1951 critique, God and Man at Yale.
We must wonder what the Lutheran founders of Augsburg College would think to see what the institution has become in the 21st century. The fate of Augsburg alumna Alison Rapp — the defender of child pornography who was fired from her public relations job at Nintendo Wednesday — makes this a “teachable moment,” we might say, for anyone concerned by contemporary trends in our culture. Ms. Rapp graduated from Augsburg in 2011 and wrote, in a 2014 proposal for a conference hosted by the International Communication Association’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Studies Special Interest Group, that she had “conducted research at Augsburg College in Minneapolis, Minnesota on bisexuality in Tokugawa Japan, representations of women in Nintendo’s popular Legend of Zelda series, [and] depictions of gay and lesbian relationships” in pornographic Japanese manga cartoons.
Let the reader try to imagine what those 19th-century Norwegian Lutherans who founded Augsburg Seminary might have said about Ms. Rapp’s “research” and — when you have stopped laughing and caught your breath — think what a serious issue this really is.
Since 1974, ReconcilingWorks: Lutherans for Full Participation has advocated for the full welcome, inclusion, and equity of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) Lutherans in all aspects of the life of their Church, congregations, and community. . . .
We are Lutherans working with the recognition that racism, sexism, ageism, able-ism, heterosexism, homophobia, and all the other artificial distinctions that seek to raise one group into privilege and preference over another, conspire together to diminish our world and church.
"Queer Jesus"? — Rev. Kristin Johnston Largenhttps://t.co/1GOG4Ag8kb
— FreeStacy (@Not_RSMcCain) April 1, 2016
What we may call “The Gospel of Gayness” began to flourish among Lutherans not long after the ordination of women was accepted by the denomination’s liberal leadership. Was this a coincidence? What sort of theology and doctrine does the ECLA promote? Consider the Rev. Amanda Zentz-Alo of Portland, Oregon’s Central Lutheran Church:
Back when I started my ministry, I didn’t know I would be an ally to people who are LGBTQIA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, intersex, asexual). I didn’t know the blessing that this work would be in my life and in my ministry. I had no idea that I would discover that I am called and convicted by Scripture to do it. In 2014, I staffed a “Sacred Space” booth at the Portland Pride Festival, a celebration of and for the LGBTQIA community. . . .
The first time I read a gospel in seminary, my professor opened my eyes to the social justice call of our Savior.
This character — “Social Justice Jesus” — is the progressive mirror-image of “Patriotic Republican Jesus,” the All-American action-hero figure invoked as an object of praise by GOP activists for whom the secular and sacred merge. Liberals have long denounced the “Religious Right” as a menace to democracy, but what about the Religious Left? The Reverend Zentz-Alo, an idolatrous High Priestess in the Temple of Social Justice, proclaims what would seem to be a “salt-free” diet of theological inclusivity and diversity, indistinguishable from the platform of the Democrat Party. The home page of her church declares:
In response to the call in Romans 15:7 to “welcome one another therefore as Christ has welcomed you for the glory of God,” we, the members of Central, join hands with all our sisters and brothers grateful for the unique gifts that each of us has to offer, regardless of race, age, gender identity, marital status, physical and mental abilities, sexual orientation, national origin, or economic status. We celebrate together both the diversity of God’s family and our unity as God’s people.
Certain passages of the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Romans might be cited by critics of the Reverend Zentz-Alo’s “diversity” doctrine, which very much resembles the Gnostic heresy. Giving heed to “seducing spirits,” and teaching “doctrines of devils” (I Timothy 4:1), heretics were a menace to the Church even greater than the persecution of Christians by the Roman authorities. Martyrs died gladly rather than to abandon the true faith, so that the Church might live, but Satan also attacked the early Church with enemies more subtle than pagan emperors. Perhaps no battle Christianity ever fought in its 2,000-year history was more crucial than its defeat of Gnosticism, a perverse cult that hypocritically pretended to be “Christian” while secretly promoting doctrines directly at odds with the true faith.
Among the deadliest weapons of Gnosticism were counterfeit scriptures like The Gospel of Thomas. Gnostic cult leaders also shrewdly attacked the Old Testament in treatises like The Hypostasis of the Archons (“The Reality of the Rulers”). Latter-day critics of Paul’s seemingly “sexist” insistence on all-male clergy have failed to comprehend how, even in the first century, false teachers were using “doctrines of devils” in their diabolic efforts to subvert Christianity through syncretism, attempting to corrupt the Church with anti-Christian pagan beliefs. A blasphemous denial of God’s sovereignty and righteousness, Gnosticism rejected the idea of Original Sin and thus rejected also the significance of Christ’s atoning sacrifice. If humans are sinless, we need no Savior, and what is necessary instead is for humans to get in touch with their inner divinity, to “become part of the universal whole by a process of self-knowledge and self-realization,” as Professor Peter Jones explained in his 1992 book The Gnostic Empire Strikes Back: An Old Heresy for the New Age.
Who Is the ‘Author of Confusion’?
Permit me here to digress and explain how easily erroneous teachings can sneak into even the most devout Christian church. More than 20 years ago, in the lobby of a Seventh-Day Adventist church in Rome, Georgia, I picked up a tract defending the King James Version against its modern critics. What the author called attention to was the way in which the proliferation of new English translations undermined the sense of biblical authority, giving credence to the often-heard skeptic’s argument that somehow errors in the translation of the Bible from its original languages means that we don’t actually know the truth of what Jesus said, et cetera. In addition, making a point incidental to his main argument, the author described a very common way in which Christians sometimes almost unwittingly adopt private or personal interpretations of scripture that are at odds with the actual text of the Bible. You see this often in Bible study groups, where a sort of round-robin discussion format prevails.
It is sadly too common for well-meaning Bible-study teachers, particularly those working with young people, to let their classes turn into a theological parliament, where students are permitted more or less to vote their consensus understanding of scripture. “What this verse means to me,” is a phrase one hears often from the members of such groups. Of course, this is nonsense; what matters is what the verse actually says, and what God means to teach us, and if what it means to you is something different from this actual meaning, then you are wrong.
There is a reason why, whenever I quote the Bible, it is always the King James Version, and I do not mean to say that other translations have no value. However, I think it is no coincidence that we have seen increasing confusion about the meaning of Christianity in the past century, as more and more new translations are pushed into print. Furthermore, neither do I think it is a coincidence that this confusion has been accompanied by a tendency toward the “collaborative leadership style” that the ELCA feminist Linda Post Bushkofsky celebrated as “more naturally” female. “For God is not the author of confusion” (I Corinthians 14:33), and perhaps some readers could cite the following passages of that chapter by heart. Paul’s concern that “all things be done decently and in order” (I Corinthians 14:40) has often been criticized by feminists, but what do we see when the alternative — the consensus approach and “collaborative leadership” — replaces a scriptural understanding of God’s creation?
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply . . .”
— Genesis 1:27-28 (KJV)
You can sit around pondering the ancient Hebrew and Greek texts or engage in whatever other approach to scriptural exegesis suits you, but you cannot evade the clear meaning of God’s word here: First, that the division of humanity into male and female was part of the divine plan and, second, that the blessing came with a commandment to procreate — a commandment that has never been rescinded. Obviously, not every man or woman must marry or have children to serve God, but no one who takes the Bible seriously would ever dare to blaspheme by invoking religious authority to attack the created order.
We may watch the fools of the world go to Hell in their usual way, saying in their hearts there is no God (Psalm 14:1), but how will anyone be saved if God’s people no longer speak the truth? When the Church refuses to cling to truth, and instead becomes “conformed to this world” (Romans 12:2), who will stand apart from the world’s sin and folly? Progressive denominations like the ELCA have abandoned the gospel truth and, exchanging it for a counterfeit neo-gnostic doctrine of “diversity” and “inclusion,” have joined the parade of fools marching down the highway to Hell. Whatever else you may think of the Reverend Zentz-Alo, she is not a Christian minister. She is a liar and a fool teaching falsehood and folly. These heretical High Priestesses in the Temple of Social Justice will call you a “bigot” and accuse you of “hate,” if you teach the Word (John 1:1) and proclaim the Way, the Truth and the Life.
What a dreadful curse must fall on these “progressive” fools! They are servants of sin (Romans 6:20) who do the work of Satan, the father of lies (John 8:44), as they advocate abortion, endorse fornication, and sacrilegiously confer their blessing on sin. But I digress . . .
‘Lustful Gratification of the Flesh’
Feminists have long understood, far better than most of their opponents, that destroying Christianity is necessary to feminism’s success. In the introduction of her 1993 book The Creation of Feminist Consciousness, Gerda Lerner takes aim at the “mental constructs” of Western civilization and “the major assumptions about gender in patriarchal society.” Foremost among these, according to Professor Lerner, is the belief that men and women “are essentially different creatures” in terms of “their needs, capacities and functions.” Professor Lerner, who as a teenager in the 1930s studied Marxist theory under J.B.S. Haldane, specifically targets the belief that men and women differ “in the social function assigned to them by God.” Like every other Marxist, Professor Lerner believed the exact opposite of Judeo-Christian theology. God did not create man in His own image, the Marxist believes, but rather man created God, this fiction serving as a supernatural source of secular authority. Ideas Have Consequences, as Richard Weaver warned, and Marxism’s reversal of Christianity led to the deaths of an estimated 100 million people under the tyranny of Communism in the 20th century.
Despite the bloody costs of this nightmare, Marxism’s deadly ideas have persisted, thanks to the influence of feminists like Professor Lerner. Chapter 5 of her book is devoted to a number of women whose claims of mystical insight served to cloak their proto-feminism in religious authority. These included Margaret Fell, a follower (and subsequently the wife) of George Fox, founder of the Quakers, as well as Ann Lee, who played a crucial role in the Shakers, a sect that split from the Quakers. While serving a jail sentence in 1772, Ann Lee claimed to have a vision and, asserting this as the word of “Christ who dwells in me,” proclaimed that “lustful gratification of the flesh” (i.e., sex) was “the source and foundation of human corruption.” This vision became the basis of a doctrine of celibacy among her Shaker followers who “called her Mother Ann Lee of the New Creation,” as Professor Lerner explained on page 102 of The Creation of Feminist Consciousness:
To escape persecution Ann Lee and eight followers traveled to New England and soon settled near Albany, New York, where she founded a utopian colony and continued her preaching and proselytizing missionary work. . . .
Ann Lee’s doctrine revitalized the concept of an androgynous God — Sophia, Holy Wisdom of the Bible, was the female element in God; in Christ the masculine side had been made manifest and in Mother Ann Lee the feminine side had been reincarnated. Ann Lee’s revelations indicated that the millennium was at hand and that the Shakers, with their celibate, pious life would hasten its coming. . . .
In line with Mother Lee’s theology, Shakers believed in the equality of the sexes. In their communities leadership was shared between men and women and they practiced their belief that women, as well as men, could be teachers and preachers.
Unfortunately for the Shakers, these revelations of the millennium were not only premature, but in disparaging “lustful gratification of the flesh,” Mother Lee’s celibate followers ensured that the cult members would not have any children to continue their “utopian colony”:
At its peak in the mid-19th century, there were 6,000 Shaker believers. By 1920, there were only 12 Shaker communities remaining in the United States. In the present day, there is only one active Shaker village, Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village, which is located in Maine. Their celibacy resulted in the thinning of the Shaker community, and consequently many of the other Shaker settlements are now village museums, like Hancock Shaker Village in Massachusetts.
There are today exactly four known Shakers dwelling in their Maine village, and perhaps the “revitalized the concept of an androgynous God,” as Professor Lerner described the Shaker theology of Ann Lee’s vision, did not come from Christ, but rather from Satan himself.
“Ye shall be as gods” (Genesis 3:5) was the false promise of Satan’s original lie, and the sinful idea that human beings can defy God, living according to our own beliefs without respect to God’s law, has been a cause of violence and evil in the world ever since. What the Shakers condemned as “the source and foundation of human corruption” is in fact merely obedience to the commandment of God, that mankind should “be fruitful and multiply.” The beauty of God’s design — man and woman together, accepting the new lives of their children as God’s blessing — should never be scorned. Ann Lee stands condemned as a blasphemer. “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil” (Isaiah 5:20).
Goddesses, Androgyny and the Anti-Christ
What shall we say of “the concept of an androgynous God” that Professor Lerner credits Ann Lee with having “revitalized”? Its origin was paganism, “the metaphysics of the ancient Mother-Goddess religions,” as Professor Lerner explains in The Creation of Feminist Consciousness:
In the earliest centuries of Christianity the worship of the harvest goddesses Ceres and Demeter was widespread in the Mediterranean area. In Europe, heathen practices like the celebration of festivals outdoors near certain stones and springs previously identified with goddesses, continued for centuries after the acceptance of Christianity. . . . The mysterious life-giving forces of the Mother-Goddess continued to be celebrated in folklore and folk memory, such as the custom of drawing the goddess in a wagon around the fields to ensure the success of the crops.
The corruption of Christianity by the infusion of pagan beliefs is known as syncretism, and the “ancient Mother-Goddess religions” mentioned by Professor Lerner include the gruesome and perverse cults of Canaan. To cite one Baptist theologian’s description, the Canaanites practiced “a crude and debased form of ritual polytheism . . . associated with sensuous fertility-cult worship of a particularly lewd and orgiastic kind.” Any secular reader who has made it this far in my essay should pause to contemplate the irony here. Feminists generally denounce Christianity not just as patriarchal, but also as “unscientific,” yet we see that the atheist Professor Lerner celebrated these “ancient Mother-Goddess religions,” an ignorant system of superstition historically associated with the utmost cruelty of primitive savagery. How is it that a renowned academic would welcome a revival of the pagan cult of Astarte (also known as Ashtoreth or Ishtar) in the name of “feminist consciousness”?
Goddess-worship is now widely practiced in ECLA churches. The denomination ordains lesbians as ministers, and what is called “feminist spirituality” is promoted at Ebenezer Lutheran Church in San Francisco where, on Christmas Day 2015, Pastor Stacy Boom posted this “prayer”:
Sophia our Goddess,
As a full moon rising,
You unveil your vision of love
for the universe
and work within us
to bring about your healing purposes.
Sophia our Goddess,
as a full moon rising,
give us the wisdom to understand
that your justice exceeds
even our best intentions,
and your love is a cosmic quality
we only begin to discern:
that, trusting in your moon-risings,
in your birth-giving powers,
we celebrate and embody the coming
of your peace on earth;
Sophia our Goddess,
As a full moon rising,
You are the One Sacred Thread
and Source for All Times,
Grandmother, Mother, and Child,
This is definitely not a Christian prayer. Any student of the occult would recognize the reference to “Grandmother, Mother, and Child” as an invocation of the so-called “Triple Goddess” (Maiden, Mother, Crone) of modern neo-pagan Wicca. So far gone is the ELCA in its abandonment of biblical truth that it accepts witchcraft in its “Lutheran” pulpits.
“There are many different ways of looking at the Divine Feminine within the same liturgical setting. Darkness is another image for the Divine Feminine, reclaiming Darkness as being as holy as Light. . . . The mission of Ebenezer/herchurch Lutheran is to be a prophetic voice within the patriarchal church. Inclusion of the Divine Feminine will change the whole structure of the church. Eventually the clergy structure will be dismantled.”
— Pastor Stacy Boom, 2011
Certainly we should take this seriously, because such teachings will “change the whole structure” of the church — or rather, would do so, in any “church” that follows the ECLA down the road toward pagan worship of “the Divine Feminine.” The list of “Recommended Reading” on the website of Ebenezer Lutheran Church includes The Creation of Feminist Consciousness by the Marxist Gerda Lerner. Coincidence? I think not.
“All expressions of gender identity are a blessing!” What this ECLA church celebrates is a denial of God’s created order, a latter-day expression of the ancient Gnostic belief in which “the divine being is . . . best expressed by androgyny . . . the erasure of the male-female distinction,” as Peter Jones observed in 1992. Gnostic believers sought “the attainment of an androgynous or sexless state,” Jones wrote in The Gnostic Empire Strikes Back. This “radical refusal of sexual differentiation” was an expression of a “refusal of creational sexuality as presented in the Genesis account,” according to Jones. “The inversion of sexual roles leads to sexual confusion” and, because “true divinity is androgynous, it follows that the true Gnostic will finally seek androgyny.”
This weird heretical cult belief has been revived in our time in large part because modern feminism specifically rejects Jesus, the Son of God, a male incarnation of divinity sent by God the Father. This anti-Christian attitude led Professor Mary Daly to propose “castrating God.”
In her 1973 book Beyond God the Father, Professor Daly called for “cutting away the Supreme Phallus” (p. 19) so that “Christianity itself should be castrated” (p. 71), because “the role of liberating the human race form the original sin of sexism would seem to be precisely the role that a male symbol cannot perform. The image itself . . . functions to glorify maleness” (p. 72). Daly endorses “an ethic which transcends the most basic of role stereotypes, those of masculine/feminine,” bringing about an “androgynous world” free from “the archaic heritage of psycho-sexual dualism,” a liberation made possible by women “castrating the phallic ethic” (pp. 105-106). As bizarre as all that may sound, Daly furthermore called for a “renaming of the cosmos” by a feminist sisterhood she called the “Antichurch . . . the bringing forth into the world of New Being” (pp. 138-139). Daly continues on pg. 140:
There is a bond, then, between the significance of the women’s revolution as Antichrist and its import as Antichurch. Seen in the positive perspective in which I have presented it, as a spiritual uprising that can bring us beyond sexist myths, the Antichrist has a natural corrrelative in the coming of the Antichurch, which is the communal uprising against the social extensions of the male Incarnation myth, as this has been objectified in the structures of political power.
Daly describes this as “the Second Coming of female presence not only as Antichrist but also as Antichurch,” as a “rising woman-consciousness” that “has an organic consequence in the rejection of sexist rituals” (pp. 140-141). Daly sees this “spiritual dimension of feminist consciousness” as unleashing chaos and terror by destroying the “Christocentric cosmos”:
This women’s revolution as Antichurch represents this terror of chaos and says it will no longer kept at bay. It rejects not only the myths of patriarchy but their externalization in ritual.
Dismiss this as the ranting of a maniac, if you wish, but ask yourself: Can anything else explain what has happened to Augsburg College?
Augsburg College [in 2014] was named to Campus Pride’s list of the Top 50 LGBT-Friendly Colleges. Campus Pride, a nonprofit organization aimed at creating more LGBT-friendly colleges, compiled the list using schools that achieved the highest ratings in categories such as LGBT academic life, LGBT student life, LGBT housing, and more. In 2013, Campus Pride awarded Augsburg College a perfect score of 5 out of 5 stars on its LGBT-Friendly Campus Climate Index.
What would those 19th-century Norwegian Lutherans have to say about the Queer Pride Alliance at the college they founded as a seminary? Does anyone think Augsburg College’s founders would be pleased to know that it was rated one of the Top 50 LGBT-Friendly Colleges? Can we imagine those Lutheran founders congratulating the winners of Augsburg’s “LGBTQIA Student Leadership Awards”?
Obviously, this was not at all what the founders of Augsburg College had in mind, so how did it happen? Probably the decision to admit women students in 1922 — immediately after the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which guaranteed women’s right to vote — reflected the willingness of Augsburg’s leaders to be “conformed to this world.” Drifting along with the political trend, Augsburg next abandoned its status as a seminary to become a liberal arts college. This transition, from an all-male institution training Lutheran ministers to a coed college, was accomplished in the span of a single generation, so that the Lutheran pastor who graduated from (all-male) Augsburg Seminary in 1921 might live to see his daughter graduate from Augsburg College in 1963.
The More-Is-Better Mentality
We see in operation here the modern idea of History as Progress. As G.K. Chesterton said in 1905, “Progress is a comparative of which we have not settled the superlative.” By 1923, Chesterton remarked, “My attitude toward progress has passed from antagonism to boredom. I have long ceased to argue with people who prefer Thursday to Wednesday because it is Thursday.” The direction of Progress, to the modern mind, is always toward continual improvement, a society becoming more democratic according to an ideal of increasing equality. The great engine of modern Progress is education, and if education is Good, then more education is Better. This modern more-is-better mentality of Progress is also applied to the idea of democratic equality. No matter how much equality and democracy we may have now, the advocates of Progress always want more. Once women got the vote, and were admitted to formerly all-male schools like Augsburg College, the More is Better principle required that some new manifestation of equality must be adopted as proof of the continual improvement necessary to History as Progress.
So it was that Lutherans began ordaining women as ministers, and the young Lutheran who had been present on that occasion in 1970 would likely live to see a woman elected as presiding bishop of the ELCA, by which time (a) lesbian ministers would be preaching pagan goddess-worship from “Lutheran” pulpits, and (b) Augsburg College would brag about its five-star rating as an “LGBT-Friendly” campus.
This, you see, is how modern Progress operates.
Amid their more-is-better celebration of continual improvement in democratic equality, however, some Christians have lost sight of God. We might also suspect that Lutherans (and many other Americans, whether Christian or not) should have taken more seriously the lunatic rants of Mary Daly, who was clearly crazy, but not necessarily wrong. Can we now see in hindsight that the influence of “rising woman-consciousness” — feminism as the Antichurch of the Antichrist — has been exactly what she said it would be? Feminism’s radical theology, “castrating God,” has brought forth the “terror of chaos” of an “androgynous world,” unstructured by the “psycho-sexual dualism” that sees men and woman as naturally different, each necessary to the other in the created order.
A reminder: Every Single Word of That Is True. pic.twitter.com/MFiK6xdFO3
— FreeStacy (@Not_RSMcCain) April 1, 2016
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The Sex Trouble project began in 2014 and reader support is vital to this research into radical feminism. Contrary to what feminists claim, patriarchy is usually just another word for “paying the bills.” And remember the Five Most Important Words in the English Language:
Never doubt God answers prayers. Thanks in advance.
MORE FROM THE ‘SEX TROUBLE’ SERIES:
- March 26: The Absence of Empathy: Understanding the Psychology of Sociopathic Feminism
- March 24: Gnostic Feminism
- March 19: ‘Broken People’ and the Tragedy of the Darwinian Dead End
- March 13: A Theory of Sex (and Feminism)
- Dec. 30: Feminism: Death Cult Chaos
- Dec. 8: Questioning Feminist Authority: Cult Ideology and Mind Control Tactics