Tag Archives: existence of soul

Christian seminary president doesn’t believe in Resurrection, Virgin Birth, Heaven or miracles

Revelation 1:17-18

“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?”

(2) Miracles

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.”

(4) Heaven

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.”

(5) God

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.”

R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., said Jones rejects the “entire edifice of orthodox, biblical Christianity.” Mohler wrote:

“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:

  1. On the Resurrection, see:
    1. Easter Sunday: The science of the miracle of the Resurrection
    2. Tomb of Christ in Church of Holy Sepulchre surrounded by electromagnetic field
    3. New evidence dates Shroud of Turin to time of Christ
    4. Yet more evidence dating Shroud of Turin to time of Christ 
  2. On Virgin Birth, see:
    1. Sunday Devotional: The child to be born will be the Son of God,” on DNA evidence of Virgin Birth.
  3. On miracles (defined as phenomena that are not explicable by natural or scientific laws), see:
    1. The Smell of Rain
    2. Drowning men saved by a force
    3. The Miracle of the Sinking SUV
    4. The mysterious voice calling for help
    5. We have no nurse named Benjamin
    6. 10-year-old boy sees Jesus figure in hospital; begins recovery
    7. The Stranger in the Snow
    8. Miracle of the Hotwater Bottle
    9. Painting of Archangel Michael weeps
    10. The Bat Cave Miracle
    11. Fallen into the hollow of a tree, 9 y.o. girl met Jesus and unborn sister
    12. Invoking the name of Jesus Christ repels demons/alien abduction
  4. On Heaven, Hell, the soul, and afterlife, see:
    1. The Physics of Heaven
    2. Marine’s near-death experience of Hell
    3. Physicists discover humans have souls
    4. Study by 32 scientists shows there’s consciousness after death
    5. Near death experiences prove we have a soul
    6. Proof of Soul’s Existence?
    7. Nurses who saw supernatural phenomena around dying patients

See also these confluences of science and the Bible:

~Eowyn

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Sunday Devotional: A time unsurpassed in distress

Mark 13:24-32

Jesus said to his disciples:
“In those days after that tribulation
the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light,
and the stars will be falling from the sky,
and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.

“And then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in the clouds’
with great power and glory,
and then he will send out the angels
and gather his elect from the four winds,
from the end of the earth to the end of the sky.

“Learn a lesson from the fig tree.
When its branch becomes tender and sprouts leaves,
you know that summer is near.
In the same way, when you see these things happening,
know that he is near, at the gates.
Amen, I say to you,
this generation will not pass away
until all these things have taken place.
Heaven and earth will pass away,
but my words will not pass away.

“But of that day or hour, no one knows,
neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”

Daniel 12:1-3

In those days, I Daniel,
heard this word of the Lord:
“At that time there shall arise
Michael, the great prince,
guardian of your people;
it shall be a time unsurpassed in distress
since nations began until that time.
At that time your people shall escape,
everyone who is found written in the book.

“Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake;
some shall live forever,
others shall be an everlasting horror and disgrace.

“But the wise shall shine brightly
like the splendor of the firmament,
and those who lead the many to justice
shall be like the stars forever.”

The end days are real.

Both the Old and New Testaments warn about it.

The laws of science also support the notion that there will be an end to all things.

It’s called the second law of thermodynamics, which states that an isolated system such as the Universe, that is, one that does not exchange heat or work with its surroundings, spontaneously evolve towards an end state of maximum entropy — of chaos and disorder. The process is irreversible.

In truth, the end of the world comes to each of us when our mortal bodies die.

So, live each day as if it may be our last. Be right with God, so that we might join the ranks of the Good who “shine brightly like the splendor of the firmament”.

In the meantime, before we meet our end, we are to live each day to as “those who lead the many to justice” and we “shall be like the stars forever”.

May the peace and love of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you,

See also:

~Eowyn

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Sunday Devotional: Are you prepared?

Matthew 25:1-13

Jesus told his disciples this parable:
“The kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins
who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.
Five of them were foolish and five were wise.
The foolish ones, when taking their lamps,
brought no oil with them,
but the wise brought flasks of oil with their lamps.
Since the bridegroom was long delayed,
they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
At midnight, there was a cry,
‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
Then all those virgins got up and trimmed their lamps.
The foolish ones said to the wise,
‘Give us some of your oil,
for our lamps are going out.’
But the wise ones replied,
‘No, for there may not be enough for us and you.
Go instead to the merchants and buy some for yourselves.’
While they went off to buy it,
the bridegroom came
and those who were ready went into the wedding feast with him.
Then the door was locked.
Afterwards the other virgins came and said,
‘Lord, Lord, open the door for us!’
But he said in reply,
‘Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.’
Therefore, stay awake,
for you know neither the day nor the hour.


The above passage from Matthew 25 is a sobering reminder of our mortality — that our time on this mortal coil is short and fleeting.
Both wisdom and prudence mean being careful, exercising good judgment in avoiding risks and hazards, and learning from our mistakes. So be wise, be prepared, and make sure there is “oil” in our “lamps,” for we know “neither the day nor the hour” of our end.

Wisdom 6:12, 15

Resplendent and unfading is wisdom,
and she is readily perceived by those who love her,
and found by those who seek her….
For taking thought of wisdom is the perfection of prudence,
and whoever for her sake keeps vigil
shall quickly be free from care….


See also:

May the peace and love of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you,
~Eowyn

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Study by 32 scientists shows there's consciousness after death

“And the Lord God formed man [of] the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” -Genesis 2:7 

creation-of-man
Research conducted by 32 scientists in the United States, United Kingdom, and Austria discovered the astounding fact that individuals in a state of cardiac arrest, i.e., their hearts and respiration have stopped and, within seconds, cessation of all brain function, nevertheless experienced consciousness, despite clinically undetectable consciousness.
Their findings are published as an article titled “AWARE—AWAreness during REsuscitation—A prospective study,” in the journal Resuscitation (September 2014).
The researchers discovered this a 4 year multi-center study of 2,060 cardiac arrest (CA) survivors in 15 US, UK and Austrian hospitals. The method used was a three stage quantitative and qualitative interview system, including specific tests to determine the accuracy of the survivors’s claims of visual and auditory awareness while in a state of cardiac arrest.
The researchers found that these individuals, while their hearts had stopped, nevertheless experienced a broad range of cognitive themes, with 2% exhibiting full awareness. The scientists conclude that their findings supports other recent studies that indicate consciousness may be present despite clinically undetectable consciousness.
Among 2060 CA events, 140 survivors completed stage 1 interviews. 101 of these 140 patients completed stage 2 interviews.
These were the research’s findings:
1. 46% of CA survivors had memories with 7 major cognitive themes:

  • Fear: “I felt scared”; “I was terrified. I was told I was going to die and the quickest way was to say the last short word I could remember”; “Being dragged through deep water with a big ring and I hate swimming—it was horrid”.
  • Animals/plants: “All plants, no flowers”; “Saw lions and tigers”.
  • Bright light: “The sun was shining”; “Recalled seeing a golden flash of light”.
  • Violence/persecution: “Being dragged through deep water”; “This whole event seemed full of violence and I am not a violent man, it was out of character”; “I had to go through a ceremony and … the ceremony was to get burned. There were 4 men with me, whichever lied would die…. I saw men in coffins being buried upright.”
  • Deja-vu: “…experienced a sense of De-ja vu and felt like knew what people were going to do before they did it after the arrest. This lasted about 3 days.”
  • Family: “Family talking 10 or so. Not being able to talk to them”; “My family (son, daughter, son-in-law and wife) came”.
  • Events immediately post-CA: Experienced “a tooth coming out when tube was removed from my mouth”.

2. 9% had near death experiences (NDEs):

  • One person’s NDE: “I have come back from the other side of life…God sent (me) back, it was not (my) time—(I) had many things to do…(I traveled) through a tunnel toward a very strong light, which didn’t dazzle or hurt (my) eyes…there were other people in the tunnel whom (I) did not recognize. When (I) emerged (I) described a very beautiful crystal city… there was a river that ran through the middle of the city (with) the most crystal clear waters. There were many people, without faces, who were washing in the waters…the people were very beautiful… there was the most beautiful singing…(and I was) moved to tears. (My) next recollection was looking up at a doctor doing chest compressions”.

3. 2% described awareness with explicit recall of “seeing” and “hearing” actual events related to their resuscitation:

  • “At the beginning, I think, I heard the nurse say ‘dial 444 cardiac arrest’. I felt scared. I was on the ceiling looking down. I saw a nurse that I did not know beforehand who I saw after the event. I could see my body and saw everything at once. I saw my blood pressure being taken whilst the doctor was putting something down my throat. I saw a nurse pumping on my chest…I saw blood gases and blood sugar levels being taken.”

4. One had a verifiable period of conscious awareness during which time cerebral function was not expected.
The scientists express perplexity about their findings:

there is no measurable brain function within seconds after cardiac standstill. This ‘flatlined’ isoelectric brain state which occurs with CA onset usually continues throughout CPR since insufficient cerebral blood flow (CBF) is achieved to meet cerebral metabolic requirements during conventional CPR. However it was estimated our patient maintained awareness for a number of minutes into CA. While certain deep coma states may lead to a selective absence of cortical electrical activity in the presence of deeper brain activity, this seems unlikely during CA as this condition is associated with global rather than selective cortical hypoperfusion as evidenced by the loss of brain stem function. Thus, within a model that assumes a causative relationship between cortical activity and consciousness the occurrence of mental processes and the ability to accurately describe events during CA as occurred in our verified case of VA [visual awareness] when cerebral function is ordinarily absent or at best severely impaired is perplexing. This is particularly the case as reductions in CBF [cerebral blood flow] typically lead to delirium followed by coma, rather than an accurate and lucid mental state.”

You can read the journal article for yourself here.
H/t Spirit Daily
See also:

~Eowyn

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