Scripture and the News

Seminary Students Confess Their Sins to Plants

By Dr. Paul M. Elliott
What may at first seem ridiculous and laughable is deadly serious: The ungodliness that begins in liberal seminaries often makes its way into purportedly conservative churches in the next generation.

From the TeachingtheWord Bible Knowledgebase

What may at first seem ridiculous and laughable is deadly serious: The ungodliness that begins in liberal seminaries often makes its way into purportedly conservative churches in the next generation.

November 2019 - On September 17, in recognition of the United Nations' upcoming "Climate Action Summit" on September 23, students at radically liberal Union Theological Seminary in New York City confessed their "environmental sins" in their chapel service - to a collection of plants. The seminary announced the ceremony through Twitter, with a picture of a young female seminarian seated India-style on the floor before an assortment of cattails, palms, lilies and other potted plants. The tweet read, "Today in chapel, we confessed to plants. Together, we held our grief, joy, regret, hope, guilt and sorrow in prayer; offering them to the beings who sustain us but whose gift we too often fail to honor. What do you confess to the plants in your life?"

Union Seminary Students Praying to Plants

Radical environmentalists ascribe human, and even divine, intelligence to plant life, and encourage people to pray to them. Dr. Monica Gagliano, adjunct Senior Research Fellow at the University of Western Australia, says that she has received advice and counsel from plants. She is author of the book, Thus Spoke the Plant: A Remarkable Journey of Groundbreaking Scientific Discoveries and Personal Encounters with Plants (North Atlantic Books, 2018). She claims, for example, that she received assurance of the rightness of an application for a research grant from an oak tree. Her book holds the status of a peer-reviewed scientific work in academic circles.

Laughable - Yet Deadly Serious

Christians can in one sense consider these things laughable, and indeed when the pagan rage against the one true and living God, "He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall hold them in derision" (Psalm 2:4). But the Holy Spirit reminds us that those who engage in such practices are the objects of God's holy wrath:

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man - and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things...who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. (Romans 1:18-25)

You shall not plant for yourself any tree, as a wooden image [literally, an Ashera, a pagan forerunner of Gaia, the present-day environmentalists' name for the earth-goddess], near the altar which you build for yourself to the Lord your God. (Deuteronomy 16:21)

The Lord said also to me in the days of Josiah the king: "Have you seen what backsliding Israel has done? She has gone up on every high mountain and under every green tree, and there played the harlot. And I said, after she had done all these things, 'Return to Me.' But she did not return. And her treacherous sister Judah saw it. Then I saw that for all the causes for which backsliding Israel had committed adultery, I had put her away and given her a certificate of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but went and played the harlot also. So it came to pass, through her casual harlotry, that she defiled the land and committed adultery with stones and trees." (Jeremiah 3:6-9) 

Today's Church Is In Danger

The church in the 21st century is by no means immune to the idolatry of ancient Israel and Judah: The ungodliness that begins in present-day liberal seminaries often makes its way into purportedly conservative churches in the next generation. The toleration and even defense of homosexuality within the church that began a generation ago in liberal seminaries now poisons "conservative" denominations such as the Presbyterian Church of America (PCA), which now has homosexuals as pastors and elders, and has granted them a seat at the table in determining its doctrine and discipline. Radical environmentalism is making similar inroads in many churches today. The Holy Spirit warned of such things through Jude in the pages of Scripture:

For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ. (Jude 4)

Dear Christian, if the thinking and practices of radical environmentalism and other forms of ungodliness have infiltrated your church, and the leadership will not heed the warnings of Scripture, you need to flee for your spiritual life.

For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people." Therefore "Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you." "I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty." Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. (2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1)

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