WCC Conference Honors Sophia Goddess,
Gives Ovation to Lesbians
By David W. Cloud
[The following report is from O Timothy magazine, Volume 11,
Issue 3, 1994. David W. Cloud, Editor. All rights are reserved by the author. O Timothy is
a monthly magazine. Annual subscription is US$20 FOR THE UNITED STATES. Send to Way of
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In November 1993, the World Council of Churches sponsored a Re-imaging
conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Some 2,000 women "seeking to change
Christianity" attended, and the most radical women in apostate Christendom
pontificated on every sort of weird and unscriptural subject imaginable.
Speakers included Chung Hyung Kyung, Korean "theologian" who
equates the Holy Spirit with ancient Asian deities; Virginia Mollenkott, an avowed
pro-abortion lesbian; Elizabeth Bettenhausen, professor at Harvard Divinity School; Lois
Wilson, a United Church of Canada "minister"; Jose Hobday, a Roman Catholic nun.
Liberal denominations supported the conference. The United Methodist
Women's Division sent 56 representatives and paid their expenses. Altogether almost 400
United Methodists participated in the conference. The United Presbyterian Church
contributed a grant of $66,000 and sent a group of representatives led by high-ranking
officials. 405 Presbyterians participated. More than 300 representatives from the misnamed
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America attended. There were 234 Roman Catholic and 144
United Church of Christ participants. There were representatives from the United Church of
Canada, the Church of the Brethren, American Baptist, Episcopalian, and Mennonite.
When challenged by certain members who were protesting their
denomination's involvement in this meeting, the Presbyterian Church's General Assembly
Council issued a "fact sheet" which claimed, "Participants were challenged
to expand their horizons, to be enriched and nurtured spiritually, and to engage in
dialogue with women and men from around the world." Apostates always have clever
explanations of their rebellion.
Don't need atonement
During a panel on Jesus, Delores Williams of Union Theological Seminary,
said: "I don't' think we need a theory of atonement at all. I think Jesus came for
life and to show us something about life. I don't think we need folks hanging on crosses
and blood dripping and weird stuff ... we just need to listen to the God within."
God is an "abusive parent"
Virginia Mollenkott, who participated in the translation of the New
International Version, said, "[Jesus] is our elder brother, the trailblazer and
constant companion for us--ultimately is among many brothers and sisters in an eternal,
equally worthy sibling-hood. First born only in the sense that he was the first to show us
that it is possible to live in oneness with the divine source while we are here on this
planet. ... As an incest survivor, I can no longer worship in a theological context that
depicts God as an abusive parent [referring to Christ's death on the cross] and Jesus as
the obedient, trusting child."
Praying to the trees
Korea's Chung Hyung Kyung told the crowd, "My bowel is Buddhist
bowel, my heart is Buddhist heart, my right brain is Confucian brain, and my left brain is
Christian brain." This is ecumenical schizophrenia of the most radical sort! Chung is
a professor at Korea's Ewha Women's University, the world's largest university for women,
with 20,000 students.
Chung instructed the crowd of women to seek help from the trees if they
are in need of energy: "When we do pranic healing, we believe that this life-giving
energy came from god and it is everywhere, it is in the sun, in the ocean, from the ground
and it is from the trees ... We ask god's permission to use this life-giving energy for
our sisters and brothers in need. If you feel very tired and you don't have any energy to
give, what you do is ... go to a big tree and ask it to `give me some of your life
energy'" (AFA Journal, Feb. 1994).
Chung has published a rewrite of the Gospel narratives from an Asian
feminist perspective. She told the Minneapolis conference, "The Bible is basically an
open book, and I want to add the next chapter." Chung spoke at the 1991 General
Assembly of the World Council of Churches and identified the Holy Spirit with a Buddhist
goddess. (For more on Chung see the article "WCC Baptizes Heathenism" in this
issue of O Timothy. Also see entries in the "Digging in the Walls"
section of this issue.)
Standing ovation for lesbians
During the conference, a group of roughly 100 "lesbian, bi-sexual,
and transsexual women" gathered on the platform and were given a standing ovation by
many in the crowd. They were "celebrating the miracle of being lesbian, out, and
"The lesbian theme was heard repeatedly from major speakers. In a
workshop called `Prophetic Voices of Lesbians in the Church,' Nadean Bishop, the first
`out' lesbian minister called to an American Baptist church, claimed that Mary and Martha
in the Bible were lesbian `fore- sisters.' She said they were not sisters, but lesbian
lovers. Janie Spahr, a self-avowed lesbian clergywoman in the Presbyterian Church USA ...
claimed that her theology is first of all informed by `making love with Coni,' her lesbian
partner. Judy Westerdorf, a United Methodist clergywoman from Minnesota, told the workshop
that the church `has always been blessed by gays and lesbians ... witches ... shamans.' In
a seminar on `Re- Imagining Sexuality-Family,' lesbian theologian Mary Hunt said, `Imagine
sex among friends as the norm. ... Imagine valuing sexual interaction in terms of whether
and how it fosters friendship and pleasure. ... Pleasure is our birthright of which we
have been robbed in religious patriarchy" (AFA Journal, Feb. 1994).
The Nov. 3, 1993, Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that
"throughout the conference worship experiences will celebrate Sophia, the biblical
goddess of creation." Sue Seid-Martin of the University of St. Thomas School of
Divinity in St. Paul, Minn., claimed that this Sophia is "the suppressed part of the
biblical tradition, and clearly the female face of the human psyche." Seid-Martin
believes Sophia is found in Proverbs 1-9, Matt. 11; Lk. 3:35; 11:49; and 1 Cor. 1-2, and
she identifies Jesus Christ with this Sophia.
These feminists are not reading the same Bible I have read for 20 years.
I have never found a Sophia goddess in my Bible! The Greek word sophia is translated
"wisdom" in the KJV and "denotes mental excellence in the highest and
fullest sense ... comprehends knowledge and implies goodness" (George Berry, A
Greek-English Lexicon and New Testament Synonyms). This word is often applied to
Jesus Christ, but never in any sense whatsoever having to do with "the female face of
the human psyche." The word "sophia" is not found in the Old Testament. The
Hebrew word most commonly translated wisdom is chokmah. This is the word translated wisdom
in Proverbs 8 and 9.
It refers to understanding, skill, revelation, godly reason, and it has
nothing whatsoever to do with a supposed femine side of God.
Naked sophia goddess
A painting displayed at the Re-imagining conference supposedly depicted
this Sophia. The painting contained the picture of a bald, frowning woman with large naked
breasts. The middle of her forehead is adorned with a mark that appears to be a Hindu
"tika" or tilaka, the same mark women in Nepal and India receive from their
priests when they do "puja" (worship) at pagan shrines. (It is interesting that
one of the speakers at this conference encouraged the wearing of the tika. Aruna
Gnanadason, South Asian feminist, "lashed out against alleged oppression by Christian
missionary teachings in India," and she invited participants to put red dots on their
foreheads to "represent the divine" in them.) The cover of The Presbyterian
Layman for January-February 1994 featured this painting. In a frame surrounding the
painting were some of the words from the prayer to Sophia.
On Sunday morning the conferees joined together in repeating a prayer to
Sophia, including these words:
"Our maker Sophia, we are women in your image. ... Sophia, creator
God ... shower us with your love. ... we invite a lover, we birth a child; with our warm
body fluids we remind the world of its pleasures and sensations. ... Our guide, Sophia, we
are women in your image. ... With the honey of wisdom in our mouths, we prophesy a full
humanity to all the peoples."
Honey of wisdom, my foot! This is the sour mash of new age feminism, a
movement foreseen almost 2,000 years ago by the prophet Jude: "Even as Sodom and
Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication,
and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of
eternal fire. Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise
dominion..." (Jude 7- 8).
Members of the World Council
The conference coincided with the midpoint of the Ecumenical Decade of
the Churches in Solidarity with Women, a World Council of Churches initiative that began
in 1988. The more than 300 member bodies of the World Council of Churches include the
American Baptist Convention
Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches
Anglican Church of Canada
Baptist Union of Great Britain and Ireland
Canadian Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quaker)
Christian Church in Canada
Church of the Brethren
Church of England; Episcopal Church
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada
Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches
International Council of Community Churches
Methodist Church of the United Kingdom
Methodist Church in Singapore
Moravian Church in Great Britain and Ireland
National Baptist Convention of America
National Baptist Convention, USA
Presbyterian Church in Canada, USA, and Wales
Progressive National Baptist Convention USA
Reformed Church in America
Union of Evangelical Christian Baptists of the former USSR
Union of Welsh Independents
United Church of Canada
United Church of Christ USA
United Methodist Church USA
Uniting Church in Australia.
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