WCC CONFERENCE HONORS SOPHIA GODDESS, GIVES OVATION
David W. Cloud
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
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
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 Christian."
"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
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-
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 Amer ican 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; and the Uniting
Church in Australia.