Thursday, June 24, 2010

ATS and Pains of Change

Today at ATS has been interesting. On a more comical note (or so I choose to take it) was parliamentary chaos. After torturous amendments, referrals I don't remember being voted on that were sometimes called reconsidering, substitute amendments to a not really so controversial paragraph suffering from lack of wordsmithing, someone stood up and called for the question. The moderator, who was a precious soul, nonetheless had no idea what the person was talking about. "What question?" or something like that was the response.

The really controversial item today was about a seminary associated with Sun Myung Moon's group. Apparently this seminary, which is actually accredited by the Middle States accrediting group, was unanimously denied associate membership at the last biennial meeting. This time they were up for affiliate status, which is a status that does not move toward membership and is reserved for non-degree granting institutions and non-Christian and non-Jewish faiths.

This motion also failed, despite the unanimous recommendation of the commission board, which included such individuals as Richard Mouw, president of Fuller. What was ironic to me is that the last vote to deny them membership was tantamount to saying they were not a Christian institution. The big objection to affiliate status was that they claimed to be Christian.

I believe these are change pains related to the procedural ones I mentioned yesterday. Over time, the association has allowed numerous evangelical and fundamentalist institutions into its membership as an indication of its generosity toward other groups. These groups are the ones who will almost certainly approve changes to the rules on residency and duration of degrees next 2012 meeting.

But as is often the case, those groups that value pluralism often find that the non-pluralistic groups they welcome into their fellowship often then try to stop pluralism when they gain power. This can be the case with conservative Islamic groups. It can be with conservative Christian groups. The openness that welcomes conservative groups can eventually empower those same groups to shut down openness.

Obviously I am not arguing for individual groups to water down their identities. I am simply affirming that it is best for the "pudding" in which such diverse groups exist to be open. This is my understanding of the non-establishment clause of the US Constitution, and I affirm it. ATS is an umbrella organization that has, for example, included Jewish seminaries since the beginning. I don't have a vote, but as far as I can tell, all the representatives from Wesleyan family schools voted in favor of granting this school affiliate status.


James Gibson said...

And to think, for all these years, I thought ATS stood for Asbury Theological Seminary! :-)

Ken Schenck said...

At Asbury they call this accrediting body TATS :-) Everyone else calls it ATS.

Anonymous said...

The UC is most certainly not Christian. Unless one thinks it is Christian to teach that Jesus failed in His mission or that Jesus now serves Moon's dead son in heaven which the UC teaches. They also claim that Moon had to marry Jesus to a living Korean woman to allow Him entry into heaven. He did the same for Mohammed, for all spiritual leaders from the past failed before Moon, all of humanity failed before him. In Moonland God can't get the job done without Moon. The UC claims Jesus has appeared to their mediums saying how sorry He is that His followers have have spent so much effort following Him when the time would be better spent "attending True Parents."

You have to believe Moon is a megalomaniac or the Messiah - you let him in or you don't. Try to claim middle ground is an effort in self deception. There is no in between even though people like Falwell, who shilled for Moon in the USA and South America, tried to claim that to ease their consciences. In fact, Falwell promoted Moon's mission just as the Bush family does so often today. Seriously, how many times does Moon have to claim God is throwing Christianity away and replacing it with moonism before some Christians take note?

In Moonland God can't get the job done without Moon. Moon also claims that he is God incarnate. Jesus is not God in Moonism but Moon is.

The UC is a deceptive organization and one reason one should not want to be associated with them is that they derive much of their funding from overseas - from Japan specifically where the UC has been found responsible for swindling hundreds of millions, likely billions, of dollars form the citizens of Japan. The number of claims has topped 30,000. They target widows with their scams. Last year the head of the UC in Japan resigned to take some off of them.

search "Moon spiritual sales Japan."

You can also find some history of the group here.

There is no difference between any Moon front, they all have one purpose, to promote Moon as the messiah.

Ken Schenck said...

I have every suspicion you are correct about Moon and his religion. Rightly or wrongly, I feel glad ATS did not grant them associate membership. But the decision here was about a specific academic institution (accredited by the US government as a credible degree-granting institution) to which a site visit from ATS took place and a unanimous assessment made by everyone on the ATS board (which included evangelicals, mainline, and catholics) to put this institution in the same relationship with ATS as Buddhist groups and groups from other religions (non-member).

So I suspect the body made the right decision to make this institution an affiliate, as a non-Christian degree granting institution.

Anonymous said...

You better check again - the UC is relentless. I bet they fed the folks at ATS so full of bull they couldn't see straight. It isn't that this is not a "Christian" organization, it is that they mock Christianity. They mock Christ as a loser who could not get the job done.

They say Jesus is not God but they say Moon is God's equal. They say Jesus and Muhammed and all past saints and sages bow before Moon.

Christian leaders are blind, discernment free souls.

The UC clearly sees this as a step in promoting Moon as the messiah, period. That is all they do.

Do you understand?

Unification Theological Seminary Gains New Standing Among Schools of Theology

On June 25, 2010 the Unification Theology Seminary (UTS) was welcomed as an affiliate member of the Association of Theological Schools (ATS), the respected professional group that grades and accredits seminaries nationwide. In other words, mainstream American Christianity's academic establishment has given UTS a place at the table. […]

Affiliate members of ATS do not have voting privileges, mind you, but they can participate in discussions and fact-finding projects. As Dr. Kathy Winings, UTS’ academic dean, explains to, “The value of ATS affiliate status is that it allows us to be part of committees and task forces with our colleagues. More importantly, we have at least a foot in the door. In ecumenical organizations and circles, when one is outside the circle, their voice is rarely heard or respected. They are an outsider looking in. However, while affiliate status is not ideal, we are no longer just 'observers' at the biennial conferences."

Ken Schenck said...

I do not approve of Moon's organization and I would never send a Christian to this seminary. UTS has no vote at ATS on any issue, only a voice. They are no different than any Islamic or Buddhist group in relation to ATS. ATS is not about whether people are going to heaven. It's about academic standards among a diverse group of theological schools, both Christian and Jewish.

Regardless of their own press releases, I do not believe UTS has anything but a voice in discussion going forward.

Anonymous said...

UTS has no vote at ATS on any issue, only a voice.

You could have just said "uncle."

When you are in the deception business, "voice" is all you want or need. You are not very familiar with how the Moon org operates, its tactics, are you? Few are.

Seriously, does ATS have any standards? I mean, just for the sake of argument, if they had a "religion" they knew was doing the work of Satan would they just let them in because of what, a misguided view that it is the right thing to do because of religious freedom and for "dialogue."?

When you hear a Moon follower say "interfaith dialogue" you do understand they mean the promotion of "theocracy" with Moon's plans and their org as the guide?

ATS might note that one of the reasons Tyler Hendricks, the long time head of UTS(they recently changed heads) - one of the things he says is more proof that Moon is the messiah is, according to Henricks, Moon will often get up in front of group of politicians or religious leaders and declare that he is the messiah. Hendricks says that since so few speak up and says he isn't, this is more proof he is.

ATS accepted, they did not speak up.

I know that sounds convoluted but you have to go a stretch to prove a man who heads an organization funded by swindling widows and has a history of supporting right wing South American torturing dictators is the messiah.

In other words in moonieworld ATS acceptance is just more proof Moon is the messiah - that is what the members will think - that is why they wrote the report. It is just another step the rest of the world is taking to accept him. If you ask them that directly they will likely lie and say it isn't but that is the reality of how they think.

watch this.

ATS and all can rationalize, like so many before them, that what they did - because it was not their "intent" - was not a step in promoting Moon as the messiah but it is.

You do understand subjugating, subduing, Christianity is at the heart of Moon's plot?

I am no Bible scholar but doesn't the Bible predict the church will be mislead? Deceived? Why do all Christians seem to act like that they won't be the ones who can be deceived? They think it will be one of those "other" Christians.

Hendrick says that UTS is the seed of Moon's world wide grand plan political machine, the Universal Peace Federation,(to bring in the Kingdom of Moon). I bet ATS didn't have clue to ask what that was during their tour of UTS. I bet they didn't ask them about the money from Japan - the swindled widows - that is used to fund Moon's efforts like UTS, did they?

Do Christians have any standards? Any? Any place they draw a line? Any?

Sad isn't it? But I guess it is what is supposed to happen, no one is trying to change it. No one. Quite the opposite is true.

You know how the UC has always lied and claimed that Moon didn't control the WT or use it to promote his world plot? haha

Watch the second speaker, Michael Warder, in particular, here.

If there is anything the UC does that is not rooted in deception, I have yet to find it.