In a vain vein of academic style, works are dedicated to those whose influence has been most valuable or influential in that work. This site is dedicated to Dr. Nicholas Thompson, of Auckland University’s Humanities Department. There are too many reasons to list here, but Thompson, a self-proclaimed ‘lapsed Catholic’, whatever that is, has provided the most insight into the thinking of the secular academic community in New Zealand. He’d emphasised that the University of Auckland School of Theology was a secular institution, not a Christian one.
One of the funniest moments of my “education” came during the fourth year. Nick prided himself in giving a selection of the academic history backgrounding any given subject. But, as per his usual style, he neglected to include current academics that did not agree with his agenda. In my experience, not a single theology lecturer at Auckland University habitually included current scholarly criticism of their pet subjects. While there was a part of this class for our own reading observations and discussions, Nick would not allow works of ‘old white Americans’ whom, he considered, had already been too influential in society. I’d just been laughing at the youtube videos of self-hating-whites in American universities several nights previous. That academic trend has come to NZ also. One would have thought that the book, The Intolerance of Tolerance, by D.A. Carson, was somewhat relevant in a class called Truth and Tolerance!
It was Thompson who said I was a nut job for contributing to a parliamentary submission in support of a public register for Child Sex Offenders. I am not sure why he so vehemently objected to such a register. But these people (CSOs) were the reason why I started this academic journey, as many of those 120 incarcerated in Auckland Prison for Child Sex Offences had claimed to be ‘Christian’. Thompson continued to castigate a leader of a pro-family values group that was making a submission. Here we have an academic who was consistently bitter, both inside and outside the classroom, about family, marriage, and any other traditional Christian values, while often claiming to be impartial or objective. His values, along with other theological influences detailed within this site, were the values being passed directly on to the future Anglican priests of our country. It was this education that gave Mr Sisneros the presumptive authority to take the Anglican Church to the Human Rights Commission for not considering his ordination as a homosexual. It was Thompson that sought to channel post-graduates to positions within St. Matthews Anglican church in Central Auckland.
Now I can’t remember which particular passage from The Intolerance of Tolerance that I wanted to discuss in class, but this book is exactly relevant to what is happening within ‘Christian’ academia. The redefinition of terms and concepts is the standard way that academics of Christianity seek to validate their new doctrinal arguments before each other, and the world.1 When comparing the old definitions of tolerance and the new definition:
This shift from “accepting the existence of different views” to “acceptance of different views,” from recognising other people’s right to have different beliefs or practices to accepting the different views of other people, is subtle in form, but massive in substance. To accept that a different position exists and deserves the right to exist is one thing; to accept the position itself means no one is opposing it.2
Now when students do not have a clear understanding of how this subtle change of definitions affects theology of tolerance, they are ill prepared to deal with the moral and political consequences.
The United Nations Declaration of Principles on Tolerance (1995) asserts, “Tolerance… involves the rejection of dogmatism and absolutism.” … does not this assertion… sound a little, well, dogmatic and absolute? … [Hemblock writes] “The definition of the new tolerance is that every individual’s beliefs, values, lifestyle, truth claims and perception of truth are equal… there is no hierarchy of truth. Your beliefs and my beliefs are all equal, and all truth is relative.”3
Jesus said “I am the way, the truth and the life…”4
Thus the world of academia exerts not-so-subtle pressures for Christians to develop a form of (ostensibly) Christian expression that disowns or at least silences the exclusiveness claims that are grounded in Scripture itself.5
David Aikman wrote: In the West today there is a pervasive consent to the notion of moral relativism, a reluctance to admit that absolute evil can and does exist.6
This is the beginning of how we end up with pedophiles who still think of themselves as “Christian”. More on this on the page Theology of a Paedophile.
Once the category of evil disappears, our moral discernment has no structure. … We end up with not only with rampant ethical relativism but with an anaemic inability to feel or express moral outrage over pervasive immorality.7
This describes the Church we now have. The Bride of Christ has become only a reflection of the society we live in, reduced to an ambulance at the bottom of the cliff, her volunteers picking up the limbs of a godless society, without being able to warn those heading towards the cliff. The only sectors of society that profit from this destruction are the corporates that sponsor the universities (e.g.: pharmaceutical and insurance companies, iwi). It is somewhat ironic these same academics that promote this United Nations cultural Marxist philosophy are the same that will complain that the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. Academia, with their desire to maintain unity at all cost, are unable to help the Church with anything more than window dressing the morally sliding status-qua. The church becomes powerless to help those who need it most, including those in prison.
John R.W. Stott [wrote]… “The proper activity of professing Christians who disagree with one another is neither to ignore, nor to conceal, nor even to minimise their differences, but to debate them.”8
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.9
1 “Gay and Lesbian Clergy v Bishop of Auckland,” Ministry of Justice, accessed April 30, 2016, www.justice.govt.nz, pages 17, 18.
2 D.A. Carson, The Intolerance of Tolerance (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2012), 3.
3 Ibid., 12-3.
4 John 14:6a.
5 Carson, The Intolerance, 33.
6 Ibid., 129.
7 Ibid., 130.
8 Ibid., 164.
9 1 Cor 13:6.