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Every three years, InterVarsity convenes a conference to excite Christian college students about missions. At the most recent conference, Urbana 18, students learned to denounce capitalism, apologize for Christianity, set aside the doctrine of justification, and exchange God’s holiness for pantheism.
Activist Danielle Strickland riffed on the seraphim’s song in Revelation 4, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!” Few places in Scripture can yield more profitable meditation, but Strickland’s irreverent and syncretistic interpretations leave me wondering whether we have the same God.
Presentation - Strickland - Word - People - Syllable
Throughout her presentation, Strickland pronounced the word “holy” as people often do when uttering it profanely—with a long first syllable and an emphasized second syllable. She adopted this manner from a 5-day-old Christian recently transformed from a life of drugs and crime because it “makes so much more sense” than anything she learned in Bible college. In contrast, when Isaiah witnesses the same refrain (“holy, holy, holy”), he pronounces judgement on himself because of his “unclean lips.” It takes the searing of a burning coal from the altar of heaven to atone for Isaiah’s guilty, sinful mouth.
I sympathize with Strickland’s apparent difficulty in defining “holiness;” words are utterly inadequate. However, even though she used words like “otherness” and “sacredness” as partial synonyms, from all her examples it seems like “holiness” meant to her simply “beauty.” This sublime, mysterious attribute of God, she said, “is everywhere, if we could see it, in everyone.” This notion is not far removed from pantheism, which “regards the universe as a manifestation of God.”
Strickland - Example - Holiness - God - Face
Strickland shared an example in which, she said, she personally experienced the holiness of God. She was privileged to see the face of a 16-year-old Muslim evangelist under a burqa, which, according to Strickland, was “beautiful, “gorgeous,” “sacred,” “holy.” The girl’s face...
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