No, I didn’t make this up. Union Theological Seminary in New York City actually held a chapel service where students confessed and prayed to a bunch of potted plants. It’s often claimed that we are in the throes of a climate emergency, but this “confession” time actually shows these students are in the throes of a spiritual emergency! Maybe they need to change the school’s name to “Union Pagan Seminary.”
This exercise of confessing to plants is part of a class the university offers that, in part, contains “liturgical responses to the state of the climate.” They shared this confessional to plants in a tweet from the university’s official account. It contained a photo and the words:
Today in chapel, we confessed to plants. Together, we held our grief, joy, regret, hope, guilt and sorrow in prayer; offering them to the beings who sustain us but whose gift we too often fail to honor.
What do you confess to the plants in your life?
WE DON’T CONFESS TO PLANTS; THEY ARE JUST PART OF GOD’S CREATION, MADE TO BE FOOD FOR US AND THE ANIMALS (GENESIS 1:29).
Well, I don’t confess anything to plants because Scripture says, “if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). We don’t confess to plants; they are just part of God’s creation, made to be food for us and the animals (Genesis 1:29). Yes, they are an important part of creation and, yes, we should wisely care for what God has entrusted to us, but plants can’t hear us, can’t forgive us, and we’re certainly never commanded to confess anything to them.
In a press release about this strange and pagan ritual, Union explains,
This is just one expression of worship here at Union. Union Theological Seminary is grounded in the Christian tradition, and at the same time deeply committed to inter-religious engagement. Union’s daily chapel is, by design, a place where people from all the wondrous faith traditions at Union can express their beliefs. And, given the incredible diversity of our community, that means worship looks different every day!
They’ve forsaken biblical truth and the gospel message at this school long ago. Christianity is nothing more than a “tradition” there and has little to do with what is taught in the seminary. To all the students and faculty at Union, I say that this is what they need to confess:
if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
Really, their pagan actions are no different than what we read about in Isaiah 44:
He plants a cedar and the rain nourishes it. Then it becomes fuel for a man. He takes a part of it and warms himself; he kindles a fire and bakes bread. Also he makes a god and worships it; he makes it an idol and falls down before it. Half of it he burns in the fire. Over the half he eats meat; he roasts it and is satisfied. Also he warms himself and says, “Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire!” And the rest of it he makes into a god, his idol, and falls down to it and worships it. He prays to it and says, “Deliver me, for you are my god!”
They know not, nor do they discern, for he has shut their eyes, so that they cannot see, and their hearts, so that they cannot understand. No one considers, nor is there knowledge or discernment to say, “Half of it I burned in the fire; I also baked bread on its coals; I roasted meat and have eaten. And shall I make the rest of it an abomination? Shall I fall down before a block of wood?” He feeds on ashes; a deluded heart has led him astray, and he cannot deliver himself or say, “Is there not a lie in my right hand?” (Isaiah 44:14–20)
WE FACE THOSE ISSUES WITHIN A BIBLICAL FRAMEWORK, THAT WE ARE STEWARDS OF GOD’S CREATION, TO USE IT FOR OUR GOOD AND GOD’S GLORY.
This is nothing short of worship of the creation, rather than the Creator (Romans 1:25). And that’s not the proper response to the climate issues that encounter our generation. We face those issues within a biblical framework, that we are stewards of God’s creation, to responsibly use it for our good and God’s glory.
Discover more about a biblical response to environmentalism and climate change (physical and spiritual change) at our upcoming Easter conference at the Ark Encounter, April 9–12, 2020, south of Cincinnati. Hear from experts from Answers in Genesis, Living Waters, and the Cornwall Alliance. It’s going to be a wonderful time of learning and equipping . . . and, I promise, we won’t be confessing anything to plants!