The latest blasphemous attack on Jesus Christ has come from the College of the Holy Cross, a Jesuit school that certainly knows better.
Professor Tat-Siong Benny Liew, who holds the endowed Chair of New Testament Studies, teaches the primary class for undergraduates on the New Testament and thus is in a position to pollute and deceive the minds of gullible young students who come to college prepared to learn from their highly educated instructors.
He argues that Jesus was not only the king of Israel and king of the Jews but the queen of drag, who indulged in cross-dressing, had a sexual interest in his disciples and even had a sexual interest in his Heavenly Father. A more grotesque view of the person of Christ is virtually impossible to imagine.
Liew is obsessed with gender. In fact, writer Elinor Reilly notices “the centrality of sex and gender to his way of thinking about the New Testament.” And this, of course, is exactly where Professor Liew goes wrong. If anything other than Christ is central to a man’s way of thinking about the New Testament, he will wind up in the weeds.
Interpreting the Bible is really no different than interpreting the Constitution or any other piece of literature. Our goal is to understand the text as its author intended it to be understood. Just as the Constitution means what the Founders intended it to mean, no more and no less, so the Bible means what its authors intended it to mean. That’s the controlling factor in accurate interpretation. Once we dismiss authorial intent from its controlling role, we will soon discover that the Bible can mean anything we want it to mean.
Either the Bible means what its authors intended it to mean, or it can mean anything the fevered imagination of man can dream up.
Liew’s problem is that he insists on forcing meaning into the text of Scripture, not drawing it out. We are never to insert our own ideas into the meaning of Scripture. It’s not for us to find ever more creative and novel ways of inserting the latest cultural trend into its pages. It’s for us to discern the meaning the authors of Scripture intended to impart to us, and allow that to control the way we think about God, Christ, and all of life.
Liew’s “interpretations” aren’t even interpretations, since he is importing everything he thinks into the text. “Water” in the gospel of John is a picture of the Holy Spirit, not some kind of sexual energy. When Christ washed the feet of the disciples, he was doing it to serve them, not to seduce them. When he hung on the cross, he was not fantasizing about a sexual relationship with the Father, he was suffering the agony of being the sin-bearer and the agony of being relationally separated from God for the first time in all eternity past. There is literally zero - as in nada, zilch, zip - biblical evidence for his blasphemous and perverted view of the person of Christ. Further, his view of Christ is so far from reality and truth that it is utterly appalling that Holy Cross hasn’t sent him packing.
This is the week we celebrate the truth that the cross is in fact a “holy” cross. It is the place where the sinless son of God took our place and took upon Himself our sin, our shame, and our disgrace, while suffering the ultimate penalty in our stead. Even Professor Liew can be forgiven his intolerable blasphemy if he will repent and fall at the foot of the cross. May he find his way back to the truth and to the cross of the true Christ before it is too late.