Asbury Sermon on ‘Therapeutic Self’ Prompts LGBTQ Twitter Rage
The result of these shifts has been the elevation of sexual satisfaction to the apex of our culture and making sexual identity our deepest source of self-knowledge. He concluded with an account of how Christianity enables a proper sense of identity; one rooted in the transcendent law of God instead of authentic individual expression.
Asbury Theological Seminary President Dr. Timothy Tennent is facing a social media backlash for preaching a solidly orthodox sermon at Asbury’s convocation for the 2021-22 academic year.
Titled “The Restoration of Personhood”’, the sermon referenced a conversation between Tennent and the late Asbury theologian Dr. Dennis F. Kinlaw. Tennent, as he explained, asked Law what the most pressing theological issue of the age was. Kinlaw, instead of a long-winded answer, responded with one word: personhood.
Tennent proposed that the overarching problem with the spirit of the age is that it has a severely misguided notion of what it means to be a human being. In particular, he referenced the work of Grove City College professor Carl Trueman, author of The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self: Cultural Amnesia, Expressive Individualism, and the Road to Sexual Revolution.
Trueman wrote Triumph of the Modern Self out of curiosity at statements like “I’m a woman trapped in a man’s body” going from nonsensical several generations ago to being “not only regarded as meaningful and authentic, but to deny it is stupid or immoral or an irrational phobia.” As Trueman argues, the 1960s saw the rise of a new kind of individualism, one radically different from what has come before. Canadian Philosopher Charles Taylor, called this shift “expressive individualism.”
The Asbury Seminary president described some features of this new individualism. Firstly, “this new vision of human personhood has created a seismic dualistic separation or fracturing of the human will from the physical body. In this twist of Neo-gnostic dualism our bodies become moldable, like plastic contingent instruments which must be conformed to the intuitions, feelings and what other social constructions we may dream of in order to conform to our understanding of ourselves.”