WILMORE, KY - In a turn of events that no one predicted, a simple lapse in judgment has led to a furor at Asbury Theological Seminary.
The reason for the problem: the first annual Pro-Choice Conference was held on campus in late January of this year. This title, which seemed pleasant enough to conference coordinators, led to both far lower than expected attendance and downright confusion on the part of some.
According to seminary spokesperson Jenny Wray, "Our seminary is deeply rooted in the Wesleyan-Methodist heritage. We sense that our distinctive beliefs are under attack from the new Calvinist-fundamentalists roaming the halls of many evangelical seminaries these days. In order to confront these new Calvinist beliefs, our theology department decided to hold a conference that focuses on man's choice for or against God. In light of the topic, the conference was simply named the Pro-Choice Conference. Once the conference began, however, we realized there was going to be trouble."
According to Dr. David Sims, professor of systematic theology at Asbury, "We were expecting at least several hundred pastors and students to attend our conference. After the astounding success of the recent John 3:16 Anti-Calvinistic Conference in Atlanta, we figured that we would have people flocking to hear our speakers. Unfortunately, as the conference approached only 32 people had registered. Of the 32, 19 were current Asbury students. After a disappointing conference full of empty seats, we asked why so few had attended. The sad reality is that the conference name really was a problem."
Several pastors in the Kentucky/Tennessee/Ohio region quietly told TBNN that they thought Asbury had shifted even farther to the left and was endorsing abortion rights. Although this turned out to be false, it was still enough to scare away many possible attendees.
Although not publicized by the seminary, TBNN has also learned that of the 32 people who did attend, 9 were confused and upset members of the National Organization for Women. These women showed up expecting an exciting conference about how Christianity and abortion can be reconciled. When they found out the conference's focus was upon man's choice of God, they were disgusted and angry. Sally Harries, a member of NOW, told TBNN, "We are happy that Asbury is in favor of ordaining women to be pastors. That is a step in the right direction. We thought they had made another progressive leap forward when we heard about this conference. Everyone knows that 'pro-choice' refers to abortion rights. Why did these theology professors trick us like this? I drove all the way from Cincinnati to be here. What a waste of time!"
Asbury reportedly is planning a similar conference for next year, but we have learned that the name will be changed to the The Sovereignty of Man Conference.