Well, it’s not going to cost me three hundred bucks but I am appealing my pass (PS) grade in THL106 Introduction to New Testament Studies. That was one of the courses I took in second semester 2011 at United Theological College (UTC)—before I was suspended for expressing views deemed to be “offensive” to female and ethnic students.
Alt Right readers may recall that I was convicted of blasphemy in an inquisition lasting almost a year. As a consequence, the guardians of the academic cult of the Other barred me from UTC classrooms for the whole of 2012.
Adding insult to injury, the College endlessly procrastinated before posting my final grade in THL106. Repeated enquiries regarding the delay were ignored by both the course coordinator and the College Principal. Only last week—over a year after I handed in the final assignment—did I discover that I had been given a bare pass (PS in officialise).
Up to at least mid-year, the grade was still listed as pending on my transcript. Sometime between then and early November, somebody somewhere entered my unit result online. I received no notification, either by letter or by email. I can’t help but see both the inordinate, unexplained delay and the derisory pass grade as part of the “hostile learning environment” custom-crafted for anyone exposing academic “anti-racism” as a genteel code word for anti-White bigotry.
With plenty of time on my hands, appealing the grade seems well worth the effort. Especially since Charles Sturt University, the mother institution of UTC, charges only the cut-rate price of $65. The fee is not a bribe, however. Au contraire, I’ll get my money back—if the appeal succeeds. Of course, I’ve already had a brush with the CSU brand of politicized justice, so I can’t be confident that I’ll get a fair go.
But, in my own experience as a working academic, it was standard operating procedure in examiner’s meetings to query a student’s grade in one course if it seemed out-of-line with his grades in other courses. In my case, my pass grade in THL106 stands in stark contrast to the Distinction and High Distinctions I received from lecturers in other courses—awarded even after clashing with them in classes and seminars.
I can’t be sure what caused the lecturer in THL106 to lose his academic cool. He was a casual appointment more than likely influenced by his full-time colleagues to regard me as a thought criminal both before and after I was suspended. The nature of the final assignment in THL106 provides another clue as to what may have clouded his professional judgement.
In the subject outline and in class, the lecturer made it clear that the final assignment was to be a personal statement about the central faith assertion that the Bible is the Word of God. In responding to that invitation—indeed, order—to get things off my chest, I fear I may have fed him far too much red meat.
By the end of the 2011 academic year, it had become perfectly clear to me that the multi-racial classroom at UTC is a base camp for combatants in the cultural war being waged against my people in Australia. My final essay simply applied that personal insight to my experience in the New Testament Studies classroom.
Unfortunately, after inviting me to give him my best shot, the lecturer refused to man up and take it on the chin. Instead, I believe, he took the coward’s way out: sending me a cyberspace raspberry, months after the University had already pulled me out of the ring.
As a small counter-strike in the culture wars at UTC, I am bringing my grade appeal into the public arena. I invite Alt Right readers to read the two constituent elements of my final assignment: first, my Initial Thoughts on the Bible as the Word of God; and, second, my Concluding Reflections on the Higher Criticism (i.e., the governing methodology of Bible Studies at UTC).
I ask readers to assess both pieces in the light of the guidelines for Assessment Item # 3 as excerpted below from the Subject Outline. Part One is appearing today and Part Two will soon follow. Having read both, readers may then, if they wish, grade the assignment out of 40.
I had already completed two assignments in the course before handing in the third essay. Each of those received a Credit grade. (I wasn’t happy about those grades either, but that’s another story). Accordingly, I had accumulated 42/60 marks already (i.e. 21/30 + 21/30). To receive a PS grade, my final assignment (which I never got back) must have received a mark somewhere in the range 8/40 to 22/40.
Readers can judge for themselves whether the final essay was worth any more than 22 marks, or even as much as 8. If nothing else, the exercise should provide readers with an introduction to what passes for academic theology these days.
Here are the guidelines for Assessment Item # 3 in THL106. (Immediately thereafter readers will find my first stab at thinking about the Bible as the Word of God and the lecturer’s comments on my initial thoughts):
Assessment Item # 3
There are three parts to this assessment item. Each part is to be included in an essay to be submitted at the end of the semester. In this essay, you should attempt to integrate your understandings of biblical interpretation as they have developed during the semester.
A. Initial thoughts. By the end of the second week of semester, write about 500 words in which you reflect on the classic faith assertion, "The Bible is the Word of God". The first
tutorial discussion should help you to identify some of the issues which you will want to include in this section. Make it your own statement, in which you set out how you see the Bible at the start of your studies this semester, and how you currently approach the task of interpreting the Bible. You should submit this statement to the lecturer in week 3, to receive informal feedback and suggestions about issues which you may wish to "flag" for special attention during the -semester.
B. Analysis of methods of interpretation. You should begin to accumulate material for this assignment from week six onwards. Then, as you come into the final weeks of the semester, you should write about 1,000 words in which you explore and analyse four methods or approaches to interpretation which have been studies in this subject. In each case, you might explore questions such as:
- a. In what way(s) is this method or approach important?
- b. What is positive and affirming, for you, about this method or approach?
- c. What is challenging or problematic, for you, about this method or approach?
- d. What questions do you have regarding this method or approach?
- e. How might this method or approach be used within your cultural context? Would it cause difficulties for people within that context?
You may not be able to address every one of these questions to every one of the four methods or approaches chosen. You should exercise you(sic) discretion to highlight the questions and issues which are most significant for you, in each case.
C. Closing reflection. After you have completed the above two parts, you are ready to write a concluding section to the essay, of no more than 500 words. In this conclusion, you should comment on the initial thoughts which you wrote early in the semester, noting where your ideas have changed, been challenged, or been strengthened. This is to be a personal reflection in which you analyse your learning during the semester. In it, you might state whether there are aspects of your initial statement with which you now disagree; positions which you now hold more firmly; statements about which you have made discoveries; matters about which you have additional questions; and so on. This reflection will be assessed on evidence that indicates you have been thinking critically about your position, i.e. you have been judging, re-assessing and evaluating your thinking.
This essay will require students to reflect on their learning during the semester and integrate material covered in the subject with their own understanding of scripture.
In the second week of semester the class discussed the Basis of Union for the Uniting Church in Australia as a starting point for our initial reflections on the topic. I did, in fact, use section 5 of that creedal statement as the launching pad for my own argument.
The Bible as the Word of God
The Uniting Church’s understanding of the relationship between the Bible and the Word of God appears to reflect the combined impact of the Reformation and the Enlightenment: churches have become private, voluntary associations; the Old Faith has been pushed out of the public square and religious experience is confined to the private, inner life of individuals. The Bible, accordingly, is no longer the sacred charter of an ecclesiastical authority presiding over a way of life, a communion, and faith practiced in public and in private by all manner of men and women. For the Uniting Church, the Bible is merely the medium through which we hear witnesses to the Word of God, the divine Logos incarnate in Jesus Christ. Accordingly, this liberal theology no longer views the Bible as a warrant to baptize all the nations so as to expand the spiritual dominion of Christendom to the ends of the earth.
The combination of an individualist soteriology with the social gospel now characteristic of mainstream Christianity is bound up with a futurist eschatology which treats the biblical narrative as an unfinished story that will end only with the Second Coming of Christ. Moreover, given the diversity of forms and genres in the Bible, individual members of the Uniting Church are free to give more weight to the testimony of some witnesses then they do to others. Needless to say, the “traditional” Protestant attitude towards the role of tradition as an aid to understanding the Word of God complicates matters, further distancing us from the possibility of seeing the unity inherent in the story told by the Bible from Genesis to Revelation.
In fact, the now-dominant tradition among both Protestants and Catholics holds that the parousia is an as-yet unfulfilled prophecy. Those who look to Christ’s Second Coming sometime in our future are unable to make coherent sense out of either the Book of Revelation. Nor can they account for the time-texts elsewhere in the New Testament suggesting that Christ would return on a cloud of glory before the present generation of those listening to him had passed away. But, as Dicker points out, tradition is never “completed and dead,” it always remains “alive and growing.”
In recent decades, the preterist tradition has emerged out of the Christian underground to endow the Word of God as found in the Bible with new meaning. Preterists contend that all of the biblical prophecies concerning the last days and the coming of the Kingdom were fulfilled with the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in AD 70. The Old Covenant creation that came into being in Genesis comes to an end in that eschatological event. In Revelation, John proclaims that Christ is “coming quickly” to inaugurate “a new heaven and a new earth” to replace the “first heaven and the first earth” then facing imminent destruction.
For preterists, the Kingdom of God is a presently existing reality here on earth. Within that Kingdom, the biblical Word of God commands the church to extend its spiritual dominion over all the nations in a world without end. The Bible is “one story (with many subplots inside the overarching plot)” in which “new covenant” principles can be found “early in Genesis—the gospel is revealed before the fall—and the last of the ‘old covenant’ shadows pass away, in finality, at the end of Revelation.” Within the preterist tradition, therefore, the Bible is recovering its former status as the foundation charter of the new covenant creation, not as a fossilized text, but as the seedbed for the living, growing Word of God.
OK, Now you need to make explicit what you think and why.
With a reflective essay I need to hear your voice While I may infer your opinion from this, [in] this type of essay—admittedly rare in academia—I need to hear your explicit opinion as in ‘I think” or ‘I believe’…
My Concluding Reflections will appear in Part Two. Feel free to hurt my feelings when you assess this piece in the Comments. If and when I receive a decision on my Application for Review of Grade, I will post the result in the Comments following Part Two.
Right now, I’m ready to kiss my sixty-five bucks good-bye but, who knows, the Alt Right commentariat may change the course of academic micro-history in an obscure college down under. You can be sure that the UTC faculty will have an opportunity to read your comments.