M a t t . T r e d e r

An essay by John Shelby Spong

In Uncategorized on January 28, 2009 at 8:54 pm

Here’s a good example of Spong basically throwing out the baby, bathwater, and tub — then expressing hope for the future of Christianity. For the uninitiated, Spong is an Episcopalian bishop, since retired, who has written books such as “Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism” and “Why Christianity Must Change or Die.” He writes:

In many of its details, the Bible is simply wrong! Epilepsy is not caused by demon possession. David did not write the Psalms. The earth is not the center of the universe. On other issues of great public concern, the Bible is no longer even regarded as moral. Its verses have been used to affirm war, slavery, segregation and apartheid. It defines women as inferior creatures and suggests that homosexual persons be put to death.  . . .  The idea that the Bible came into being in some sort of miraculous way and is either the literal dictation of God or even the “inspired message of God” is simply not supportable on its face. The Bible is a profoundly human, deeply flawed, tribal history that has created as much pain as blessing in our world.

I find this kind of Christian writing refreshing, insofar as I can disagree with little of it, but I wonder what keeps a thoughtful person like Spong in the fold, when he himself has eloquently expressed a hundred reasons to run screaming into the waiting and loving, not to mention sarcastically anthropomorphic, arms of secular humanism.

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  1. For Spong, to be a Christian is to be a follower of the “way of Jesus,” and to understand that in the man Jesus we see more of God than has ever been contained in a human being. Same reason I haven’t left the fold myself.

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