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Bishop Spong?????

Discussion in 'Scripture,Tradition,Reason-Anglican & Old Catholic' started by Christsoldier, Jan 25, 2002.

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  1. Christsoldier

    Christsoldier So, I'm an apologetic!

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    Has anybody read any of John Shelby Spong's books? Presently, I am reading "Why Christianity Must Change Or Die".

    While I agree, that man has, at times, placed God in a box, I feel Bishop Spong wants to throw out the baby with the bathwater.

    Basically, I feel that the abuses done by the hierarchy in religion is no reason to think the history of God needs to be rewritten.

    His ideas that evolution is how God created and that the Virgin birth wasn't virgin and that the miracles didn't really take place leave me wondering just exactly what he leaves to worship.

    Thoughts, comments???

    edited for typo :D
     
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  2. Christsoldier

    Christsoldier So, I'm an apologetic!

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    Ahem, hasn't anybody read this guy or heard of him so we can discuss the ideas he has raised?

    I do not agree with the man, but we are going to be looking at his theses in Bible study and it would be great to bring other insights to this.

    I believe he is one of the false teachers we are warned about in the end times. What makes it even scarier is the high position he holds in the church. I wonder how many others in the heirarchy of religion have been just as misled.
     
  3. Christsoldier

    Christsoldier So, I'm an apologetic!

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    To, hopefully, further more discussion on this, here are Bishop Spong's 12 theses:


    1. Theism, as a way of defining God, is dead. So most theological God-talk is today meaningless. A new way to speak of God must be found.

    2. Since God can no longer be conceived in theistic terms, it becomes nonsensical to seek to understand Jesus as the incarnation of the theistic deity. So the Christology of the ages is bankrupt.

    3. The biblical story of the perfect and finished creation from which human beings fell into sin is pre-Darwinian mythology and post-Darwinian nonsense.

    4. The virgin birth, understood as literal biology, makes Christ's divinity, as traditionally understood, impossible.

    5. The miracle stories of the New Testament can no longer be interpreted in a post-Newtonian world as supernatural events performed by an incarnate deity.

    6. The view of the cross as the sacrifice for the sins of the world is a barbarian idea based on primitive concepts of God and must be dismissed.

    7. Resurrection is an action of God. Jesus was raised into the meaning of God. It therefore cannot be a physical resuscitation occurring inside human history.

    8. The story of the Ascension assumed a three-tiered universe and is therefore not capable of being translated into the concepts of a post-Copernican space age.

    9. There is no external, objective, revealed standard writ in scripture or on tablets of stone that will govern our ethical behavior for all time.

    10. Prayer cannot be a request made to a theistic deity to act in human history in a particular way.

    11. The hope for life after death must be separated forever from the behavior control mentality of reward and punishment. The Church must abandon, therefore, its reliance on guilt as a motivator of behavior.

    12. All human beings bear God's image and must be respected for what each person is. Therefore, no external description of one's being, whether based on race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation, can properly be used as the basis for either rejection or discrimination.

    Pretty radical!!! Can we talk? :D
     
  4. VeraciousMaven

    VeraciousMaven Jesus Saves!

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    All I have to say is that this man is against just about everything I believe.

    And before I go debunking his theories, I would have to read his book. But man ... it's sad looking at something like that.
     
  5. Christsoldier

    Christsoldier So, I'm an apologetic!

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    I'm reading his book and I have to agree with you. His ideas go against everything I believe, too. It doesn't get any better in the book. : (

    What really bothers me the most is this man is a Bishop in the episcopal church. It leaves me wondering how many others in the heirarchies of organized religions feel this way.

    I was always under the impression that man is the one that has to change, not God. God's unchangingness is why we have the confidence we do. Right?
     
  6. girl4god

    girl4god New Member

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    Not only confidence, but hope for tomorrow. I pray that this man's influence is unmade by God himself, and that people who know enough to be appologetics to him bring him to a Saving knowledge of God, not a distorted belief to lead others astray. May our Savior save him!!

    I have not read his book, but feel if I do, I would not like him, or his ideas at all. At least some people are still zealous for God and His unerring Truth. Amen to you Christsoldier. Please doo not hesitate to share how you feel with your group. You may just shed the light needed .
     
  7. Christsoldier

    Christsoldier So, I'm an apologetic!

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    Thanks, girl4god! One thing I think that is very important to remember is Satan can disguise himself as an angel of light and we have to be wary of false teachers, now more than ever.

    While we're going to be discussing this man's theses in Bible study, I don't think I'll have to change anybody's mind there. But< I'm hoping it leads to a deeper study of how to defend one's faith. We need that more than anything now.

    There are so many people out there who want to have nothing to do with the Gospel message and think they have all the answers. We need to be Jesus to them.
     
  8. girl4god

    girl4god New Member

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    You're welcome. I'll pray for your group to learn all it can. I know I need a BIT more practice myself in this area. It is very important, and I'm glad you are learning all you can. I will keep you in prayer to not lose heart, or faith when difficulties come your way for it. I know that it almost always means you will be rewarded for your perserverance, and hardship for God. You certain;y have taken up the right cross, and I applaud you!!

    It is my promise to try to learn more also, to be a better witness in my walk.Thanks for the inspiration, to really be what God has called us to!
     
  9. Christsoldier

    Christsoldier So, I'm an apologetic!

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    For me, that's one of the most exciting things about being one of God's own. Letting Him be in charge and leading me places I wouldn't normally go and do things I wouldn't normally do. I think one of the most awesome things to be is the person God intends me to be to the fullest. Not what the world demands. :D
     
  10. Apologist

    Apologist 2 Tim. 2:24-26

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    Christian
    This guy is a heretic and I wouldn't even consider his blasphemous ideas.

    Paul summed it up best in 1 Corinthians 1:18-25:

    18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written:

    “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
    And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.”

    20 Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 22 For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
    The New King James Version, (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers) 1998, c1982.
     
  11. solo66 man

    solo66 man Well-Known Member

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    What church is he a bishop of? Satans?
     
  12. Christsoldier

    Christsoldier So, I'm an apologetic!

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    LOL, that was my first thought, too. My second one was this guy would've never made it through the Spanish Inquisition!!!

    I'm not considering his ideas at all, just reading the book so I can argue about it intelligently.
     
  13. Christsoldier

    Christsoldier So, I'm an apologetic!

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    solo66man,

    He is a bishop of the episcopal church, retired now, I think.

    I'm only halfway through his book, but it begs the question: What is left to worship?????

    From the sounds of it, only ourselves.

    Sad, isn't it? :(
     
  14. covenant914

    covenant914 Work in Process

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    Not only have I read Spong but I credit his writing (along with Crossan, Pagels, Funk, etc) for allowing me to move back into Christianity with integrity.

    The literal reading of the Bible is creating a problem in this post-Darwin world. Spong's major thesis is against this literal reading. No major church is addresing this - though most mainline seminaries do not teach "the literal view." Spong is challenging this misinformation.

    Try reading him with an open mind - and ignore the deliberately inflammatory titles.
     
  15. JohnR7

    JohnR7 Well-Known Member

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    Pentecostal
    Married
    >>Pretty radical!!! Can we talk?

    Talk about what? Why the Episcopal Church has not booted this guy right out of there? The argument in the Episcopal Church is that just because this diocese is apostate, does not mean the whole Episcopal Church is apostate. I am not so sure of that myself. The seminarys do a pretty good job of killing off whatever life maybe in a person who is in training for the priesthood. That is why they call it a cemetary instead of a seminary.

    People with this sort of agenda do not represent God at all, and so listening to them is the same as listening to their father the devil. They have nothing to add or contribute to us. We need to warn as many people as we can, not to listen to this apostate teaching. According to the Bible, this is truely a time where the love of many is growing cold. The apostate church acts loving, but there is none of the love of God in them. We need to learn to discern the difference between man's love and God's love, before others are lead astray. Thanks, JohnR7
     
  16. Christsoldier

    Christsoldier So, I'm an apologetic!

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    Covenant,

    Thanks for your thoughts. I really tried to read his book with an open mind, but, truthfully, I could almost the Holy Spirit warning me against the ideas in his book. I guess I'm left with the verse telling us not to add or take anything away from His word. And, I gotta tell ya', every time someone tries to reinterpret what God intended, we end up in trouble and quarreling over mere words, semantics.
     
  17. Christsoldier

    Christsoldier So, I'm an apologetic!

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    Covenant,

    Thanks for your thoughts. I really tried to read his book with an open mind, but, truthfully, I could feel the Holy Spirit warning me against the ideas in his book. I guess I'm left with the verse telling us not to add or take anything away from His word. And, I gotta tell ya', every time someone tries to reinterpret what God intended, we end up in trouble and quarreling over mere words, semantics.
     
  18. BigEd

    BigEd an adopted child of God

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    I have just read the back cover of that book while browsing the book store.

    to me it seems like false teaching, by a false teacher.

    2Pe. 2:1 But there were also false prophets among the people, just as
    there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign
    Lord who bought them ? bringing swift destruction on themselves.
     
  19. Aikido7

    Aikido7 New Member

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    l. God is much more awesome than our idea of Him. More awesome than the atheists, the skeptics or the believers can fathom or articulate.

    2. God is not reducible to the secular religious term "Christianity," and is therefore much greater than any human expression of Him. Jesus said "Why do you call me good? Only God is good," and "Call no man on earth your Father," and "God is greater than I."

    3. Augustine, not Jesus, devised the "Doctrine of Original Sin" in the Fourth Century by proclaiming that sin is passed from person to person within male sperm.

    4. "Born of a virgin" is a statement of faith. It speaks to the importance of Jesus, not to the biology of Mary.

    5. Today a miracle refers to something as mundane as getting a new job or something as surprising and baffling as a spontaneous remission after a liver cancer diagnosis. Divine consistency mandates that the laws of physics are as constant today as they were in first-century Palestine. At Lourdes--a Catholic healing shrine in France--and in Turkey--a pagan healing shrine to the god Ascepsulus--one will find lots of cast-off crutches and wheelchairs. But no artificial limbs have been thrown away....

    6. An atoning blood sacrifice is an understandable way of making sense of Jesus' terrible death. After all, the idea arose within a culture of temple sacrifice when animals were killed to appease the people's conception of God and to carry away their sins.

    7. The resurrection was one way to express the disciples' experience that Jesus had been swept up into God's power and would soon return in their lifetime. Other terms preserved in the New Testament include God "glorifying his servant," "designating" him the agent of the coming eschaton, "entering heaven" and "appearing before God." There is no mention of a physical resusitation or resurrection. In the apocalyptic context of those times, resurrection did not necessarily mean that a dead person left his grave and came back to life.

    8. The Ascention can be explained within the context of careful study and evaluation of the wide diversity in Judaism during the early Common Era and how the ancient mind regarded manifestations of the divine. There are a broad spectrum of different ways of apprehending visions and manifestations in the New Testament--theophanies (Acts 7:55) angelophanies (Luke 1:11), revelations (Galations 1:12) epiphanies of returning prophets (Mark 8:28) and visions of blinding light (Acts 9:3)--to name a few!

    9. It is nice to think that law and standards can keep us always on our best behavior, but history shows us otherwise. Careful readers of the Bible can find a wealth of wisdom and ancient tribal codifications, out of which many believers seem to pick and choose which they will obey and which are no longer of use. Unfortunately, each generation has different ideas and opinions on which biblical standards to use.

    10. Prayer should be a way to connect with the divine agenda, not to overpower God's plan. Unfortunately, both football teams have a pre-game petitionary prayer to the same God.

    11. Threats and punishment don't work with animals, children and believers. The intention may be good, but it is results that matter. Cowering or agressive dogs, stifled or bullying kids and compliant "Branch Davidian"-type obedients or agressive televangelists seem to me to be the general outcome of scare tactics.

    12. "In Christ there is no East or West, slave or free, male or female." Jesus was socially promiscuous; he ate with everyone. Jesus lived and died for a God who made "the sun shine on both the evil and the good and sends the rain on both the just and the unjust." Jesus' God was "an equal opportunity lover." If Jesus told the Parable of the Good Samaritan today (and it were to have the same shock value now as it did then) he would have to call it "the Parable of the Good Lesbian Buddhist."
     
  20. covenant914

    covenant914 Work in Process

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    Spong is associated with this organization.

    Christianity for the Third Millennium, Inc., seeks to offer an alternative that is both radically Christian and significantly non-traditional -- even non-religious. Our convictions involve these principles:

    We believe that every human being reflects the image of God, is loved infinitely by God in and through Jesus the Christ and is called by the Holy Spirit into the fullest expression of humanity that is possible. In the service of this conviction we will seek to build an inclusive Christian church that tolerates no prejudices. We will live out the message of welcome to those exiles who have always lived on the edges of the traditional church's life -- the critical thinkers and visionaries and those who have been discriminated against on such bases as race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation.
    We believe that the ultimate task of Christianity is not to give religious security but to seek God's truth even when that is an uncomfortable truth.
    We will attempt to create a community in Christ in which each person may live with confidence in the real world of expanding knowledge, even when that world relativizes every boundary by which God was once defined. We hold before the world a new paradigm for the church. We call believers into a journey into God rather than into the certainty of religious convictions.
    We view the Bible as a road map that helps us know how our ancestors in faith understood the "holy", not as an inerrant document on which a faith test will be given.
    We see the Creeds as human words that point to the truth of God, not as dogmatic words that somehow are supposed to have captured the truth of God.
    We believe that our call to compassion is prior to our call to holiness and that the holiness we seek must be grounded first in love and acceptance, not in moral principles or righteousness.
    We believe that what Christians have in the past called "orthodoxy" represents the point of view that "won" far more than it represents the point of view that is true, much less eternal.
    We believe that any doctrinal system that is closed or that believes that it defines truth for all time is finally idolatrous. We dismiss all religious claims of infallibility or inerrancy. We seek to call the church into a new Reformation, one that will recast the essential experience that underlies the perceived truth of Christianity into the words and concepts of a new century and its emerging consciousness.
    Christianity for the Third Millennium will seek to call this new paradigm of what the church means into being from among all branches of Christianity, indeed from among all the seekers of the truth of God in all the religious systems of the world. We will do this through mass media and through churches that are willing to be centers of exploration. We will employ in our efforts public lectures, printed journals, tape recordings, and videos with study guides to accomplish our goals. We will seek to provide those churches that want to join this journey with the resources necessary to bring the best teachers and the best knowledge available today in the great centers of religious learning directly into the pews of the humblest congregation, thus narrowing the enormous gap which exists today between academia and the typical congregation. We will reach out to people who are hungry for the truth of God, truth which will challenge their minds and still warm their hearts.
     
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