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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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    Covenant,

    The goals you seek to reach sound very commendable, almost utopian. But, what is truth? How do you define it? What are your guidelines?
    I guess I have a problem with one who wants to deny the very deity of God. We worship an awesome God who cannot be defined by man. We get into trouble every time we try. By trying to explain miracles by man's realm of understanding just plain upsets me. We don't have God's perspective and we never will. So, why try to put Him in a box? Why try to explain Him? Just because we have no way of conceiving how He does things doesn't mean that He couldn't do them.
     
  2. covenant914

    covenant914 Work in Process

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    Christsoldier - exactly.

    Though I do not think we agree, you could say the very same thing and agree with Spong - and me. The whole idea that God is a "He" is limiting. Something you criticize - yet participate in. A god who has to come down (Tower of babel) or get angry or is jealous - is a limited God. Our definitions of GOd, our images of God, are limited by our use of the Bible as an inerrant document. Rather than a light that illuminates the truth - without becoming the truth. The Bible is a wounderful document(or several documents) that relate personal( or a peoples) relationships with God using the limiting tool of language to convey that message. The image of a "old man in heaven(up there?" denies members of the human race inclusion. Ever seen a painting of a black Yahweh? or a female?

    An image(for lack of a better word) where God is the ultimate Ground of our being, the Creator of Life and the Originator of Love is much more inclusive and easier to believe in that the God who demands human sacrifice or condones genocide. These are human inventions and the image of God that they worship is also a human invention.

    Jesus recoginzed the totality of GOd's presence when he spoke of the Kingdom of GOd - see Luke. He gave us a pretty good blue print on how to achieve the Kingdom of God - while here on Earth - again see Luke (not Matthew).
     
  3. Christsoldier

    Christsoldier So, I'm an apologetic!

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    Covenant,

    While we can agree that, by trying to describe God in human terms, we, essentially put Him in a box, I see no harm by referring to Him as He, The Father. I have seen pictures of a black Yahweh, I am not offended. : ) However, I would have a problem with the portrayal of God as female. I think He is referred to as Father for a reason. His! Not mine!!! : )

    While we may not agree with the way God is portrayed in the OT, that is the way it was done. Was it done for a reason? I think so. What is the reason? I don't know.

    I will even go so far as to say, If Jesus walked inot our modern churches today, He would be horrified at what some people term "christianity". Does that mean we need a total rewrite? Do we throw the baby out with the bathwater? NO!!! We each build our relationship with a personal God.
     
  4. covenant914

    covenant914 Work in Process

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    An experiential relationship with God is the best, I agree. However, the idolatry of the Bible (as an inerrant document) or the Pope (infallibilty) interferes with the experiential relationship with GOd and makes man an observer, relying upon others, even "eyewitnesses" for validity. The post-Darwin, post-Newton, post-Einstein world that we currently live in denies the "historicity" of the Bible, thereby denying the major vehicle of most people's Christianity.
    The mainline churches are refusing to address this, the conservatives ignore it (or combat it) and the liberals offer a watered down version that essentially becomes "shopping for God." Spong is challenging, essentially the mainline churches and the liberals to realize that a new paradigm is required.

    God as a "he" is probably due to the writer's sex. The relationship that one forges with GOd is personal and should be comfortable. I believe that Jesus preferred "Abba" and not that it was the prerogative of the gospel writers - however - to teach that God is a man - with feet, eyes, etc is limiting.
     
  5. Christsoldier

    Christsoldier So, I'm an apologetic!

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    Covenant,

    >>The post-Darwin, post-Newton, post-Einstein world that we currently live in denies the "historicity" of the Bible, thereby denying the major vehicle of most people's Christianity.<<

    Could you expand on this thought a little more so I know where you're coming from? I think I do, but I want to be sure. Thanks.
     
  6. covenant914

    covenant914 Work in Process

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    The stories of the 6 days of creation, the Tower of Babel and the flood; the three-tiered description of the earth (heaven, earth, hell) and the earth as the center of the heavens (Joshua and the sun standing still), the dating of the earth that denies the speed of light and what that tells us about the distance of the stars(and the time required for their light to reach earth), etc.

    What we have in the Bible is the writers' understanding of their world. Not an inerrant document "inspired" by God. Inspired by God - certainly. Inerrant? No. The reliance on the Bible for science, history, astronomy, geology, physics, etc. is counter-productive and silly. It is also, in my opinion why half of the people in the United States do not attend church regularly - though 97% profess belief in God.
     
  7. bartleby

    bartleby New Member

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    covenant,
    good post!
    bb
     
  8. Christsoldier

    Christsoldier So, I'm an apologetic!

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    Covenant,

    >>What we have in the Bible is the writers' understanding of their world. Not an inerrant document "inspired" by God. Inspired by God - certainly.<<

    To me, this makes perfect sense. Why would God want them to expound on things they would have no understanding of? To expect them to have knowledge of a bigger world than their own makes perfect sense and, in my eyes, does not lessen the belief of any event written about in the Bible.

    If one is not supposed to be limiting God, haven't you, yourself, done just that, by assuming God could not have created the world in six literal days or flooded it or made the sun stand still?

    I think all manmade, led by man, and not by the leading of the Holy Spirit, is false. Remember what Revelations warns about: Do not add one word or take away from the Word of God. So, while you're running around looking for a kinder, gentler, more loveable god to worship(who, by the way, sounds like a wimp)I think I will stick to the God I know through Scripture. : )

    If you believe in the Holy Spirit, I would ask that you pray for some guidance and conviction from Him. At the moment, I can't remember Spong's feeling on the Trinity, sorry.
     
  9. covenant914

    covenant914 Work in Process

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    Careful reading of my posts reveal that I have not assumed anything about God - nor limited God in any way.

    To be a bit picky, however - even if the sun had been commanded to stand still - the earth was not commanded to stop turning - and it would have still looked as if the sun was moving across the sky. Which only proves my point. If the Bible had been infallible - the writer of that story would have known that the earth's rotation was what caused the sun to appear to cross the sky - and the earth would have been commanded to stop turing on its axis.

    The Bible is not infallible.

    The God we know through scripture is not all powerful, not omniscient and is a racist. Not to mention an advocate of slavery, genocide and bigamy. This sounds too much like ancient mankind. Or current mankind. I prefer the God I experience - which you yourself advocated in an earlier post.

    Trinity is not in the Bible. Spong will tell you that.
     
  10. Stephen

    Stephen Member

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    >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???<


    Spot the baby?

    Stephen
     
  11. covenant914

    covenant914 Work in Process

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    We can, for simplicity sake, call all of your examples miracles. All religions have miracles. Lots of babies.

    Miracles are not proof. If there were proof - there would be no need for faith. The miracle stories are - rather than being historical accounts - rather, theological statements. Jesus was called, by Josephus, a healer. Spong does not deny that. The miracel accounts - that are related by only Christians - written 30+ years after the cruxifiction - are mors likely statements of faith than statements of history. No eyewitnesses wrote anything down. But belief in Jesus brought healing to his believers. So a healing story. Jesus brought nourishment to their souls - so a feediong story.
    Not to mention that Matt(paarticularly) felt the need to compare Jesus to Moses (coming out of Egypt, Pharoah/Herod parallels, feeding the multitudes/manna, Red Sea/walking on water, etc) so some stories were fabricated.

    None of this denies the power that belief in Jesus had on the lives of his followers - or on Spong - who is a Christian. Spong has - somewhat - demoted Jesus from the Trinity and focuses on worshipping God - through the "way" of Jesus. Of course this argument goes back to Arius.
     
  12. Stephen

    Stephen Member

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    covenant914

    >Miracles are not proof.<

    What are, or were, miracles for?

    Stephen
     
  13. Aikido7

    Aikido7 New Member

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    Stephen, it depends on what part of the New Testament you read. In the synoptics (Mark, Luke and Matthew), miracles are the result of faith ("trust").

    In the Gospel of John, written about 30 years after the other accounts (according to an overwhelming consensus of scholarship), miracles are the impetus for faith claims.

    All heroes of all faiths have miracle stories attatched to their lives. An infancy story of the Buddha has him being born and then immediately walking, talking and preaching!
     
  14. Stephen

    Stephen Member

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    Aikido7

    Broadly I would agree with you, but I think that the final purpose of Jesus' miracles, and that of the apostles' too, was to increase faith (as trust) OR to provide a reasonable basis for belief (intellectual), depending on the witness. It is true that miracles were often a result of faith, but they had the effect of increasing the faith of those who had a little faith, encouraging trust in those who were unsure, and proving Jesus' identity to those who had no belief. I don't think it is of much importance when John was written, as it makes no difference to e.g. the appeal of Jesus to Philip on the basis of miracles, which was already applicable to all witnesses.

    Incidentally, there is a small but cogent group of scholars who believe that the NT could have been all wrapped up by about 60 AD, except for Revelation. I think the most relevant factor is that life expectancy for artisans in the 1st C. was probably well under 50, and estimates of authorship much after 60 AD are perhaps a shade unrealistic.

    Stephen
     
  15. Aikido7

    Aikido7 New Member

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    Stephen--

    I misunderstood you, thinking that you were seeking information.

    When I was younger, I remember some adults asking me "Why did you eat that cookie?"

    Looking back, it seems clear they did not really want to know why. They just wanted to let me know I was a heretical cookie eater.

    Thank God my loving parents never talked this way to me when I was a child....
     
  16. Stephen

    Stephen Member

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    >Thank God my loving parents never talked this way to me when I was a child....<

    With all respect, aikido, it wasn't you who was being addressed. Anyway, I don't really think you'll mind being uncovered as a heretic if you are of the view that miracles are a common feature of sundry heroes or deities.

    Stephen
     
  17. Christsoldier

    Christsoldier So, I'm an apologetic!

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    >>The Bible is not infallible.<<

    But, man sure is! : )

    >>Trinity is not in the Bible. Spong will tell you that.<<

    Man is fallible.

    >>If the Bible had been infallible - the writer of that story would have known that the earth's rotation was what caused the sun to appear to cross the sky - and the earth would have been commanded to stop turing on its axis.<<

    Now why would an ancient writer understand science?

    You say the OT portrays God as racist, a slaver, a bigamist and the author of genocide. Have you read the complete OT or just read the parts that back up your(Spong's?)belief system? The entire OT is the history of God's relationship with His chosen people. Their joys, their triumps, their defeats, their humiliation. God did what He had to do in order to get their attention, to chastise them and to bless them. Spong acts like God is sitting up there and reacting to events as they happen. God is not reactionary. He knows how it is all going to work out. We act like Jesus was an afterthought from God. You say Spong says the Trinity isn't in the Bible. I say the Trinity was there "In the Beginning......".

    As far as God being an advocate of slavery, you do know that slavery in those times was not the slavery we witnessed in our own country(assuming you're from the US). Slavery, then, was a different institution. People voluntarily "bonded" themselves in order to pay the debts they couldn't pay otherwise. They also celebrated jubilee where, after a length of time, they were to be freed and all debts cancelled. Does that mean it was an altogether good system? Probably not, I would imagine there were abuses. There always are when one man sets himself up as master over another.
     
  18. Aikido7

    Aikido7 New Member

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    Even if the revelation contained in the Bible were infallible and inerrant, as some claim, how we understand it is not--unless, of course, particular interpreters on this board have been granted the only correct interpretation by divine right and light.

    But if these interpreters have the only correct interpretation then they, too, must be equally inspired if their interpretations are to be infallible. And even if their interpretations are infallible, we must all share their inspiration, and hence their infalliblity, if we are to perfectly understand their interpretations.

    This all suggests that we are then confronted with an endless sequence in which everyone who pretends to understand must participate in the original inspiration to be part of the chain.

    Since being back-handedly judged a heretic on this board, I must admit that my own knowledge is always finite and open-ended and therefore subject to modification. All information I have acquired has been by toil--study and learning. If we could ALL admit to this common-sense fact, then we would all be on a level playing field and this would make a genuine exchange of ideas possible.

    I realize how difficult and dangerous it is to tip over tables in the Temple. It is an effront to orthodoxy and is thus "heretical." When Jesus was crucified, Matthew's account says the curtian in the temple which separated the people from God was immediately torn in two. This means--on a literal level at least--that there was suddenly NOTHING separating the human from the divine. No inerrant Bible. No idolatrous superheroes. No divine inspiration. Nothing but the hazards and terror of standing before God and mankind's sudden new sense of freedom and maturity.
     
  19. Christsoldier

    Christsoldier So, I'm an apologetic!

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    When trying to interpret the Bible the thing that must be taken into consideration is does it uphold what has gone before and what comes after? Does it actually teach what God said we should do or does it contradict His will?
     
  20. Christsoldier

    Christsoldier So, I'm an apologetic!

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    Aikido,

    I have come to understand that while one may know a lot about god, it is not the same as knowing God.
     
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