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2 years ago  ::  Jun 26, 2012 - 3:16PM #1
adams87
Posts: 13
Hey guys, I am reading a book by "Bishop" Spong entitled "Reclaiming the Bible For A Non-Religious World." I was just curious as to see what you guys, notably fellow Anglicans/Episcopalians, thought about his ideas. Whilst I agree with Bishop Spong that gay people should be totally included at levels of church governance, his more "progressive" views of not believing in the Resurrection of Christ nor the Virgin Birth can be bothersome to most Anglicans.


As I have not read any of the more theologically focused works by Mr. Spong, I am sure there are there some that can provide insight into his belief system and how it can possibly be coherent against the official teachings of the Episcopal Church. Feel free to quote as much as you like!
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2 years ago  ::  Jun 26, 2012 - 4:29PM #2
Emersonbernard
Posts: 122

Jun 26, 2012 -- 3:16PM, adams87 wrote:

Hey guys, I am reading a book by "Bishop" Spong entitled "Reclaiming the Bible For A Non-Religious World." I was just curious as to see what you guys, notably fellow Anglicans/Episcopalians, thought about his ideas. Whilst I agree with Bishop Spong that gay people should be totally included at levels of church governance, his more "progressive" views of not believing in the Resurrection of Christ nor the Virgin Birth can be bothersome to most Anglicans.


As I have not read any of the more theologically focused works by Mr. Spong, I am sure there are there some that can provide insight into his belief system and how it can possibly be coherent against the official teachings of the Episcopal Church. Feel free to quote as much as you like!


I have that book on my Kindle, but I haven't had a chance to dive into it yet. I did, however, read "Rescuing the Bible From Fundamentalism" several years ago and liked it a lot. I also subscribe to his weekly Q&A email through progressivechristianity.org. It's pretty good, too. I like Spong, although I don't necessarily agree with everything he says, he makes me think, and I respect him.

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2 years ago  ::  Jun 26, 2012 - 4:48PM #3
RJMcElwain
Posts: 2,881

Jun 26, 2012 -- 3:16PM, adams87 wrote:

Hey guys, I am reading a book by "Bishop" Spong entitled "Reclaiming the Bible For A Non-Religious World." I was just curious as to see what you guys, notably fellow Anglicans/Episcopalians, thought about his ideas. Whilst I agree with Bishop Spong that gay people should be totally included at levels of church governance, his more "progressive" views of not believing in the Resurrection of Christ nor the Virgin Birth can be bothersome to most Anglicans.


As I have not read any of the more theologically focused works by Mr. Spong, I am sure there are there some that can provide insight into his belief system and how it can possibly be coherent against the official teachings of the Episcopal Church. Feel free to quote as much as you like!



Hi Mr. Adams,


Right now, some of the old timers here are rolling their eyes and moaning in anticipation of stuff from a "Spong fan".


I've read several of Bishop Spong's books and he and I have shared wine and peanuts once. From my perspective, he's right on with his theology although he goes too far far most Christians. Among other things, he's one of the "Scholars" of the Jesus Seminar, where his theological views are considered normal or moderate. His academic history gives him pretty good credibility with most of his positions and I understand he is whithering in debates with fundamentalist types, primarily due to his incredible knowledge of the Bible.


As for his specific views on Resurrection, Virgin birth, etc. I suspect, if you got a few Scotches into most Anglican clergy and asked them about these issues, they would agree with Spong. These biblical stories need to be taken in context. They were written in the age of mythology.


I imagine this will bring responses so I'll save more for discussion.


We never "argue" here.  Smile


Bob

Robert J. McElwain

"The strongest reason for people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." (Supposedly)Thomas Jefferson

"He who is not angry when there is just cause for anger is immoral."
St. Thomas Aquinas

One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. Plato
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2 years ago  ::  Jun 26, 2012 - 6:04PM #4
JimRigas
Posts: 2,950

Ah, Spong; the nonbelieving believer.  Let's wait for Nino's defense.

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2 years ago  ::  Jun 26, 2012 - 6:22PM #5
adams87
Posts: 13

Jun 26, 2012 -- 4:48PM, RJMcElwain wrote:


Jun 26, 2012 -- 3:16PM, adams87 wrote:

Hey guys, I am reading a book by "Bishop" Spong entitled "Reclaiming the Bible For A Non-Religious World." I was just curious as to see what you guys, notably fellow Anglicans/Episcopalians, thought about his ideas. Whilst I agree with Bishop Spong that gay people should be totally included at levels of church governance, his more "progressive" views of not believing in the Resurrection of Christ nor the Virgin Birth can be bothersome to most Anglicans.


As I have not read any of the more theologically focused works by Mr. Spong, I am sure there are there some that can provide insight into his belief system and how it can possibly be coherent against the official teachings of the Episcopal Church. Feel free to quote as much as you like!




As for his specific views on Resurrection, Virgin birth, etc. I suspect, if you got a few Scotches into most Anglican clergy and asked them about these issues, they would agree with Spong. These biblical stories need to be taken in context. They were written in the age of mythology.


I imagine this will bring responses so I'll save more for discussion.


We never "argue" here.  

Bob





I have never heard of any Anglican clergy, at least not in my diocese, which is relatively conservative on theological issues, deny the Resurrection or the Virgin Birth.

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2 years ago  ::  Jun 26, 2012 - 8:08PM #6
slu_magoo
Posts: 991

A rundown of my typical Spong complaints:


1) He's not a scholar.  His training is as a practitioner, not an academic -- despite the fact that he tries to pass himself off as one and that some people (BOB!) try to credit him as one.  Everything he says and writes has already been said and written by people much smarter and better educated than him. 


2) He loves the money.  He's retired, earns a lovely pension paid for by people he duped for decades, yet somehow thinks his 'scholarly opinion' is worth folks' hard-earned dollars.  It's not.


3) He's a blowhard whose 'scholarly work' typically consists of little more than other folks' work and his own opinions.  Yet, he mocks others' opinions.  His opinion isn't worth any more than anyone else's. 


4) He's a member of the fraudulent Jesus Seminar, which has an elaborate scheme of 'voting' on whether something is an historical fact.  Something either happened, or it didn't -- or we don't know whether it happened or not.  Votes don't change that.  The self-important moneygrubbers at the Jesus Seminar haven't figured that out.  I learned it in first grade.  It's too complex for these 'scholars,' I suppose.


5) Mr. Spong is all about Mr. Spong -- nothing more.  Whatever gets his name in the media, his face on tv, etc., is good with him.  All publicity is good publicity.  He just wants your attention.  He really, really wants your attention.


I could continue, but most of my issues with him fall into one of those five broad categories.  And no, I'm not an evangelical, a conservative, a fundamentalist, or anything of the sort.  I'm very progressive in my personal theology -- actually more progressive on many issues than most of the progressives who post here.  But I'm also someone who has little use or time for self-important blowhards.  It's funny how most folks--me included--have so, so many questions.  Spong doesn't.  He has all the answers. 


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2 years ago  ::  Jun 26, 2012 - 9:20PM #7
Nino0814
Posts: 1,655
There is no question about the lack of historical evidence for the Bible's claims about Jesus' birth and resurrection from a tomb.  There is also evidence contradicting these claims.  Spong is correct; even if he is not original.

The best case for the tomb narrative IMO is N.T. Wright's, but that is IMO very weak. 

Many people have been frightened into belief.  They are told that if they do not affirm certain events in the Bible as historical, then they cannot merit God's grace.

That is evil!  It is evil because it discourages people from using the known method for seeking and obtaining  the truth - critical thinking!  Any ideaology or religion that is sustained by this intellectual abuse should be disavowed.
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2 years ago  ::  Jun 26, 2012 - 9:33PM #8
RJMcElwain
Posts: 2,881

Jun 26, 2012 -- 8:08PM, slu_magoo wrote:


A rundown of my typical Spong complaints:


1) He's not a scholar.  His training is as a practitioner, not an academic -- despite the fact that he tries to pass himself off as one and that some people (BOB!) try to credit him as one.  Everything he says and writes has already been said and written by people much smarter and better educated than him. 





This is the only point I'll bother responding to. Bishop Spong would be the first one to agree with you on this point. He's listed as a Scholar with the Jesus Seminar but he would tell you he's a translator of the scholarly works of others, many of whom are too astronomical for most lay people to dig through.

Robert J. McElwain

"The strongest reason for people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." (Supposedly)Thomas Jefferson

"He who is not angry when there is just cause for anger is immoral."
St. Thomas Aquinas

One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. Plato
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2 years ago  ::  Jun 27, 2012 - 12:21AM #9
slu_magoo
Posts: 991

Jun 26, 2012 -- 9:33PM, RJMcElwain wrote:


This is the only point I'll bother responding to.




Gee, thanks, Bob.  Actually, there's really no reason for you to respond to any of my points.  I didn't ask any questions, and my post was intended as a reply to the OP.


But thanks for taking the time to respond to point one. 


BTW, until recently, I have never once heard Mr. Spong refer to his work in the way you characterized it.  Very, very convenient response when people start calling you on what is, essentially, the 'taking' of others' work.




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2 years ago  ::  Jun 27, 2012 - 2:16AM #10
Carsonthecrucifer
Posts: 9

I don't think you HAVE to believe in anything.  If Jesus were here today, he would tell us there is no such thing as Hell and the Devil.  Such teachings are simply not compatible with a full understanding Christianity.  No loving God would condemn his child to everlasting pain, or everlasting separation whether physically painful or not.  So I do think Spong is right about those things.



The miracles, virgin birth, resurrection, etc, are al just stoires.  No one can prove them or disprove them.  But why do we need to?  What value is it that we know for sure?



I also think that the Eucharist needs to have less emphasis placed on it.  We dupe people into thinking that something special happens when we recite some incantation.  But it is simply something that happens in our minds.



We need to go out an BE Christians and stop being worried about what we believe, what happened thousands of years agio, and all of that other rubbish.  



Deeds NOT Creeds!

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