Thursday, December 29, 2011

The diminishing value of Bishop Spong’s evolving Bible

Retired Episcopalian Bishop John Shelby Spong, who has made a career of rejecting fundamental Christian doctrines, takes aim at some “misconceptions” about the Bible in a CNN commentary.

  1. The Bible isn’t accurate, says the prelate who denies the Virgin Birth.
  2.  The Bible isn’t the Word of God, declares the man who rejects the physical Resurrection.
  3.  And—wait for it—there’s more:
 The third major misconception is that biblical truth is somehow static and thus unchanging. Instead, the Bible presents us with an evolutionary story, and in those evolving patterns, the permanent value of the Bible is ultimately revealed.
So you see the Bible is a “living document,” to be interpreted by those erudite scholars who can determine the vector of its evolving message. You’ve heard the same argument from liberal jurists, who say that the US Constitution should be interpreted in light of contemporary thinking, not just the thinking of the Founding Fathers. In constitutional law, the argument for a “living document” can be stretched to suggest that the Constitution means whatever a panel of judges says that it means.

In the case of the Bible, the argument for adhering to the “original intent” is stronger, since believers traditionally hold that the author is the Almighty. But Bishop Spong has dismissed that possibility (see #2 above).

Which leaves us with a question: If it’s not the Word of God, and it’s not accurate anyway, why should we care what the Bible says—or what Bishop Spong says that it says?


The Archer of the Forest said...


Reason #2153 of why I am considering an offer from the Roman Catholic Ordinariate.

The Archer of the Forest said...

In all fairness, I have never figured out why Spong remains a bishop or even a Christian. His stances are so out there that I do not understand how he can in good conscience and intellectual integrity remain a Christian. It truly baffles me. I mean, if I don't believe in anything that is taught by the scientific method, I am not in good conscience going to continue to call and act like I'm a scientist.

John (Ad Orientem) said...

Irrespective of what Spong calls himself, I think he has abandoned Christianity. I don't know many people who would argue otherwise. Looking into the Ordinariate is definitely a good idea. I would also encourage you to take a look at the Orthodox Western Rite. The Antiochian Archdiocese has website for their vicarate up here...

Also ROCOR has a small but growing Western Rite under the direction of bishop Jerome. His contact information can be found at the bottom of the page here...

I have long held that any Anglican of the catholic tradition is likely to end up having to choose between Rome and Orthodoxy. Any other choice just sets you up for a repeat of the same crisis you are going through now.

Christ is born! Glorify Him!

holyprotection said...

Agree with both of you on Spong--he seems to be very good at convincing himself of his own warping convictions.

I know you've been looking for Orthodoxy to extend its hand in welcome to you, and truthfully, the best we have in terms of Western Rite is what John lists above. Nevertheless, Orthodox Christians of any "rite" would be happy to welcome you--if they are in their right mind. Do look into the Ordinariate, but I'll obviously be hoping to have you in Orthodoxy. Either way, you have this sinner's prayers.

Visibilium said...

Ordinariate? Please. The "coetibus" in Anglicanorum Coetibus sounds too much like "coitus" for anyone to mistake Old Rome's intention--or who's on the receiving end. Anglican patrimony comes under the Roman Rite and isn't entitled to the kind of aesthetic/ethnic fig-leaves for which the Unia submits to Old Rome.

One may argue that the Ordinariate shell game offers nothing additional to what is received by converting to Old Rome through ordinary channels.

Anonymous said... "fundamentalism" a modern phenomenon or as old as the early Fathers who seemed to have a penchant for allegory?

Nathaniel said...

"His stances are so out there that I do not understand how he can in good conscience and intellectual integrity remain a Christian."


The reason is because no one has integrity anymore. The bravery that requires one to live out his convictions has been replaced by the pragmatism of rational egoism.

Zachary said...

It strikes me that this is the kind of nonsense that necessarily follows from sola scriptura and is one of the main reasons I could never be Protestant. As a Catholic who attended a Benedictine high school, I remember the monks stressing the fact that the Bible only makes sense as a collection of documents whose Authority and message is confirmed by Sacred Tradition and the God-given Authority of the Church. Spong comes from a long line of people who are used to reading Scripture outside of its true context, meaning they continuously have to reinvent ways to keep the Bible relevant.

Archer, as a Catholic I strongly recommend the Ordinariate, and would be happy to welcome you into communion with us.

The Archer of the Forest said...

I actually think Spong operated under the principle of what I (humorously) refer to "No la Scriptura"-i.e. basing absolutely nothing on Scripture.

John (Ad Orientem) said...