Bishop John Shelby Spong

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Marco, Nov 1, 2005.

  1. Marco

    Marco
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    Hello,

    First off, thanks very much for all the help with the stay-at-home dad issue I brought up. It was very helpful to me.

    Some people from another church recently gave me some books by a Bishop John Shelby Spong. These individuals say his knowledge of the Bible and Christianity is precise and that I could learn a lot from this man. However, I have just became a Christian 3 months ago and just joined a church. I really do not know much about certain people in Christianity or the various books written about it. I just am reading the Bible now to learn and grow. I would bring this up in my Baptist church but I'm already dealing with the stay-at-home dad issue with them.
    Anyway, I was wondering if any Baptist has heard of this Bishop John Shelby Spong and is he a good person to adopt some positions from?
     
  2. StefanM

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    He is probably the worst person from whom to learn theology.

    He is a FLAMING liberal who denies basically all historical doctrines of Christianity. I would say that his theological positions cannot honestly be called Christian.
     
  3. Martin

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    ==Spong is on the outer fringe of Biblical scholarship. His views are not shared by the vast majority of New Testament scholars. Since you are new to the faith, and certainly new to various textual/historical issues, I would not advise you to read any of those books at this time. For new Christians I would advise them to read the Bible (first) and then books by folks like Charles Stanley, Billy Graham, Lee Strobel, etc. A good introduction to the New Testament book for you would be, "Encountering The New Testament" by Walter Elwell and Robert Yarbrough. It covers all the issues well and it contains a cd for your computer to help you learn the important points. Great resource!


    ==I don't know about the situation however I would strongly urge you to talk with your pastor about these things. He might be able to suggest some good resources for you, pray with you, and help explain things you may have some trouble with. If you can't talk to him what about a deacon or Sunday school teacher, or just a mature Christian friend (who did not suggest you read Spong ;) ).


    ==I am very familiar with him (and others). Take it from me he is not a fair representative of Biblical scholarship. His views tend to be very liberal and this shades his scholarship.

    Btw, just curious, what books by Spong were you given?


    God Bless you as you grow!

    In Christ,
    Martin.
     
  4. Marco

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    Thanks for the advice. I better just stick with the Bible because things are a little wacky for me now - I got people at church telling me how to live my life and now I got these books by Spong who in fact may not be the best person to follow for advice.
    So yeah, I'll stick with the Bible and try to work things out with my Church.

    The books by Spong I received were: Why Christianity Must Change or Die, Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism, and Resurrecting - Myth or Reality.
     
  5. Magnetic Poles

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    Since I believe that truth can stand on its own, it is a good thing to read varying viewpoints. If one isolates themself to only confirming authors, how does one understand others. It seems very cultish to cloister one's self into reading only one side of any issue.
     
  6. Marco

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    You know, maybe down the road I'll do that - look into diverse opinions. But I so new and to tell you the truth it's a lot to take in now. I've got to slow it down and just read the whole Bible first. I'll read his books once I feel more comfortable and confident as a Christian. Thanks again for all this advice guys.

    ~Marco
     
  7. Joseph_Botwinick

    Joseph_Botwinick
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    Spong is a heretic. You are wise beyond your years spiritually for choosing to stick with the Bible. If only older, more mature Christians were as wise as you are.

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  8. Martin

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    ==Yea, those books are trouble. Spong denies the resurrection of Jesus (etc) and is very liberal on many social issues as well. You are wise to stay away from Spong right now. As for the advice that you need to hear both sides...well that may be true down the road when you are more settled/mature in your faith and after you have studied alot. Right now his books will probably do nothing but confuse you. My advice is to put them away (hopefully where nobody else can find them) or throw them away and focus on your relationship with the Lord and learning His word. You should also read books by Godly men/women who will teach you things based on Scripture (see above). Also get involved in small groups at church (etc) so you can build relationships with other Christians.

    In Christ,
    Martin.
     
  9. Petrel

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    Absolutely not. I'm not hasty to say a person is a heretic, but I think John Spong is. Chuck 'em in the trash!

    Magnetic Poles, I don't think a new Christian ought to explore the opposing viewpoints of the theologically liberal and extremely unorthodox without first getting some grounding in orthodox belief.
     
  10. Charles Meadows

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    I agree.

    I'm not keen on referring to others as heretics - but Spong is definitely a heretic.

    He does not believe in God!!!

    And his "scholarship" is along the lines of John Dominic Crossan and the Jesus Seminar.
     
  11. jarhed

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    Dear new Brother in Christ...stick to your Bible. The Bible is always clear, always current, always precise. Get yourself a Strongs Concordance and a Bible dictionary as helps, and start doing YOUR OWN word study. Look up the word "Justification" in your strongs and it will take you to every occurance, and allow the BIBLE to define itself. Etc. You are on the right track. Let God be true and every man a liar. God Bless!
     
  12. Gold Dragon

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    I have never read Spong and am familiar with his general position. However I am open to considering different opinions, even those that conservatives/fundamentalists label as heretics. I think you have made a good assessment, Spong and views like his are probably not the best things for newer believers to read.

    Studying the bible first is good advice. Many study bibles out there provide good helps for beginners for difficult passages and cultural context. Here is one example of an NIV study bible. I would recommend studying with a mature Christian or small group you trust who will not try to push his/her/their theology on to you but be able gently point you in good directions when you have questions.

    I don't know about your exposure to the bible but many folks start with the stories of Jesus' life found in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Then they move on to Acts and Paul's letters (Romans - Philemon). Hebrews and James are also good letters to read. Then I would recommend some OT history like Genesis, Exodus, Joshua, 1&2 Samuel. Sprinkled with some OT poetry found in Psalms and Proverbs. Before moving into the tough subject of prophecy from Daniel, Isaiah, Revelations and the other prophets. There are a lot of important books I skipped over not because they are less important but because they are less frequently referrenced and sometimes difficult reads.

    This could take a while since many mature Christians have not even read the whole bible. There are some good "Read through the bible" checklists that you may consider but I find they often encourage quantity of reading and not necessarily quality of reading. They may be useful after a while to help you discipline yourself to read the whole bible.

    Praise God for his reaching out to you and your reaching out to him. I will pray for your continued spiritual growth.
     
  13. Rookiepastor

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    Just to give you an idea of who Spong is...

    CCN (Church Communication Network) recently televised a live debate on the Resurrection of Jesus...

    Spong was one of the debators. He took the position that the resurrection was not a literal resurrection.

    Personally, I would not read his work at this stage of your new Christian life. Get grounded in the Word... and someday you might be able to help the person would gave you those books to see the truth.

    God Bless
     
  14. Bro Tony

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    Marco,

    Welcome to the faith. I believe the best way to tell a counterfeit is to know that which is genuine. As you begin your walk stay with the Word. As you grow in the Lord you will be able to read others writings and discern whether they are the writings of a person of faith or a heretic.

    Now as for Spong----He denies the resurrection and thus denies the Gospel. He shows himself not only to be heretical in his teaching but without biblical salvation according to his own statement of faith and testimony.

    God bless you as you grow in Him my new brother in Christ.

    Bro Tony
     

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