The Big Debate .James White vs John Shelby Spong

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Ps104_33, Dec 23, 2005.

  1. Ps104_33

    Ps104_33
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    [​IMG]

    VS

    [​IMG]

    On the issue of homosexuality.

    INFO
     
  2. Scott Smith

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    As interesting as this debate sounds, I can't see it going anywhere as Spong doesn't hold to anything whatsoever, there isn't any common ground they can meet on and debate from. Oh well, hopefully it is beneficial to those who watch and listen to it.
     
  3. TomVols

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    Dr. James will tear him to pieces. Spong is the Matt Drudge of mainline Christianity. I can't believe he is even on the dais anywhere. Are people actually taking this joker seriously?
     
  4. nate

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    I agree with Tom I have several of James White's cds where he debates Mormons and KJVO's he knows his stuff. Spong is got a book entitled "Saving the Bible from Fundamentalist" [​IMG]
     
  5. shannonL

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    Spong also has a book entitled "The Sins of the Bible". Which is one of the new releases in the christian section at Barnes and Noble. Spong is most definitely an enemy of the Gospel. He isn't worthy of debate. I have never read such an attack on the Bible as I did in that book as I skimmed it in the store.
     
  6. Ps104_33

    Ps104_33
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    I cant for the life of me understand why someone with beliefs so diametrically opposed to the teachings of Christ and the Bible would want to pass himself off as a "christian minister".
    The man is a dangerous "angel of light"

    For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
    IICor 11:13-14


    Why doesnt he join a religious movement that is more in line with his New Age teachings and quit twisting the Scxriptures to fit his beliefs?

    Here is a sampling of what he teaches:

    But having said that let me now state my deep conviction that our conscious life is not ended with our biological death. For me this is a certainty that arises out of the heart of the Gospel, but I could not see it until I escaped the boundaries of theism which has captured that Gospel for most of its two thousand years. For me, God is no longer a supernatural being external to life. God is rather the very ground and source of Being itself. This means that the more deeply I live and love and have the courage to be the self I am, the more fully God can be seen and revealed in my being.

    Jesus is not for me the incarnation of a distant theistic deity, but he remains the ultimate revelation of God for me because his humanity was so complete he became the perfect conduit through which the reality of God as Being itself could be seen, met, engaged and experienced. When I "live and move and have my being in God," as Paul suggested, I enter that presence which transcends my every limit including my mortality. When I am able to be an agent of life to another, I discover as a grace-filled serendipity that the words of Francis of Assisi are correct, that it is in giving that I receive, in loving that I am loved and in dying that I am raised to new life. So heaven for me is not a place of reward. It is the experience of the fullness of Being. Hell is not a place of punishment. It is the experience of non-Being. I can taste both of these realities now in those relationships that call me beyond my fears and prejudices and in those relationships which shred my personhood. I grow not by seeking to be good, but by experiencing that love that sets me free to be, and acting on that love, as a giver of what I have received, and as an agent of another's freedom to be.

    It is in those moments that I touch eternity, know transcendence, and meet God. That is the place where I believe I enter a reality that is not bound by finitude. Eternity lives in me just as God lives in me. I am a part of who God is, or as Meister Eckhart observed in the 14th century, "my me is God." No, that is not a statement of arrogant, modern megalomania. It is rather the discovery of the doorway into a Christianity that will emerge in the coming reformation in which a new God-consciousness, beyond the theistic limits of yesterday, will be born. I await the Reformation! I hope I have contributed to its arrival


    whole article
     
  7. Martin

    Martin
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    This will be a great debate. In fact I believe this is the very thing we need. A good, solid debate between two scholars on the topic of homosexuality and Biblical Christianity. On the liberal side we have JS Spong, on the conservative side we have reformed teacher/scholar Dr James White. Dr White is a great debator. I suspect he will directly challenge many of Spongs liberal presuppositions. Also expect to see Dr White stick with the Word of God as he is always faithful to do. As for Spong, expect him to behave in a condescending way. Expect him to attempt to "out smart" White and to talk down to White. Expect Spong to attempt to present his position as that of real Bible scholars and historians. I am certain that White is aware of how Spong behaves in debates and I am sure he will be ready with an answer. Spong does not represent Biblical Christianity, nor does he represent the majority of Bible scholars or Bible historians in general. Spong is on the left wing of scholarship.

    I hope AOMIN records this on dvd so those who can't attend can watch the debate (and not just listen). White's debate with Crossan this summer was wonderful, in fact I have watched it several times. I found the Crossan/White debate to be very refreshing. Usually when I hear a Crossan debate it is against NT Wright or WL Craig (etc) and, while very interesting, it can get sort of stuffy. I am sure the White/Spong debate will be just as refreshing. I pray that Spong will have the upbeat, positive attitude that Crossan had. However I have heard Spong and, while not as harsh as Funk, is certainly not as friendly as Crossan. I suspect Spong will not enjoy this debate as many of his presuppositions will be challenged head on. So I suspect it will not be as friendly of debate as the Crossan/White debate.

    However we must give Spong his due. He is going to be much more prepared for this debate than Barry Lynn was (though I must admit that would not be difficult). That fact, I am sure, will not be a problem for White.

    I look forward to the debate.

    In Christ,
    Martin.
     
  8. Martin

    Martin
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    ==I agree. I was going to read the book in order to challenge his position. However when I skimmed through it in Barnes and Noble I found myself getting way too angry. So I put it down and walked off. If I was to attempt to read that book I would probably explode (literally). Thus my hats are off to Dr White because he has much more patience than I ever could.

    Normally I can read the liberals. I can read Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan without getting too angry. That is because most of their arguments are more scholarly in nature (ie..less personal). Thus I can read their stuff and argue with their positions as I read (thus becoming better able to deal effectively with their unhistorical/unBiblical arguments). However Spong writes in such an inflammatory way that I can't spend much time reading his writings. I believe good scholars, be they liberal or conservative, stay clear of such inflammatory language. So my opinion of Spong is not good at all.

    In Christ,
    Martin.
     
  9. Martin

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    ==Amen to that, and I fully agree!!

    ==I have often wondered why people like Spong and those in the Jesus Seminar (Crossan, Borg, etc) bother calling themselves Christians. Sadly I think part of the problem is that they are so decieved that they honestly believe they are Christians. I know that is the case with Crossan. He denies the virgin birth, miracles, the burial of Christ, and thus the empty tomb, and the resurrection. He writes those things off as parables and not literal events/history. However, as amazing as it may sound, he still sees himself as a Christian! How? Because in his view one does not have to believe those are literal/historical events in order to be a Christian. That is clearly an unBiblical and unChristian position (1Cor 15:1-19. 1Jn 1:1-4, Lk 1:1-4, Jn 20:30-31, 21:24-25, etc.). So how they can claim to be Christians still makes no sense to me. All I can say is they are decieved.

    The question is a good one; If they believe the New Testament is not historical, that it is myth and parable, why do they spend their time studying and debating it? It just does not make sense to me. They seem to think that the "fundamentals" of the faith are not that fundamental. Therefore one can take it or leave it and still be a Christian. Of course that is 100% unBiblical and is therefore itself an unChristian view. That is why I believe this debate between White/Spong is so needed. It will show, I have no doubt, that Spong does not represent any form of Biblical Christianity.

    God bless Dr White!

    In Christ,
    Martin.
     
  10. Ps104_33

    Ps104_33
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    Martin,
    Did you ever listen to Dr White debate Dr Art Sippo? He is the Peter Ruckman of the Catholic Church. He is as nasty as a rabid Tasmanian Devil.
     
  11. Ps104_33

    Ps104_33
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    Some More Spewer from Spong:

    On Billy Graham:]/i]

    "If Christianity is to survive into the future, it will have to evolve radically beyond the images employed by Billy Graham. It will be forced to become something new and different. It will have to surrender its claims to miracle, magic and exclusiveness. It will be judged by its ability to help citizens of the real world penetrate into the depths of Being and to engage the spirituality that is before us. A radically reformed Christianity will have to rethink the traditional understandings of Jesus who will become not a rescuing divine savior who paid the price of sin on the cross of Calvary, but the God-intoxicated life who can become our doorway into the mystery of God, experienced not as a manipulative or invasive deity, but as the Ground of Being, the Source of Life and the Source of Love"

    On Miracles:

    "As this religious security system of yesterday slips from our grasp, many frightened religious people cling to the New Testament as tangible proof that miracles can and do occur and that God is still proactive in an invasive way in human life. So people recite these biblical stories of miraculous events as if they are the last bastions in a godless world that must be defended at all costs. But are they? Did the Jewish writers of the scriptures understand God as a miracle worker? Is the Jesus story dependent on miracles to enable the divine claims we make for our Christ to have credibility? I do not think so. Indeed, I think that the authors of the Gospels were seeking to capture the essence of a God-experience they found present in Jesus and were using the only language they knew to talk about that experience, the language of their first century religious tradition.
    "Look, for example, at the story of the raising of Lazarus from the dead, perhaps the most dramatic story in the New Testament. Is there no literal truth behind that story? Yes, of course there is truth, but it is clearly not a literal story. It appears only in the last Gospel to be written (John, circa AD. 100). Surely an event that startling would not have escaped the attention of the other Gospel writers if it had been a literal story. I believe the clue to a proper reading of the account of the raising of Lazarus in the 4th Gospel is found in a parable in Luke about another figure named Lazarus. This Lazarus is a poor man who, when he dies, goes to Abraham's bosom only to have the rich man who abused him in life ask from the abode of pain that Lazarus be sent back from the dead to warn his brothers "lest they too come to this place of torment." But in that parable Abraham responds to that request by saying, "They have Moses and the prophets. Let them listen to them." The rich man then says, "But, Father Abraham, if one returns from the dead, they will listen," to which Abraham replies, "If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, they will not believe even if one rises from the dead." In John's story of the raising of Lazarus, that is exactly what happened. Lazarus came back from the dead; and far from changing behavior and creating faith, those who were said to have observed that wonder moved quickly to crucify Jesus in whom God was so powerfully at work. Those who did not listen to Moses and the prophets did not believe even if one rose from the dead. The raising of Lazarus was not a miracle. It was a parable being told as history."



    On Euthanasia:

    "I, for one, am no longer willing to be silent on this issue. I, as a Christian, want to state publicly my present conclusions. After much internal wrestling, I can now say with conviction that I favor both active and passive euthanasia, and I also believe that assisted suicide should be legalized, but only under circumstances that would effectively preclude both self-interest and malevolence.
    Perhaps a place to start would be to require by law that living wills be mandatory for all people. A second step might be to require every hospital and every community to have a bioethics committee, made up of the most respected leadership people available, to which a patient, family members, doctors or clergy persons could appeal for objective help in making these rending decisions.
    My conclusions are based on the conviction that the sacredness of my life is not ultimately found in my biological extension. It is found rather in the touch, the smile and the love of those to whom I can knowingly respond. When that ability to respond disappears permanently, so, I believe, does the meaning and the value of my biological life. Even my hope of life beyond biological death is vested in a living relationship with the God who, my faith tradition teaches me, calls me by name. I believe that the image of God is formed in me by my ability to respond to that calling Deity. If that is so, then the image of God has moved beyond my mortal body when my ability to respond consciously to that Divine Presence disappears. So nothing sacred is compromised by assisting my death in those circumstances."


    Would you tend to agree with me that this man is in the wrong professsion? His views parallel a 1930,s German dictator. He is like a quarterback on a football team doing evrything that he can to see that his team loses.
    Also if he constantly denounces the Bible what is his authority fir what he believes? This will be James Whites biggest challenge. What is their starting point?
     
  12. Ben W

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    That is the problem, what does Dr James White do when Spong trashes the Bible? Any Scripture that Dr White quotes is going to be meaningless to Spong. Nevertheless hopefully the debate will cause some of the fence sitters in the Episcopal - Anglican churches to take a side.
     
  13. Charles Meadows

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    Yes this will be an interesting one. They really don't have much common ground at all. White willargue the authority of the Bible and Spong will reject it.

    I figure White (whom I think will certainly win the DEBATE) will paint Spong as a wishy washy universalist who has no grounds or support for ANY of his beliefs other than his own persoanl liberal opinions. White will articulate that the Christian view is authentically derived from the Bible, a fact to which Spong will have to agree, whether or not he believes the Bible is factually true.

    Merry Christmas all!
     
  14. Nord

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    Should be interesting. I have read a few of Spongs books and have his autobiography.

    Some general observations:

    i) Interesting insights but he acts as if the alleged flaws and issues he "discovered" should be a shock to the ignorant Christian masses as if these were the first time the issues have arisen.

    ii) Comes across as arrogant and a little whiney in his autobiography. Complains about people making statements misinterpreting his motivations and making personal attacks...yet his can be rather vicious in attacking and belittling his conservative opponents within the church.

    iii) scholarship leaves something to be desired. Some argumentation could have a truck driven through it. Certainly, as pointed out above, he is no Marcus Borg.

    iv) I have found that reagrdless of these issues, if you are a "Progressive" Chrisitian you have a tendency to see him as a sort of prophet. Ihave seen comments on Prgressive Chrsitianity.com that basically say how his revelations made such a difference in rescuing people from the shackles of fundamentalism/biblical literalism.

    v) Books are interesting. No idea why he is a Bishop in apostolic succession going back to the apostles. Was their not an opening in another denomination (Unitarian??). I do not mean that disrespectfully.

    Like others I look forward to the CD. Spong likes debate and once said something the effect that it was good Falwell did not continue theirs because he did not think Falwell was up to it. I thought that rather unfair considering the frank difference in theological education and the way that could be interpreted as a personal attack. Let him take on Sproul or JI Packer.

    Nord
     
  15. Humblesmith

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    I was told of another upcoming debate with James White:

    Calvinism Debate
    WHEN: Monday, October 16th, 2006 at 7pm
    WHERE: New Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia
    COST: There will be no cost for admission.

    Speaking against Calvinism will be the President of Liberty Theological Seminary, Dr. Ergun Caner and his brother, Dr. Emir Caner of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

    Speaking in defense of Calvinism will be the President of Founder's Ministries, pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, Florida, author and lecturer, Dr. Tom Ascol and James White, president of Alpha and Omega Ministries.


    I'm not very informed about the Caner brothers, but it should be interesting. White must be on a debate phase.
     
  16. npetreley

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    It depends on the profession you think he's in. I think he's strictly in the business of stirring up controversy and, in so doing, drawing as much attention to himself as possible. He's obviously very good at it. He even has us talking about him. The outfit he wears simply makes his real profession easier. Would we even be discussing what he says if he tried to pass himself off as a plumber?
     
  17. Ransom

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    Scott Smith said:

    As interesting as this debate sounds, I can't see it going anywhere as Spong doesn't hold to anything whatsoever

    I suspect it will go along the same general lines as White's previous debate on the same subject, with Barry Lynn of Americas United for Separation.

    Here's a transcript.
     

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