Based upon a request from one of my regular commenters, (Joe), I thought I would find some interesting quotes from both Spong and Armstrong, thus allowing you, the reader, to digest their religious and spiritual views for yourselves. For traditional Christians who believe the bible, the perspectives held by Spong and Armstrong are going to be a bit of a shock.
Most certainly, these individuals do not believe in any kind of actual literal, or biblical interpretation of God, Jesus Christ, or the supernatural events that transpired within the bible. Both Spong and Armstrong are recreating Christianity through modified and “updated” versions of what Christianity should look like according to them, so that it can be brought into the 21st Century.
Spong attempts to “liberate the gospel,” in one of his more recent books, and by the time he finishes, I don’t see anything recognizably left of Christianity but the name. You’ll see what I mean, should you pick up a copy of his writing.
Needless to say, in my opinion, I think we’re seeing an example of the spirit of antichrist within pretty much everything that Spong and Armstrong offer us, but you be the judge of whether or not their interpretations of Christianity ring true for you.
Let’s look at Bishop John Shelby Spong first:
“I do not believe that Jesus, at the end of his earthly sojourn, returned to God by ascending in any literal sense into a heaven located somewhere in the sky. My knowledge of the size of this universe reduces that concept to nonsense.” –John Shelby Spong (Source: A New Christianity for a New World: Why Traditional Faith is Dying & How a New Faith is Being Born, Pages: 5,)
In our next quotes, Spong is obviously opposed to biblical literalism, the virgin birth, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He writes:
“The best way to lose all is to cling with desperation to that which cannot possibly be sustained literally. Literalistic Christians will learn that a God or a faith system that has to be defended daily is finally no God or faith system at all. They will learn that any god who can be killed ought to be killed. Ultimately they will discover that all their claims to represent the historical, traditional, or biblical truth of Christianity cannot stop the advance of knowledge that will render every historic claim for a literal religious system questionable at best, null and void at worst. [Bishop John Shelby Spong, Episcopal (Anglican) Bishop of Newark, NY, in Resurrection: Myth or Reality? pg. 22]
Bishop Spong also apparently believes that prayer is akin to talking to Santa Clause. He wants Christians of the world to debate the following:
The following twelve “issues to which I now call the Christians of the world to debate are these,” according to Spong:
- Theism, as a way of defining God, is dead. So most theological God-talk is today meaningless. A new way to speak of God must be found.
- Since God can no longer be conceived in theistic terms, it becomes nonsensical to seek to understand Jesus as the incarnation of the theistic deity. So the Christology of the ages is bankrupt.
- The biblical story of the perfect and finished creation from which human beings fell into sin is pre-Darwinian mythology and post-Darwinian nonsense.
- The virgin birth, understood as literal biology, makes Christ’s divinity, as traditionally understood, impossible.
- The miracle stories of the New Testament can no longer be interpreted in a post-Newtonian world as supernatural events performed by an incarnate deity.
- The view of the cross as the sacrifice for the sins of the world is a barbarian idea based on primitive concepts of God and must be dismissed.
- Resurrection is an action of God. Jesus was raised into the meaning of God. It therefore cannot be a physical resuscitation occurring inside human history.
- The story of the Ascension assumed a three-tiered universe and is therefore not capable of being translated into the concepts of a post-Copernican space age.
- There is no external, objective, revealed standard writ in scripture or on tablets of stone that will govern our ethical behavior for all time.
- Prayer cannot be a request made to a theistic deity to act in human history in a particular way.
- The hope for life after death must be separated forever from the behavior control mentality of reward and punishment. The Church must abandon, therefore, its reliance on guilt as a motivator of behavior.
- All human beings bear God’s image and must be respected for what each person is. Therefore, no external description of one’s being, whether based on race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation, can properly be used as the basis for either rejection or discrimination.
As I finish looking into Bishop Spong’s views, I’m so relieved to find that he has retired. Unfortunately, when we have a look at Karen Armstrong, we find many similarities. Let’s look at some of the quotations attributed to her:
“Even though Paul and the evangelists all called Jesus ‘son of God,’ they were not making divine claims for him. They would have been quite shocked by this idea.” (p. 85)
Karen Armstrong on the bible: “These myths were not intended to be taken literally, but were metaphorical attempts to describe a reality that was too complex and elusive to express any other way.” – Karen Armstrong on “the bible.”
- Remaking Christianity (lifeofafemalebiblewarrior.wordpress.com)
- Standing on Solid Rock, Not Sinking Sand (trinityspeaks.wordpress.com)
- Is misogyny on the rise? – Bishop John Shelby Spong explains (nomadess.org)
- Billy Graham, John Shelby Spong, and the Politics of Sexuality (theparish.typepad.com)