Bishop Spong Is Wrong
Retired Episcopal bishop John Shelby Spong, a Charlotte native and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill graduate, will be speaking here in Greensboro tomorrow and Monday. If you are not familiar with Spong, he has a decidedly negative view of Scripture. He believes that the Bible reflects only . . . the attitudes of when it was written and therefore is not relevant in today's society.
In an interview with News & Record religion writer Nancy McLaughlin, Spong says, "There are so many places where we've taken the Bible and frozen those attitudes . . . to hurt people today; to hurt black people, women, Jews, homosexuals, people of faith traditions."
He's right that man has taken the Bible, twisted it and used it to do harm to others, but don't blame God and the Bible for that. Those problems were the result of actions taken by sinful man. As for the "hurt," God gave His Word to protect us from hurting ourselves through our own disobedience, not to give honor to human tendencies and traditions. God and His Word are never changing—all we can rely on as the world changes around us. The teachings of Jesus Christ are as relevant today as they were during the first century A.D., when he walked among us.
As it says in Hebrews 13:8: "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever."
Bishop Spong cannot make the Bible into what he wants it to be, to reflect his personal definitions of right and wrong. Neither can I, nor can any other person on this Earth. Either you believe in what the Bible says, or you don't. You can't pick and choose cafeteria-style to justify your desires and behavior. Absolute Truth does exist, and it is found in God's Word everlasting.
In one of his columns on Beliefnet, Spong demonstrates his twisted attitude toward Scripture:
The Jesus who "died for our sins" has simply got to go in our post-Darwinian world. Christianity must move beyond a rescuing Jesus, who overcame a fall that never happened, even metaphorically, to restore human life to a status it has never had, even mythologically.
The Apostle John counters such thinking in 1 John 2:21–23:
I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth. Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist—he denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.
In his other heretical writings Spong fantasizes whether the Apostle Paul was gay, promotes assisted suicide as an ethical Christian decision and questions the Biblical account of the resurrection of Christ, besides inventing a plethora of other ideas that counter Scripture. This has angered Bible-believing Christians, and McLaughlin's column points out that while Spong has his supporters from the religious Left, he often receives death threats. "All of them by Bible-quoting true believers," he tells her, implying that their unwavering belief in God's Holy Word turns them into potential murderers.
What Spong fails to recognize is that although these people may quote the Bible, they are not "true believers" in the sense that they are taking God's Word to heart. Because as Jesus said, "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" (Matthew 5:44).
They should heed Jesus' words and join me in praying that this misguided man will quit fighting God in God's name and someday join the real battle for His kingdom.