Why Christianity Must Change or Die and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
CDN$ 13.36
  • List Price: CDN$ 18.50
  • You Save: CDN$ 5.14 (28%)
FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25.
Only 1 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.ca.
Gift-wrap available.
Quantity:1
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Why Christianity Must Change Or Die: A Bishop Speaks to Believers in Exile Paperback – Apr 8 1999


See all 5 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
CDN$ 13.36
CDN$ 4.93 CDN$ 0.01

2014 Books Gift Guide for Children & Teens
Browse our featured books to find gift ideas for the boys or girls on your holiday shopping list this year!

Frequently Bought Together

Why Christianity Must Change Or Die: A Bishop Speaks to Believers in Exile + Eternal Life: Beyond Religion, Beyond Theism, Beyond Heaven and Hell + The Fourth Gospel
Price For All Three: CDN$ 45.52

Some of these items ship sooner than the others.


Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought



Product Details

  • Paperback: 257 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; 1st edition (April 8 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060675365
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060675363
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.7 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 227 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (155 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #380,132 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Amazon

John Shelby Spong is the Episcopal Bishop of Newark, New Jersey, and has enjoyed a career filled with controversy, much of it thanks to his many bestselling books, such as Born of a Woman, Living in Sin?, and Liberating the Gospels. He has tapped into an audience of people who are at once spiritually starved and curious, yet unwilling or unable to embrace Christianity.

Spong refers to himself as a believer in exile. He believes the world into which Christianity was born was limited and provincial, particularly when viewed from the perspective of the progress in knowledge and technology made over the past two millennia. This makes any ideas or beliefs formulated in 1st-century Judea totally inadequate to our progressive minds and lives today. So Spong is in exile until Christianity is re-formed to discard all of the outdated and, according to Spong, false tenets of Christianity.

He begins his book by exposing the Apostles Creed line by line, then methodically moves on through the heart of Christian belief, carefully exploring each aspect, demonstrating in each case the inadequacies of Christianity as detailed in the Bible and in the traditions of the Church. The epilogue includes Spong's own creed, recast to reflect the beliefs he considers relevant to Christianity at the end of the 20th century.

Oddly enough, Spong's views do not seem particularly new. In fact, his views seem very much in keeping with the religious humanist variety of Unitarianism. What is remarkable is not the beliefs themselves, but that an Episcopal bishop would be the one to embrace and espouse them. Spong has become a trumpeter in the battle of beliefs, not just in the Episcopal communion, but in the realm of Christian faith in general in this country. His books are bestsellers and are in turn, presumably, read by those who, whether they agree or disagree, all acknowledge that in some way, Spong is involved in setting the agenda. This book, as the admitted "summation of his life's work" tells every reader what the complete agenda will be, for the next few years at least. --Patricia Klein --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

"Bishop Spong is a passionate, illuminating original. His

knowledgeable concern for the future of Christianity offers

strength, hope, and theological solutions."

-- -- Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Ph.D., author of Women Who Run

with the Wolves, The Gift of Story, and The Faithful

Gardener

"Should be required reading for everyone concerned with facing

head-on the intellectual and spiritual challenges of

late-twentieth-century religious life."

-- -- Karen L. King, Harvard Divinity School

"Bishop Spong is a passionate, illuminating original. His knowledgeable concern for the future of Christianity offers strength, hope, and theological solutions." -- Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Ph.D., author of Women Who Run with the Wolves, The Gift of Story, and The Faithful Gardener

"Should be required reading for everyone concerned with facing head-on the intellectual and spiritual challenges of late-twentieth-century religious life." -- Karen L. King, Harvard Divinity School

"Spong demolishes the stifling dogma of traditional Christianity in search of the inner core of truth. This book is a courageous, passionate attempt to build a credible theology for a skeptical, scientific age." -- Paul Davies, author of The Mind of God

"This is an important contribution to the Christian dilemma of our time. With reverence, courage, and compassion, Bishop Spong helps his readers to articulate their difficulties with the conception of God and, in so doing, to take the first step toward a creative resolution." -- Karen Armstrong, author of A History of God


Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
"We believe in God . . . " Read the first page
Explore More
Concordance
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
Search inside this book:

Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By David L Rattigan on July 18 2002
Format: Paperback
Bishop Spong describes himself as a 'believer in exile'. Likening his experience to the ancient Israelites, who found their traditional perception of God challenged when their expectations fell apart in exile, Spong asks how one might maintain Christian faith in an age when the traditional framework in which it was once understood is no longer tenable. His main contention is that theism is simply obsolete. We no longer share the pre-scientific worldview of the Bible writers, and therefore cannot accept the theistic framework which stemmed from their experience of the divine, namely, the idea that God is an external, supreme, omnipotent, omniscient, personal being. Traditionalists will assume that the only alternative to theism is to resign oneself to a-theism, but not so, argues Spong. He contends that the reality of the divine presence found in Jesus which gave birth to the myths and legends of Christianity can be rescued from its trappings, and that we can still find meaning in Jesus. This meaning is an existential encounter with the 'ground of being' (a phrase coined by his mentor, Paul Tillich), a mysterious and ineffable force which challenges us to leap into authentic living, loving and being. According to Spong, this is what the early disciples encountered in Jesus, but they could find no other way to describe this reality than the myths which, two millennia later, traditional Christians are still clinging to.
Spong's contention is that Christianity must either reject theism, and see the Jesus experience through new eyes, or else face the fact that Christianity itself must die. It is simply no longer credible to believe in the Christian faith as it has been taught, he claims.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on Jan. 29 2004
Format: Paperback
since Christianity has changed a multitude of times over the years. Bishop Spong is a deep thinker and I believe a man with a good heart. To me, that's saying a lot when you're speaking about Christians, just due to the fact that they seem to believe they have this exclusive religion and if you do not believe as they do you are not only condemned to hell, but must be feared, abused, even murdered (but prayed for!!!!). I wonder, do they pray for Osama?
My major problem with this book, as any book on such a topic, is God doesn't speak in "words" (despite the evangelical belief that the bible is the so-called "Word of God", even though the chapters are mostly titled after the MEN ... no WOMEN here ... who wrote them). God speaks in quiet moments in the soul that do not translate well to language; poets have sometimes captured it, although you must have the soul to "read between the lines"; musicians also, in their music, not often in their words. God speaks mostly in quiet, still, peaceful moments. We can feel something, then it wisps away.
Do I KNOW the TRUTH? No. I never will in this life. Neither will you. We seek, as seeking is the nature of life. But to FIND is only something we may feel in a moment, to be lost again the next. Yet scholars such as Bishop Spong with the courage to question are to be admired, not vilified (not even by God, in my opinion, and I "sense" (alas, the human lack of anything else) God agrees with me on this one).
Perhaps since I did not have the "luxury" of a right wing conservative upbringing I am not afraid to ask questions. I pity those who are. So my hat is off to Bishop Spong and all those not afraid to use the brain God gave them. Peace.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Charles Kincy on Jan. 12 2004
Format: Paperback
Even if you do not agree with Spong's conclusions that he has reached only after a trip into heresy and madness, a critical look at Christianity shows that it is changing, and it matters not whether you're an evangelical reactionary or a liberal who doesn't mind a gay man leading the liturgy.
Conservatives might read this book with shock and horror--or perhaps with a smug, self-certainty that this is why the Episcopal Church is destroying itself from within. But a trip to a place like Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas shows you that change affects everyone. Evangelical denominations are growing because the most popular evangelical churches resemble rock concerts mixed in with a bunch of uncritical Bible-pounding and self-congratulation. Or if even that leaves a bad taste in your mouth, you can explore Mormonism or charismatic churches where the word "heresy" doesn't even begin to describe what's going on.
No, like it or not, Spong's right--Christianity must change or die. You can go to the rock concert, or you can think of a way to remain Christian in a way that affirms humanity and reworks the liturgy into something life-affirming and beautiful. Spong ultimately fails in this, because he goes too far--but his book remains useful because sooner or later all Christians much examine their faith critically, or they will become cynical and descend into self-rightenousness and Christian rock.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 24 2003
Format: Paperback
I confess-- I have something in common with most of the Rt. Rev. Spong's fans. Like them, I've read very little of what he's written. (For example, "Can A Bishop Be Wrong" has two five-star reviews from Spong fans who are under the impression that Spong wrote this book-- apparently, they feel comfortable praising Spong's work sight-unseen).
Don't get me wrong. I've tried to read Spong. But, alas, the Rt. Rev. S. is a ghastly writer. After a while, the charms of Spong's writing-- his relentless self-congratulation, his presenting of hackneyed 19th-century pop-biblical-criticism as his own daring innovation, his use of the passive voice to hide sweeping and questionable assertions ("...there is surprise at how insignificant were the theological issues dividing the two sides [of the Reformation]"), his utter lack of a sense of humor, his unforgivably poor skill with words-- begin to pall. I haven't yet met someone who can read an entire chapter of Spong at one sitting.
That's where another book comes in handy- "Can a Bishop Be Wrong?". The authors don't exhaustively categorize the intellectual sins of the Rt. Rev. Spong-- such a task could never be worth the trees killed. But they provide a good survey of his looking-glass kingdom. "Can A Bishop Be Wrong" isn't a work of Christian apologetics, because it doesn't have to be. Spong's main contention-- the foundation of all his work-- is his claim that no intelligent person of the twentieth century can be an orthodox Christian. To respond, one doesn't have to prove Christianity-- one just has to provide a counterexample. This book categorizes his errors and logical lapses with admirable thoroughness. Not an exhaustive thoroughness, to be sure, but sufficient to the silly task at hand.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.

Most recent customer reviews



Feedback