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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 So Spong is in exile until Christianity is re-formed to discard all of the outdated and, according to Spong, false tenets of Christianity.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.
"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
"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 GodSee all Product Description
I made the mistake of reading this book before reading "Rescuing the Bible From Fundamentalism." Now this book makes much more sense. Bp. Read morePublished on July 3 2004
I think that it's wonderful that Bishop Spong is addressing the issue of homophobia and heterosexism in the church. Read morePublished on June 1 2004
As an ex-Christian, but still a believer in God, I looked forward to reading Spong's work. I have digested much since leaving Christianity... Read morePublished on May 30 2004 by Wisconsin Dad
In a postmodern era, where truth is relative and reality undefinable, this book provides quick and easy pain relief, kind of like taking morphine for cancer. Read morePublished on May 4 2004 by Jacob & Kiki Hantla
I read this book a number of years ago when I identified myself as one of Spong's "Believers in Exile. Read morePublished on March 25 2004
Now-retired Episcopal bishop Shelby Spong has never shied away from contentious statements regarding his faith. Read morePublished on Feb. 13 2004 by James Kosub
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. Read morePublished on Jan. 29 2004
The Bible says in the end times there will be false prophets... right here is one of them.Published on Jan. 21 2004
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... Read morePublished on Jan. 12 2004 by Charles Kincy