John Shelby Spong "Rattles Roots of Religion"
In this past Sunday's edition of The Toledo Blade, retired Episcopal Bishop John Shelby Spong "explains his radical views":
For a genteel, erudite, and personable cleric, Episcopal Bishop John Shelby Spong sure has a way of getting under people's skin.My Comments:
The 76-year-old retired bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark is a theologian who believes the Bible is "time-bound and time-warped" by the first-century Jewish culture in which it was written. He is on a mission to change the way people look at the Bible and at Jesus, stating that he wants to "break Jesus out of the boundaries of antiquity and explain it in the 21st century."
Among his iconoclastic teachings, Bishop Spong believes that Jesus was not born of a virgin, never performed any miracles, and was not bodily resurrected from the grave. Yet he states that Jesus is "the defining God presence in a human being" and that Jesus "stands not only at the center of my faith, but also at the center of all that I am."
Earlier this month, Bishop Spong was in Toledo for a weekend of lectures and preaching at First Unitarian (Universalist) Church in the Old West End.
Although he realizes his beliefs are controversial, the theologian expressed confidence that he is teaching the truth and that he wants to encourage others to engage in critical discussion of biblical and theological issues.
During his Toledo visit, accompanied by his wife, Christine, Bishop Spong took time for an hour-long interview with The Blade to discuss his views on a wide range of theological subjects including the origins of the Bible and the future of the Episcopal Church.
I'm not sure it's accurate any longer to say that Spong's views are either "controversial" or "radical" within the modern Episcopal Church.