Monday, September 7, 2009
No New Reformation!
In my mind I have had a decades long controversy with writer John Shelby Spong, now retired Episcopalian Bishop from New Jersey. He presents himself as a spokesperson for a New Reformation in Protestant thinking. I suspect also that he is an arresting speaker playing to conferences in the liberal Church.
He would acknowledge that he was brought up hearing the scriptures on his Momma's knee, but that certain topics he could not accept as coming from the heart of God. It started with second looks at the issues of women's status, homosexuality and warfare. It never stopped.
Obviously a battle ensued in his mind with literal reading of any of the scriptures. He suggests that conservatives are killing the Church.(He is certainly not Reformed in his thinking. God's sovereign plan is not hanging by a thread!)
In various titles he has taken stabs at what he considers difficult or insupportable items in the faith. Judgment. Hell. Blood atonement. Virgin Birth. Divinity of Christ. Resurrection. I ask myself what's left? He says that the big items are love and inclusiveness. One of his titles is "Here I Stand". Imagine that! Likening himself to Martin Luther, yet reducing the Bible, Luther's greatest passion to a bunch of fables and allegories not to be taken literally.
The liberal Church is in its present mess, declining membership, departing pastors, organizational splits because it has waffled on Bible inerrancy. Ecumenicalism is a plot to spread this contagion. The battle cry is "inclusiveness". It should always be "Christ and Him Crucified".
Admittedly I have not read a single book of Spong's from cover to cover. I have too much respect for my blood pressure. Up north whenever I saw a venomous snake in the path, I took quick note of it. Perhaps heard some of its rattling. Assessed its length. BUT I did not pick it up and play with it for hours. The same should apply to my consideration of any erroneous cult, however sugar-coated.