Friday October 16, 2009 | Bishop John Spong

October 14, 2009 at 11:29 am | Posted in Coming Up | 63 Comments

We’re joined by Bishop John Spong. He’s a Charlotte born, retired bishop and now author and Biblical scholar who has called for a “fundamental rethinking of Christian belief.” His take on religion has received strong criticism from other theologians around the world. While he’s in Charlotte, we’ll hear from him about his thoughts on Jesus, the Resurrection, homosexuality, and more.
Guest
Bishop John Shelby Spong
– Retired American Bishop of the Episcopal Church Diocese of Newark. Liberal Christian theologian, and Biblical Scholar

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  1. Bishop Spong is saying nothing that true biblical scholars don’t know. The problem comes in that many poeple never get to a deeper understanding of the Bible than they got as children, when the stories were simplified for the young audience. People then hold these ideas without question or adult understanding.

    • Please, see a reply below that begins by “This individual Spong is no Biblical Scholar, nor a true theologian.”

  2. If Jesus did not have a virgin birth and there are other events that did not really happen, how did Jesus fulfill all the propheses in the Torah and therefore was the “true” savior? Is this not the basis of Christianity? I don’t doubt what you say, I am just very curious what your opinion is.

    • Mr. Spong’s Jesus is not the Jesus of the Bible. His is an imaginary one. If Jesus was not born of the virgin which is what Isaiah prophesied, then He had not been the fulfillment of the promise and we still today would have no Savior. But, of course, the evidence is overwhelming, He was and is the fulfillment of all prophesies. These accounts were not written by some “pious imagination of early Christians” for it had been impossible for some many of them to have been in collusion on the same water tight plot along with the many prophets who lived at different times in history. Mr. Spong is very eloquent, but that has never been a measure of truth. In fact in the Roman world leaders often hired “orators” whose “gift” in the language deceived many who did not know the truth. Another writer below rightly said: In Gal. 1:6-8, Paul also says, “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned.” This is EXACTLY what Mr. Spong is doing, and a glimpse of his future.’

  3. Do you believe in Karma?

  4. I always believed that the religion you practice is based on where you were born… You have to find God “insight”:) of you!
    Thanks for this broadcast!
    Sabine

  5. Listening to the description of God by Bishop John Spong is what I have always felt and is so wonderful to hear it so eloquently expressed. Thank you!
    Michelle

    • Mr. Spong is very eloquent, but that has never been a measure of truth. In fact in the Roman world leaders often hired “orators” whose “gift” in the language deceived many who did not know the truth. Another writer below rightly said: In Gal. 1:6-8, Paul also says, “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned.” This is EXACTLY what Mr. Spong is doing, and a glimpse of his future.’

  6. I tuned in late this morning and caught only part of yesterday’s show, but what I heard of both programs was a fine example of why public radio is an important part of our community. Too few are the places where one can listen to thoughtful, respectful discussions of important personal and civic issues. As a Southern boy raised by ambivalent Methodist and a Catholic transplants from Wisconsin, I’ve often been disappointed by the religious fervor and fear masked as anger that make it nearly impossible to ask some of the questions so articulately discussed on these two broadcasts. Thank you, Mike and Team Charlotte Talks, for giving us an opportunity to grow as people and citzens.

    • Mr. Spong is very eloquent, but that has never been a measure of truth. In fact in the Roman world leaders often hired “orators” whose “gift” in the language deceived many who did not know the truth. Another writer below rightly said: In Gal. 1:6-8, Paul also says, “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned.” This is EXACTLY what Mr. Spong is doing, and a glimpse of his future.’
      I am sorry of your bad experiences with some church folks who might not have responded in a Christian manner to your questions.

  7. Good Morning – I must say that I was happy to hear what I thought was a counterpoint to Richard Dawkins. I am truly disappointed, now, to realize that Mr. Spong is merely another voice of question and confusion for those who are looking for true meaning in life. I find it troubling that Mr. Spong can quote the Bible, even Paul, and then dance around things that Paul wrote. In I Tim. 1:15-17 the Word says, “15Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. 16But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.” Mr. Spong said that he didn’t believe this FACT. In Gal. 1:6-8, Paul also says, “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned.” This is EXACTLY what Mr. Spong is doing, and a glimpse of his future. Jesus Christ was also clear about people like this during the end times when he said in Matthews 24:23-25, “At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible. 25See, I have told you ahead of time.” We were warned by Jesus Christ Himself, even before Paul. If you were listening to this show, do not be deceived! Jesus Christ died to save us from our sins and it is ONLY by that believe that we go to Heaven. I will be praying for Mr. Spong and those that he comes in contact with. JESUS CHRIST is alive and loves us all.

    • Cut & Paste, Rote

  8. Bishop Spaugh presented one of the most coherent views of religion for a spiritual person, that I have ever heard! Thank you for interviewing him…it was awonderful and enlightening talk!

    • His spirituality is in line with someone like Oprah.

  9. Early in the program bishop Spong made several comments that most biblical scholars disagree with. Saying that there is no reputable biblical scholar who actually believes in a virgin birth for example. Most biblical scholars that are reputable actually do believe in the virgin birth. Spong represents the very thing he thinks he is trying to destroy – a man made, man centered religion. He has made Christianity something that places man at center and not Jesus Christ.

  10. Oops, I spelled his name wrong…Spong……..Sorry, I still think his talk was wonderful!

  11. This individual Spong is no Biblical Scholar, nor a true theologian. The only voice he hears is that of his own opinions, not that of the Scriptures. All he says is subjective speculation which does not submit to the Word of God. And, now, this is considered by some as mature, leaving behind the “childish things,” of taking the Word of God at the face value. However, when you look at this passage in its context in 1 Cor. 13 8 “Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.
    11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.
    13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love,” you will find that he is merely comparing what we can now know of God through His Word in our current estate as fallen human beings with very limited understanding to how we will know Him when we will see Him in the hereafter, and how love (God is love) excels all things, even the miraculous which is what had captivated the Corinthians, so Apostle Paul is trying to have them place their focus on what really counts. After speaking to them of the great spiritual gifts Christ had given to His Church, he then tells them, “yet I show you a more excellent way,” (1 Cor. 12:31b) and then begins to tell them how even the use of the greatest spiritual gifts, if not done in the fruit of the Spirit (love), all is futile. But here we have this great “theologian” and “bishop” talk of this “putting away childish things” meaning, without a shred of evidence in the text, that we have to ignore the text of the Scripture and reach within to find God and the proper interpretation of the Scriptures. This is nothing but a devilish heresy of the highest order. Christ Himself (perhaps Mr. Spong considers himself more enlightened than Christ), always referred to the Scriptures as the only authoritative rendering of reality, “have you not read,” he told his hearers time and again, and He read the Scriptures as they were written, not by some subjective speculation. Yes, He said: (Matt. 5) 17 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. 18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.” But Mr. Spong teaches the Jews put the prophetic spin after the fact. This shows he does not know the Scriptures at all, has no true spiritual insight which is acquired by hearing the Word rather than one’s own opinions. Christ said: John 6: 63 “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.” He also said: John 14: 6 “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” But of course this all wise Mr. Spong will have not of it. Christ also said: Luke 18:17″ Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.” So much about maturing by discarding the clear teachings of God’s Word. So, Mr. Spang does not stand a chance – with his teaching he is paving the way to hell for those who hear him, besides for himself. How does Mr. Sping even know that Paul had said anything about “leaving behind childish things.” He certainly does not take the text elsewhere at the face value, but picks and choosing what he likes and perverts the rest. If this man is not a heretic there never were any.

    • “Oh ye of little faith!” Mr. Nieminen. The fundamental point Mr. Spong was bringing home was we all need to really take a careful look and really examine what we believe in from either an historical look or a more practical look in the context of how it affects our lives and others’ lives for the better, not worst. Hey, I’m definitely not saying he’s absolutely correct in everything he said, but God did give us a working noddle, and we should use it in all aspects of our lives (including our faith). This world (and by the world I mean the earth, not the Biblical reference) is larger than our back yards, and Christ (from my understanding) was (and still is) very embracing of genuine, remorseful people who want to seek and more purposeful and selfless life. Yes He hates when we pervert and distort the law, but Christianity’s history hasn’t done a great job with it’s followers reading or learning one saying and doing exactly another. I don’t know Hebrew at all, but I do know that language is very controversial when it comes to translating God’s word. It seems you really were skeptical of this man from the onset he opened his mouth. You as well as I don’t take the Mosaic law seriously because this is 2009. Sir I know you probably love the Lord with all your heart and soul, but you don’t seem confident enough in your faith to receive others intake in this highly controversial subject, or else you wouldn’t respond to Mr. Spong with so much criticism of him, quoting more of the prophets and saying very few of your own thoughts.

      • “Oh ye of little knowledge of the truth!” Mr. Hooper(if that is your real name). Those of the True christian faith have been under constant attack from an unseen (by most) spiritual dominion. The spirit of the antichrist has been around since the garden of Eden. It has become the motive of every liberal to attack those that choose to live in truth, as they have been emboldened by an increasingly socialist and faithless government and society. If we truly “Trust in God”, then why do we not believe His word when it says,” Man shall not eat of bread alone, but by EVERY word that proceedeth from the mouth of God.” God has protected His Word over the centuries as the scripture also says, “All scripture is God-breathed”. Until the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered 60-or so years ago, the oldest translation of the Bible we had was from around 1000 A.D.. When the DSS were analyzed and translated it was discovered, for instance, in comparing the Book of Isaiah that there were only 13 minor grammatical errors. Now, that being said, do I believe that there have been men such as Mr. Spong throughout history “dabbling” with their own interpretations of the Bible? I restate my earlier comment that the spirit of the antichrist has been and will be at work until Jesus Christ returns for His bride, the church. Without love, we have nothing at all. The type of love interpreted by this world makes salvation available for all when Christ was clear that “few will enter”. This should scare you and the foundation you have based your belief on. II Tim. 3:1-7 says, “1 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! 6 For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, 7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” This is the spirit of the antichrist today, “always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth”…this is especially true of liberal theologians. II Tim. 3:16-17 says, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” I did not see much scripture in your reply and can only guess that “ALL SCRIPTURE” means only “SOME SCRIPTURE” to you as it OBVIOUSLY does to Mr. Spong.

      • Mr. Hooper, I certainly agree that we do well in examining our beliefs and also our attitudes and motivations as we are susceptible to being deceived by our own hearts and by teachings of others. I have read teachings of the main religions, cults, and other Christian denominations also. Only the Bible corresponds with reality and gives explanation where the evil came from into this world, what has ruined human nature and also where the remedy comes from. The fact is that when we are born into this world we know nothing. Anything we know today we have learned from somewhere, from someone. If what we have learned corresponds with the truth, then there is a chance that we know the truth. Else, we are still mistaken about the truth. Christ made the claim that He “is the way, the truth and the life,” and He asked those who heard him if any could show Him to be guilty of sin. No one could. It would be quite a joke for us to ask the same question. One man who heard Christ, said, “No man ever spoke like this man speaks.” When we read Christ’s words in the Gospels we can come to the same conclusion. Matt. 7:28 “And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, 29 for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.” The real problem is that when we yet want to live is sin, when we yet want to live our lives the way we like, we cannot receive Christ and cannot tolerate His words. John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
        18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”
        And so it is that when we have received His Words, His light, His truth, Him as our life and salvation, we no longer have our own opinions regarding these matters for we know that we were in darkness and could not see, but then He shined into our hearts the truth and love, and we became spiritually alive and connected to Him. We now know the truth and communicate the truth, not our own thoughts and opinions. In fact the truth of the Bible has BECOME our thoughts and opinions and it is only now that we can be truly confident of our faith because it is based on God’s truth; who He is and what He has done for our salvation and what He still does daily in our lives. We do not want to receive “others intake” if this would lead us away from the truth. Jesus warned us of the false prophets. We “know Him in whom we have believed.” This is not merely a result of intellectual persuasion, but He has come to us and opened our eyes to see so that we can now say with the blind man whom Jesus healed: “One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see.” John 9:25. Perhaps if you studied Jesus’ words in the primary source, the Bible, this miracle could happen to you too. So I pray.

  12. If Bishop Spong is a heretic, then all I can say is thank God for heretics. His reasoned, thoughtful, and passionate approach to Christianity is a welcome alternative to the dogmatic fundamentalism that’s turned me (and many others, no doubt) away from the church. Thanks to everyone at Charlotte Talks for yet another great show…

    • AMEN!

    • The only thing I need to refer E Elkins to are these words of Christ: (Matt. 7:15) “15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.”

  13. How refreshing to read other Christian’s (Anson Jenkins & James Broadaway) sensible replies regarding this heretic. What a difference it makes to believe in God’s Word as opposed to one’s own deceitful heart. How easy it is to pick out the one’s that are guided by God’s Word and hence know the truth which has delivered us of death, eternal damnation and of deceptions of the devil through forgiveness and new life that is in and through Christ Jesus, God’s Son, our only Savior and Redeemer. Amen.

    • Truly John – your comments could not have been better said. I find it truly amazing that a show like Charlotte Talks, that proclaims to be an open forum, can be so lop-sided. Apparently it is ok to offend TRUE believers in Christ, but no one else. Especially that “3%” of our population that seems to have been given the wheel at all public radio stations. Organized religion, today, has made it possible for everyone, no matter your belief or slant to be saved. So, they pick and choose what they think will fill the pews (and their wallets) on Sunday mornings. I agree with Mr. Spong on one thing…RELIGION is what is driving most people away from the church….not church on Sunday, but the church. When the early New Testament church began meeting, it was not to have a bake sale to raise money for the nursery…..it was to worship Jesus Christ and to praise God! In I Cor. 14:26 Paul says, “How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.” In Rev. 1:5-7 the word says, “…and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth.
      To Him who loved us and washed[a] us from our sins in His own blood, 6 and has made us kings[b] and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” We are ALL meant to be priests and kings…instead most nominal (name-only) christians come in on Sunday mornings and eat what they are being fed by pastors, who by the way, are not in the Bible. The only named positions are apostles, who appoint elders and bishops. And the deacons that were established to take care of widows, NOT RUN THE CHURCH! Sorry Deacons! BEWARE! II John 1:7-11, the Bible says, “7 For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. 8 Look to yourselves, that we[b] do not lose those things we worked for, but that we[c] may receive a full reward.
      9 Whoever transgresses[d] and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; 11 for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds.” The important thing to pick up on hear is the DOCTRINE OF CHRIST. This doctrine is found in Heb. 6:1-2, which says, “1 Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles(doctrine) of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, 2 of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.” There are six things that we are told to know about here, 1)repentance from dead works, 2)faith toward God, 3)doctrine of baptisms(most people don’t know that there are five!), 4)laying on of hands, 5) resurrection of the dead, and 6)eternal judgement. 95% of all sermons preached this Sunday will deal only with repentance from dead works, faith toward God and eternal judgement..or as I like to say eternal damnation. Folks, get your facts straight from the Bible and allow the Holy Spirit of God to enlighten your soul and STOP believing everything that you hear just because it makes you feel good about what you are doing. Jesus said He came with a sword and that sword is the Word of Truth that has been since the beginning. Read the Word, allow the Word to permeate your being, then, only then, will you be able to understand the sacrifice and come to the faith that is only achieved through His Word. In the words of Peter Furler (Newsboys)..”you don’t know your deceived until your not.” Will you find out before it is too late? Or will you join Mr. Spong?

  14. The only thing I need to refer E Elkins to are these words of Christ: (Matt. 7:15) “15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.”

  15. I found the Mr. Sprong’s references to when some books were actually written very interesting and thought provoking. What was the direct relationship of some of the authors to the physical being of Jesus Christ? I would like to see a time line of when specific books were written and when they were selected to be included in the Bible.

    • S. Weisner — I’ve found Bart Ehrman’s books to be very illuminating and accessible, and I heartily recommend them to anyone interested in the historical context and authorship of the books of the New Testament.

  16. This is a good answer to your question….
    http://www.carm.org/christianity/bible/wasnt-new-testament-written-hundreds-years-after-christ

  17. Since our first thoughts, humans have strove to understand the world around us most with stories of superstitious make-believe and a precious few others like Dawkins by objective observation. Bishop Spong seems to be stuck between the two.

    • Dawkins certainly has not objectively observed the evidence to the Christian faith. There are books that do, for example, “The Case for Christ,” by an investigative journalist, Lee Strobel, who set to “prove” Christianity false, but was overwhelmed by the evidence for it. He ended up becoming a Christian himself. Josh McDowell has written couple books on the topic: “Evidence that Demands Verdict,” “More Evidence that Demands Verdict” and “New Evidence that Demands Verdict.” There are many others.

  18. Congratulations to Mike Collins on this Thursday and Friday’s shows. It is about time that some of these subjects get discussed in Charlotte. We have an Arts and Science Council here, but where is the science at Darwin’s 200th anniversary?

    I did not know before about Mr. Schob but he seems an eminently reasonable fellow, one that Richard Dawkins (and I) can live with.

    • There is no real science in Darwin’s and his followers conclusions. This has eminently been shown time and again. Human race did not evolve, but was created by God. This is a simple truth that even those who deny it know in their heart of hearts that it is true. Romans 1:18 “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.
      24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
      26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.
      28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality,[c] wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving,[d] unmerciful; 32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.”

  19. I loved his conversation and wish to get his books. His beliefs are the same as mine but he can articulate them so much better! I was driving and unable to write the titles down. Can you send me the names?

  20. Mr John Spong really knows what he’s talking about! It’s so refreshing to hear someone who has studied this in the original language and combine it with science… and can talk so plainly and sensibly about this! And to take the “majic” out of theology. I really appreciate it. And I’m going to see him at Myer’s Park Baptist Church at 9:45am in Heaton Hall this sunday (10/18/09).

    Thanks so much for having him on your show, Mike Collins! I really appreciate you for helping him get his message out! (I’m gonna answer my phone the next time WFAE calls me for a donation… all because of you and this guest, thanks!)

    Donna Shaver

    • If a person does not have spiritual life it does not matter if he has “studied” Scriptures in the original languages. Even in Jesus day the Scribes and Pharisees knew the original languages and spoke them, but yet received the harshest condemnations from Christ as those who opposed the truth of God.
      The Theory of Evolution is not science – see above.

  21. Spong plainly denies the tenets of Christian doctrine as he espouses his opinions and understanding of the Old and New Testaments as mere “stories” — this program truly fed those who are married to the spirit of darkness and unbelief! Contrary to what he claims, he is giving an unchristian witness to the world and leading those who hear him this weekend to hell.

  22. Mr. Hooper, I certainly agree that we do well in examining our beliefs and also our attitudes and motivations as we are susceptible to being deceived by our own hearts and by teachings of others. I have read teachings of the main religions, cults, and other Christian denominations also. Only the Bible corresponds with reality and gives explanation where the evil came from into this world, what has ruined human nature and also where the remedy comes from. The fact is that when we are born into this world we know nothing. Anything we know today we have learned from somewhere, from someone. If what we have learned corresponds with the truth, then there is a chance that we know the truth. Else, we are still mistaken about the truth. Christ made the claim that He “is the way, the truth and the life,” and He asked those who heard him if any could show Him to be guilty of sin. No one could. It would be quite a joke for us to ask the same question. One man who heard Christ, said, “No man ever spoke like this man speaks.” When we read Christ’s words in the Gospels we can come to the same conclusion. Matt. 7:28 “And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, 29 for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.” The real problem is that when we yet want to live is sin, when we yet want to live our lives the way we like, we cannot receive Christ and cannot tolerate His words. John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
    18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”
    And so it is that when we have received His Words, His light, His truth, Him as our life and salvation, we no longer have our own opinions regarding these matters for we know that we were in darkness and could not see, but then He shined into our hearts the truth and love, and we became spiritually alive and connected to Him. We now know the truth and communicate the truth, not our own thoughts and opinions. In fact the truth of the Bible has BECOME our thoughts and opinions and it is only now that we can be truly confident of our faith because it is based on God’s truth; who He is and what He has done for our salvation and what He still does daily in our lives. We do not want to receive “others intake” if this would lead us away from the truth. Jesus warned us of the false prophets. We “know Him in whom we have believed.” This is not merely a result of intellectual persuasion, but He has come to us and opened our eyes to see so that we can now say with the blind man whom Jesus healed: “One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see.” John 9:25. Perhaps if you studied Jesus’ words in the primary source, the Bible, this miracle could happen to you too. So I pray.

  23. Did you notice? EACH and EVERY time that Mike would summarize a topic of discussion that Spong had just finished with “so you’re saying that…” “or so you believe that…” Spong’s response would be a quick “no”, or some version of no simply because it is a basic instinct of Spong’s arrogant need to be in disagreement with everyone. ( Especially us uneducated commoners ) I have worked one-on-one with a person before that had this same pathetic personality flaw. They are only fulfilled when they have successfully dug until they find the tiniest little element, however insignificant, in your opinion that can justify them stating “NO, you’re wrong!” . This occurs even when both opinions are basically in agreement. This serious personality flaw is irritating and annoying to the other person. I’d be willing to bet that a thorough psycho-analysis of Spong would reveal a deep-rooted event that happened sometime in his childhood that caused him to develop this profound lack of self-confidence that he now deals with by inciting controversy.

  24. Reading these comments I am beginning to see the need for Bishop Spong’s message and point of view. Some people evidently have difficulty making the jump to thinking for themselves and have an internal meed for a story, a fairy tale that reassures them that someone or something is watching out for them – like mommy and daddy did for me as a child – that everything will be alright as long as you obey, tithe, don’t think for yourself, etc.
    Dawkins’ approach lays out bluntly and starkly how that fairy tale belief is not only silly but a source of great harm in this world and he demands one throw if off immediately and start thinking. That appeals to my science based education and listening to Spong’s clear thinking I wondered why not just drop the religious label completely and get on with it.
    But Spong’s approach provides a transition-a gentle incline if you will – allowing one to still cling to the pacifier, the fairy tale of “Christianity” while starting to think a bit. He hangs onto the spirituality and discards the ignorance and hated that dominate the Abrahamic religions which frees him to speak intelligently and logically.
    His message helps guide folks out of the fog of religion and into the light of science and that is a huge improvement over most religious discourse.

    • Apostle Paul has some interesting things to tell: (1 Cor. 1: 18 “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written:

      “ I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
      And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.”

      20 Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 22 For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
      26 For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. 27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, 29 that no flesh should glory in His presence. 30 But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption— 31 that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the LORD.”

      Christianity leaves plenty of room for observation and thinking. In doing that one can not help but all the time see how all things in this world match what the Bible teaches. This world is in darkness of sin. Many of those who live in sin have openly confessed that they do not want this life to have meaning, they do not want God in their lives, among them Alfred Huksley. He said upon learning about the theory of evolution that it was “liberating, if not exhilarating.”

  25. I was the last caller on this program. My question was short and open-ended, yet the host allowed too little time. He took one call, which the guest answered at length, then the host followed up with two more questions/comments of his own,leaving only one minute for the guest to answer. Very disappointing. The guest was great. The host? Not so much.

  26. The long winded, blithering nonsense by Mr. Nieminen is further evidence of this country’s failed education system. John, you’re showing a total ignorance of science. Are you capable of articulating a thought that doesn’t come from the Bible? I doubt it.

    • I wonder if those with comments such as these have actually taken it upon themsevles to actually research salvation, or it they have simply allowed themselves to be swept along in the current. The church has long been a place for people that want to believe, but allow themselves to be told what to believe. If people on here are truly of an intellectual background, I challenge them to go and look at the work done by Ravi Zacharias. He is a former atheist that has now been used mightly by the Lord. I challenge anyone that claims to be fair and balanced, and truly in search of the truth, to go to his website and listen to a man with a thoughtful intellect. http://www.rzim.org/ . Truth will only come when all of the facts have been weighed and I challenge those that claim an intellect bigger than a Christians’, to keep up with his thought. You will be made to question your beliefs……or are you that close-minded?

    • Dear Mr. Heafner,
      Since you apparently read my earlier comments in this blog, based on your reply, if I have judged rightly where you are coming from, you believe, “In the beginning a matter exploded…,” whereas I believe, “In the beginning God made…” Which of those tenets might be more plausible? Where did that matter come from? No one has ever been able to tell. And, if any matter could have existed apart from God (which it could not have), and was in the beginning as small as a dot in this reply but so utterly dense (as they would have us believe) and it spun around its axis so vehemently that it broke apart and the whole universe resulted in that “big bang,” why are not then all planets and galaxies and even all moons of all planets spinning around their axis in the same direction? Well, no has been able to explain. But the reality is, as you also well know, that this whole evolution crap is just one big whopper which people espouse and propagate just so that they could rule God out. Well, they’ll be slated for a very uncomfortable reality come the day they’ll need to stand before Him. You are really calling evolution science? Then you have read wrong books. You could look for example http://www.drdino.com tab “Articles” and perhaps find some food for thought. Or, if you’d like to approach things from a more philosophical and logical direction, I can recommend http://www.rzim.org. God bless.
      Best regards,
      John Nieminen

  27. I,m founder of THE SOURCE CHURCH I’m work here in Kigali-Rwanda East-Africa and we have other church in this area of East-Africa like Dem Rep of Congo,Kampala-Uganda,Burundi-Bujumbura.
    After to ready your Vision, purpose and mission Please I need to begin the relationship with you and your ministries to extend and to build the kingdom .Please here we need to grown in and acquired the good system of leading.
    Please don’t to resist to answer me.
    Pastor Bernard Z Matabaro.
    THE SOURCE CHURCH.
    KIGALI-RWANDA.
    East-Africa.

    • Pastor Matabaro, who are you looking help from?
      jrk

  28. My requesting is to build he capacity of the Leadership here in Africa,because if the Leaders is transformed the church also was transform also the country .
    Please my heart is open to work with in the direction of the holy spirit.
    PASTOR BERNARD Z MATABARO
    THE SOURCE CHURCH.
    TEL +250788449673
    KIGALI-RWANDA.
    EAST-AFRICA

  29. I am really surprised at so many people are saying this man isn’t a scholar or worse. I have read several books regarding the historical Jesus as well as listened to a fascinating lecture series provided by Stanford University on iTunes and all fall in line with what he spoke about on this program. Feel free to look them up for yourself, just type in historical Jesus on amazon or iTunes.

    • The problem arises if “historical Jesus” is made to be something else than the “Biblical Jesus.” When this happens there is heresy. God has said he is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. If by “historical Jesus” and “Jesus now” is merely and only meant that He is still alive today and is still present with His true Church, and is still working today as He was working in the past, based on the same immutable principles we find in His Word, then all is well.

  30. I can’t comment on Bishop Spong’s credentials as a scholar. However, I will point out that his comment right at the beginning that “No credible New Testament scholar believes [I think he said Mark and John] are historical”, isn’t an accurate one.

    To suggest this is simply disingenuous. Ben Witherington and Bishop Tom Wright come to mind.

    He wants to make it sounds like all us commoners can’t come to a consensus on the facts about Jesus and that the “really smart people” actually do all agree with (coincidentally enough) him. Problem is, that just isn’t true. There are plenty of “really smart people” who have PhDs in New Testament studies, who know the original languages…who totally disagree with him. He just doesn’t want to be honest and say so.

  31. I don’t believe that there is any dispute over the man’s scholarly background. The issue, for me at least, is that we are expected to ingest, on a daily basis, worldviews that are opposed to anything but what is posed by them as the truth. Our kids are only exposed to evolution and atheism in the schools. The thing for me, is that as we grow older, I feel that most people become more and more aware of their mortality. Our search then turns to something beyond ourselves. The problem is that, most of what people have access too is anything other than what those of us who have searched, have found. God’s Word is clear…”Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” If we do not read the Word, then we do not even give God the chance. God’s Word also says that in the end times, men will act as “having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!……..always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” If this man proclaims to be a believer in God, why is then that he acts as if he has a better grasp on what God is up to than God Himself? It sounds like double talk that is not only unenlightened, but also blastphemous! If you are truly searching for the truth, do what you are demanding we do…..listen and read all the facts before you make up your mind! Otherwise, you will be no better than us “close-minded” Christians. We are exposed everyday to your views and yet, we do not hold them as true. What is it that seperates us? We have read the truth and have weighed ALL of the facts unlike most non-believers.

    • spell check blastphemous? – does that have anything to do with the big-bang theory?
      or did you mean blasphemous?

      ‘What is it that seperates us? We have read the truth and have weighed ALL of the facts unlike most non-believers’

      hubris>nemesis
      ‘from such people turn away!’
      There is that irony deficiency syndrome again…
      😉

      • Truly – I am amazed that you read what I wrote. I was under the assumption that even though those of your foundation profess open-mindedness, you are really close-minded and fearful. My opinion has been greatly moved! By the way, please don’t wink at me…it makes me wonder if you are in a lavender pant suit! Trust me, I get your “hubris>nemesis” comment….thanks for showing your hand and your depth of understanding, or lack there of, of the topic being discussed. Mr. Spong professes to be a believer of God and a man of God, but does not believe in obeying the Word of God. The problem with your hubris>nemesis arguement is that he is not hubris. He acts as if he is, but someone that has read and understands God’s Word from a spiritual perspective does not view Mr. Spong as God-like. It is more of a matter of correctness. Take this for example…….we all know that 2+2=4. So, it would be like a math teacher telling you that you can arrive at 4 with only 2! We all know that is impossible. What Mr. Spong has done is nothing less than TAKE AWAY from the COMPLETE work of God and tell us that he still has the whole thing. One cannot quote the Apostle Paul, but then totally skip the point of his message. It would be like saying that some of Hitler’s ideas were good, but not all of them. You are either on the boat or you are not and any attempt to make yourself relevant by causing controversy should be seen for what it is…vanity and self-indulgence. God’s Word says, “Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it.” If Mr. Spong professes belief in God I wonder then why he does not follow His Word. Oh yeah, that’s right…..Mr. Spong has been privy to information from God that no one else has and now he has a book. The funny thing is, it’s not the Bible, which is where Mr. Spong claims to get his authority. How is that for irony….or is that a paradox. Please analyze that for me, if you would. Your argument is like swiss cheese….smelly and full of holes! Oh yeah, thanks for the spell-check! While you are at it, why don’t you check out the spelling of “majic” by one of your cohorts above….that is truly “majical”!

  32. I’m just glad God doesn’t write those wise-ass sayings on all those marquee boards in front of those one horse soap opera offering-minded entrepreneurial churches. Spong seems at a loss when it comes to bumper=sticker, t-shirt and teabagger literature, too much serious reading I guess. Now Charlotte will have to get real because social control by a shift-storm of ignorant superstitious bullying is coming to an end. (Too many testifyers at Duke power hearings for that.) The only thing we need is a meetinghouse of clear and critical thinking open on Sunday morning and Preacher Assgrab Tonguewag will not make his rent. (Often resembles Franklin Graham.) Joe Heafner would be a good moderator at our first meeting, say in a storefront in North Belmont (Gaston County). Did I hear someone’s brain go “Spong!” Duh!

  33. P.S. I have a big check (billions and billions) from God, but I can’t get it cashed here in Nigeria where I am staying. If anyone out there could send the $7,599.00 courier fee so I can send it to Luxemburg for processing I would share with you 25% of the sum, and The Big Guy adds that he would throw in eternal life in sumptuous splendor. But you must respond promptly my dear loving friend, before the world gonna end, then you in Hell

  34. Reading the rambling posts by John Nieminen brought back memories of having been proselytized by Mormons, who quoted the Book of Mormon to me extensively, and seemed baffled that I was not persuaded by the obvious truth of their Sacred Book. Or Muslim friends who quoted the Qur’an to me extensively, and were baffled that I was not persuaded by the obvious truth of their Sacred Book. It’s hard to see any difference between them and Nieminen, who quotes voluminously from Sacred Book, and assumes thereby that he has won the argument over those of a more skeptical bent.

    One might be forgiven for finding his faith in this tired old method, using his one and only tool, to be a real yawner. The truth in the Christian Bible is not made clear to skeptics by rambling and unscholarly quotations . . .

    • As mentioned before we are all born with a blank slate and have that filled with whatever we learn in the course of time. Surely the time will come when we will recognize that we are being fed mutually contradictory concepts, sentiments, ideas, “truths.” This will have to force a serious and honest thinker into some sort of effort to try to learn more, analyze, systematize, to sort out what the real truth might be. Your references to Mormonism and Muslim faith as opposed to Christian faith is an example of this. Now if you scientifically study Mormon and Muslim scriptures you will find that they do not either co-inside with what the archaeology, history, textual criticism, experience, or eye witness accounts teach us, and/or fail to make any sense. Not so with the Biblical testimony. All people live by some philosophy including indifference, hedonism and atheism. These three can hardly make much sense even if measured by merely reason alone. The greatest problem is human unwillingness to receive the truth of God: John 3: 4 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. 18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”

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