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This thought-provoking guide takes a candid look at the moral issues we face in our daily lives. Using the Ten Commandments as a starting point, the authors bring fresh analysis to such problems as the morality of war in a nuclear age, equitable tax structures, abortion, marital fidelity, capital punishment, care of aging parents, euthanasia, homosexuality, and other contemporary concerns. Beyond Moralism offers solid guidance that is consistent with the Word of God as heard throughout the ages.
A global and pioneering leader of progressive Christianity and the bestselling author of Why Christianity Must Change or Die and Eternal Life explains why a literal reading of the Gospels is actually heretical, and how this mistaken notion only entered the church once Gentiles had pushed out all the Jewish followers of Jesus.A man who has consciously and deliberately walked the path of Christ, John Shelby Spong has lived his entire life inside the Christian Church. In this profound and considered work, he offers a radical new way to look at the gospels today as he shows just how deeply Jewish the Christian Gospels are and how much they reflect the Jewish scriptures, history, and patterns of worship. Pulling back the layers of a long-standing Gentile ignorance, he reveals how the church's literal reading of the Bible is so far removed from these original Jewish authors' intent that it is an act of heresy.Using the Gospel of Matthew as a guide, Spong explores the Bible's literary and liturgical roots--its grounding in Jewish culture, symbols, icons, and storytelling tradition--to explain how the events of Jesus' life, including the virgin birth, the miracles, the details of the passion story, and the resurrection and ascension, would have been understood by both the Jewish authors of the various gospels and by the Jewish audiences for which they were originally written. Spong makes clear that it was only after the church became fully Gentile that readers of the Gospels took these stories to be factual, distorting their original meaning.In Biblical Literalism: A Gentile Heresy, Spong illuminates the gospels as never before and provides a better blueprint for the future than where the church's leaden and heretical reading of the story of Jesus has led us--one that allows the faithful to live inside the Christian story in the modern world.thor of Original Blessing"Jack Spong confounds biblical literalists by being profoundly biblical. This exciting book is liberating for those looking for a rational and authentic Christian faith that honors its biblical roots and is an essential building block in the search for a new Christianity for a new world."--Peter Francis, warden and director of Gladstone's Library, Wales"A brilliant challenge to biblical literalism, Bishop Spong reveals the tragic consequences of idolatry of the written word and why it matters today. A timely, important book."--Michael Dowd, author of Thank God for Evolution"After reading Spong's newest book, it will be difficult to read Matthew or any of the gospels in quite the same way again. He's done an amazing job of explaining how the book of Matthew was written as weekly liturgies for the Jewish synagogue year. A wonderful book."--Fred C. Plumer, president of ProgressiveChristianity.org
John Shelby Spong, bestselling author and Episcopal bishop of Newark, NJ, challenges the doctrine of the virgin birth, tracing its development in the early Christian church and revealing its legacy in our contemporary attitudes toward women and female sexuality.
The Easter Moment tells the moving story of Spong's friendship with a young physician dying of cancer and how that relationship shed new light on the years of study the author has devoted to the great mystery of what actually happened on that long-ago Easter when the whole history of the human race was changed. Spong is willing to ask tough and searching questions and to come up with startling and significant answers to what happened after death that first fateful Easter, and what that means for thinking about life after death today.
Bishop John Shelby Spong, author of Jesus for the Non-Religious, Why Christianity Must Change or Die, Sins of Scripture, and many other books, is known for his controversial ideas and fighting for minority rights. In Eternal Life: A New Vision, a remarkable spiritual journey about his lifelong struggle with the questions of God and death, he reveals how he came to a new conviction about eternal life. God, says spong, is ultimately one, and each of us is part of that oneness. We do not live on after death as children who have been rewarded with heaven or punished with hell but as part of the life and being of God, sharing in God's eternity, which is beyond the barriers of time and space. spong argues that the discovery of the eternal can be found within each of us if we go deeply into ourselves, transcend our limits and become fully human. By seeking God within, by living each day to its fullest, we will come to understand how we live eternally. Always compelling and controversial, Spong, the leading Christian liberal and pioneer for human rights, wrestles with the question that all of us will ultimately face. In his final book, Spong takes us beyond religion and even beyond Christianity until he arrives at the affirmation that the fully realized human life empties into and participates in the eternity of God. The pathway into God turns out to be both a pathway into ourselves and a doorway into eternal life. To Job's question "If a man (or a woman) dies, will he (or she) live again?" he gives his answer as a ringing yes!
Bishop John Shelby Spong, author of Jesus for the Non-Religious, Why Christianity Must Change or Die, Sins of Scripture, and many other books, is known for his controversial ideas and fighting for minority rights. In Eternal Life: A New Vision, a remarkable spiritual journey about his lifelong struggle with the questions of God and death, he reveals how he came to a new conviction about eternal life. God, says spong, is ultimately one, and each of us is part of that oneness. We do not live on after death as children who have been rewarded with heaven or punished with hell but as part of the life and being of God, sharing in God's eternity, which is beyond the barriers of time and space. spong argues that the discovery of the eternal can be found within each of us if we go deeply into ourselves, transcend our limits and become fully human. By seeking God within, by living each day to its fullest, we will come to understand how we live eternally.Always compelling and controversial, Spong, the leading Christian liberal and pioneer for human rights, wrestles with the question that all of us will ultimately face. In his final book, Spong takes us beyond religion and even beyond Christianity until he arrives at the affirmation that the fully realized human life empties into and participates in the eternity of God. The pathway into God turns out to be both a pathway into ourselves and a doorway into eternal life. To Job's question "If a man (or a woman) dies, will he (or she) live again?" he gives his answer as a ringing yes!
John Shelby Spong, bestselling author and popular proponent of a modern, scholarly and authentic Christianity, argues that this last gospel to be written was misinterpreted by the framers of the fourth-century creeds to be a literal account of the life of Jesus when in fact it is a literary, interpretive retelling of the events in Jesus life through the medium of fictional characters, from Nicodemus and Lazarus to the "Beloved Disciple. " The Fourth Gospel was designed first to place Jesus into the context of the Jewish scriptures, then to place him into the worship patterns of the synagogue and finally to allow him to be viewed through the lens of a popular form of first-century Jewish mysticism. The result of this intriguing study is not only to recapture the original message of this gospel, but also to provide us today with a radical new dimension to the claim that in the humanity of Jesus the reality of God has been met and engaged.
The legendary Episcopal Bishop tells of his lifelong struggle to champion an authentic christianity based on love, not hatred.
An autobiography shows the courage and integrity of Bishop Spong.
The Pope Describes the Ancient Traditional Jesus; Bishop Spong Brings Us a Jesus Modern People Can Be Inspired By
In this boldest book since Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism, Bishop John Shelby Spong offers a compelling view of the Gospels as thoroughly Jewish texts. Spong powerfully argues that many of the key Gospel accounts of events in the life of Jesus--from the stories of his birth to his physical resurrection--are not literally true. He offers convincing evidence that the Gospels are a collection of Jewish midrashic stories written to convey the significance of Jesus. This remarkable discovery brings us closer to how Jesus was really understood in his day and should be in ours.
A New Christianity for a New World : Why Traditional Faith Is Dying and how a New Faith Is Being Bornby John Shelby Spong
Spong is the former Episcopal bishop of Newark. In this book, he outlines his vision of a new and better Christianity. He shares his insights on God, Jesus, the afterlife, evil, worship, and prayer.
For two hundred years, scholars have been analyzing one of the most important books ever written-the Bible-and overturning much of what we once thought we knew. Everyday Christians, however, are not privy to this deeper conversation. It is for these people that renowned bishop and author John Shelby Spong presents Re-Claiming the Bible for a Non-Religious World, a book designed to take readers into the contemporary academic debate about the Bible. A definitive voice for progressive Christianity, Spong frees readers from a literal view of the Bible. He opens the possibility that some of the characters in the New Testament are imaginary composites or even literary creations-such as Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus; Judas Iscariot; Nicodemus; the Samaritan woman by the well; and Lazarus who was raised from the dead. He presents the Bible as an ever-changing and always growing story. He demonstrates that it is possible to be both a deeply committed Christian and an informed twenty-first-century citizen. In this thorough, substantive guide, Spong explores the origin and essential meaning of each of the individual books in the Bible, examining the background, the context, the level of authenticity and even the trustworthiness of the messages found there. He explains why these particular books, written between two and three thousand years ago, came to be regarded as authoritative and preserved as sacred; he traces the pathway that biblical religion has traveled as it evolved through the centuries, and he shows how people have misused many of these texts in the service of their prejudices. Reaching far beyond the familiar Sunday-school stories that have provided the content of most people's biblical knowledge, Spong's journey into the heart of the Bible is his attempt to call his readers into their own journeys into the mystery of God. "One does not," he asserts, "have to twist one's brain into a first-century pretzel in order to take the Bible seriously in this increasingly non-religious world."
By popular demand--study guides to two of Bishop John Shelby Spong's bestselling and controversial works, including questions, reflections, and summaries for group and individual use.
In the history of the Western World, the Bible has been a perpetual source of inspiration and guidance for countless Christians. However, this Bible has also left a trail of pain. It is undeniable that the Bible is not always used for good. Sometimes the Bible can seem overtly evil. Sometimes its texts are terrible. Bishop John Shelby Spong boldly approaches those texts that have been used through history to justify the denigration or persecution of others while carrying with them the implied and imposed authority of the claim that they were the "Word of God." As he exposes and challenges what he calls the "terrible texts of the Bible", laying bare the evil done by these texts in the name of God, he also seeks to redeem these texts, hoping to recover their ultimate depth and purpose. Spong looks specifically at texts used to justify homophobia, anti-Semitism, treating women as second-class humans, corporal punishment, and environmental degradation, but he also delivers a new picture of how Christians can use the Bible today. As Spong battles against the way the Bible has been used throughout history, he provides a new framework, introducing people to a proper way to engage this holy book of the Judeo-Christian tradition.
Spong, an Episcopal bishop, shares his views on Bible passages that have been wrongly used to discriminate or oppress. He asserts that such interpretations distort the truth of Christianity and do not accurately represent God's love.
From the bestselling author of Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism: John Shelby Spong's original groundbreaking classic, now newly revised, reveals the Jesus "behind the language of myth, magic, and superstition.""In this study I found a Lord, a center for my being. Behind the supernatural framework of the first century . . . I discovered a life I wanted to know; a life that possessed a power I wanted to possess; a freedom, a wholeness for which I had yearned for years."Illuminating the "figure who stands at the center of all the Christina Church is," John Shelby Spong explores Jesus under the light of the Hebrew tradition into which he was born. Candid, personal, and soundly argued, this is Spong's spiritual and intellectual pilgrimage to the Christ he discovered in Jesus of Nazareth.
An important and respected voice for liberal American Christianity for the past twenty years, Bishop John Shelby Spong integrates his often controversial stands on the Bible, Jesus, theism, and morality into an intelligible creed that speaks to today's thinking Christian. In this compelling and heartfelt book, he sounds a rousing call for a Christianity based on critical thought rather than blind faith, on love rather than judgment, and that focuses on life more than religion.
From back cover: [Spong presents his] controversial stands on the Bible, Jesus, theism, and ... [He calls] for a Christianity based on critical thought rather than blind faith, on love rather than judgment, and that focuses on life more than religion.
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