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We do not know who wrote it. We do not know the date of its composition. We do not know to whom this book in the Bible was actually written. We are clear that it was not authored by Paul. It was certainly not written as a letter or an epistle. Its format is much …
sleahead.kerry1, via the Internet, writes:
My husband was raised in Christian Science, but was an avowed atheist all his adult life, often denigrating the faith of others. In June of 2008, a friend gave us a copy of A New Christianity for a New World. After reading this and Why Christianity Must Change or Die, my husband announced, "If Bishop Spong can write this and still be a believer, I guess I am too." I was widowed that August (2008). I shall be forever grateful to you, Bishop Spong, and your message to those of us who have been in exile.
15 July 2010: The Origins of the New Testament, Part XXIX: I and II Timothy and Titus — The Pastoral Epistles. We Have the Truth!
Thus far, as we have explored the origins of the various books of the New Testament, we have not yet come across that familiar form of human religion that asserts: “We have the Truth!” “If you disagree with me, the truth is not in you.” It is our “God-given duty to define truth, defend truth …
Mary Ann Dobrik, via the internet, writes:
I am very disappointed that the Gospel of John is not being discussed next in this series of columns. Elgin United Church book study is studying this gospel, following the question series in: John: 26 Studies for Individuals and Groups written by N.T. Wright. I do not particularly like this study book and was hoping that Bishop Spong's articles would give me some helpful guidance in refuting some of the remarkable fundamentalist claims in this study book. When will Bishop Spong reach the Gospel of John in his discussions? I need his insightful scholarship.
Will Bishop Spong be coming to Peterborough, Ontario to lecture in 2011? I hope so.
Mary Ann Dobrik
When the book of Acts moves beyond the conflict that set Jewish Christians against Greek Christians, it is ready to chronicle the story of how Christianity became a universal human religion. From the capital of Judaism to the capital of the Roman Empire is the story line that the book of Acts follows. The hero …
Dr. Larry L. Ligo, Professor of Art History at Davidson College, writes:
Thank you so much for your clear, informative, exciting, liberating insights into the meaning of Christ for Christians living in the twenty-first century. I first heard of you and your ministry in a Charlotte Observer article when you were lecturing in the Myers Park Baptist Church in Charlotte last fall. I missed your presentation there, but was intrigued by the article and have since read five or six of your books. Thank you.
I also wish to express my condolences to you concerning the recent death of your friend Michael Goulder. I have gained much from your treatment of his work in Liberating the Gospels. I have been trying to find copies of his out of print books, but have not, as of yet, been successful.
Will you be speaking in the North Carolina area in the near future? Do you have a schedule of your up-coming speaking engagements?
Henderson County is located near Ashville in the beautiful mountains of western North Carolina, near where I grew up in Charlotte and into which I return every summer as if drawn like a magnet. In this county is an incredible church, together with a number of courageous clergy. The church is the First Congregational Church …
The book of Acts is a travelogue, a journey, designed by Luke to bring fulfillment to the words he puts into Jesus’ mouth at the very beginning of this book: “You shall be my witnesses,” Jesus says, and then he tells them where: “in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of …
Hank Schuthof of Ingleside, New South Wales, Australia, writes:
You are my friend, Bishop, though it is only one-sided. You don't know me, but as many, many more, I admire your columns (I now have stored 330 in my computer) and your books, with Eternal Life, in my humble eyes, as your greatest achievement. However, there are two questions I still cannot answer myself. The first one, on page 91, you say, "Our Father who art in heaven, the prayer attributed, I think incorrectly, to Jesus himself." Has your thinking here to do with a historical implausibility or do you think that Jesus would never have said that? If you mean the latter, my question is whether Jesus was not a man of his time and haven't you spent much effort to demystify Jesus for us? My second question is more about your whole oeuvre. As reasonable and true everything you write is for me, I wonder whether the not deeply-interested masses will spend so much study time to rid themselves from the worn-out symbols. Also, I think people need some hold for their daily spiritual needs. Therefore, hasn't the time arrived for a "Newer Testament," just as Jefferson has tried in his time? Please do not see this as criticism, but as an honest hope that, for once, the world will be able to abandon the worn-out paradigms.
In the early manuscripts of the Bible, the book of Acts served the purpose of providing transition from the gospels to the epistles. There was a deep historical fallacy in this assumption though it seemed logical, at least historically, to have stories of the life of Jesus precede stories of the spread of Christianity after …
Dr. Lennart Peterson of Gainesville, Florida, writes:
I am professor of physics, emeritus, from the University of Florida and I am a Unitarian. Several years ago, I had a conversation with a man who was doing some carpentry work for me and this conversation made a deep and frustrating impression on me. He asked me if I believed in the Bible. I gave the usual Unitarian type of "no" as a reply and proceeded to give an example. I related to him the story of the rainbow that God supposedly made as a promise never again to destroy mankind by a flood. I explained that, as a physicist, I can very easily deduce everything about a rainbow just by applying very basic physical principles. Therefore, if the story was true, then it follows that the laws of physics must have been different after the flood than before the flood. Since this makes no sense to me, the story can not be true. The man had absolutely no idea what I was talking about. This leads me to my question. Fundamentalism requires one to suspend logical thinking. But logical thinking, especially as it pertains to scientific knowledge, is a weakness in the U.S. and in underdeveloped areas. How can people who do not have this scientific knowledge and who cannot apply the logic of science be helped to understand the narrowness of their point of view? How do I as a scientist talk to them in a mutually constructive and humane way?
In President Obama’s recent nomination of Solicitor General Elena Kagan to be the ninth justice on the Supreme Court, a new reality forced its way into our consciousness. With the resignation of Justices David Souter in 2009 and John Paul Stevens in 2010, the last representatives of Protestant Christianity — by far the largest religious …
Janet Schulte, member of the Department of Pathology at Ohio State University, writes:
I love the column — thank you for the insights. I am a science nerd — I taught and worked in the field of science all my life. I am also working on a degree in theology. I took my first biology classes about 46 years ago. When I learned about Darwin, I had an ah-ha moment. If the human species lives according to the model of the survival of the fittest, we will become extinct. That is part of the model that is often overlooked. Every organism must successfully fill a niche to survive. Only those organisms that learn the "law of cooperation" will ultimately win the day. That is what Jesus was trying to teach us. It is all about relationship — not domination.
In this final segment on the third gospel we call Luke, I want to summarize and to establish firmly in the minds of my readers the major thesis that I have sought to develop in my comments on the synoptic gospels: Mark, Matthew and Luke. My thesis is that each of these gospels is organized …
I am interested in your theology of love when speaking about God loving creation, humans loving God, and even loving the neighbor. Understanding that love transcends human emotion, how does love manifest in these areas? If God, as you say, is not a being, how does God love the world, the universe? If God is not an entity, what does it mean to love God? Doesn't one need an object to express love? And if one doesn't know or is interested in the neighbor, whoever that might be, how does one love the neighbor? We religious people throw words around so carelessly, therefore I would appreciate your being as specific as possible.
By the time the third gospel, the one we call Luke, was written, history had moved to the last years of the 9th decade at the earliest and quite possibly to the early years of the 10th decade. The Christian movement had journeyed beyond its earlier traumas and tensions and was now concerned about making …
Lilly, via the Internet, writes:
I have a friend who belongs to the Jehovah's Witness Church. In a conversation about Jesus, I told her that nobody knows exactly the day and the year he was born. Then she asked why is our calendar based on his birth if we don't now exactly the year? I have to admit I did not know when and how the decision was made to count the years the way we do. Could you explain? Thank you.
20 May 2010: Lauren Elizabeth Failla 1985-2010
When I got the telephone call, it was like absorbing a blow to the chest that left my heart pounding and my body breathless, “Can you come right away. Lauren has been killed.” The voice had an urgency that did not allow for further questions. Christine and I went at once. Lauren was Lauren Elizabeth …
Anne Fox, via the Internet, writes:
I have recently read a lot of your work in my search for a Christianity that makes sense and doesn't involve blind faith ignoring the contradictions of the Bible. Although your books have helped me to finally have the courage to walk away from many of the "traditional" beliefs, without fearing retribution, I find myself searching for the meaning of our existence. I used to find comfort in believing that innocent people who had miserable lives would no longer suffer after death and go on to a new "chapter" in their spiritual existence in some form of life after death which was a positive experience, wherever and whatever that many be. Now I found myself struggling to find meaning in life when so many people suffer. I really want to believe there is something more to us that just the physical cells. What do you think happens to us when our bodies die?
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