It finally happened.. John Shelby Spong died

Discussion in 'Anglican and Christian News' started by anglican74, Sep 13, 2021.

  1. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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  2. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    I guess he will know the answers now to the questions he posed. I don't think it is fitting to dance on his grave. It is one thing for some theologians to push the boundaries and test the limits. Bishops are, or should be, defenders of the faith once delivered to the saints. I think we need both, however I think the lesson of Bishop Spong's life is that it does no great purpose to confuse the rolls.
     
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  3. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    So well said… it is truly awesome and awe full to consider what he is seeing now
     
  4. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    It would be inappropriate to speculate about his present or future state. What we can say is that academic criticism in the destructive mood is simply incompatible with the office and responsibilities of a bishop. He would have been completely free to remain in good standing as a layman had he simply resigned once his convictions began to go in a different direction. That is what he should have done. He will be remembered more for his divisiveness than for his pursuit of the truth, and using his office to promote a personal agenda. The irony is that many in the upcoming generation trained in postliberal theology will likely view his work as old fashioned and outdated, and as having only a historical interest. A century from now his thought will be known only in the footnotes of other works. It’s a sad story, and I do not relish it.
     
  5. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    This man has led so many good innocent people into sin; he destroyed and ruined countless families. He near-singlehandedly dismantled the once-majestic Episcopal Church, consigning us in the following generations to suffer for the remainder of our lifetimes (cursed be his name), as we pick up the pieces and try to rebuild. Oh but the worst thing he did was he sat in the seat of the Apostles and then denied the existence of our Lord and Saviour, our shield and strong hand, the Logos and the most Blessed Son who sitteth on the on high, the Messiah Jesus Christ.

    This tweet captures my thoughts precisely:

    E6AD15CC-77F2-4435-B9D0-A64AA461DF45.jpeg
     
  6. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    Each person’s sin is his or her own. I do not blame Spong for the errors of others. I personally never took him seriously. Spong’s error was to think he could transform his own personal opinions into the message of the Church, by virtue of his office, without causing that Church to lose credibility in the eyes of many, credibility which he nevertheless saw as the necessary basis of his own. He used his office to push a personal agenda, and I doubt he will be remembered well for it.
     
  7. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Well-Known Member

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  8. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    If anyone needed evidence that men with terribly erroneous theology can sometimes manage to be placed in high leadership roles, there it is.
     
  9. Sean611

    Sean611 Well-Known Member

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    This is a tough subject to touch in a way that doesn't come off as being uncaring and offensive. Personally, I place more blame on the people who followed Spong's "theology" and gave him a high-profile position for so long. His work is so amateurish it is truly shocking how many within the Episcopal Church (and beyond) could ever take it seriously. Although I am no fan of Marcus Borg (Jesus Seminar), he at least tried to be academic in his approach. There is no doubt his theology has been destructive to not only the Episcopal Church, but to global Anglicanism as a whole. What is perhaps most ironic is that the Jesus Seminar has largely been outright rejected in the theological and academic world. However, I would be careful when attempting to dismiss his ideas as being irrelevant in the present. If one takes a look at America's spiritual health, it seems Spong's ideas have been very successful when one takes a look at the rise of secularism and the belief system behind it. I take absolutely no joy or pleasure in his death, yet his ideas will continue to poison this country's spiritual health for a long time to come.

    On a side note, how long before the Episcopal Church adds him to their calendar of saints? I really do weep for the Episcopal Church and its current state of affairs. God led me to the Episcopal Church after being raised in the Jehovah's Witness cult and spending my college years as an agnostic/atheist. It is in the Episcopal Church where I discovered and learned the faith once delivered (all glory to God). Once Spong's generation departs this life, is there any hope for the next generation of Episcopalians to correct the course?

    EDIT: I think one of the most shocking aspects of Spong's character was his incredibly racist and bigoted belief system. If you want to be shocked, read what he had to say about Christianity in Africa and why the Western world is far superior to the Africans.
     
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  10. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Well-Known Member

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    Yeah we joined the ACNA
     
  11. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Might you consider starting a forum thread on the subject of the Jehovah's Witnesses and the reasons why it is a cult? As a former JW, you may have more accurate insights than some book or other (often written by someone who never was in the group) and I feel you are a resource to us. If we know how to articulate the problems of their belief system, we might someday find ourselves in a position to advise a relative or friend who's being approached by their door-to-door teams and who thinks they sound "okay". Forewarned is forearmed, as they say. :)
     
  12. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    thanks be to God
     
  13. ZachT

    ZachT Active Member

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    I noticed this in the article bwallac posted. I hadn't really any knowledge of Bishop Spong, although I imagine on some indirect level he has influenced Anglicanism in Australia, so I was quite shocked to read this statement by a bishop who lead a (presumably) hyper socially progressive diocese:

    "[Christians in Africa have] moved out of animism into a very superstitious kind of Christianity. They’ve yet to face the intellectual revolution of Copernicus and Einstein that we’ve had to face in the developing world (sic). That’s just not on their radar screen.”

    In dismissing African and Caribbean bishops upset by his remarks, Spong countered, “that’s too bad: I’m not going to cease to be a 20th-century person for fear of offending someone in the Third World.”​
     
  14. PDL

    PDL Well-Known Member Anglican

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    One has to wonder why he was not removed from office for heresy.
     
  15. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I think it is because Anglicans for several decades told themselves that they were a 'big tent' and 'comprehensive' and after all it is impolite and rude to chastise people, let alone *gasp* call anyone the H- word
     
  16. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    The only people who should be using the “H word” in a contemporary context are canonical bishops assembled in council. It’s not a determination for laymen to make, and it doesn’t have reference to mere dissent or heterodoxy, or to just anyone who might hold it. Historically, a “heretic” is a person of some importance and with a known following, who deliberately and actively propagates teaching that, if accepted, is believed will result in outright denial of the Faith. That is why heresies are typically named after their promulgators: Arianism, Nestorianism, Eutychianism, Sabellianism, Marcionism, Montanism, Pelagianism, Socinianism, etc. Not just any false belief is a “heresy”, nor is just any believer in it a “heretic”. I’m not defending Spong here (as my comments above make clear), but that determination was simply never made in his case.
     
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  17. PDL

    PDL Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I suspect we shall never see anyone declared a heretic. The bishops these days seem afraid, or ashamed, of defending the Faith. They seem rather to support whatever is currently the secular concern that is in vogue. Indeed, we, in the Church of England, have had bishops deny the basic tenets of the Christian Faith such as the ressurection.
     
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  18. PDL

    PDL Well-Known Member Anglican

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    It seems comprehensive has become all embracing. If secular society has some cause currently in vogue the bishops are all too ready to support it. defending orthodoxy has become something bishops are afraid to do. Of course, it may be that for centuries Christians were wrong and somehow from the 1960s onwards the Church has suddenly started to get things right.
     
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  19. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    this is why I am encouraged by a return to creedal and confessional identity which we are seeing in the orthodox corners of Anglicanism
     
  20. JoeLaughon

    JoeLaughon Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Pray God is merciful.