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Biblical Literalism A Gentile Heresy by John Shelby Spong
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.
Why Christianity Must Change Or Die by John Shelby Spong
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.
This Hebrew Lord by John Shelby Spong
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.
A New Christianity For A New World by John Shelby Spong
In his bestselling book Why Christianity Must Change or Die, Bishop John Shelby Spong described the toxins that are poisoning the Church. Now he offers the antidote, calling Christians everywhere into a new and radical reformation for a new age. Spong looks beyond traditional boundaries to open new avenues and a new vocabulary into the Holy, proposing a Christianity premised upon justice, love, and the rise of a new humanity -- a vision of the power that might be.
The Sins Of Scripture by John Shelby Spong
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.
Born Of A Woman by John Shelby Spong
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.
Resurrection by John Shelby Spong
Using approaches from the Hebrew interpretive tradition to discern the actual events surrounging Jesus' death, Bishop Spong questions the hitorical validity of literal narrative concerned the Ressurection. He asserts that the resurrection story was born in an experience that opened the disciples' eyes to the reality of God and the meaning of Jesus of Nazareth. Spong traces the Christian origins of anti-Semitism to the Church's fabrication of the ultimate Jewish scapegoat, Judas Iscariot. He affirms the inclusiveness of the Christian message and emphasizes the necessity of mutual integrity and respect among Christians and Jews.
Re Claiming The Bible For A Non Religious World by John Shelby Spong
For over 200 years, scholars have been debating, analyzing and exploring one of the most important books ever written—The Bible—and overturning much of what we know about this sacred library of books. However, a large group of people who actually use this book, mainly lay Christians, aren’t aware of this larger, deeper conversation. It is for these people that Spong writes Re-Claiming the Bible for a Non-Religious World, a primer on the history and significance of the Bible. In this informal and accessible survey, Spong moves book by book through the Scriptures, introducing their themes and messages by examining the sweep of history in which these books were originally written. What has history taught us? How should we read these stories today? What does it mean for how we live our lives? And why do people tenaciously hold on to so many myths associated with The Bible? There is a vast audience of religiously hungry people eager to explore a meaningful journey into the Bible, and Spong is leading the way with this book.
Unbelievable by John Shelby Spong
Five hundred years after Martin Luther and his Ninety-Five Theses ushered in the Reformation, bestselling author and controversial bishop and teacher John Shelby Spong delivers twelve forward-thinking theses to spark a new reformation to reinvigorate Christianity and ensure its future. At the beginning of the sixteenth century, Christianity was in crisis—a state of conflict that gave birth to the Reformation in 1517. Enduring for more than 200 years, Luther’s movement was then followed by a "revolutionary time of human knowledge." Yet these advances in our thinking had little impact on Christians’ adherence to doctrine—which has led the faith to a critical point once again. Bible scholar and Episcopal bishop John Shelby Spong contends that there is mounting pressure among Christians for a radically new kind of Christianity—a faith deeply connected to the human experience instead of outdated dogma. To keep Christianity vital, he urges modern Christians to update their faith in light of these advances in our knowledge, and to challenge the rigid and problematic Church teachings that emerged with the Reformation. There is a disconnect, he argues, between the language of traditional worship and the language of the twenty-first century. Bridging this divide requires us to rethink and reformulate our basic understanding of God. With its revolutionary resistance to the authority of the Church in the sixteenth century, Spong sees in Luther’s movement a model for today’s discontented Christians. In fact, the questions they raise resonate with those contemplated by our ancestors. Does the idea of God still have meaning? Can we still follow historic creeds with integrity? Are not such claims as an infallible Pope or an inerrant Bible ridiculous in today’s world? In Unbelievable, Spong outlines twelve "theses" to help today’s believers more deeply contemplate and reshape their faith. As an educator, clergyman, and writer who has devoted his life to his faith, Spong has enlightened Christians and challenged them to explore their beliefs in new and meaningful ways. In this, his final book, he continues that rigorous tradition, once again offering a revisionist approach that strengthens Christianity and secures its relevance for generations to come.
The Fourth Gospel by John Shelby Spong
Bestselling and controversial bishop and teacher John Shelby Spong reveals the subversive, mystical wisdom of the writer of the Gospel of John and how his teachings point us forward in the twenty-first century In The Fourth Gospel: Tales of a Jewish Mystic, Spong turns his attention to the Gospel of John, the fourth Gospel in the Bible. Contrary to what is most often believed, he writes that this gospel was misinterpreted by the framers of the fourth-century creeds to be a literal account of the life of Jesus. In fact, it is a literary, interpretive retelling of the events in Jesus’ life through the medium of Jewish worship traditions and fictional characters, from Nicodemus and Lazarus to the “Beloved Disciple.” The Fourth Gospel not only recaptures the original message of this gospel, but also provides us with a radical new dimension to the claim that in the humanity of Jesus the reality of God has been met and engaged. This book offers a fresh way to read the Gospel of John and a unique primer about how to be a Christian in the post-Christian twenty-first century.