I picked up a copy of a book called A New Christianity for a New World by John Spong, the retired Episcopal priest & bishop. I only buy used copies of such books, for I refuse to give a single penny to such authors. I assumed I could pretty well guess at what was going to be in it, but even I was surprised. You don’t have to get much further than the first chapter to realize where this man is coming from.
On page 3, Spong states that Jesus is Lord, He mediated God, his life was changed because of Jesus, who is the basis for meaning, ethics, prayer, worship, and eternal hope. So far, so good. Someone saying those things could be a member of most churches. Yet starting on the same page, Spong denies that God is a being (!), says that God cannot help nations or heal individual people, Jesus was not on earth, did not rise from the dead, was not virgin born, did not return to heaven, did not start a church, and humans are not sinful. He denies that homosexuality is contrary to the scriptures, that ethics can come from the ten commandments or other parts of the Bible, and does not believe that the Bible is the word of God. Lest one think I’m taking these statements out of context, I fully assure you that pages 3 to 6 of this book makes these statements in direct, clear, and repeated statements. Spong uses short, clear, direct sentences so even the people with DD degrees cannot miss it. Almost every paragraph on these pages begin with “I do not believe that . . .” where he denies each of the doctrines I’ve listed. These statements made by John Spong are heretical to orthodox Christianity.
Now, of course it’s Spong’s right to believe whatever he wants, and publish whatever he wants in his books. But let’s not make any pretense here: the series of denials fully contradict the first statements. For he cannot deny all the historic doctrines that make up Christianity and still be considered a Christian. If I denied every doctrine of any religion, I would not be considered a member of that religion, no matter how much I claimed to be one.
But even further, the level of contradiction should make anyone stop and ponder, whether or not they are Christian or religious at all. For when Spong states that “Jesus is Lord” and says Jesus is the basis for meaning, yet then denies Jesus’ key teachings or that Jesus ever lived, he is denying the first laws of all thought. In logic, this is saying “I am a Christian. I am not a Christian.” and meaning these statements in the same sense at the same time. To make such a statement is contradictory and nonsensical. The only way Spong can make the statement “Jesus is Lord” then in the next paragraphs make the denials that he does, is to make “Jesus” not mean Jesus, “is” not mean is, and “Lord” not mean Lord. Otherwise, his statements are similar to saying ‘I am not making this statement’ which is utter nonsense.
The statements that deny all the major doctrines of the faith are non-Christian to their core. To make such contradictory statements only demonstrates how far liberalism has gone, proving right the worst nightmares of those who first fought liberalism years ago, men such as Donald Barnhouse and B. B. Warfield.
Almost equally disappointing was that the rules of the Episcopal church had disintegrated to the point that when Spong was still an active bishop, there was no administrative way to remove him from his position and remove him from the church.
Lest anyone think I’m picking on Episcopalians, I praise God for men such as Jack Iker, Episcopal Bishop from Fort Worth. I’ve never met him or seen him in person, but from what I have seen of his actions, he has held firm to the scriptures and the historic Christian faith, and done so while the sky was falling all around him. May God give him strength and wisdom. May God forgive us for tolerating such men as John Spong.