Former Newark Episcopal Bishop John Shelby Spong is Dead

Sep 13, 2021 by

by David W Virtue, Virtueonline:

He began his spiritual journey as an evangelical from the South; he died The Episcopal Church’s most notorious heretic.

John Shelby Spong, 90, died in his sleep in North Carolina, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Morris Plains, New Jersey, announced.

Among his more infamous statements was that “Christianity must change or die” turned out to be prophetically true. Under his leadership as the episcopal bishop of Newark from June 1976 until his retirement in 2000, he began a reign of terror against orthodoxy that included first ordaining a known homosexual to the priesthood, (a man who later died of AIDS), penning a Koinonia Statement in support of homosexuals and writing 12 theses that totally rubbished the Christian faith. Here are some samples:

On God. “Understanding God in theistic categories as “a being, supernatural in power, dwelling somewhere external to the world and capable of invading the world with miraculous power” is no longer believable. Most God talk in liturgy and conversation has thus become meaningless.”

On Jesus — the Christ. “If God can no longer be thought of in theistic terms, then conceiving of Jesus as “the incarnation of the theistic deity” has also become a bankrupt concept.

Atonement Theology. “Atonement theology, especially in its most bizarre “substitutionary” form, presents us with a God who is barbaric, a Jesus who is a victim and it turns human beings into little more than guilt-filled creatures. The phrase “Jesus died for my sins” is not just dangerous, it is absurd.”

He called “Original Sin” pre-Darwinian mythology and post-Darwinian nonsense.

Bishop Spong would later slam the literalist view of Scripture held by Billy Graham, saying in 2000, “If Christianity is to survive … it will have to evolve radically beyond the images employed by Billy Graham.”

Many considered him a Unitarian in the last years of his life.

His shrill revisionism, his bullying of orthodox bishops cowed the House of Bishops from ever bringing up charges of heresy against him. One mild rebuke for ordaining a known homosexual to the priesthood brought this response from Bishop William Frey, dean of Trinity School for Ministry, characterizing the bishops’ action as a mild reprimand. “Some have said this is a gun pointed at the head of Spong,” he said. “But it’s really a water pistol.”

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