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The Condemnation Of Homosexuality Is A Sin

Friday, August 22, 2008 • 11:19 pm

Okay - without peeking, guess who said this

:“The condemnation of homosexuality as a sin or as a distortion by the hierarchy of the Vatican or the leaders of evangelical Christianity is simply a sign that both groups live in the backwaters of knowledge and education. As this knowledge spreads, those groups will look like what they are - dated people similar to the members of the Flat Earth Society.”

Some things never change .

Hat/tip:  Hank

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I have it on good authority from some very nice people over at the “thinkers” website that Spong doesn’t matter and no one actually listens to him anymore.

I’m surprised StandFirm would waste electrons on an irrelevant, retired bishop.

[1] Posted by texex on 08-22-2008 at 11:35 PM • top

Unfortunately, Spong’s words are still taken as gospel among his admirers…..who fortunately are pitifully few, compared to the majority of Christians.  Only airheads believe what he says.

[2] Posted by Cennydd on 08-22-2008 at 11:59 PM • top

I think that Spong may have taken the brass ring as the most inept bishop in the history of TEc. He probably has managed to commit the unforgivable sin several times over, but the ultimate judge will rule on that.

[3] Posted by Baruch on 08-23-2008 at 12:56 AM • top

The fool hath said in his heart “There is no God.” Psalms 14 and 53. 

Bishop Spong wrote:

1.  Theism, as a way of defining God, is dead.  God can no longer be understood with credibility as a Being, supernatural in power, dwelling above the sky and prepared to invade human history periodically to enforce the divine will. So, most theological God-talk today is meaningless unless we find a new way to speak of God.

2.  Since God can no longer be conceived in theistic terms, it becomes nonsensical to seek to understand Jesus as the incarnation of the theistic deity.  So, the Christology of the ages is bankrupt.

Kiel Commentary on the Old Testament: Psalms, pp. 203-204 (reprinted 1975): “The thought, [God does not exist] which is the root of the thought and action of such a man [the NBL-the fool], is the climax of imbecility.  It is not merely practical atheism, that is intended by this maxim of the [NBL] The [NBL] is not content with acting as though there were no God, but directly denies that there is a God, i.e. a personal God.”  The psalmist makes this prominent as the very extreme and depth of human depravity, that there can be among men those who deny the existence of God.” 

I Samuel 25 provides a humorous narrative of the fool.  Is 32: 5-6 describes him:
“The vile person [NBL] shall be no more called liberal, nor the churl said to be bountiful.  For the vile person will speak villany, and his heart will work iniquity, to practise hypocrisy, and to utter error against the LORD, to make empty the soul of the hungry, and he will cause the drink of the thirsty to fail.”

[4] Posted by Sparky on 08-23-2008 at 07:16 AM • top

I know of a TEC member who thought, at best, Spong was a nut.  I have had feedback that this person now has said that Spong does have some very interesting things to say.  This indicates to me that this person is now reading Spong and is being influenced by what he has said.  It’s best we do keep track of the dribble coming out of this man.

[5] Posted by Dee in Iowa on 08-23-2008 at 08:11 AM • top

The arrogance and ignorance of this camera-loving heretic stands out as the most important aspects of this article.  Spong’s cosmology reflects a time that has past, namely modernism.

The Gospel, however, is powerfully relevant and applicable to our time.  This is why the orthodox Anglicans are growing like wildfire throughout the world while the Loon Left led heterodox are dying off faster than candidates for Vice President.


[6] Posted by FrJim on 08-23-2008 at 08:34 AM • top

Spong’s just latent.

[7] Posted by Jeffersonian on 08-23-2008 at 09:09 AM • top

Very Gnostic of him…..I am so glad he is willing to share his special knowledge with us….NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!

[8] Posted by Creighton+ on 08-23-2008 at 09:11 AM • top

Bishop Sprong and Screwie Louie Crew, two tired pathetic old men nearing the end of their lives still believing that people care about what they think.  Their brand of Nuevotheism a total flop.

[9] Posted by The Templar on 08-23-2008 at 09:14 AM • top

Homosexuality is no more a choice for gay and lesbian people than heterosexuality is a choice for straight people.

So if I’m a heterosexual male, and I see a female walking by, my mind is hardwired to move me with or without my consent to have sex with her right then and there?  Kind of like two magnets of opposite polarization have no choice but to snap together?

Does this also mean that people who condemn homosexuality as a sin are hardwired to behave they way they do?  Or, is what Mr. Spong tryng to say is that there are some people who are exempt from free will and others are not?

[10] Posted by DaveW on 08-23-2008 at 09:21 AM • top

“The condemnation of homosexuality as a sin or as a distortion by the hierarchy of the Vatican or the leaders of evangelical Christianity is simply a sign that both groups live in the backwaters of knowledge and education.” 
I was going to respond to this with a comparison of Vatican intellectual heft vs that of Spong…but I decided against it…I decided to laugh instead!  ; ]

[11] Posted by ElaineF. on 08-23-2008 at 09:49 AM • top

[*Hand in air & bouncing up and down in my seat *]

Um… Um… Um ... excuse me ... excuse me .... I got a questions???? ...

How can the condemnation of homosexuality be a sin if this man does not believe there is such a thing as sin?

[12] Posted by Hosea6:6 on 08-23-2008 at 10:29 AM • top

Dear Jack, i wish that you knew something of the writings of the early and oh so passe heretics so that you could see what you ideas look like when expressed by first-class minds.
Nelson Koscheski

[13] Posted by hookemhooker on 08-23-2008 at 10:31 AM • top

The mere fact that Spong was never bounced out of TECusaCorp on his ass is the most telling of any of the indictments of TECusaCorp.

the snarkster

[14] Posted by the snarkster on 08-23-2008 at 10:40 AM • top

Anyone else notice the discrepancy between the headline of this post, and the actual quote?

Harmless I guess, but still confusing…

[15] Posted by Marty the Baptist on 08-23-2008 at 11:06 AM • top

If I hadn’t heard of Spong, I might upon reading this piece suspect that he was a reasonably intelligent conservative spoofing ridiculously outdated liberal views.  Taken at face value his stuff is just painfully incompetent.

Homosexuality is no more a choice for gay and lesbian people than heterosexuality is a choice for straight people. It takes a while for that knowledge to trickle down to the masses. Prejudice lives only in the untrickled down gaps.

Who’s prejudiced here—against the ignorant, unenlightened masses?

[16] Posted by Laura R. on 08-23-2008 at 11:30 AM • top

Of course homosexuality is a choice, otherwise how would you explain bi-sexuality?  Does that mean there is a 3rd set of genes that determines sexual preferences?  If there is a gene that determines our sexual preference why then don’t we have genes that drive us to want to have sex with trees, bugs, and small furry animals.  If homosexuality is a gene determined thing, then the obvious question would be, “Why, after hundreds of thousands of years of genetic mutations, did the human species end up with only 2 genes that determine sexual preferences.  If nothing else, simple mathematics would argue that in itself is impossible.  The fact is, God knew what he was doing when he created the single gene that determine our sexual prefence.  That’s why he made it impossible for homosexuals to reproduce.  It’s a redundant activity engaged in by sexually confused human beings.

[17] Posted by The Templar on 08-23-2008 at 12:08 PM • top

Well Jackie, my first guess was the Presiding Bishop, but I had to read the quote a few times, then I took back my vote. It was to clear, and said to much.

Once I read the author however, the only thing that surprised me was that somebody published Spong’s article.

While I admit I am far from a student of Spong’s, what little of his writing I do know leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth, academically speaking. This is sad, considering he has a master’s, and a couple honorary Doctorates. I feel a little arrogant, a man with only his earned Bachelor’s, criticizing a man with an earned Master’s, but how else do you respond to a man whose “proofs” come down to “Everybody knows that…”?

This is the same line of reasoning that runs through his 12 theses. But then again, when all you have is baseless conjecture, an appeal to the masses would I suppose be sufficient for your purposes. God help us whatever those purposes are.

Yours in Christ,

[18] Posted by Jacobsladder on 08-23-2008 at 12:08 PM • top

“The condemnation of homosexuality as a sin or as a distortion by the hierarchy of the Vatican or the leaders of evangelical Christianity is simply a sign that both groups live in the backwaters of knowledge and education.”

I’d be willing to wager just about any amount of money that Benedict XVI has forgotten more about theology than this self-regarding mountebank has ever known.

[19] Posted by Jeffersonian on 08-23-2008 at 12:26 PM • top

The question is why Newsweek and the Washington Post continue interviewing this old heretic.

[20] Posted by Katherine on 08-23-2008 at 12:32 PM • top

Episcopalians often think that they can be somehow protected from the actions of Apostate Bishops by staying in their own Christian community but the actions of this retired Bishop, who denies the Christian faith over and over again, do affect us.
We should not assume that Bishop John Shelby Spong has little power in The Episcopal Church just because he is retired. He holds seminars at colleges, authors books and actively recruits people to his unique version of the Episcopal Church. He is politically astute and probably has guided quite a few people to become priests and assume power in the Episcopal Church.
Bishop Spong is not benign.

[21] Posted by Betty See on 08-23-2008 at 01:36 PM • top

#21 Betty See,
You are absolutely correct, Jack Spong is indeed still influencing the collars coming out of the seminaries. The collars hear/read his heresy and preach it to their Sunday Social Club who meet at the church each and every Sunday because it is the thing to do. They know nothing about the current crisis, don’t want to hear it and their collar won’t allow anyone to discuss it. No wonder we are in this mess.

[22] Posted by bradhutt on 08-23-2008 at 01:52 PM • top

If Spong had been deposed for abandoning the faith (as he has}, Newsweek and the Washington Post would have no reason to interview him as a Bishop of the Episcopal Church.
He still advertises his Seminars and Books as by “Episcopal Bishop John Shelby Spong” and unless the Episcopal Church issues a disclaimer to the News Media, that Spong does not speak for the Episcopal Church, he will continue to be interviewed as a Bishop of the Episcopal Church.

[23] Posted by Betty See on 08-23-2008 at 01:59 PM • top

Hosea (#12)

How can the condemnation of homosexuality be a sin if this man does not believe there is such a thing as sin?

Good question.  What I’d like to know is how condemnation of homosexuality is sin, if Theism is merely an idea.  After all, his statement, “Theism is dead,” treats God like an idea.  The problem with treating God like an idea is that the definition of sin is an expression of the character of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 

So, if Theism is only an idea, then so is sin.  Moreover if Theism is but an idea, and it is a dead idea, then sin is also a dead idea. 

Oh, and Johnny (Spong)? 

...Everyone knows that.

[24] Posted by J Eppinga on 08-23-2008 at 02:00 PM • top

John Shelby Spong is an Episcopal Bishop who retired in good standing. That status says it all. It was foolish for me to have once believed that I could be yoked to Spong without repudiating our Lord.

[25] Posted by Going Home on 08-23-2008 at 02:18 PM • top

Word to the seminarians:  Before you graduate, look around at the long term viability of the company (Church)you want to work for, especially if you’re considering TECTEC is a “company” that has been loosing market share (members) and resources (money and churches) since the 1960’s and the decline has been steady.  Now they’ve changed their product line (doctrine) and many of their own business units are shutting down.  No one is buying their new product. 

So if you find yourself fascinated by Bishop Sprong and his teachings, remember even TEC couldn’t stand him.

[26] Posted by The Templar on 08-23-2008 at 02:30 PM • top

It is apparent that you sincerely believe that the heterosexual role is artificial and that being homosexual is natural. How very wrong you are; And to push your philosophy on the Church at large is a tragedy. Repent or perish.

[27] Posted by Tom Dennis on 08-23-2008 at 02:31 PM • top

Spong is still influential; he still has a whole section devoted to him on the Diocese of Newark’s site:

Including, of course, the “12 Theses.”

[28] Posted by The Abbot on 08-23-2008 at 04:12 PM • top

Spong has been an instrument of the destroyer. The Robert Williams incident, long forgotten, summed up how bankrupt theology.

[29] Posted by Going Home on 08-23-2008 at 04:30 PM • top

We can only hope he continues to do to TEC what he did to the Diocese of Newark during his tenure there.

[30] Posted by The Pilgrim on 08-23-2008 at 04:31 PM • top

My post on the Washington Post Blog in response to Mr. Spong:

Washington Post, is this the best you can do? John Shelby Spong, atheist and agnostic rolled into one, to comment upon Religious Issues? The man does not have a bone of faith in his body, let alone Christian Faith. He’s singularly unqualified to comment on any faith issue of any sort, because he has demonstrated time and time again in his writings that he possesses exactly NONE.

What’s next, you guys lining up Michael Phelps on nuclear physics?

Kobe Bryant on the Shooting of President Lincoln?

Or maybe President Bush on Jane Austen?

I can’t wait to see who you’ll profer next as an “out of their element” commentator.


[31] Posted by Mike Bertaut on 08-23-2008 at 04:59 PM • top

I believe I recall hearing that the Vatican was conisdering engaging Spong in a battle of wits, until it was pointed out to the Holy See by several of its most honored moral theologians that doing so would be a violation of the Christian ethical principle barring the Holy Father, or his representative, from fighting the unarmed.

Blessings and regards,
Martial Artist

[32] Posted by Militaris Artifex on 08-23-2008 at 06:13 PM • top

This Reformation will be about the very life and death of Christianity. Because it goes to the heart of how Christianity is to be understood, it will dwarf in intensity the Reformation of the 16th century. It will not be concerned about authority, ecclesiastical polity, valid ordinations and valid sacraments. It will be rather a Reformation that will examine the very nature of the Christian faith itself.
[From Spong’s “A Call for a New Reformation,” link found in #28 above]

Weirdly, the old fraud has a point here.  The upheaval he has helped bring about does indeed go to the heart of the Christian faith itself.  And the stakes of the struggle we are involved in could not be higher

[33] Posted by Laura R. on 08-23-2008 at 06:21 PM • top

Here’s a fact that will bring a chill to the hearts of every person on this list:  Like it or not, want it or not, Jack Spong has, does now and will have in the future more of an influence on those who question the existence of God or any of those who bow the head or bend the knee to Christ Jesus or the action of the Holy Spirit than anyone who has, is now, or will ever post on any conservative Blogsite. 


I do not say this in meanness of spirit but as undeniable fact - as well as challenge for evangelism, mission and/or ministry.

[34] Posted by THATKindofChristian on 08-23-2008 at 07:01 PM • top

ThatkindofChristian - I don’t overestimate the influence of blogs, but I think you WAY over estimate the influence of Spong. God help the people who fall into his path.

[35] Posted by oscewicee on 08-23-2008 at 07:07 PM • top

#34 - The influence this man has claimed over the left is truly astounding.  But you can be assured every Orthodox Christian blog will be doing everything they can to make sure that the lives he influences have the opportunity to hear the real gospel and be pulled from the flames.  And that’s just a fact.

[36] Posted by JackieB on 08-23-2008 at 07:08 PM • top

The failure of TEC to discipline Spong, and to allow him to continue his scandalous ways unchecked for over two decades (he was Bp. of Newark for 24 years) is indeed the epitome of what’s wrong with the Episcopal Church.  It shows in the most glaring way possible how vast is the disastrous gap between the official theology of TEC (as reflected say in the 1979 BCP) and what Philip Turner helpfully calls “the working theology” of the denomination.  The gulf between our formal, official doctrines and our actual beliefs is at least as wide and deep as the Grand Canyon.

And such a huge chasm is very, very unhealthy.

It’s doubtful John Shelby Spong could have gotten away with his ridiculous antics and outrageous behavior in any other denomination, except perhaps the UCC.

It’s high time to put the Doctrine and Discipline back in “the Doctrine, Discipline, and Worship” of TEC.

David Handy+

[37] Posted by New Reformation Advocate on 08-23-2008 at 07:35 PM • top

The “working theology” of the Episcopal Church challenges the integrity of TEC. I focus on the official teachings of the Church, but it is the practice that is ultimately telling and destructive. The gap is huge and growing. Not Good; not God.

[38] Posted by Forever Anglican on 08-23-2008 at 07:52 PM • top

#27 Tom Dennis, did you mean me?  I think you have confused me with someone else.

[39] Posted by Katherine on 08-23-2008 at 08:13 PM • top

Spong is wrong!

I am unable to believe that Spong is a Christian.  I am not sitting in judgment of him, that is God’s job.  I am simply saying what I believe, and that is that Spong is not a Christian.  I am not prepared to use Spong’s supercilious and patently wrong statement that “everyone knows”.  I make no laim that “everyone knows” or believes that Spong is not a Christian What I do know is that many people I know, including priests, question whether Spong is really a Christian.

A possibly non-Christian priest and bishop of TECUSA, who continues to exert influence, as when invited by +Schori to address a meeting in her diocese when she was a diocesan bishop, raises serious issues about what TECUSA really is, doesn’t it?

Many years ago the Christy Minstrel, or some other then-popular folk-music group, did a folk-song about a drunk who stumbled out of a bar and fell into the gutter with a pig.  A woman passer-by said “you can tell someone who boozes by the company he chooses” and the pig got up and slowly walked away.

I have already gotten up and slowly walked away, with a heavy heart.  But I continue to look back and question whether I had, indeed may still have, some responsibility to those whose company I chose to abandon.

[40] Posted by Ol' Bob on 08-23-2008 at 08:13 PM • top

RE: “Here’s a fact that will bring a chill to the hearts of every person on this list . . . “

Not really.  This particular one couldn’t care less.

RE: “Like it or not, want it or not, Jack Spong has, does now and will have in the future more of an influence on those who question the existence of God . . . . “


The guy’s a hackneyed 70s guy still angry over his past and especially his childhood—and has to work to get attention now—and work he obviously does. 
; > )

RE: “. . .  or any of those who bow the head or bend the knee to Christ Jesus or the action of the Holy Spirit . . . “

LOL.  The only folks paying attention to him are the fawning ex-hippies who managed to claw there way into power in TEC or other floundering mainline denominations.  Not really a growing audience there . . . . and I’m not worried about his having any influence whatsoever on those who believe the Gospel.

RE: “than anyone who has, is now, or will ever post on any conservative Blogsite.  . . . “

Sounds like a pretty desperately fantasizing hope there—some mighty influential folks have posted on conservative blogsites . . .

I’m sure that Spong has influenced liberals . . . and that’s fine by me. 

As a Reformed Anglican, I know that Jesus Christ will have whom He will have.

[41] Posted by Sarah on 08-23-2008 at 08:33 PM • top

Aren’t you a little concerned about the young people Spong is leading astray from from the paths of righteousness?

[42] Posted by Betty See on 08-23-2008 at 09:18 PM • top

Spong, wasn’t he the “bright sixth-former” repudiated by the current ABC?  The same Spong of “animism” and “chicken dinner” fame?  The leader of clergy retreats for the former “bishop” of Nevada now the Presiding Sheriff of the ECUSA/TEC/GCC/EO-PAC, litigator and chief advocate of MDGs as fuel for your vehicle to godself?

[43] Posted by dwstroudmd+ on 08-23-2008 at 09:32 PM • top


God wass sitting in Heaven when a scientist says to Him,
“Lord, we don’t need You anymore. Science has finally figured out a way to create life out of nothing. In other words, we can now do what you did in the ‘beginning’.”
“Oh, is that so?  Tell me….” replies God.
“Well”, says the scientist, “we can take dirt and form it into the likeness of you and breathe life into it, thus creating man.”
“Well, that’s interesting. Show Me.” said God
So the scientist bends down to the earth and starts to mold the soil.

“Oh no, no,  no…” interrupts God, “Get your own dirt.”

[44] Posted by The Templar on 08-23-2008 at 09:34 PM • top

oh-hohohohohohohohoho*gasphehehehehehehehehehehehehe*gasp*ohdearwait…..wait….oh my. oh

Sorry. That just tickled me in exactly the right way*mmpfh*.sorry. Really.

OK I’m better now. Wow. What a splendid caricature of the over-the-top, uber-educated, entitled, liberal, progressive ivory tower recluse. I mean that was by the best representation of that stereotype I have seen in quite some time. He so perfectly captured that fatal self-centered humanism, that pompous know-it-all attitude, that Snidley Whiplash sarcasm barely veiled with a sort of vulgar gentility. A capital piece of representative acting! Bravo! Bravo!! carl? Did you take notes?? This guy takes it to a whole other level!


He was serious? Nawwwwwwwwwww. He can’t… He does? He is??? He did??? Oh my. I’m sorry. I thought that was a parody. My bad. Very sorry. Ahem. We now return you to our regularly scheduled diatribe.

[45] Posted by masternav on 08-23-2008 at 10:21 PM • top

Betty See . . . actually no . . .

Young people—as my own 20-something friends could attest—don’t read Spong any more.  He’s a modernist, and very uncool, not at all laid back and chilled, and still in that old, ancient, rationalist/enlightenment mindset.  ; > )

He’s just a dinosaur.

There might be some earnest “young” liberal TECans somewhere who had the book thrust into their hands by older Piskies yearning for their glory-days of 60s rebellion and propheticism . . . but after all . . . there just ain’t a whole lot of 20-somethings in TEC anymore, you know?  ; > )

Taken on a scale of worry for young people, Spong ranks far far far far down my list of worries for my young friends. 

Spong is still an important symbol, however, so don’t get me wrong.  After all, on the one hand, embarrassed liberals often claim that “Spong doesn’t represent the theology of the Episcopal Church” . . . and on the other hand, invite him to be workshop leaders at their clergy conferences.  The fact that the anti-theist was not deposed—and that plenty of birkenstock-wearing “radical” clergy and bishops still adore him, is quite telling enough about the heresy and corruption of our church.

But really—young people don’t hang out at TEC any more, as the stats overwhelmingly and repeatedly show.

[46] Posted by Sarah on 08-23-2008 at 10:23 PM • top

Sarah #46,

I’m glad to hear that Spong isn’t cool.  I think he is an important symbol of what’s wrong with TEC, in that his “new thang” was allowed to flourish, that tends to make me think of all the “new thangs” we’ve dealt with since. 

I’m just amazed any respectable media outlet even asked his opinion on this stuff.


[47] Posted by Mike Bertaut on 08-23-2008 at 11:52 PM • top

“If they were not, then America would be subjected to what John Stuart Mill called “the tyranny of the majority.” That is not democracy in action, that is nothing more than religious imperialism”. 

Spong really should not say such things about the Episcopal Church. hmmm 

“Homosexuality is no more a choice for gay and lesbian people than heterosexuality is a choice for straight people”.

Uh, you’re leaving out the “action” part—technically, I’m wired and built to have relations with tons of men, but that doesn’t mean I get to do that.  Maybe I can convince my husband to be more open-minded…


“Spong’s just latent”. 

Maybe the word is “limp”...

[48] Posted by Passing By on 08-24-2008 at 12:02 AM • top

Bishop Spong may be the only Episcopal Bishop that young people know of with regard to the Episcopal Church. He gives seminars at colleges and writes books as Episcopal Bishop John Shelby Spong. On the other hand most TEC Bishops seem to be very reluctant to say publicly what the Episcopal Church believes, so it appears that he is the church spokesman by default.

Granted that young people may think Bishop Spong is “uncool” or a “dinosaur” but they probably think the same about the Episcopal Church which he seems to represent.

You and I can hang in there and hope the church will reform but the church cannot afford to lose another generation of Christian young people who have the good sense to be turned off by the theology of Bishop Spong.

[49] Posted by Betty See on 08-24-2008 at 12:33 AM • top


the church cannot afford to lose another generation of Christian young people who have the good sense to be turned off by the theology of Bishop Spong.

Oh, the Church hasn’t lost them.  They make up a very large percentage of the nondenoms, for starters.  My step son and his wife go to a “megachurch” outside Atlanta, and it looks to me that the average age is about 27 or 30.  On campuses, groups like The Baptist Union and Orthodox Christian Fellowship are hosting very well attended get-togethers. 
Now the liberal mainline protestants may have an average age of forty or fifty, but the Evangelicals and fundamentalists are doing just fine, youth-wise.
They may be lost to TEC, but they are not lost to the Church.

[50] Posted by The Pilgrim on 08-24-2008 at 04:31 AM • top

Betty See,

I agree with your comments above.  Several of Spong’s books remain in our church library.  While blogs and the ABC may justifiably criticize his “writings,” Spong’s views are welcomed and readily repeated by the media and many in TEC leadership positions to place a stick in the eye of those who hold to the faith once delivered.  I received a letter from a former Sunday School student sometime ago advising that she was now an atheist.  Spong for years has lead the charge to achieve such a result.

[51] Posted by Sparky on 08-24-2008 at 06:41 AM • top

Spong may be “uncool” and a “dinosaur” to some young people, but I’m willing to bet that these same young folk would describe most church leaders of Spong’s age in exactly the same way without regard to his/her “working theology.”

Spong has always had his greatest appeal to what he calls “the Church Alumni Society” - those who want to know Jesus but not through the filter of the institutional church - left, right or center.  So everyone who is already “signed up” in a particular denomination can breathe easy - chances are he won’t attract any of our sheep.  Indeed, my experience has been that Spong serves to raise eyebrows as well as curiosity, which provides a wonderful opportunity to teach and evangelize.

You can sniff and stomp your foot and dismiss Spong with all sorts of rhetorical flourish but, like it or not, his books will continue to be best sellers, his blog will continue to be read by thousands all over the world, and his lectures will continue to be SRO.

The wise Christian will acknowledge this and, like Jesus, use Spong as an opportunity to teach:  “You have heard it said, but I say to you . . . .”

[52] Posted by THATKindofChristian on 08-24-2008 at 07:05 AM • top

Even mentioning Sprongs name means he has captured our attention.  Some people thrive on negative attention and I suspect Sprong is one of them so he’s probably enjoying all these posts.

[53] Posted by The Templar on 08-24-2008 at 07:43 AM • top

Jeffersonian, the reason that anti-Christian heretics like JSS get the copy space is that they validate the publishers’ prejudices.  Like another famed 20th C. atheist who admitted late in life that he had chosen that opinion because it allowed him the freedom to behave sexually as he chose, these people refuse to acknowledge any god bigger than they can fit in their drawers, then build their own canon of like-“minded” writers to validate their madness.  Any questions, read Jude.  These poor folks need Jesus!

[54] Posted by Robert Easter on 08-24-2008 at 09:03 AM • top

[53] THATKindofChristian,

Liberal religion isn’t really that much of a threat.  It provides no answers like legitimate Christianity.  If offers no promise of power like Wicca.  It’s appeal is limited to a small number of intellectuals who like to chew on their metaphysical angst.  The world at large pays no attention to it at all - other than to suggest that if people ‘need that sort of thing’ then it would be preferred if they joined a liberal church.

The culture at large is secularizing.  In an attempt to keep religion relevant to this modern secular culture, liberal religion hooks itself like a caboose onto the modern secular train, and shouts “Me, too.” as it clatters along the tracks.  It has grandiose ideas of pulling the train, but it has no engine, and in fact most of the passengers don’t even know it’s there.  Besides, the train company has decided the caboose is obsolete, and there is a siding up ahead…

KJS and her declining ilk will sit in the caboose on the siding, and pretend great actors hang on every word of their pronouncements.  Meanwhile the trains will rush by, oblivious to the 60s relic that sits and hopes once again to be noticed.


[55] Posted by carl on 08-24-2008 at 09:16 AM • top

Let’s face it…Spong is old school.  He was born out of that old sixties scientism and since he did not have the intellectual tools to counter punch, he caught the wave, rode it and is now theologically beached.

[56] Posted by ElaineF. on 08-24-2008 at 09:30 AM • top

Re # 56
Spong beached!  Really?
Do you perhaps have the date on which he was the featured speaker in +Schori’s diocese?
Do you perhaps have the date of the article referenced in Jackie’s post which leads this thread?
Beached, indeed!  Since when?  Perhaps since you declared it so a few minutes ago?

[57] Posted by Ol' Bob on 08-24-2008 at 09:39 AM • top

#56 is Elaine not Emily, Ol’ Bob.

[58] Posted by oscewicee on 08-24-2008 at 09:40 AM • top

Re # 58
oscewicee, you are so right.  Thanks.
EmilyH, my apologies.  (Boy, was that hard to say, or what?)
OK, ElaineF, how about it?  Got the dates?
Peace, from an humbled Ol’ Bob

[59] Posted by Ol' Bob on 08-24-2008 at 09:57 AM • top

RE: “You can sniff and stomp your foot and dismiss Spong with all sorts of rhetorical flourish . . . “

Yes indeed, I can.  ; > )

RE: “. . . . but, like it or not . . .”

Neither one. 

I am indifferent to it, other than, of course, again pointing out that Spong serves as an important symbol of the vacuity and lightweight retro thinking of so many of TEC’s clergy and bishops.

[60] Posted by Sarah on 08-24-2008 at 09:57 AM • top

Here’s another quote that speaks volumes about Sponge Jack’s non-Christian world and life view:

So they contented themselves to toss around the religious jargon. “Jesus saved me,” said Senator McCain. “Jesus died for my sins,” said Senator Obama.

If speaking of salvation (rather basic Christian stuff) is reduced to “religious jargon”—what’s left?

[61] Posted by hanks on 08-24-2008 at 10:04 AM • top

One would think that these poor young seminarians would have a solid grip on their faith before entering a seminary.  If they are so impressionable that someone like Spong can influence them, even to the point of abandoning their own faith perhaps they’re entering the wrong line of work.  Maybe politics might be a better fit for them,

[62] Posted by The Templar on 08-24-2008 at 12:00 PM • top

TKoC & Betty See,

I’d have to agree with Sarah, Spong is SO outdated!! Also he’s a hypocrite, he’s an unbeliever collecting money from professional Christianity, he’s the easiest to discredit. Folks like Richard Dawkins are much more a creditable threat because they don’t take a dime from that he dismisses, yet I saw him being mocked, used in a promotion for a new film, with I also give MUCH more credit to being a threat because it plays on humans’ gnostic tendencies and gnosticism fits better to post-modernism than this Spong garbage.

Like it or not, want it or not, Jack Spong has, does now and will have in the future more of an influence on those who question the existence of God

Oh, come on now, you must be a “Boomer” or something to give this man that much credit. Voltaire doesn’t even make that standard and Voltaire is a much better writer, makes much more rational sense and did not succeed in stamping out Christianity (in fact his printer press was later purchased to print the very book he boldly declared would not exist in fifty years time). I think the Christian faith has seen a lot more creditable challenges by pithy, well reasoned and more honorable people. Even John Chane is more of a challenge, because Chane can at least speak 80-90% Truth, much more like the classic heresies of Arianism or Pelagianism, where Spong is a simple hypocritical non-believer. Give me a simple heretic over a classical subtle one or a well reasoned atheist any day of the week.

[63] Posted by Hosea6:6 on 08-24-2008 at 12:14 PM • top

It is either sheer ignorance or plain dishonesty for Mr. Spong to label those who do not buy the company line of evolution as being in the “backwaters of knowledge and education”.  There are many well qualified, PhD-holding, knowledgeable, brilliant scientists who reject the idea that evolution, and not Divine Creation, explains the origin of the universe and the human race. 

I for one, am willing to believe that evolution is a principle at work in nature, that is, once nature was set in motion.  There is no scientific basis for asserting that a principle or force ever put itself in motion, nor that it could.

[64] Posted by DaveW on 08-24-2008 at 12:15 PM • top

Voltaire was a much better writer

Voltaire, like Annas and Caiaphas, should be written in the past tense, waiting in death, like all enemies of Christ, till their next meeting of the Man they tried to do away with.

[65] Posted by Hosea6:6 on 08-24-2008 at 12:21 PM • top

Why isn’t there another real movement to have Spong deposed? I realize that KJS would never do it, but a forceful petition could highlight to the world, at this crucial juncture in the Anglican world, the outright heresy that TEC fosters and allows. It would tend to counteract the Windsor/Lambeth lie that there isn’t doctrinal heresy (just a moral pecadillo) in TEC. If retired BP. COX can be deposed (and without inhibition), then why not SPONG—even this late?

[66] Posted by Paula on 08-24-2008 at 12:35 PM • top

#66 Paula.
Spong, the Don Rickles of the Episcoal church, and Gene Robinson are kept on the books because they both serve as “poster boys” for the liberal TEC movement.  One is a sexually confused middle aged man and the other an intellectual wannabe that true academians only snicker at behind his back. Both profoundly pathetic in their own ways.

[67] Posted by The Templar on 08-24-2008 at 12:55 PM • top

I agree with you, Templar, but I’m thinking of how the media might be highlighting the heresies instead of always harping on sexuality themes that they trivialize.  I don’t see why some organized churchpeople couldn’t openly call for Spong’s deposition (though in retirement), citing doctrinal heresies so that more people would see their scope.  I understand that such a movement wouldn’t have a chance in TEC, but it might have some legs in the media.

[68] Posted by Paula on 08-24-2008 at 01:36 PM • top

Yes, Spong’ss books sell as do those about witches, warlocks, druids and devils.  It’s amazing how the left is willing to throw their money away on such empty theology.

[69] Posted by JackieB on 08-24-2008 at 01:50 PM • top

Don Rickles and Liberace- what a great bill!  Before we go any farther in blaming the Liberal crowd, we gotta own up that Liberalism is the product of a Christianity that makes a good “confession” more important than a good life (on one hand) and that puts one’s inward experience greater than any objective reason or basis (on the other).  We need to all pay less attention to what we believe is true and get better in touch with what God says is.  Robert

[70] Posted by Robert Easter on 08-24-2008 at 02:20 PM • top

The attitude I mean to combat is well illustrated in the comments of Bp. Whalon after Lambeth that the opposition to the Episcopal Church does not rest upon theological or creedal grounds but “moral reasoning.”  Here’s what he says: 

“However, at Lambeth it became clear that the theological issue is not located in dogmatic or systematic theology­-matters of faith­-but moral reasoning. In our discussions, it also became clear that these interventions in the U.S, and Canada, often in dioceses of conservative bishops, have been driven by issues of political power and status, both ecclesial and secular, as well as money, rather than creedal matters calling for fraternal support of beleaguered faithful. A Rwandan bishop, for instance, began the incursions in 1998, four years after the genocide and five years before the General Convention of 2003. “Rescuing” Americans seems to provide a happy distraction from the lingering wounds of the collaboration of Rwandan Christians, including some Anglicans, in that horrific event. That pattern of distraction from pressing problems has been repeated elsewhere.” —Bp. Whalon

I realize this is a thread about Spong’s statements on homosexuality, but perhaps we could say even more about his famous Theses trashing the entire Christian religion on all the creedal points.  We are ignored when we charge the TEC with heresies but might get more attention by suggesting some specific heretics for deposition.  If retired bishops can be deposed (as we have seen recently), why not suggest some really worthy candidates, like Spong?  (I know this will not go anywhere, but it is an appealing idea.)

[71] Posted by Paula on 08-24-2008 at 03:20 PM • top

To whomever it may concern:
I really don’t care if anyone else doesn’t care that Episcopal Bishop Spong is mis-representing the Episcopal Church, I do care.
There are many young people (not seminarians) who do not have a religious background, some of them are looking for a faith that can sustain them and I hope that these young people will find a Christian home which will proclaim the Faith as handed down to us through Scripture.
I can understand why young people are turned off by those public figures who represent the Episcopal church and who are perpetually in the news. I hope and pray that they will not let this publicity turn them away from the Christian Religion. If the Episcopal church will not provide a stable Christian place for young people, I hope and pray that they will find a Common Cause, or Anglican Church that can lead them to the Christian Faith.

[72] Posted by Betty See on 08-24-2008 at 04:01 PM • top

Have you all noticed that a great many of the politically activist Episcopalians were converts and/or are now adherents of Spong, doctrinally?  I have read this and I have seen it confirmed by individuals involved; I suggest it would be found to be broadly true.  It is one reason that many of the faith/moral stances of the activists tend to hang together.  Other crucial issues are coming down the pike, as they are interrelated.  See my comment on the thread about aborting the disabled.  It addresses the resolutions of the Diocese of Newark’s Task Force on Assisted Suicide, which also concern euthanasia (in some circumstances, as it says).  Spong, who originally appointed the task force while he was bishop, speaks on these issues, as in Oregon’s case for legalization.  He was introduced for a panel discussion about the “Right to Die” as the Episcopal bishop “who appointed a church task force” on this issue. His influence is extremely wide, even if it is sometimes under the surface.

[73] Posted by Paula on 08-24-2008 at 05:03 PM • top

Gee, I don’t mind being dated at all as long as it is Christ’s name and word!
T0m of San Joaquin

[74] Posted by tom on 08-25-2008 at 12:40 AM • top

Mad Potter (#74)

While I usually don’t completely agree with Bishop Spong, in this I do. First, the quote is “as a sin”.

Which of Spong’s presuppositions in his statement ‘Homophobia is a sin,’ do you agree with?  E.g., do you reject Theism?

[75] Posted by J Eppinga on 08-25-2008 at 07:07 AM • top

Do not underestimate the influence of frauds like Spong.  My father, who is a good man, has been deceived by his lies. 

This is one reason we must confront sin when it rears its ugly head.  Spong should have been tarred, feathered and run out of town on a rail.  Instead he retired in good standing…and is using that position to continue to influence others.

[76] Posted by B. Hunter on 08-25-2008 at 09:17 AM • top

Much to agree with here.  A deal breaker for me in TEC was the final realization (duh, only took me 20 years to let it hit home) that TOLERANCE = APPROVAL tacitly or otherwise within a denomination. 

Whereas the leadership of the Church, and all the sitting on their hands Bishops can still point and say “officially, we still don’t approve Spong’s position, SSB, SSM or a host of other things you reasserters are all up in arms about.  Why are you so upset?”

But it is a sham, and we all know it, because as long as they turn a blind eye, or applaud in private (if not in public) then the Spong’s of the world can continue their deadly work of un-saving souls.  What a millstone that will be to bear, I cannot imagine.

Even gone, I have to KTF!....mrb

[77] Posted by Mike Bertaut on 08-25-2008 at 09:32 AM • top

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