Conversation with John Shelby Spong on Re-Claiming the Bible for a Non-Religious World

Here is my conversation with Bishop John Shelby Spong on his book “Re-Claiming the Bible for a Non-Religious World” from my Radio Show.

In the conversation I ask John why people are not hearing from him the point he is trying to make, that the Bible is important to our lives and we should fully engage with it, and rather they hear him and others saying they want to get rid of the Bible?

In the second video I ask him what we should do as an alternative to a simplistic literal reading of the Bible or ignoring it all together.

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  • Thanks for doing this, Doug. I think my brother bishop, Jack Spong, is often misunderstood in the ways you asked him about. I hope the “emergent conversation” can be informed by some of his work. Folks don’t have to go all the way with him if they can’t or if they disagree, but he sure provides grist for the conversational mill! And I happen to know that he loves God and the Bible.

  • Barbara

    I would love to listen to your interview, but I am quite hearing impaired. Is there a transcript available?

    It would be most helpful to readers like me if youbloggers would post transcripts for radio talks and videos so that everyone who wanted to could “hear”.

    I hope you will consider this when posting.

  • Andy

    Any church movement that takes John Spong seriously has revealed its own theological bankruptcy. The logical fallacies and sloppy thinking evidenced here are simply breathtaking!

  • Richard

    Thanks for this interview. Bishop Spong has continued to open up the discussion and thoughts of how we can live as Christians in the 21st century; loving God and Jesus; loving the Bible and yet not reading and undersatnding it as a closed , literal reading.. The Church will only survive with a reassesed undersatnding of the Bible and the meaning of Christianity!

  • Rick

    I truly hope anyone listening to Spong will pray for God to reveal to him the truth of Christ and his gospel. It is sad to see someone try and tell us all for 2000 years Christianity had it wrong and now that the Jesus Seminar has enlightened us we can all know the bible it myth and we should not take it literally. If there is no propositional truth then Hitler was ok to this kind of thinking. If the early Christians were liars as we are to believe from Spong then why did they die for Christ, Men don’t willing die for a lie. I pray for all you Emergents and Spong to see the true Christ in all His glory. He came in flesh and died for you so you can enter His Kingdom. He fulfilled prophecy, it wasn’t the church writing a narrative to fit Hebrew scripture to fool everyone. That is what a man would say that is afraid to be accountable to an all powerful God.

    Please read the bible and ask for God to make it clear what the truth is, for there is truth.

  • Mark_13

    He says that the 2nd generation church was just concocting the story of the crucifixion with Psalms 22 open, that’s why they were putting the words of the Psalm into Jesus mouth on the Cross, to make him applicable to O.T. scripture. Well that avoids the question, why would Jews be worshipping a criminal who was executed two generations earlier and feel the need to incorporate him into their Jewish scripture. He says for the first 88 years, the worship of Christ was associated with the synagogue. This pontificating old fool doesn’t seem to appreciate the significance of that.

    And he has that whole pointless diversion about Christ being pierced in the side is in all the medieval stained glass, and that is why the peasants believed it. So what????

    Re – the whole pointless diversion of his about Christ being pierced with a spear in the side: He starts by saying that this doesn’t appear until John’s gospel, as if the fact that all four gospels don’t parrot each other is proof that they’re not valid, and this incident in specific is doubtful. If the gospels did all say exactly the same thing, with no deviation, that is what would be suspicious. So he says, even at the late date of John’s gospel, that John is also trying to make Jesus crucifixion coincide with the Old Testament scripture. So, in a completely different part of the world, three decades after Mark was written, according to Spong, John is doing the same dishonest thing with his gospel. And speaking of John, Spong earlier asserts that none of the disciples spoke Greek. Very early traditions put John in Ephesus in the late first century – so did he not manage to learn Greek even after several decades. Ridiculous. Who is impressed at all by this pompous old reprobate, Spong.

    None of this guy’s meandering speculative discourse is the slightest bit conclusive. He mocks the Episcopal’s holding up the Bible in services to venerate it. So what?

    I’ll grant him one thing – it is true its hard to reconcile Jesus ascending to heaven with our current understanding of the cosmos. But then Christ walked on water, too. I guess Spong can hardly avoid bursting into laughter at anyone who believes that. I’m not angered by this little nearly-dead nobody Spong. I don’t care about his soul either.