Sunday, 4 August 2013

Further reflections on Spong-poker, false prophets and homo phobia

I can't budget much more time for in depth criticism of ‘bishop’ John Shelby Spong's book 'The Resurrection: Myth or Reality’ but I said I'd write a bit more and was prompted by this Sunday's bible reading. I think he is quite an influential heretic and is still winning converts among his fellow 'bishops'.

PS yes I do know that Christians arguing among themselves and washing dirty linen in public gives occasion for much sarcastic laughter to enemies of the Gospel. This was anticipated in Scripture where the behaviour of some supposed believers was criticised as giving ammunition to opponents. OK, so Satan is a skilled strategian who creates discord by placing his agents in the church and devises heresies to which the faithful are forced to respond or deemed to accept by remaining silent. That this is happening tends to validate the Scripture that foretold it, some of which I cite below. And I am not wandering off my blog's main subject since this is all connected to Darwin. Spong and many of his brother heretics cite Darwin as their authority for 're-interpreting' (i.e. explaining away) the miraculous events in the Bible, beginning with creation, to fit in with 'modern science' (actually the philosophical assumption of materialism, which is not the same thing).
Resurrection-Myth or reality? of course , depends what you mean by myth. Depends what you mean by reality. And of course it depends what you mean by the Resurrection. Spong believes in the Resurrection, its just that he doesn't believe Jesus actually rose bodily from the grave and that the accounts saying that he did are muddled, invented, embellished and plain fabricated. Of course, as you'd expect from a gnostic psychobabbler who wants to re-invent the Gospel (see Galatians  chapter 1: 6-9), he believes that the resurrection happened 'in a very real sense'. But Spong's Jesus did not physically rise from the dead and the dust of his bones lies in an unmarked grave.
He can't have risen, Spong writes, because that would be against the laws of physics. It would be against Darwin, against Galileo, against Einstein. Against Dawkins. We know better than our ancestors now, we have Smartphones and TV and stuff, and so you can’t expect anyone to believe it. After all, this is the modern era - people back then were thick and had no difficulty believing that a man who had been crucified by the Romans could be ‘resuscitated’ as Spong puts it. Just as they were so dumb they thought a woman could have a baby without male semen.

All this is in tune with modern secularist thinking, but plain contrary to the Bible. You expect it from a militant atheist, but not from a Christian bishop.
One of the last survivals of a form of Christianity on the BBC is the Sunday morning service, which this morning came from Buxton. The text for today from was the Transfiguration.

Matthew’s Gospel chapter 17:1-9 (NIV)

After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.

Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”

While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”

When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.

As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus instructed them, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”


The incident is mentioned in all 3 synoptic Gospels, and is referenced in 2 Peter ch 1 vs 16 where Peter wrote

 For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”[b] 18 We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.


Now this is interesting, because the whole gist of Spong’s argument is that in fact Peter and the other apostles DID in fact ‘follow cleverly devised stories’ and that the whole idea of Jesus performing miracles, fulfilling prophecies, rising from the dead and ascending into heaven were, in the immortal words of the village atheist ‘all made up’.

I cite this particular passage as it was on the radio this morning and as we find Peter specifically refuting the assertion that the false bishop Spong and others like him would make later. 

In the end, this boils down to a couple of ‘either/or’ conundra (*). Do you believe the apostolic contemporary eye witness account, or the worldly wise commentator of centuries later? The fisherman whose preaching led 3,000 people to convert in one day (Acts chapter 2) or the metropolitan cleric under whose 'care' churchgoing in Newark fell off by 40%? Do you trust the apostle Peter, who lived and died for Jesus, or Spong who courts controversy to sell books? And since we know from Scripture (for example Matthew 24 where Jesus warns against false prophets THREE TIMES in one passage) that false prophets are inevitable, who do you think is the false prophet-the likes of Spong or those who cling to the plain teaching of the Bible that was held by saints and martyrs since the day of Pentecost? Because these positions really are opposed and can't both be true.

Peter wrote about the likes of Spong in the same letter,  2 Peter chapter 2 vss 1-3

‘But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories.’ 

There is a saying about poker games that there will always be a sucker round the table, and if you can’t identify him, it’s you. Scripture (which Spong claims to honour even as he dismembers it in favour of the secular worldview he has so obviously adopted  **) clearly and repeatedly states that the church will be infiltrated and damaged by fifth columnists from Satan. If you can’t identify them, take heed that you have not already been taken in by them.

They are wolves in sheep’s clothing, in other words-they are disguised to make them appear good when they are evil. False prophets don’t have a tattoo on their foreheads that says ‘I have come from Satan to devour you’ they are plausible and attractive, just like any serious con man. They probably talk a lot about ‘love, inclusivity, understanding’ and other warm words, and are invariably more concerned about global warming that warning sinners to flee from God’s coming judgment. Adultery is not a sin in their eyes, but ‘homophobia’ (***) is. They are very anxious to avoid being criticised by secular humanists, and they loathe people like me whom they call ‘biblical literalists’. 

Anyway, I trot out the dreadful example of Spong as an example of what happens when the word of man is put before the word of God in the church. Evolutionism is the word of man versus the word of God par excellence. Evolutionism, the unscientific myth of undirected progress, is a human philosophy designed to deceive and undermine the revelation we have received from the all wise God who spoke through the prophets who foretold Jesus. Its the kind of thing we read about in Colossians 2: 8 'Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic traditions of this world, and not according to Christ'.

(*) conundra is the plural of conundrum. Call me pernickety but I do like using words correctly as far as possible.

(**) Christian doctrines rejected by the false bishop John Shelby Spong, lifted without editing from his Wikipedia entry

Twelve points

  1. Theism, as a way of defining God, is dead. So most theological God-talk is today meaningless. A new way to speak of God must be found.
  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.
  3. The Biblical story of the perfect and finished creation from which human beings fell into sin is pre-Darwinian mythology and post-Darwinian nonsense.
  4. The virgin birth, understood as literal biology, makes Christ's divinity, as traditionally understood, impossible.
  5. The miracle stories of the New Testament can no longer be interpreted in a post-Newtonian world as supernatural events performed by an incarnate deity.
  6. The view of the cross as the sacrifice for the sins of the world is a barbarian idea based on primitive concepts of God and must be dismissed.
  7. Resurrection is an action of God. Jesus was raised into the meaning of God. It therefore cannot be a physical resuscitation occurring inside human history.
  8. The story of the Ascension assumed a three-tiered universe and is therefore not capable of being translated into the concepts of a post-Copernican space age.
  9. There is no external, objective, revealed standard written in scripture or on tablets of stone that will govern our ethical behavior for all time.
  10. Prayer cannot be a request made to a theistic deity to act in human history in a particular way.
  11. The hope for life after death must be separated forever from the behavior control mentality of reward and punishment. The Church must abandon, therefore, its reliance on guilt as a motivator of behavior.
  12. All human beings bear God's image and must be respected for what each person is. Therefore, no external description of one's being, whether based on race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation, can properly be used as the basis for either rejection or discrimination.
(***) homophobia is a propaganda neologism invented by the revolutionary left wing enemies of traditional Christian sexual ethics. The word literally means an irrational fear (phobia) of the same (homo=the same). If 'homo' becomes a noun instead of the prefix that it actually is, the term could mean an irrational fear of homos, i.e. homosexuals. But to use it in this sense would attract an accusation of, homophobia! For which sin you can be arrested or fired these days in Britain.
Christian traditionalists like myself do not suffer from a mental disease which involves whimpering in terror behind their front doors lest they should meet Elton John, Ben Bradshaw or Jimmy Somerville in the street. Admittedly, meeting Peter Tatchell might be quite alarming. We disapprove (peacefully) of same sex genital activity. If the State has decided that such a principled view is a thought crime or a mental disease, and takes powers to itself to decide what we are and are not allowed to think write or say, then denunciation of churches and individuals as 'homophobic' could be used as a pretext for closing down churches that will not comply with secularist morality and thought. Could be tough times ahead.

Repent, Spong. If the penitent thief on the cross was forgiven, so can you be. But remember that only one thief repented. The other one most likely went to hell to spend eternity with, amongst others, false prophets.






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