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John Shelby Spong, Surrender Monkey

That’s the opinion of Bayard Taylor in The Late Great Ape Debate:

John Shelby Spong, retired Episcopal Bishop of Newark, is a surrender monkey.  His “Call for a New Reformation” is really a call to wave the white flag, throw in the towel, and give up on the God revealed in both Jewish and Christian history.  We need, he says, a new language for God because “most theological God-talk is meaningless.”

Obviously, the good bishop is excluding his own God-talk from the meaningless category.  He apparently wants us to take his God-talk as a beacon shining in the wilderness of Christian darkness.

I’m constantly amazed that a bishop, who took vows to uphold the peace and purity of the church and to proclaim the gospel, could spread such blasphemy and contempt for Christian faith’s core beliefs and not receive some kind of censure or discipline.  But there he is today, an ex-bishop in good standing, drawing his pension from a church he tried his best to destroy.

I’d go easier on Spong if he’d had a faith crisis, realised he could no longer affirm the basic biblical worldview and teaching, and then had the honesty and integrity to step down from his position of leadership.  But that’s not what he did.  Instead, he went on the warpath against anything that smells like traditional Christian faith, and he’s tried to take his whole church down his revisionist road.  Christians who disagree with him he attacks as “fundamentalists,” and in his worldview, that’s about the worst insult you can utter.  Spong ironically exhibits many of the worst attitudes he decries in others: narrow-mindedness, bigotry, and belligerence.  He’s a first-rate fundamentalist for his own worldview. (pp. 109-10)

An analysis that’s hard to beat. And the author keeps going from here re Spong in the book.   My own review of Taylor’s book is here.


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