Why Christianity Must Change or Die: A Bishop Speaks to Believers in Exile  -     By: John Shelby Spong
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Why Christianity Must Change or Die: A Bishop Speaks to Believers in Exile

HarperOne / 1999 / Paperback

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Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 288
Vendor: HarperOne
Publication Date: 1999
Dimensions: 8.00 X 5.44 X 0.98 (inches)
ISBN: 0060675365
ISBN-13: 9780060675363

Publisher's Description

An important and respected voice for liberal American Christianity for the past twenty years, Bishop John Shelby Spong integrates his often controversial stands on the Bible, Jesus, theism, and morality into an intelligible creed that speaks to today's thinking Christian. In this compelling and heartfelt book, he sounds a rousing call for a Christianity based on critical thought rather than blind faith, on love rather than judgment, and that focuses on life more than religion.

Author Bio

John Shelby Spong, the Episcopal Bishop of Newark before his retirement in 2000, has been a visiting lecturer at Harvard and at more than 500 other universities all over the world. His books, which have sold well over a million copies, include Biblical Literalism: A Gentile Heresy; The Fourth Gospel: Tales of a Jewish Mystic; Re-Claiming the Bible for a Non-Religious World; Eternal Life: A New Vision; Jesus for the Non-Religious, The Sins of Scripture, Resurrection: Myth or Reality?; Why Christianity Must Change or Die; and his autobiography, Here I Stand. He writes a weekly column on the web that reaches thousands of people all over the world. To join his online audience, go to www.JohnShelbySpong.com. He lives with his wife, Christine, in New Jersey.

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  1. Sacramento, CA
    Age: Over 65
    Gender: male
    2 Stars Out Of 5
    Tedious and tendentious
    December 2, 2012
    Philip Tutt
    Sacramento, CA
    Age: Over 65
    Gender: male
    Quality: 2
    Value: 1
    Meets Expectations: 1
    I write this review reluctantly, because I generally admire thinkers like Bishop Spong, who, though well-placed within organized religion, nevertheless do not hesitate to think freely about the assumptions and methods upon which their faith is based. I had hoped that this work would be a well-informed diagnosis of the causes of the ills besetting contemporary Christianity, together with a sound proposal for revitalization of a faith which has shaped most, if not all, of the world's history for the last 2000 years. Instead, the book turns out to be, in large measure, little more than a rant, dressed up as analysis. One does not need, for example, page after page of argument that modern science has undermined, if not altogether put to rest, the pre-scientific view of the world and the place of humanity in it. I was also disappointed to find what amounts to a sophisticated version of the "post hoc ergo propter hoc" fallacy figuring prominently in Bishop Spong's analysis of early Christian thinking. He seems fond of the idea that because Paul happens to be the first known of Christian writers, therefore all writers who come after him, such as the authors of the gospels, draw from and are dependent on his ideas. Far more plausible is that all of them rely on a diverse but common and evolving oral tradition. In any case, his purported demonstration of the connectivity between Paul and Mark, for example, is singularly unconvincing. Likewise, his flat dismissal of theism is an example of throwing out the baby (how do we know God) with the bathwater (various largely dismal results in this quest). The baby, by the way, comes crawling back into the picture in his own thinking. Read it if you will for the few insights of value which it contains. But do not expect too much.
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