Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism: A Bishop Rethinks the Meaning of Scripture  -     By: John Shelby Spong
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Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism: A Bishop Rethinks the Meaning of Scripture

HarperOne / 1992 / Paperback

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Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 288
Vendor: HarperOne
Publication Date: 1992
Dimensions: 8.20 X 5.54 X 0.94 (inches)
ISBN: 0060675187
ISBN-13: 9780060675189

Publisher's Description

By popular demand—study guides to two of Bishop John Shelby Spong's bestselling and controversial works, including questions, reflections, and summaries for group and individual use.

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.

Editorial Reviews

“[Spong is] striving to revive the imaginative possibilities of ancient Scripture for the women and men of today.”

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  1. Sacramento, CA
    Age: Over 65
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    3 Stars Out Of 5
    A Few Grains of Wheat Amid the Chaff
    January 6, 2013
    Philip Tutt
    Sacramento, CA
    Age: Over 65
    Gender: male
    Quality: 3
    Value: 3
    Meets Expectations: 2
    This work, written by a "controversial" Episcopal bishop (John Shelby Spong) proposes a venture to save Christianity from fundamentalism. In the epilogue (which I suggest that the reader peruse first), the author says "... it has been my purpose to call people into a love of Scripture for what it is--a chronicle written by our ancestors in faith as they walked through history in the presence of their God." Looking back at the book, I do not think that he has been successful. He seem to be addressing "mainline churches", whatever these may be. I had to wonder as I was reading, however, who exactly the target audience was. Fundamentalists, at least of the variety which I call "knee-jerk" (don't question, just believe) will simply tune him out. Those who take a more scholarly view of the Bible will find nothing new or valuable in observations that sum up in such ideas as: pre-scientific world views get displaced by science. Atheists and agnostics will do little more than continue to watch (some gleefully) from the intellectual sidelines as Christianity goes through yet another internal revolution, this time, at least, (mostly) bloodless. The upshot, for me, is that I do not believe that Christianity stands on the edge of extinction (I have more faith in the Holy Spirit than at least one bishop seems to). While I do not defend fundamentalism, I think that the author gets it wrong by concluding that certainty of faith is the driving motive of those who follow a literalist route. Rather, the motive is simplicity of faith. Where I think that author is absolutely right is in the implication of his (somewhat long-winded) critique of literalism (an insight which I do not find well-developed in this work) that simplicity of faith is not credal. It is, instead, borne of an internal receptivity to God's love which Jesus exemplifies to us in his "little children" teachings. Had the author focused on this point, what he proposed to do would, very likely, have been considerably advanced.
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