Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism: Bishop Rethinks the Meaning of Scripture
~John Shelby Spong
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List price: £9.99|
Average customer rating:
5 out of 5
ISBN/ASIN : 0060675187
Manufacturer : HarperCollins|
Release data : 26 April, 2001
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Promoting Biblical Literacy
At the outset of RESCUING THE BIBLE FROM FUNDAMENTALISM John Shelby Spong points out that the subject of Biblical inerrancy is a popular topic of debate among Bible scholars but goes largely unnoticed by the general public. The author is interested in taking this discussion to the people in the church pews. His particular target seems to be the mainline liberal Christian churches whose membership is shrinking due to the apparent apathy of many of its adherents. For the people who are turned off by what they see as an irrelevant message Spong wants to rework the Christ story so that it makes sense in terms of this century. At the present time the Bible remains a prisoner of fundamentalist Christians.
Believing in the inerrancy of the Bible has always presented special problems according to Spong. For instance, Biblical writers did not posses any idea of the grand sweep of history. They also had no knowledge of distant lands, oceans or continents. In addition, they were very dependent on oral tradition.
The Bible does contain much truth and it is our challenge now to lift that truthfulness out of the confining structure of the ancient world.
Beneath the literalistic framework of the Bible lie some powerful messages. In the Old Testament stories of the prophets we can see attempts to remedy human problems of injustice and the later influence of the prophets on secular social reforms in Western countries. The gospels of the New Testament tell about the love of God visible in the life of Jesus who is able to break all human barriers of race, sex and nationality. The main message of Christ seems to be in fact all about destroying the barriers of our prejudices and becoming truly inclusive Christians.
Brilliant Book, Terrible Title
This a fantastic, uplifting basic introduction to modern biblical scholarship. For the lay person in the pew, this book spells out current knowledge about biblical authorship and about what is known and not known about the environment in which the authors lived, worked and believed. Spong's book is engaging and easy to read while still providing good references and bibliography. Most importantly, Spong presents biblical scholarship in an uplifting faith-filled context.
Why the reference to fundamentalism in the title? The whole intent of Spong's book is to answer the question: "How can Christians have a relevant, faith-filled approach to the bible if they can no longer accept the bible as literally true?"