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The diminishing value of Bishop Spong’s evolving Bible

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Dec 29, 2011

Retired Episcopalian Bishop John Shelby Spong, who has made a career of rejecting fundamental Christian doctrines, takes aim at some “misconceptions” about the Bible in a CNN commentary.

  1. The Bible isn’t accurate, says the prelate who denies the Virgin Birth.
  2. The Bible isn’t the Word of God, declares the man who rejects the physical Resurrection.
  3. And—wait for it—there’s more:
The third major misconception is that biblical truth is somehow static and thus unchanging. Instead, the Bible presents us with an evolutionary story, and in those evolving patterns, the permanent value of the Bible is ultimately revealed.

So you see the Bible is a “living document,” to be interpreted by those erudite scholars who can determine the vector of its evolving message. You’ve heard the same argument from liberal jurists, who say that the US Constitution should be interpreted in light of contemporary thinking, not just the thinking of the Founding Fathers. In constitutional law, the argument for a “living document” can be stretched to suggest that the Constitution means whatever a panel of judges says that it means.

In the case of the Bible, the argument for adhering to the “original intent” is stronger, since believers traditionally hold that the author is the Almighty. But Bishop Spong has dismissed that possibility (see #2 above).

Which leaves us with a question: If it’s not the Word of God, and it’s not accurate anyway, why should we care what the Bible says—or what Bishop Spong says that it says?

 

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Show 3 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: dover beachcomber - Jan. 01, 2012 2:49 AM ET USA

    richardols, conservatives don't object to changing the US Constitution by the amendment process. We object to changing it OUTSIDE the amendment process, through judges who overreach their authority. Usually, that's to permit some desired "progressive" outcome which can't be achieved if the Constitution means what it clearly says; therefore, it has to mean something else.

  • Posted by: richardols3892 - Dec. 30, 2011 2:05 PM ET USA

    REgardless what right-wingers think, considering the Constitution as a living document is entirely valid. If it were not "living," the amendment process wouldn't have been created and it would be static, mired in the past. The Constitution is not an Inspired document and so may be changed. Not so with the Bible, which is Inspired by God, and for that reason alone not subject to circumstances and situations that allow it to be changed at the whim of Church, theologians or laity.

  • Posted by: bkmajer3729 - Dec. 30, 2011 12:51 PM ET USA

    Ok, I just have to ask...how can the Bible have "permanent" value if it is an evolutionary story...oh, right; sorry I get it now...?

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