Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

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?

 

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Our Fall Campaign
Progress toward our year-end goal ($27,707 to go):
$150,000.00 $122,292.96
18% 82%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

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...?

Fall 2014 Campaign
Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

Another side of Francis: US-Cuba role shows Pope's diplomatic muscle 14 hours ago
Silly season: a Christmas approaches, a scholar questions whether Jesus ever existed 15 hours ago
The intrinsic immorality of torture: still not convinced? 20 hours ago
The Complexity of Reforming Religious Communities December 17
Speaking Softly to Women Religious December 16

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope Francis: Europe seems 'elderly and haggard' CWN - November 25
Pope Francis, Ecumenical Patriarch sign joint declaration, lament persecution of Christians CWN - December 1
Consistory for new cardinals scheduled for February CWN - December 11
Vatican report on US women religious calls for further self-assessment CWN - December 16
Pope brokered deal to open US-Cuba ties CWN - December 17