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A New Christianity for a New World

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 29, 2003

    A New Christianity for a New World: Why Traditional Faith Is Dying and how a New Faith Is Being Born

    Bishop Spong says in his book, 'The old myth of theism has lost its power and its appeal. A new myth to which we can once again be committed is not yet in place. Before the new myth can be developed, we need to understand how the old one was born, how its power was kept intact for so long, and how it has died. Perhaps then we will have a clue where to begin in our struggle to kindle once more a faith, a way of life, even a God who is not subject to the death of theism. At least that is our next step.' (p. 35) Hazel Motes, in Flannery O'Connor's novel, Wise Blood, 1952, starts his Church Without Christ. He preaches, ¿What you need is something to take the place of Jesus, something that would speak plain. The Church Without Christ don't have a Jesus but it needs one! It needs a new jesus!¿ (Wise Blood, Collected Works, Flannery O¿Connor, The Library of America, 1988, p. 80) Hazel asks his audience to give him such a jesus, someone ¿that don¿t look like any other man,¿ so they will see ¿how far the Church Without Christ can go!¿ (p. 80) Enoch Emery hears Haze's speech, and says he knows where to find the new jesus. He goes to a museum and takes out a shrunken mummy and sends it to Haze. But, Haze smashes the mummy against the wall. Enoch goes on to bury his clothes, dress up in an ape costume, and become an 'it' instead of a 'him' to O'Connor as he becomes totally bestial. Onnie Jay Holy (or Hoover Shoats) is a former radio preacher who wants to learn from Haze more about his concept of the new jesus so he can start commercializing on it. Haze rejects him so Shoats finds a consumptive man, Solace Layfield, who can barely work at anything to take Haze¿s place. He begins preaching, ¿The unredeemed are redeeming theirselves and the new jesus is at hand! Watch for this miracle! Help yourself to salvation in the Holy Church of Christ Without Christ.¿ (p. 94) The myth that is not yet in place is the new jesus that Enoch Emery finds for Haze, and the next step is to help ourselves to this salvation for ¿the unredeemed are redeeming theirselves.¿

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2003

    A New Christianity for a New World: Why Traditional Faith Is Dying and how a New Faith Is Being Born

    Bishop Spong says in his book, A New Christianity for a New World, 2001, 'The old myth of theism has lost its power and its appeal. A new myth to which we can once again be committed is not yet in place. Before the new myth can be developed, we need to understand how the old one was born, how its power was kept intact for so long, and how it has died. Perhaps then we will have a clue where to begin in our struggle to kindle once more a faith, a way of life, even a God who is not subject to the death of theism. At least that is our next step.' (p. 35) This is very old liberal theology, in its newest form coming out of post-World War II America. Beginning in 1945 at the University of Iowa, Flannery O¿Connor was investigating this tendency. Since the late 1960¿s, when I began studying O¿Connor, major universities having developed O¿Connor Studies, such as Harvard, Yale, etc.. Such studies have now recognized her as a modern American prophet (see Karl Martin¿s doctoral dissertation, ¿The Ethical Implications of Flannery O¿Connor¿s `Prophetic Imagination,¿ ¿ 1991, University of Minnesota). In her book reviews of the 1950¿s, Flannery O¿Connor noted the errors of liberal theology that now apply to the liberal theology of today. For example, in her review of: Order and History, Volume I, Israel and Revelation, Eric Voegelin, Louisiana State University Press, 1956. ¿In the Hellenic world man was seeking God, in the Hebrew world God was seeking man. Real history begins when man accepts the God Who is, Who seeks him.¿ And, ¿'Without Israel there would be no history, but only the eternal recurrence of societies in cosmological form.'¿ In reviewing The Christ of Faith, Karl Adam, Pantheon, 1957, O¿Connor notes: ¿It is particularly valuable in its criticism of the errors of liberal theology, pointing out that the textual critic assumes that Christianity is something finished and inflexible and has poured all its vitality into its literature and foundations and become fossilized in them.¿

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2003

    A Call For A Second And More Profound Reformation.

    A NEW CHRISTIANITY FOR A NEW WORLD represents the latest stage in the author's rapidly evolving vision of the future of Christianity. Spong begins by stating that theism is dead. God is not a supernatural being who can or does periodically intervene in the world. Our modern view of the natural order suggests that this is not possible. Spong explains that theism was born in the beginning of civilization when people first experienced feeling unsafe and alone. Theism developed as a coping mechanism against trauma. The author asserts that the theistic interpretation of Jesus was only added in the later Christian writings. Spong does not believe in much of the traditional Christian story. He does not believe in the virgin birth of Jesus or the idea that Jesus founded either a church or its sacraments. He says he does not have a problem with the faith - only with the literal way it is interpreted and described by some others. Spong sees a need for a new faith that is not subject to the death of theism. God is real even though theism is dead. Can Christianity still live after the death of theism? It will, according to the author, if we are willing to move beyond our traditional ideas of Jesus. Spong sees God as the source of all life, love and being. He views the church of the future as a place where worshipers will still seek the Holy and the Realm of God. They will search for an environment which allows them to increase their capabilities to love and embrace life to the fullest. God is real and Jesus is the doorway into this reality. Spong still considers himself to be a Christian and he remains optimistic about the future. He is not sure where his new reformation will ultimately lead us but he is convinced we have to take the first step. If we do nothing, Spong believes that Christianity will surely die anyway.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2002

    Rethinking Hymnology

    After reading A New Christianity for a New World, I find that I have new criteria for choosing hymns and other music for our church. Bishop Spong has eloquently stated many of the thoughts that I have had about the necessity for change in our Christian vocabulary and practices.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2002

    Going back to the original intent

    Spong's book gives us a chance to revisit the original intent of Jesus' teachings. He urges us to always focus on the love and compassion that are the root of Christianity. Many layers have been placed on top of original ideas and while they may have been helpful at the time need to be examined for what they are - human, not Divine, additions for the sake of institutionalization and organization of the church. Spong is a radical follower of a radical leader - Jesus. A great read for every person seeking the essence of Christ's message.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 20, 2012

    John Shelby Spong is without a doubt a good writer. He Claims t

    John Shelby Spong is without a doubt a good writer. He Claims the Bible is mostly myth. Some of his points I can agree with, others are way out in space. I read three of his books. Much of his writing is rehash of his last book. None of his theories can be proven any more than the bible can be proven. Everyone must live by the faith they believe in. A book for study of a different view of Christianity, however, not a book for fundamentalists.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2012

    WOW !!!!!!!!!!!

    Spong combines intellectual genius with impeccable scholarly research. A courageous work with a fresh and universal pespective !

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Christianity for Today's World

    In his book "A New Christianity for a New World," Bishop Spong attempts to reformulate the Christian notions of God, Jesus, original sin, the atonement and the church. This book will be alarming to more traditional Christians and a sigh of relief to those in "spiritual exile"--those men and women who have left the church because they find the creeds of the church too unbelievable. To those persons who'd like to once again believe in God, Jesus and the Christian life, this book will be a help along the way.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2001

    Updating Religion

    Bishop Spong has provided an approach for updating the reality needed in Christianity.His book prompted me to think about its significance with respect to how the outdated aspects of the major world religions have contributed to the growth of terrorism and how very difficult it will be to overcome such deep-seated problems. Bishop Spong presents problems with current Christianity and how they evolved. He integrates and further develops the contents of his previous books in a very personal and straightforward way. He seems to reveal, and give, all of himself to the world. I strongly recommend this book. Furthermore, I believe John Shelby Spong fulfills the intended purpose for award of the 'Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion.'

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    Posted August 28, 2013

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    Posted July 30, 2009

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    Posted December 28, 2009

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    Posted September 6, 2011

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    Posted April 9, 2010

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