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Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism: A Bishop Rethinks the Meaning of Scripture

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

This is an outstanding book

This book changed my life. I am a lifelong devout Christian, and I have been increasingly worried about how 'Christian' fundamentalist extremists have been distorting the message of Jesus and the Bible. After reading this book, I am liberated from having to try to...
This book changed my life. I am a lifelong devout Christian, and I have been increasingly worried about how 'Christian' fundamentalist extremists have been distorting the message of Jesus and the Bible. After reading this book, I am liberated from having to try to justify a literal interpretation of so many of our beloved biblical stories. Bishop Spong has pointed out why such literal interpretations are impossible, by showing the historical context and motivations of those who put those stories on paper. And he has beautifully shown us how it doesn't matter whether we can interpret the stories literally or not! What matters is what we learn from those stories, the lessons God wants us to learn, and the most important lesson of all is to love one another - - even those with whom we don't agree and of whom we don't approve. My prayer is that those caught in the fundamentalist trap of using the Bible to judge and hurt others will take Bishop Spong's words to heart and embrace the loving message of the Bible, to realize that every person on this planet is a child of God and should be treated with love.

posted by Anonymous on December 7, 2005

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

A religious book for the rational thinker

A thought provoking book. Except for a few errors in biblical references, the work is compelling. Spong points out that Paul never wrote about his experiences on the way to Damascus. Luke did it for him in the book of Acts. Very interesting. That fact had never bee...
A thought provoking book. Except for a few errors in biblical references, the work is compelling. Spong points out that Paul never wrote about his experiences on the way to Damascus. Luke did it for him in the book of Acts. Very interesting. That fact had never been pointed out in any church I ever attended. It makes one wonder what those first century New Testament writers were thinking, not to mention the modern readers of the bible. Everyone, no matter their religious affiliation, will find Spong's book rewarding. The book temporarily disturbed my faith, but certainly enhanced my rational thinking and curiosity.

posted by Anonymous on April 3, 2000

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 7, 2005

    Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism: A Bishop Rethinks the Meaning of Scripture

    I've read countless reviews and summaries of this book. The only question I have is, where does God fit into all of this? I hear all about how Bishop Spong is very detailed and logical in his findings about Biblical Translation. But not once have I heard anything like, 'You must let the Holy Spirit guide you in understanding the Bible'. The other 3 reviews that rate this book poor sound like regular church going people who review this book as people who they themselves have a clear understanding of scripture. The rest of the people on this site who rate this book either have no type of Biblical understanding or are those, who like Bishop Spong, want to understand the Bible through their own human understanding and logic. To reiterrate from the other 3 reviews who see this book for what it truly is, let me say that you cannot understand the Bible without the guidence of the Holy Spirit. Your own understanding will take you but so far. You can memorize and study the scriptures for your whole life but if you don't allow God to guide you when reading it, you'll barely understand the basics of the Bible and you'll surely misinterpret and take out of context the rest of it. Only those who've accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, and accept that their understanding can only take them but so far, can fully understand the context of the Holy Scriptures. Its all about faith. Faith in believe that nothing is impossible for God. God is not a God of confusion but a God of order. If the Bible is truly the literal dictation of God, then God will show us how to understand and comprehend the instructions that he has left us in his Bible.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2005

    Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism: A Bishop Rethinks the Meaning of Scripture

    Let me open by quoting Hebrews 11:1-3; 'Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. By Faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.' I suggest you all read Hebrews chapter 11 so you can see for yourself the type of faith a true believer in Jesus Christ is suppossed to have. This book by Bishop Spong does not inspire us to obtain true faith, but in contrast to the Bible, promotes that our faith be made up of reasoning, understanding, and logic. How can this be, in ANY religion, true faith in one's spiritual beliefs? How does this form of faith stand in agreement with how the Bible tells us our faith to be? How would we be able to trust in Christ if, according to Bishop Spong, Jesus and His teachings are not really how the Bible and Biblical Fundamentalism claims it to be? How can the Bible be counted on as 'The Word of God' when Bishop Spong says that's its not the Word of God but the words of story tellers handing these myths down since the first century? How would anyone be able to trust the Bible after reading Spong's book? That's the thing about faith. If you don't have it, you can't understand it; and if you do have it-- then there's no need to understand it. When a true believer in Christ reads the Bible, he/she reads it knowing that they'll recieve answers and seek to know more and have a full understanding of those answers. But if you are to question the credibility and validility of the answers in front of you, that is not true faith. Faith is believeing without seeing, and even without understanding at first. If you can't believe without seeing, or without having concrete logical proof, then that's not faith. And without believeing in the Word, God will not guide you in trying to understand it. Only those who have true faith and allow themselves, and their human understanding of logic and reasoning, to be guided by the Holy Spirit-- can truly understand and recieve revelation on the Holy Scriptures. Bishop Spong's book is an abomination to everything the Bible and Biblical Faith stands for!!!

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2004

    Saved by Faith or Saved by Understanding?

    This book obviously promotes people to lean on their own human understanding of the Bible and to disregard the guidance of the Holy Spirit in understanding Biblical text. The guidance of the Holy Spirit allows our own understanding to become more focused but there are things about the Bible we can't grasp or understand without the Holy Spirit's revelation. When I first got this book, I thought it was going to show us how to better understand the Bible by examining the history of its composition and the changing writing style of each time period a book was written in. Instead I get that Paul might have been a homosexual, Jesus never claimed to be God, and a thesis on evolution. How can Bishop Spong claim to have faith in Christ and claim to show people how to have faith when he promotes Christianity and the Bible as little more than history distorted by myth and legend? If the Bible isn't a literal dictation of God's word and most of it is just faith portraits depicted by the authors of the Bible, than God and Jesus Christ have no more foundation than belief in Zeus and Amen-Ra. I would not recommend this book to any Christian nor to anyone who wants to understand the Bible more clearly. This book is cloaked in reasoning and understanding but what its really saying, to sum it up in a single sentence, is; 'The Bible is not the word of God but the word of man eager to spread his faith but sloppy in doing so.'

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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