Just thought I’d share a few thoughts about Spong in particular and liberal Christianity in general. Spong is just a man with opinions; he has been swayed a certain way based upon learning and experience. To call him evil is to do his work and ministry a severe injustice. He may be wrong on many counts. I read a few criticisms of some of his ideas today, and they were reasonable. Reading radical thoughts, and then criticisms of such thoughts, is a very balanced way of understanding. To simply label Spong or anyone as evil and worthy of avoiding is a fundamentalist stance, for it imposes a limited set of ideologies. In other words, it’s ok to hear or read from a select few theologians, but not ok to hear from others. The most thorough thinkers are those who study not only those within their own ideologies, but also those who are considered heretical or evil, in order to broaden their understanding of the world. A true education is a liberal education, one that takes in the full spectrum of the world at large.
The problem with liberal Christianity is that it tends to be confined to intellectuals or thinkers. Much of the ideas are presented in forums and seminars and lectures. This kind of education that I referred to can only be accessed by a few rather than many. For instance, if the Bible is entirely metaphorical, then just how are we to read and understand it? Do we require the assistance of skilled theologians to manoeuvre through the text? The main argument I can think of is that there is a plain and simple reading of the Bible that we should just accept, so that we can go on with our lives without too much thinking. That’s perfectly reasonable, for if the Bible is the inspired Word of God, why would it then be cryptic? If it reveals the divine will to humanity, then anyone should have the capacity to extract the meaning.
Either the text is rich with meaning, and allows for creative interpretation, or there is a specific meaning. If there is a specific meaning, yet multiple meanings are brought out, how shall we know which one is superior? Can the average simple Christian read the Bible and make sense of it without using devotional resources? If we just have the Bible and nothing else and no further guidance, what will we end up with? Why is there one Holy Spirit and a multitude of interpretations? Considering that the interpretations are often considerably different, I raise doubts as to how much we can invest in the books of the Bible as being the inspired will of God. Why would God make it so incredibly difficult to understand his will? Why would God cause us so much confusion? If the Christian church is an accurate representation of God, then this god suffers from a multiple-personality disorder!
Ah, to rest with a simple but informed faith, that is my goal and aim!