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|Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism
A Bishop Rethinks the Meaning of Scripture
Bishop John Shelby Spong
John Shelby Spong was the Episcopal Bishop of Newark for twenty-four years before his retirement in 2000; he
remains one of the leading spokespersons for progressive Christianity.
His provocative national bestseller “Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism” issues a daring call for contemporary
understanding of scripture. Outspoken and controversial, Bishop Spong brilliantly reclaims the Bible from the narrow-
minded literalism that has been used to justify slavery, ban textbooks, deny the rights of gays and lesbians,
subordinate women, and justify war and revenge.
Bishop Spong asks: Is celibacy the only moral alternative to marriage? Should the widowed be allowed to form intimate
relationships without remarrying? Should the church receive homosexuals into its community and support committed
gay and lesbian relationships? Should congregations publicly and liturgically witness and affirm divorces? Should the
church's moral standards continue to be set by patriarchal males? Should women be consecrated bishops? Bishop
Spong proposes a pastoral response based on scripture and history to the changing realities of the modern world. He
calls for a moral vision to empower the church with inclusive teaching about equal, loving, non-exploitative relationships.
Other reviews to help you consider this book:
“This book blew me away. I read it twice within a week. What comforting words for those of us trying to hang onto
our Jesus experiences despite all the problems with the ancient texts. Spong stares down the bigotry and anti-
intellectualism of Christian fundamentalism and offers, in its place well-thought-out, plausible alternatives in bible
interpretation. The result is anything BUT a soulless faith. Indeed, his call to passionate living and wasteful loving have
me feeling positively inspired.” Tim, a former fundamentalist preacher, December 22, 2005
“A great book. The only people that will be offended by this are 'bumper sticker' christians and fundamentalist. But as
both will do, they will quote fromt he Old Testment and throw verbal stones at something they do not agree with. They
will forget that Jesus closed the Old Testment and left us with only two commanments: love the Lord your God and love
your neighbors as yourself. Funny thing is, those two commandments take the fun out of attacking people,
marginalizing people, limiting people, controlling people. This book is an eye opener to what is wrong with
contemporary Christianity and organized religion int he U.S. today.” Darren, A reviewer, December 8, 2005
“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.” A reviewer, December 21, 2005
For more on Bishop John Shelby Spong, please visit www.bishopspong.com
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