UNBELIEVABLE by John Shelby Spong

UNBELIEVABLE

Why Neither Ancient Creeds Nor the Reformation Can Produce a Living Faith Today
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A call for a new reformation casting aside the beliefs of Christianity.

Episcopalian bishop and prolific writer Spong (Biblical Literalism: A Gentile Heresy, 2016, etc.) has penned what he declares to be his final book, encapsulating a lifetime of thinking and teaching in order to call upon Christianity to undergo a transformation. Echoing Martin Luther, he offers 12 “theses” upon which to build his argument. Spong asserts that the entirety of traditional Christian theology has been debunked by science and reason, leaving the church intellectually bankrupt. The only answer is to turn toward a new understanding of God and of Jesus, salvation, and every other pillar of Christian thought and belief. The author sees God not as a being, but as “Being itself.” Indeed, “God is not a noun we are compelled to define; God is a verb that we are invited to live.” Similarly, Spong asserts that Jesus was not a supernatural being in any way but rather someone who demonstrated a new way of living and a higher plane of ethics. The author believes that the resurrection has been misinterpreted and that the New Testament authors did not expect their accounts to be taken literally. “Resurrection was…a moment of new revelation,” writes Spong, “that occurred when survival-driven humanity could transcend that limit and give itself away in love to others, including even to those who wish and do us evil.” Leaving the author’s theology aside, his view toward modern Christianity is regrettably smug. Having made his home in the declining Episcopalian denomination, he seems to look at the “church” and see only his reflection: Western, highly-educated, and skeptical. Throughout his 12 theses, Spong speaks only for his own brand of waning Christianity, excluding even from consideration the tens of millions of Christians worldwide who may not share his views but indeed still believe in what he rejects.

A Western elite’s dream for a new Christianity.

Pub Date: Feb. 13th, 2018
ISBN: 978-0-06-264129-8
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: HarperOne
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 2018




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