I will never, ever understand why Episcopalians invite the retired Bishop Spong into their churches to preach. The man is an utter apostate. If he is right about this stuff, then your faith is in vain. And yet, there he was, blathering away on Good Friday (!), in an Episcopal
cathedral church in Richmond, Virginia. Excerpts:
Spong argued that Jesus could say “I and the father are one” only because he was inviting his disciples “to enter a mystical reality of divine human oneness.”
During his first meditation, Spong quickly targeted the church’s historic councils and creeds. Charging that the Council of Nicea turned on an unintended and very literal reading of John, the Episcopal bishop asserted that the Nicene Creed was a “radical distortion of the Gospel of John.”
Instead of portraying the crucifixion of Jesus being about his sacrifice, Spong claimed the author of the book of John intended a “call to all of us to be whole people – to find yourself and give yourself away.”
“God does not need human sacrifice to forgive,” Spong declared. “John’s Jesus is not about saving sinners and rescuing the lost. It is about moving beyond self-consciousness to universal consciousness.”
“We are not sinners, the church got that wrong, we are rather incomplete human beings,” Spong concluded with an “amen” that was echoed by the congregation and clergy present.
“John’s gospel is about living life to fullness – not moral perfection or overcoming sin,” Spong concluded. “He [Jesus] did not die to save you from your sins. He died to free you – to empower you – to be all that you can be.”
It must be conceded that as a theological matter, Spong is not entirely wrong here, from an Orthodox Christian point of view. That is, we are certainly all sinners, but the Eastern Christian way of conceiving sin is not far from what he says here: that it’s a matter of missing the mark, of falling short of our true nature. Yet I am quite sure that what an Athonite monk recognizes as sin is not what Bp Spong, who denies the Nicene Creed, sees as sin.
Seriously, why would a bishop — in this case, the Episcopal Bishop of Richmond — invite this Spong character into his church to preach on Good Friday, or ever? If you believe in the Christian religion, that is. Would the Democratic Party invite Sean Hannity to keynote an important strategy session? If I unfocus my eyes and drink two martinis, I can see possibly inviting Spong to a seminar at church, just to find out what the TEC far left has to say as part of a mix. But giving over the pulpit to this apostate to preach, especially on Good Friday? That’s insane.
UPDATE: An Episcopalian reader said the pastor of the parish, not the Bishop, probably invited Spong, but the Bishop did preside over the Spong-fest.