Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Spong, Good Friday, and Church Discipline

John Shelby Spong did indeed dare to spout his brazen doctrines of demons on Good Friday as advertised.  Some lowlights:

In a Good Friday service at historic St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Richmond, retired Bishop John Shelby Spong decried the Nicene Creed as “a radical distortion of the Gospel of John,” asserted that several of the apostles were “mythological” and declared that Jesus Christ did not die to redeem humanity from its sins.

There was an earthquake on the first Good Friday.  That another earthquake did not demolish St. Paul’s Richmond on this past Good Friday proves that God is far more patient than I am.

Part of Spong’s song and dance is that Christianity must change to attract people; it must “change or die” if you will.  But his version of change drives people away from church.  If the church teaches . . . well, not much of anything except that the historic doctrines of the faith are false, then what’s the point of church?  I’d rather sleep in or go hiking.  And, sure enough, the Diocese of Newark declined by about 40% under Spong.

And Spong long ago kept me far from the Episcopal Church.  Back in my church search of 1988, one criteria was that a church exercised church discipline against falsehood.  My ecclesiology was underdeveloped, and I had never heard of anything “Anglican” (I’m not kidding.), but I knew enough to know that a church that does not care enough about truth to discipline does not care enough about truth, period. 

And Spong was so infamous that even I knew of him.  And I knew that any “church” that tolerated him was not a church for me to join.  Thus, the presence of Spong ruled out the Episcopal Church for me. 

I guess I should thank him for saving me the trouble.

And I am still convinced that how a church deals with the likes of Spong is an important indicator of its commitment to the Faith.  Spongs will always rise up.  But will a church then defrock and excommunicate him should he refuse to repent . . . or will it make him a bishop?

Spong’s status in the Episcopal “Church” conveys all one needs to know about that body, and that long before 2003.


Hat tip to Stand Firm.

1 comment:

Mari said...

Yes, what is the point. In an Episcopal church I've encountered an agnostic who came for the social aspects... Maybe that's what keeps the UU churches going. But there are hundered of other organizations where you get to meet people, unfortunately few of those groups have free live music.