Saturday, October 8, 2011

Spong'ed - Equivocated Words and Preaching to the Choir

This is my second post about Episcopalian Bishop Spong's book, Why Christianity Must Change Or Die. It probably won't be the last. I'm not trying to do a Lieutenant Columbo routine, but I'm sure things in the book will continue to interest me.

One tendency I've noticed in Change Or Die is Spong's use words and phrases that have well understood meanings, but in ways contrary those meanings. This is called “equivocation”. A glaring example of this is found near the end of Chapter One, page 20 in the hardback edition I'm reading.

... my deeply held commitment to Jesus as Lord and Christ ...

My! That almost sounds positively Evangelical! In the context of this phrase, however, Spong makes very clear his “Jesus” and the words “Lord” and “Christ” mean something very different from the Jesus of the New Testament and what “Lord” and “Christ” mean in New Testament. Because I haven't yet read far enough into Change Or Die – I've only read through page 30 of the book's 228 pages – I am not yet sure what “Jesus”, “Lord” and “Christ” mean to Spong. But Spong makes very clear his rejection of anything even slightly resembling Biblical Christianity.

One other thing Spong makes reasonably clear, but without stating it outright, is that Evangelicals like me are not really the people for whom he wrote Change Or Die. His intended audience are people who already agree with him (preaching to the choir) and people who don't believe in much of anything and might be persuadable to “believe” Spong's idea of what god should be. Spong holds Evangelicals and other Bible-believing Christians in contempt, and is not shy in expressing it.

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