January 22, 2015
This is the sixth of twelve posts on the twelve points of Christian Reform suggested by John Spong.
- These “Twelve Points for Reform” come from John Spong’s book A New Christianity for a New World:
- The rebuttal of his points comes from Stephanie D. Monk – An Examination of the Theology of Bishop John Shelby Spong.
- I am responding to the twelve points for reform proposed by Mr. Spong, and their rebuttal by Ms. Monk.
Spong – The view of the cross as the sacrifice for the sins of the world is a barbarian idea based on primitive concepts of God and must be dismissed.
Monk – Response to Thesis 6: Substitutionary Atonement
Spong‟s criticism of substitutionary atonement is a claim that this doctrine is not aesthetically pleasing and therefore, cannot be true. Machen trenchantly refutes this claim, stating, “[T]he objection to the vicarious sacrifice of Christ disappears altogether before the tremendous Christian sense of the majesty of Jesus‟ Person. It is perfectly true that the Christ of modern naturalistic reconstruction never could have suffered for the sins of other; but it is very different in the case of the Lord of Glory.”
Spong rejects substitutionary atonement because he rejects mankind‟s need for salvation and Christ‟s Incarnation, but with these two vital pieces of Christian doctrine back in place, Christ‟s sacrificial death on the cross becomes a beautiful and awe inspiring act of His love for mankind.
Sly – The Fruit of Arrogance
Spong‟s criticism of substitutionary atonement is a claim that this doctrine is not aesthetically pleasing and therefore, cannot be true.
The term he used was “barbarian”, and the reason he dismisses it is because it requires a belief in a God that would send his only son to be tortured to death, or God would not forgive mankind for a sin none of them committed, and let them into heaven. You continue to bring up this need for there to be an original sin to explain man’s sinful nature and the need for his salvation. It so happens I can help you with this –
From my second letter to Pope Francis: The Threshold of Uncertainty
The Fruit does not make us divinely infallible, it only makes us believe we have become divinely infallible, and this is the original sin that is destroying us. It is this enduring dishonesty that is at the heart of so many of our enduring problems.
It seems that we are not BORN with Original Sin, but that some of us do indeed eat the Fruit of Arrogance, and become deluded into believing we know the Words of God. The good news is, Jesus doesn’t have to be tortured to death to free us from this delusion. The bad news is, Jesus was tortured to death for trying to free us from this delusion. It turns out that those who eat the Fruit of Arrogance become addicted to arrogance, and have no interest in puking up the Fruit, submerging in the waters of humility, and returning to God’s Guessing Game, returning to God’s Garden. They have neither the courage, nor the sincerity, to quit pretending that they are God.
Fundamentalist Christianity DEMANDS the commission of this sin from its followers. You cannot be a Fundamentalist Christian unless you consume the Bible, and start spewing forth the Words of God.
Spong rejects substitutionary atonement because he rejects mankind‟s need for salvation and Christ‟s Incarnation
Spong rejects substitutionary atonement for Original Sin because the story is ridiculous, and it demands a belief in a “barbaric” God that only a Selfish Knower (Monster Punisher) could love. But I do agree, with my whole soul and my whole heart and my whole mind that ALL of the people trapped inside the Selfish Knower, need, and deserved to be rescued. I am trying very hard to do that. I truly am, Ms. Monk. I have been trapped inside my Monster. This place is living hell, and most people who become trapped here will not escape alive. If you read everything I have published on this site, you will find here why am am trying to rescue them and how I am trying to rescue them.
From my third letter to Pope Francis: The Hero Jesus Story and the Crucifixion Climax
I believe Jesus was a Grateful Seeker. I believe he was a Hero, who fed the hungry, and healed the sick; and who went searching in the wilderness for an answer to God’s Question, and who Returned to set the people free. And the Pirates, and the Monsters, and the Saints, murdered him for it, because setting people free is not what Pirates and Monsters and Saints do.
Not long ago a wrote a post titled Pope Francis Saves the Planet. In this post I tried to explain to him how it came to pass that I found myself at the Cross of Jesus trying to rescue him, and how surprised I was to meet Professor Burge, and the other Fundamentalist Christians there to stop me. They wanted Jesus to die for their sins, and get them into heaven.
If I could paint, I would paint this scene.
Note* If there are going to be two branches of Christianity, this might be the scene the defines the two branches.
Next up – Point #7: Resurrection