Book review: A New Christianity for a New World

by John Shelby Spong


More than anyone else, Bishop John Shelby Spong has helped shape a new Christianity for a new world. He is a leader in liberal Christianity, and many of us have been following along, reading his books for years. If there’s any cause for frustration with Spong as an author, it’s that he never quite seemed to dig deep enough, to answer the big questions, about where this new, practical, thinking man’s version of Christianity would carry us.

If you’ve been yearning to finally get down to the nitty gritty of all the wonderful talk, the time has come. The big questions are answered. How does Christianity survive in a post-theistic world? How does eternity fit into this dream? What about prayer?

I think the best way to present this book is just to pass on some of my favorite quotes from the first half of the book. If you find yourself nodding your head, this is the book for you, and the second half will open your eyes.

“In the face of religious hostility on one side and incredulous disdain for my unwillingness to reject my faith-tradition on the other, I continue to insist that I am a Christian.”

“The audience I seek to address is … people who feel spiritually thirsty but know that they can no longer drink from the traditional wells of the past.”

“They will rejoice that they at last have found a way to put their heads and their hearts together.”

“People no longer believe in God in a real and operative sense, even if they do continue to believe in believing in God.”

“The God who is love is slowly transformed into the love that is God.”

“I am free of the God who was deemed to be incomplete unless constantly receiving our endless praises; the God who required that we acknowledge ourselves as born in sin and therefore as helpless; the God who seemed to delight in punishing sinners; the God who, we were told, gloried in our childlike, groveling dependency. Worshiping that theistic God did not allow us to grow into the new humanity that we now claim.”

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