Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Preaching on Sin

Any questions posed in this post do not necessarily represent the views of the author.

There's a discussion going on at Facebook's Hermeneutics Cafe. It concerns the nature of our preaching about sin. On the back page of last week's Church Times Bishop Spong said:

'Christian theology has been based on bad anthropology. The cultural image of what constitutes the Christian religion is the primary reason the Christian Church is declining throughout the developed world. Human beings are not fallen, lost, victimised by original sin, or needing to be saved, as we have for so long taught. Human life was never perfect, and thus could never be fallen. We have always been evolving into what we can be, and the Christ life and Christ message is to empower us to become deeply and fully human.'

I know a lot of you will disagree with this, or at minimum find it inadequate, but I wonder if I can restrict comments to this question: Can we continue to call ourselves a religion of the Book if we hold Spong's point of view? If we do we would have to say something like this about various texts:

The metaphor of the Garden of Eden is simply placing human potential against human reality in the context of a story.

Jesus' understanding that he came to seek and save the lost (Luke 15 inter alia) is now to be reunderstood as a discovery rather than a relocation. Or maybe we weren't actually lost, we knew where we were, but we are now somewhere better.

It is quite head-spinning but I think it's worth the effort to at least try to be biblical and post-modern.

1 comment:

Caroline Too said...

what interests me, is that my immediate response to Spong's comments is to go for the details where I think his thinking is inadequate

but in doing so, in going for the detail, I miss the big picture

I wonder if we do that with the bible?

What has been a crucial shift for me in the last few years is that my emphasis has moved from how does my reading affect my beliefs towards, how does my reading affect my actions....

now, I know that's over simplistic, but it's a change in emphasis that means I find myself in fewer arguments about the bible than I used to...

and I find myself benefitting from people who I would previously have ignored

and I think that my heavenly father is pleased with this shift

...erm, not sure I've answered your question,st, but it seems vaguely relevant...

I'll get my coat now...