Reasonable analysisDear editor,
Richard Harstone’s question “Why promote Bishop Spong?” (January Letters) surprised me, but perhaps it needs an answer.
Bishop Spong is the only Anglican of note who is prepared to give a 21st century explanation of Christianity. It is so refreshing to find a theology that allows reasonable analysis of the scripture, rather than the medieval faith requirement.
Understanding the myths of Christianity as myths and not having to accept them as dogmas keeps me going to church.
So the answer to the question “Why promote Bishop Spong?” is: It keeps thinking people with a common-sense understanding of theology going to church.
David J Gravells
Debate is good
Thanks for continuing to review books by Bishop John Spong (December 2001), and other Anglican writers/theologians who might not always conform to orthodox modes of thinking. It is good that there is room for discussion and debate within the Anglican church, and that a forum is provided for presenting dissenting views.
Presentation of differing views on faith and doctrine challenges us to define the important tenets of our own faith.
As Tom Harpur, Anglican priest and writer, has stated, the earliest Christians confessed but one simple creed: Jesus is Lord. Everything else has been added in later centuries.
Thus, revising our thinking on matters of faith and doctrine is nothing new; we have been doing it from the time of Christ onward.
Robert E. Brundin
On one page of the January, 2002 edition of the Anglican Journal is a plea for openness in the Council of General Synod, while on the facing page is a plea that the Anglican Journal not allow itself to become a forum for dissidents like Bishop John Spong; fundamentalism versus fundamental rights. Both in the same journal! Anglicanism on parade!
I do hope that you will continue to publish both sides of an issue. I think that such an approach promotes open-mindedness at a time when there is a strong temptation to be simplistic and narrow-minded, as when we attack terrorism and fail to look at the underlying causes of this cancerous phenomenon.
I support the openness the Anglican Journal seeks, even to the point of maintaining that the views of dissidents should be published.
Faith in honest doubt
Your correspondent, Richard Harstone, seems to think Bishop John Spong should be ostracized for daring to question some of the basic beliefs of the Anglican Communion.
While I do not go along with many of his conclusions, I believe that it is important that there should be people like Bishop Spong to make us think deeply about what it is that we actually believe. If our faith cannot withstand serious questioning, then it is a flimsy thing.
For a thousand years the Roman Catholic Church suppressed any questioning of the articles of its faith, and destroyed anyone who seriously pursued any line of thought that was at variance with the church’s Magisterium.
Ultimately, in the 15th and 16th centuries, cracks began to appear in the intellectual foundations of the church because scholars like Luther, Calvin and Erasmus started asking dangerous questions and the Reformation began.
Tennyson said, “There is more faith in honest doubt than there is in half the creeds” and I’m inclined to agree with him.
R. S. McKegney
‘This Spong heretic’
I recently read a letter to the editor from a gentleman from Mississauga asking why the Anglican church continues to give John Spong a voice within its ranks.
I thought that only the Annapolis Valley in Nova Scotia was being subjected to such apostasy. My husband and I became members of the Anglican church at age 21 in St. James Anglican Church in Kingston, Ont., under the guidance of Desmond Hunt who years later became bishop. Desmond Hunt sought to introduce Jesus to anyone who passed through the doors of St. James Anglican Church.
When I moved to Nova Scotia 10 years ago, I listened to an Anglican priest who ridiculed a couple because they believed in the virgin birth. The more I listened to his sermons, it became evident that this man was a heretic who did not believe that Jesus was Lord; he did not believe in the resurrection; and he certainly did not believe God’s holy word! I left that church and after much church tramping ended up in another Anglican church. Last summer our beloved shepherd moved to another province with his family, and guess who is in charge of my new Anglican church rooting for Bishop Spong and spouting heresies?
I am now worshiping in a different denomination and many of my Anglican friends have done the same. We meet in one another’s homes to share, to pray and to sing songs of praise. There is much sadness over leaving our Anglican church where we knew such joy and friendship before this Spong heretic arrived. Thank God we serve a risen saviour, Jesus Christ, not an edifice, not an institution, not an organization.
Janet C. Jacques