Thursday, April 26, 2007

Meet the new false, same as the old false

John Spong, currently a High Potentate in the Church of the Squishy Marshmallow, was once the archbishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark, as I recall... on occasion, he and then-Archbishop Theodore McCarrick (now a Cardinal in DC) would throw down about God (or the lack thereof) in the local press. It was always entertaining. And now, the fun continues.

Mr. Spong has a question to consider. If Jesus was really all about the nonjudgment, why was He always doing things that presupposed, not only a judgment, but one against us? Even saying "His love transcended judgment" starts with the concept of something that requires transcending. His words and acts made it painfully clear that this wasn't something we could do on our own. His big thing is forgiving sins, which seems rather pointless if there are no such things; doubly so if He knew all this while yelling at other people for their hypocrisy.

Spong also says that Jesus can't be the Christ, the Son of the living God, because it's fantastic and unlikely. People don't do miracles today like He did then, therefore He didn't do them either. This eventually becomes circular: there are no such thing as miracles, therefore Jesus didn't do miracles, therefore he wasn't God, therefore there is no such thing as miracles...

I think the truth is much more simple: He was the Christ. That is, by definition, undeniably fantastic and unlikely, an utterly unique event. In that case, it becomes the most likely thing in the world that He should do unlikely things. It's one of the things the apostles were always noticing in the Gospels: "What manner of man is this, that the wind and the waves obey him?" His actions were no less incredible to them in person than they are to us on testimony. In the end, their only possible conclusion was that this was the real thing - the only Real Thing there ever was, next to which their own lives and freedom were like straw in the fire.

Instead, Spong asks me to believe in a far more fantastic and unlikely Jesus than the one the Gospels called the Christ, the Son of the living God; one whose actions make no sense apart from His divinity and His mission. It's only in His miraculousness that He is of any help to us; if He isn't the God of Creation, his love wouldn't transcend jack squat.

Skeptics and scoffers were doing this sort of thing to His face, and have kept it up ever since then, so this "new" book is just as old as the Gospel. Spong's Jesus for the 21st century is the same one he was talking about forty years ago; and soon enough it will be the 22nd century, and He will want revising. All such revisions are as stale as the tomb He left behind on Easter.

U2's "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb" has sounder theology than Spong's watery skepticism. It explains why the rank-and-file ECUSA can't stand the beats, and are asking for the check in record numbers.

(via Molten Thought, whose presence on the sidebar, long overdue, is now secure)

No comments: