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Isn't it interesting that the author of the article you linked to ties the banning of Bishop Spong from New South Wales' pulpits to the gay clergy dispute rather than where it truly belongs - The Good Bishops denial of the Divinity of Jesus Christ.

Which of course is an ancient heresy.

Matt L

That's like a carrot cake without any carrot...

Matt L

Or a hotdog with just bread and sauce...

Matt L

Or a house without an entrance...


Looks like he's only being banned from the Sydney Diocese which is the only evangelical dio in Oz. Yes it was revealing that the reporter, having mentioned the core of the issue as Christological, floated past that to the "presenting sin" of ordination and blessing of "practicing" homosexuals (it is doubtful that in the public mind even this simple distinction of practice over orientation is appreciated).

Probably reflective of the popular interest in the Anglican Church at the moment which similarly understands the issue in terms of some sort of "social justice" without realising the underlying problems of theology, ecclesiology (including church unity) and authority that are really at stake.

I have heard it said by another orthodox US Bishop that Spong does not believe enough about the Christian faith to even rise to the position of a heretic. No doubt he is a darling and a champion to some of our friends here though :)

Seeing as I have used the words "homosexual" and "heretic" in the same post I had better clarify for our excitable friends: no, I wouldn't burn him or Robinson at the stake. But neither would I allow them into my church to speak.


Perhaps instead of banning him they could have sent him on a mission to Iran.
In any case he now qualifies to represent the Christian Faith of under Klark's 'Diversity of Civilisation'patronage.


That might make a suitable 'Spong'-song
:-) P.M.P.


"Spong's arguments are weak anyway, and emanate from the same intellectual duckpond as Karen Armstrong and Lloyd Geering - all of whom are about a hundred years out of date."
This is your opinion, your belief. Others have their opinion and belief. None are proveable,which is why they are termed 'beliefs'.
Only one thing is important -- how a person lives. If their 'beliefs' help them to be loving, caring friends and neighbours that is all that matters.
Retired Officers and Clergy are entitled to be addressed by their rank... "Colonel'..'Captain'...'Bishop'.
A life-time of scholarship by each of those you name has offered different insights for thinking people and is appreciated. Such does not warrant your snide remarks


Bishop Spong is internationally renowned and deserves a far warmer welcome than this.

And Professor Lloyd Geering likewise is internationally renowned as a thinker.

Neither of these are out of date. Both were ahead of their time.


Only if their 'time' was 1868.

The scholarship of both is no longer current...and they do not deserve respect merely for having titles, nor for spending their lives working. On that basis, Idi Amin Dada would be a shoe in for Governor General...


I think Spong and Geering are possibly more philosophers than theologians these days, especially Geering. I have read a Spong book where he made positive reference to Geering.

I have heard that both will be involved in a seminar up in Auckland next weekend. Do you have tickets Ian?


"Only one thing is important -- how a person lives. If their 'beliefs' help them to be loving, caring friends and neighbours that is all that matters"

That is the crux of the matter (tongue in cheek ;-)

Did Jesus die on the cross for us to be reconciled with God (Yahweh)?
Was he God?

Basic Christianity says yes to both Msrrs Sprong and such say NO!!!!!!
or maybe...

To state you are a Christian and that jesus is not the saviour of mankind is heresy or at best you're a hypocrite.

So we'll see on the last day who's right or wrong shallw e?



A Christian to me is one who follows the example and teachings of Jesus Christ.

For example forgiveness of "trespassers" is something that is strongly identified with Jesus Christ. And counter-intuitive parables such as the Prodigal Son. Also love shown to outcasts of society (which is something all fundamentalists do?). These are Christians.

Do you believe he was born of a virgin? Then the refinements come in. Do you believe he could walk on water? Do you believe he could turn water into wine? Do you believe he was resurrected?

Bishop Spong appears to be one who follows the example and teachings of Jesus Christ.

With Lloyd Geering, I am not so sure. As I said, more philospher these days. But then does he owe the churches any favours, after the shocking way he was treated by the Presbys back in the 60s?

Ryan Sproull

Hey, don't knock Karen Armstrong. She's great.

Never been a fan of Spong, though. If you're going to be something, be it.

Paul Litterick

It is appallingly disrespectful for one Bishop to exclude another from the diocese. Whatever Jensen may think of Spong's theology, Spong is a member of the Anglican Communion and also one of its Bishops. He should not be banned from pulpits.

The Anglicans of Sydney should be able to hear Spong and make up their own mind. Of course, this is fundy Sydney, where thinking about questions of religion is prohibited by the Archbishop.

I am sure the Briefing Room would be outraged if an evangelical clergyman were prevented from speaking, and rightly so. It does not reflect well on this block that you are gleeful when a modernist is excluded.


Orthodox or Evangelical Bishops and Priests have been getting sabotaged in Canada & the States for many years now. Their churches are closed and they are inhibited (sacked) for "not towing the line" even though they're simply fulfilling their ordination vows and obeying the Creeds of the church.

Unfortunately nobody plays dirtier than Liberal clerics. These people are among the least grounded and most irrational people you could find. And they're running the church. IIRC Spong himself presided over the loss of 2/3 of his church members in Newark during the term of his episcopacy & Robinson is following suit as we speak.


Peter...a true follower of Jesus accepts that he was the son of God and that miracles such as the virgin birth, the Resurrection and the like served to illustrate his authority in the role.

Given that he put himself forward as a supernatural being equivalent to God as the Hebrews conceived it, then if he was not in fact God he was either insane or lying, none of which make the rest of his policies of much note.

It is only the divinity that gives him the mandate to tell the rest of us how to live.

Those who deny the divinity of Christ - particularly those taking a wage from the church, have no place in the Church. It is not a matter of forgiveness but hypocrisy. Spong is not MY enemy - he makes himself an enemy of God. It is not within my power to forgive his sins as such because he has not wronged me. And Christ himself warned that those who blasphemed against the Holy Spirit deliberately would not be forgiven.

The church is told to throw out heretics.

Paul, whilst your interpretation is well-meaning, one could extend it to any range of differing views. For example, should Imams be permitted to preach in Anglican churches? Should neo-pagans? Should pedophiles be allowed to push the Man-Boy love message through sermons at church?

If the purpose of the church is to preach the Gospel truth, then opening a pulpit to a denier is a denigration of the role of the church. Just because Anglicanism is now too weak to deal with heresy does not make heresy tolerable. If Spong wants to preach, let him hire his own hall...



A Christian to me is one who follows the example and teachings of Jesus Christ.

Actually neither you nor I get to decide who is 'Christian' or not - Jesus alone makes that choice. BUT you might be onto something with this statement...

As I see it, the thief on the cross with Jesus made it to paradise because He simply recognised his own sin and asked Jesus to remember him. Jesus said yes.

Nobody who trusts their own goodness will make it. Nobody who denies who Jesus IS will make it. It will be damn hard for any 'bishop' to make it they tend to be all tangled up in doctrine rather than actually knowing the God they talk about!

Ryan Sproull


Neo-pagans, Muslims and NAMBLA members are ordained in the Anglican Church?!


Ian says:

"a true follower of Jesus accepts that he was the son of God and that miracles such as the virgin birth, the Resurrection and the like served to illustrate his authority in the role."

Rob K says:

"Actually neither you nor I get to decide who is 'Christian' or not - Jesus alone makes that choice."

I say:

"A Christian is someone who follows the life and teaching of Jesus Christ"

Consider another case - what is a true Rugby League fan - one who watches them on Sky, one who goes to the local games, or one who watches them live in both Australia and New Zealand?

I don't see Jesus Christ as big on authority - the Bible tales don't read that way to me. Sure he lost his cool in a temple once or so the Bible says. But his general approach was help, to make people THINK, to reflect.

That is where modern, interesting and inclusive Christians like Bishop Spong have him.

People vesting authority in Jesus are simply people wanting to define Jesus in a way that they can CONTROL.

Sorry. Not interested. Ritual has had its day.

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