In an interview on Youtube, bishop Spong said the following:
- He doesn’t believe in a real hell. It is merely a mechanism of the church to control the population.
- It is not necessary to be born again. Rebirth means that people remain children whom the church can control. People need to grow up by accepting responsibility for themselves.
- Humanity’s problem is not that they are born into sin and must be saved by the Christ. ‘The Christ’ came to empower and call them to be more deeply human.
The question we would like to ask is: ‘Whose bishop is bishop Spong?’ He certainly doesn’t seem to fit the Bible’s description of a bishop:
- They were the people entrusted with the care of the church (1 Peter 5:1-2).
- To be a bishop is a noble task (1 Timothy 3:1).
- A bishop must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it’ (Titus 1:7-9).
- Jesus is also a Bishop (1 Peter 2:25), the Shepherd and Overseer of our souls.
Bishop Spong disagrees and refutes three of the core doctrines that Jesus gave to His followers.
- ‘If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell’ (Matthew 5:29). He doesn’t believe in hell.
- ‘Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again”’ (John 3:5). He believes that people must not be born again, but grow up.
- ‘Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners”’ (Mark 2:19). He preaches that people are not sinners that must be saved from the consequences of their sin, but must become more human.
Comparing the words of Jesus with that of the bishop, we see that there is a considerable difference. It is of course the prerogative of any person to disagree with the teachings of the Bible, but does that mean that such a person can remain a bishop in the church?
- God gave us only one book, the pure flawless Word of God, refined by silver seven times (Psalm 12:6). This book the Bible is the foundation of our faith and our theology (what we believe concerning God, Jesus and the important doctrines like the virgin birth, the death on the cross and the resurrection).
- The author behind the writers of the Bible is the Holy Spirit who inspired them to write down God’s words as revealed during mainly the history of the Jewish nation. This Word of God remains the same for all people of all ages. No one has the right to change it, though many try to do so. The church stands or falls on the truth of the Bible. Without the Bible, there is no church and no knowledge of God.
- All people, whether bishop, preacher or the congregation, are saved by the Word of God (1 Peter 1:23). Our faith is based on the Bible. To reject the doctrines of the Bible, especially if they are very clearly spoken by Jesus like the examples we mentioned, puts a person in another church, which is not that of Jesus.
- We leave it to the reader to decide for himself into which category he would like to put the bishop, and if he wants to give attention to his proposals. As for ourselves, we have our infallible guide, the Word of truth, to guide us and we will not deviate from it. Not while we live in this world, since other ways do not guarantee an eternal paradise, which God’s Word does.
God has good advice for us: ‘Preach the Word, be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage - with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from truth and turn aside to myths’ (2 Timothy 4:2-4).