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Unbelievable : why neither ancient creeds nor the Reformation can produce a living faith today

Author: John Shelby Spong
Publisher: New York, NY : HarperOne, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, [2018]
Edition/Format:   Print book : English : First editionView all editions and formats
Summary:
Five hundred years after Martin Luther and his Ninety-Five Theses ushered in the Reformation, bestselling author and controversial bishop and teacher John Shelby Spong delivers twelve forward-thinking theses to spark a new reformation to reinvigorate Christianity and ensure its future. At the beginning of the sixteenth century, Christianity was in crisis--a state of conflict that gave birth to the Reformation in
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Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: John Shelby Spong
ISBN: 9780062641298 0062641298
OCLC Number: 987764458
Description: xvi, 319 pages ; 24 cm
Contents: Part I. Setting the stage. Why modern men and women can no longer be believers --
Part II. Stating the problem. How the first Reformation began --
Differentiating the experience from the explanation --
Part III. Thesis 1 : God. The challenge of the Copernican revolution --
The impact on theism from Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin --
Dealing with the insights of Freud --
A place to begin--being not a being --
The quest for God : a new form --
Our definition of God : evolving, never fixed --
Part IV. Thesis 2 : Jesus the Christ. Escaping the idolatry of the Incarnation --
The collapse of the salvation story --
Part V. Thesis 3 : Original sin. The Garden of Eden --
Part VI. Thesis 4 : The virgin birth. The story of the virgin birth --
The actual details behind Jesus' birth --
Part VII. Thesis 5 : Miracles. When miracles entered the Bible --
The miracles in the Moses/Joshua story --
Elijah and Elisha--miracles expanded --
The miracles of Jesus --
Messiah miracles--the final clue --
Part VIII. Thesis 6 : Atonement theology. Renouncing "Jesus died for my sins" --
Incomplete--not fallen --
Part IX. Thesis 7 : Easter. The Resurrection --
Paul's list of Resurrection witnesses --
The Gospels' understanding of Easter --
Part X. Thesis 8 : The Ascension. Elijah magnified --
Part XI. Thesis 9 : Ethics. Finding the basis for ethics --
How the Ten Commandments have changed through history --
Meet Moses' father-in-law --
The questionable relevance of the Ten Commandments today --
Modern ethics --
Part XII. Thesis 10 : Prayer. The death of prayer --
Prayer : an act of being or of doing? --
Driving power toward a new understanding --
Part XIII. Thesis 11 : Life after death. Life after death--still believable? --
A new perspective on eternity --
Part XIV. Thesis 12 : Universalism. The marks of tomorrow's Christianity --
Part XV. Epilogue. My mantra : this I do believe. Setting the stage --
Stating the problem --
Thesis 1: God --
Thesis 2: Jesus the Christ --
Thesis 3: Original sin --
Thesis 4: The Virgin birth --
Thesis 5: Miracles --
Thesis 6: Atonement theology --
Thesis 7: Easter --
Thesis 8: The ascension --
Thesis 9: Ethics --
Thesis 10: Prayer --
Thesis 11: Life after death --
Thesis 12: Universalism --
Epilogue.
Responsibility: John Shelby Spong.

Abstract:

Five hundred years after Martin Luther and his Ninety-Five Theses ushered in the Reformation, bestselling author and controversial bishop and teacher John Shelby Spong delivers twelve forward-thinking theses to spark a new reformation to reinvigorate Christianity and ensure its future. At the beginning of the sixteenth century, Christianity was in crisis--a state of conflict that gave birth to the Reformation in 1517. Enduring for more than 200 years, Luther's movement was then followed by a "revolutionary time of human knowledge." Yet these advances in our thinking had little impact on Christians' adherence to doctrine--which has led the faith to a critical point once again. Bible scholar and Episcopal bishop John Shelby Spong contends that there is mounting pressure among Christians for a radically new kind of Christianity--a faith deeply connected to the human experience instead of outdated dogma. To keep Christianity vital, he urges modern Christians to update their faith in light of these advances in our knowledge, and to challenge the rigid and problematic Church teachings that emerged with the Reformation. There is a disconnect, he argues, between the language of traditional worship and the language of the twenty-first century. Bridging this divide requires us to rethink and reformulate our basic understanding of God. With its revolutionary resistance to the authority of the Church in the sixteenth century, Spong sees in Luther's movement a model for today's discontented Christians. In fact, the questions they raise resonate with those contemplated by our ancestors. Does the idea of God still have meaning? Can we still follow historic creeds with integrity? Are not such claims as an infallible Pope or an inerrant Bible ridiculous in today's world? In Unbelievable, Spong outlines twelve "theses" to help today's believers more deeply contemplate and reshape their faith. As an educator, clergyman, and writer who has devoted his life to his faith, Spong has enlightened Christians and challenged them to explore their beliefs in new and meaningful ways. In this, his final book, he continues that rigorous tradition, once again offering a revisionist approach that strengthens Christianity and secures its relevance for generations to come.

At the beginning of the sixteenth century Christianity was in crisis, and gave birth to the Reformation in 1517. Five hundred years after Martin Luther and his Ninety-Five Theses, Spong delivers twelve forward-thinking theses to spark a new reformation to reinvigorate Christianity and ensure its future. He contends that there is mounting pressure among Christians for a faith deeply connected to the human experience instead of outdated dogma. There is a disconnect between the language of traditional worship and the language of the twenty-first century; bridging this divide requires us to rethink and reformulate our basic understanding of God.

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