Bishop Shelby Spong on prejudice

06 Oct

Bishop John Shelby Spong

The time has come for all Christians to decide whether a person can follow Christ and still maintain his or her homophobic prejudices. I do not believe that is possible. Deep down all of us know this to be true. The decision is not both/and; it is either/or. We can either follow Christ or maintain our prejudices. There can be no compromise. The contending positions are mutually exclusive. There must be no wavering. Leviticus 18 and 20 cannot be allowed to remain in the lexicon of Christian behavior. It is also no longer a morally defensible argument for hierarchical figures to protect the destructive homophobia of some leaders and church members in order ‘to preserve the unity of the church.’ A church unified in prejudice cannot possibly be the Body of Christ. Can anyone imagine a church preserving its unity by tolerating slavery in its midst? Is there any difference between that situation and tolerating homophobia? Any prejudice based on who a person is, his or her very being as a child of God, cannot be a part of the church’s life. Quoting Leviticus to justify our prejudices is no longer an option. ref

Having looked at Lev 18 and 20 again we are horrified at the death sentences handed out for charge after charge. Such barbarity is not what Christianity is founded on. Christianity is founded on Jesus’ love and sacrifice. One cannot decide to focus on select Old Testament verses and then ignore the rest.  If you choose to focus on verses of death, then your religion is one of death and is to be regarded as abhorrent.

Bishop Shelby Spong’s Facebook post might equally apply to women in the church. “Any prejudice based on who a person is, his or her very being as a child of God, cannot be a part of the church’s life.”  There is no option but embracing all as children of God, with no qualifying clauses.

The LCA has been able to ignore certain abhorrent statements from Luther – it now has to declare unequivocally and urgently that women should be at the centre of its very being.

1 Comment

Posted by on October 6, 2016 in theology


One response to “Bishop Shelby Spong on prejudice

  1. John Miller

    October 6, 2016 at 12:40 pm

    I’m a big fan of Spong. It was his books that led me completely away from Christianity. At the time I thought his demolition of the Ten Commandments was sheer artistry. But he didn’t stop there. He knocked so many of the beliefs I held into a cocked hat that in the end I decided to walk away. I fail to understand why he hasn’t walked himself.


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