To the editors:
Both positions addressed in Spong’s book (fundamentalism and his own) are less than 300 years old [“Reading: Take Back the Bible,” April 5]. Spong claims that the mainstream churches have allowed the fundies to go unchecked and proposes to restore the Bible the proper place it was at before the rise of Fundamentalism.
He fails to tell the reader that his wholesale criticisms of the Bible were popularized by (1) the Scottish Realists’ anti-Semitic rhetoric which said that the Jews were incapable of achieving any literary quality, forcing a strict, wooden interpretation of that genre, and (2) the German Higher Criticism of the 19th century, which was for the most part a mutation of Scottish Realism. Spong jettisons orthodoxy’s understanding of the character and transmission of revelation, a view held as authoritative since the birth of orthodoxy at Pentecost 1,900-plus years ago.
Christendom as a whole, fundies included, worships a God who communicates with His creatures in a way so as to be clearly understood, and the transmission of that communication is protected from corruptions such as the ones Spong accuses the fundies of promulgating. It is Spong who would have us to believe in a corruptible God who sends unprotected and corrupted messages. And he wishes to be understood clearly without any risk of being misunderstood. Spong’s rhetoric is (among other things) solipsistic.
An advertisement was taken out in your paper by Affordable Portables on page 29 that made me think of Spong’s position in relation to historic Christian orthodoxy: “CULTURE TIP: Amicule, deliciae, num is sum qui memtiar tibi?”
John Spong is in chronic trouble with the Episcopal Church and he knows how to make a dollar from his reputation. If he were a layman, he would get no attention whatsoever; but then again, there isn’t anything wrong with being an opportunist in this country, is there?