A global and pioneering leader of progressive Christianity and the bestselling author of Why Christianity Must Change or Die and Eternal Life
explains why a literal reading of the Gospels is actually heretical,
and how this mistaken notion only entered the church once Gentiles had
pushed out all the Jewish followers of Jesus.
A man who has
consciously and deliberately walked the path of Christ, John Shelby
Spong has lived his entire life inside the Christian Church. In this
profound and considered work, he offers a radical new way to look at the
gospels today as he shows just how deeply Jewish the Christian Gospels
are and how much they reflect the Jewish scriptures, history, and
patterns of worship. Pulling back the layers of a long-standing Gentile
ignorance, he reveals how the church’s literal reading of the Bible is
so far removed from these original Jewish authors’ intent that it is an
act of heresy.
Using the Gospel of Matthew as a guide, Spong
explores the Bible’s literary and liturgical roots—its grounding in
Jewish culture, symbols, icons, and storytelling tradition—to explain
how the events of Jesus’ life, including the virgin birth, the miracles,
the details of the passion story, and the resurrection and ascension,
would have been understood by both the Jewish authors of the various
gospels and by the Jewish audiences for which they were originally
written. Spong makes clear that it was only after the church became
fully Gentile that readers of the Gospels took these stories to be
factual, distorting their original meaning.
In Biblical Literalism: A Gentile Heresy,
Spong illuminates the gospels as never before and provides a better
blueprint for the future than where the church’s leaden and heretical
reading of the story of Jesus has led us—one that allows the faithful to
live inside the Christian story in the modern world.