Nine people from across the Circuit attended our first Book Club meeting at Aylesbury to discuss John Spong's 'Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism'.
The now retired American Episcopalian Bishop certainly knows and loves his Bible. He believes the growth of evangelical and fundamentalist Christian churches who insist on taking the Bible literally makes it easy for aggressive atheists to attack it and creates a crisis of faith for many. Coverage of the Archbishop of Canterbury's turbulent tenure trying to reconcile the seemingly irreconcilable liberal and literalist wings of the Anglican Church, showed this was not just an American issue.
Spong gives numerous examples from all sections of the Old and New Testaments showing the problems of a literal interpretation and urging Christians to love Scripture for what it is — "a chronicle written by our ancestors in faith as they walked through history in the presence of God".
Marilyn Dore's comments reflected the views of several: "I found his book very interesting and challenging in places. It encouraged me to think about my faith and although I didn't go along with everything he said I found his approach to the Bible both refreshing and thought provoking. His clear love of, and enthusiasm for the Bible was plain to see. I liked his inclusivity — emphasising God's love is for all people. Although I appreciate the book wouldn't appeal to those who take a very literal approach to the Bible, I found it helpful."
Peter Green — March 2012