Yesterday I wrote a post in which I began to discuss the recent Huffington Post article by John Shelby Spong in which he discusses his new book on John; the book is called The Fourth Gospel: Tales of a Jewish Mystic and the article can be found this address:

Today I will finish out what I started to say yesterday.

Let me say again that I have long appreciated Spong’s work and am sympathetic to his mission. He is trying to do from inside the church something very similar to what I am trying to do outside of it: help educated lay people outside the field of biblical scholarship see what scholars – believers and non-believers alike – are saying about the New Testament.

Since Spong is operating within the church, however, and sees himself as a Christian, some of his perspectives and goals are different from mine.   At the end of the day, he is interested in reforming Christianity in order to make it sensible for the twenty-first century.  That is not my goal, since I am not a Christian.  And it is this difference that, I think (as I’ll try to explain below) that explains our different interpretations of what the author of John is trying to do.


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