By Michael-Anthony Rene Chavez used with permission


Why is Mark Driscoll posting up quotes by liberal Bible bashing “Bishop John ( Shelby) Spong”?

You might be asking who exactly is John Shelby Spong? We would encourage you to read over this great article on him put together by “Let Us Reason Ministries” :

The Bishop who was not
Here is a snippet from the article above to show what John Shelby Spong believes and how it differs from the Bible drastically:

“Spong in his article ‘A call for a new reformation.’ This Reformation he claims will be about the very life and death of Christianity. Because it goes to the heart of how Christianity is to be understood, it will dwarf in intensity the Reformation of the 16th century. It will not be concerned about authority, ecclesiastical polity, valid ordinations and valid sacraments. It will be rather a Reformation that will examine the very nature of the Christian faith itself.

Spong lists 12 items that need to be addressed I will not address all of them, nor belabor the answers but be as a short and concise as possible to show that his prejudices cloud his conclusions.

1.Theism, as a way of defining God, is dead. So most theological God-talk is today meaningless. A new way to speak of God must be found.”

Bibles answer– God has revealed to us on how we are to think of him and our relationship to him. God does not change and neither has his way for man to know, understand and grow in the knowledge of him.

2. Since God can no longer be conceived in theistic terms, it becomes nonsensical to seek to understand Jesus as the incarnation of the theistic deity. So the Christology of the ages is bankrupt. 

Bibles answer- God can no longer be conceived in theistic terms, says who? He seems to assume that he represents a vast portion of people. In fact he might but not within the walls of the believing church, but those who have backslidden or apostatized. To deny what God has revealed in his holy word and go around with a collar saying you represent him is to involve oneself and others in deception. Why use the bible at all if one does not believe its message.

3. The biblical story of the perfect and finished creation from which human beings fell into sin is pre-Darwinian mythology and post-Darwinian nonsense.

Bibles answer-If you can’t believe in Genesis then you certainly will not believe in anything else. Jesus said Genesis was true, Spong says Jesus is liar. Despite his attraction to Darwin it still is a theory at best and as science progresses it looks like the light is going to further dimmer on Darwin’s grandiose theory.

4. The virgin birth, understood as literal biology, makes Christ’s divinity, as traditionally understood, impossible.

Bibles answer- Not at all and Spong needs to do his research and catch up with science as well as Scripture.If god cannot take a man from  a woman then he certainly could not make man from the ground in Genesis. of course this is the crux of the matter. Spong is anti supernatural, so this can’t occur according to his human reasoning.

6. The view of the cross as the sacrifice for the sins of the world is a barbarian idea based on primitive concepts of God and must be dismissed.” 

Bibles answer-The whole revelation from start to finish shows that God required a sacrifice for sin. From Adam through the OT tabernacle and all its typology. The bible is not written by one person nor a few in a short period of time. It spans 1600 years with 40 different authors on 4 different continents. It would be ludicrous to think that this was all invented by man when it is so consistent in its speaking to the problems and its solutions over this stretch of time.

7. Resurrection is an action of God. Jesus was raised into the meaning of God. It therefore cannot be a physical resuscitation occurring inside human history.

Bibles answer- He’s got this half right, it is an action of God and there were resurrections occurring before Christ came. But for one to deny the fact of Christ being raised is not only anti supernaturalism but in fact disbelieving the gospel. Which then disqualifies him as a representative for the good news.  In fact Spong has no good news but its all bad.

10. Prayer cannot be a request made to a theistic deity to act in human history in a particular way.

Bibles answer- God asks us to pray even though he knows what we will ask before we do and what will occur. You might as well say God is dead long live man. The way Spong’s theology pans out. 

11. The hope for life after death must be separated forever from the behavior control mentality of reward and punishment. The Church must abandon, therefore, its reliance on guilt as a motivator of behavior.”

Bibles answer- The high standard of morality should not be powered by punishment itself but understood in light of consequences for ones actions. The love of God and obedience to what he asks is the first motivator, if that fails the 2nd kicks in to warn someone of their ignoring the first. Guilt can be a good thing if it is used to change the course toward preservation and avoiding harm. To feel guilty about something means someone’s conscience is working, they have a standard.

He ends this article by saying” So I set these theses today before the Christian world and I stand ready to debate each of them as we prepare to enter the third millennium. Has he debated anyone?”

(Mike Oppenheimer, “The Bishop who was not”, light of the quote given above one can determine Spong’s skeptical view on if the events described in the Bible actually took place or not.

We here at “SAID Radio” do believe in the word of God and do not believe as Spong that the virgin birth, Adam & Eve and the ascension are mythical elements in our faith tradition and instead we believe these events to be true.With a quote like this one has to ask why Driscoll is posting such stuff. Some of his followers on Twitter explain that he does not believe the same way as Spong based on a few of his teachings.Here’s Spong’s quote again: “The virgin birth will join Adam & Eve & the story of the ascension as clearly mythical elements in our faith tradition – Bishop John Spong

Please read this great article that deals with the importance of the “virgin birth” by our friend Pastor Ken Silva of Apprising Ministries:


Anyone who has taken the time to read/ study their Bible will easily stumble upon this:

“. . .Your word is truth.” – John 17:17b
If we deny the word of God, the Bible than ultimately we are also inevitably throwing out our salvation and everything we know about it. Spong directly attacks key doctrines in the Christian faith. If we say Jesus was not born of a virgin we not only deny the scriptures (Matthew 1:18-20), this is also an attack the messianic role of Jesus (Isaiah 7:14 via Matthew 1:23) which inevitably denies the incarnation of Jesus (being God in flesh).

To read an article about those denying Jesus’ deity check out “Let Us Reason Ministries” article:

Denying the Deity of the Son of God is to Deny the Scripture“For Spong to suggest such things demonstrates that in light of what the Bible says, Spong has the spirit of Antichrist:

By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.”
– 1 John 4:2-3

How about denying “Adam & Eve’s existence? I believe Chris Rosebrough of Fighting For TheFaith sums it up well:
In Matthew 19:3-6, the eyewitness biographer records this exchange between Jesus and the Pharisees:

Matt. 19:3 And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” 4 He [Jesus] answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

The topic that the Pharisees were testing Jesus on was marriage and divorce. The question was rather stupid and poorly thought out. But, Jesus’ answer tells us a lot about His view of the book of Genesis. First Jesus points the Pharisees to Genesis as if it alone provides the authoritative answer to their trick question. Then Jesus quotes Genesis 1:27 as if it literally meant what it said, “God created him; male and female he created them”. Then Jesus quotes Genesis 2:24 as if it literally meant what it said, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh…”

There was no equivocation on Jesus’ part and no hint that He secretly believed that the opening story of Genesis was a man-made poetic myth or that it was less than historically true. In fact, Jesus’ final statement on the matter makes it perfectly clear that Jesus literally believes that God is the one who brings a man and woman together and makes them one flesh. All of this is predicated on Jesus’ personal knowledge that Adam and Eve were literally and historically the first two humans that Jesus created.

Challenge Questions: If you call yourself a Christian or a Christ-Follower yet don’t believe that the story of Adam and Eve is historically true or accurate, what authority are you basing this belief on? Is it right for you to call yourself a Christian or a Christ-Follower when your view of the scriptures are at odds with Jesus’ views?

(Chris Rosebrough“The Greatest Expert on the Scriptures Who Ever Lived And His View of the Bible”, January 07, 2009,

To better understand the quote in light of the “ascension”, let’s take a look at one of Spong’s objections to it”8. The story of the ascension assumed a three-tiered universe and is therefore not capableof being translated into the concepts of a post-Copernican space age.”

(John Shelby Spong, “Here I Stand: My Struggle for a Christianity of Integrity, Love, and Equality”, HarperOne, 2001 p.454.)

” Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. 10 And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, 11 who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.” – Acts 1:9-11

To openly deny such a thing is a denial of scripture first and foremost and secondly it denies thereturn of Jesus. In which Jesus says much about:

  • For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.” 

   – Matthew 24:27

  • “Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.”

  – Matthew 24:42

  • “Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.”

  – Luke 21:27

  • “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.” 
    – John 14:1-4

Now are we supposed to believe a man who says Jesus is a liar? Jesus is very clear with His disciples about His leaving and definite return: 

“But now I go away to Him who sent Me, and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; 11 of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. 14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. 15 All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.16 “A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me, because I go to the Father.” 17 Then some of His disciples said among themselves, “What is this that He says to us, ‘A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me’; and, ‘because I go to the Father’?” 18 They said therefore, “What is this that He says, ‘A little while’? We do not know what He is saying.”

19 Now Jesus knew that they desired to ask Him, and He said to them, “Are you inquiring among yourselves about what I said, ‘A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me’? 20 Most assuredly, I say to you that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; and you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy. 21 A woman, when she is in labor, has sorrow because her hour has come; but as soon as she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. 22 Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you.”  – John 16:5-22

(This is not meant to be an exhaustive list of verses on the return of Jesus but to simply demonstrate
the point that Spong is at ends with Jesus our Lord and Savior.)

One would also have to conclude that the Holy Spirit “the helper” never came if Jesus didn’t ascend into the heavens. The Bible says otherwise:

“When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”  – Acts 2:1-4

“Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.”

– 1 Corinthians 12:3

According to the Bible we should have this mentality about His (Jesus’) return:

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 
12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.”
  – Titus 2:11-14

In response to Spong’s comments on Copernican science disproving the ascension I would like topoint you the reader to this (pay attention also to what is underlined)

“For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible andinvisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist”   
– Colossians1:16-17 (underlining is mine)

For a man such as Spong who was not willing to take the scriptures as truth, it is not surprising that he would come to such erroneous conclusions. As Colossians shows there are things “visible” and “invisible” and Jesus’ ascension itself was visible until the  . . . cloud received Him out of their sight.”  – Acts 1:9.

To address the “three-tiered universe” let’s see what the Holy Spirit through Paul shares:
I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a one was caught up to the third heaven. And I know such a man—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows— how he was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. Of such a one I will boast; yet of myself I will not boast, except in my infirmities. For though I might desire to boast, I will not be a fool; for I will speak the truth. But I refrain, lest anyone should think of me above what he sees me to be or hears from me.” 

  -2 Corinthians 12:26 (Underlining mine)We clearly see that scripturally speaking yes we have a “three-tiered universe“. For a great article dealing with this, I point you to this article from “Let Us Reason Ministries“:How many heavens are there and what is the third heaven Paul speaks of in 2 Corinthians 12“Mr. Spong deviates far from Biblical truth as one can see. So I ask once again why is Mark Driscoll posting a quote by Spong on his Twitter that ultimately is calling the word of God a lie and calling Jesus a liar (in light of Spong’s context)? Especially when last time I checked he has315,120 followers on Twitter that now will be introduced to likes of John Shelby Spong.

Things you should know about Mark Driscoll please click on link below (please pray he will repent of these ungodly/unbiblical things) Warning

: The following excerpts contain sexually explicit language:Mark Driscoll’s Disturbing Wrap Sheet

Please pray for Mark Driscoll and John Shelby Spong that they will repent of these things. Also pray for those who are following Driscoll and Spong that the Lord will open their eyes to the dangers of Driscoll. Our heart is that Driscoll and Spong will repent and until that happens we will be faithful to warn our Lord’s precious sheep about them so they will not be led astray.

“For when they speak great swelling words of emptiness, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through lewdness, the ones who have actually escaped from those who live in error. 19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage. 20 For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. 21 For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. 22 But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: “A dog returns to his own vomit,” and, “a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.”
      – 2 Peter 2:18-22

The original appears here.

Further reading