The Dark Side of Evangelical Religion

Column by Bishop John Shelby Spong on 31 August 2005 0 Comments
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"When you research Biblical views, what Internet or written
sources are good starting points for persons who want to hear
a liberal viewpoint besides your own. I am looking for
commentaries and Bible software that is worth the investment
of money or time. I do not want Matthew Henry or Strog's
Concordance anymore. Help!"


I wish it were that simple. There is really no such thing as
liberal biblical scholarship or conservative biblical
scholarship. There is only competent or incompetent biblical
scholarship, the findings of which can be interpreted by
people who are either conservative or liberal. But if one
asserts, for example, as one of my readers did recently, that
all four Gospels were written by the same person that is
simply incompetent.

What you need to do is to utilize the bibliography in books
by authors you believe are enlightened. You also need to
read sources that communicate to you where you are at this
moment. For example, one of my favorite New Testament
scholars is Michael Donald Goulder, recently retired from the
University of Birmingham in the U.K. Michael is a first rate
scholar who makes copious use of notes. Sometimes three
quarters of one of his pages consists of notes. Included in
the notes are Greek phrases and Hebrew phrases. Unless you
are proficient in those languages, Michael's books would be
very difficult going. Yet his two-volume commentary on Luke
entitled, "Luke, A New Paradigm" is still the best work on
Luke I have ever read. Many commentaries and most biblical
software are the products of those who have more zeal than

I have been working on these things for a lifetime. I wish
there was a short cut. There isn't. So be prepared for the
long haul. My best.

— John Shelby Spong

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