New Mexico: Learning About a Minority Culture in a Majority World

Column by Bishop John Shelby Spong on 2 July 2008 0 Comments
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How do you answer questions about Jesus Christ
returning to earth in a second coming?


I don't!

One who would ask the question this way has already revealed the fact
that he or she is locked into a 1st century dualistic literalism. The
gospels portray Jesus as referring to his second coming, which would
occur, those texts say, before that generation had passed away.
Obviously that did not happen. Remember the gospels are written 40-70
years after the death of Jesus and may reflect the early church more
than Jesus himself.

The second coming is the flip side of the story of the
Ascension. Both concepts assume a three-tiered universe and God
living above the sky. Those concepts died with Copernicus in the 16th

I am simply not concerned with things about which I can
know nothing. Predicting the end of the world and awaiting the second
coming are the parlor games of literalistic minds.

I think that what the resurrection of Jesus means is
that the human entered into God. I think that what the Pentecost
story means is that God entered the human. That is the only second
coming I care about.

— John Shelby Spong




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