Archive for the ‘Book Reviews’ Category

Spong’s Spin On Copernicus

June 27th, 2016

By Kyle Larson

Spong On Copernicus (1473—1543)

Throughout his writings and on his website, Spong lists several specific early modern scientists whom he believes sounded the death knell of orthodox Christianity. The scientists that Spong mentions are Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, Darwin, Freud and Einstein. As Spong goes through each of these scientists, he highlights a specific scientific accomplishment of each one and then concludes that this is a scientific argument against Judeo-Christian theism.

In this series, we will take a brief look at the life of each early modern scientists, Spong’s spin for that particular scientist and a historical, scientific and theological refutation for each of Spong’s false assertions.

Life Of Copernicus

Nikolaus KopernikusThe first early modern scientist that Spong uses to debunk theism and Christianity is Nicolas Copernicus. Copernicus born in 1473 in Torun, Poland to parents both from wealthy merchant families. Unfortunately, his father died while he was still young, so his uncle took him under his wing.

Coperncicus started his education at St. John’s school in Torun. From there, he went on to attend the Cathedral School at a nearby town. This school prepared Copernicus to enter the University of Krakow. It was at the University that he began studying the Arts.

Later, he focused on various branches of astronomy and mathematics. He became fascinated with astronomy and collected a large number of books on the subject. Copernicus left the University of Krakow and later enrolled at the University of Bologna from 1496-1501. It was here that he became the student of one of the greatest astronomers of his time. It is also here that his interest in astronomy began to sour.

In 1497, Copernicus made his first astronomical calculations about the moon. In 1500, he traveled to Rome where he began another apprenticeship in astronomy. This led to him become a professor of astronomy. During this time, Copernicus also obtained a medical degree at the University of Padua from 1501-1503. In close connection with obtaining a medical degree, he also studied astrology. Both medicine and astrology were considered interconnected disciplines at this period of time.

Kopernikus status in KrakowCopernicus first began developing his heliocentric theory with his short book The Commentaries (sometime before 1514). He later published On The Revolutions in 1543. In 1533, the Pope’s personal secretary heard about the heliocentric theory and passed on the information to Pope Clement VII. At the time, the Pope had no problem with the theory.

Spong’s Conclusions About Copernicus

Spong states concerning Copernicus:

“There was a Polish monk named Nicolaus Copernicus, whose studies shattered the image of the earth as the center of a three-tiered universe, which also assumed that God who dwelled just above the sky, always looking down, always recording in the book of life the good deeds and the misdeeds of each person. The promise of reward with God in heaven or punishment from God in hell after this life constituted the central linchpin of a well-ordered human society” – http://johnshelbyspong.com/2015/12/10/charting-the-new-reformation-part-ii-the-burning-necessity/

“His calculations led him to a startling conclusion. The earth is not the center of a three-tiered universe! This insight, an incredibly great breakthrough in knowledge, also had severe religious consequences. The Bible, for example, was written from the perspective of a three-tiered universe and claims had been regularly made by the church that the Bible is “the inerrant word of God.” With the discovery of Copernicus, however, the inevitable conclusion was that the Bible was wrong! Copernicus did not publish his thinking widely so the hierarchy of the church just ignored his work, hoping that no one else would notice.” – http://johnshelbyspong.com/2015/12/24/charting-the-new-reformation-part-iv-building-the-case-for-the-death-of-theism-the-copernican-revolution

Spong also states a further consequences of following of Copernicus: “ … the earth could no longer be envisioned as the center of the Universe. God might not be so quite involved in the day to day affairs of human beings.” (Why Christianity Must Change or Die)

Where did Spong get the idea that if the earth is not at the center of the universe, then God has no special interest in humanity? This specific myth about Copernicus began about 100 years after his death. There was a concerted effort to show that man is no special creation by God, but simply a “power play” by humanity to show a self specialness to God that never existed. Cyrano de Bergerac asserted this very notion when he said, “The insupportable arrogance of mankind, which fancies, that Nature was only created to serve it.”

Plurality of WorldsAnother writer, Fontenelle, in his book Discourse of the Plurality of Worlds (1686) said that Copernicus had taken “the earth and throws it out of the center of the world … for his design was to abate the vanity of men who had thrust themselves into the chief place of the Universe”. (Danielson 57,58 in Galileo Goes to Jail)

Many things could be said in refutation of Bishop Spong’s statements on Copernicus:

  1. Spong fails to mention that Copernicus dedicated his book to the Pope Paul The Third because Copernicus wanted to make sure that he was not misunderstood as challenging the authority and legitimacy of the Papacy.
  2. Copernicus received the official approval of Pope The Third as well as the financial support of two top Cardinals for his book On The Revolutions. 1
  3. In addition to Pope Paul The Third, after he died, the next 9 Popes following him saw no heresy in what Copernicus was saying with his heliocentric theory.
  4. Spong has a twisted understanding of what the Bible says about humanity and its place in the cosmos. The Bible teaches the vastness of the cosmos and yet God cares for humanity. (Psalms 8:3,4)
  5. Some of the great thinkers of the ages saw earth’s centrality as a negative and not a positive. a
    1. Moses Mainonides: “in the case of the Universe … the nearer the parts are to the center, the greater their turbidness, their solidarity, their inertness, their dimness and darkness, because they are further away from their loftiness element, from the source of light and brightness.”
    2. Thomas Acquinas: In the Universe, earth – that all the spheres encircle and that, as for place, lies in the center, is the most material and coarsest of all bodies.

Many more quotes could be produced that directly refute Bishop Spong’s assertion that people during middle ages believed that because earth was in the center of the universe that that meant it had God’s special care over it. In fact, the opposite was true. Copernicus believed that because the earth revolved around the sun, this gave earth a “specialness to God”

Galileo, when commenting on how sun’s light upon the earth makes the moon shine brighter states: “The earth, with fair and grateful exchange, pays back to the moon an illumination like that which it receives from the moon … those who assert, principally on the grounds that it [the earth] has neither motion nor light, that the earth must be excluded from the dance of the stars. For … the earth does have motion … it surpasses the moon in brightness and … it is not the sump where the universe’s filth and ephemera.”

Johannes Kepler

Johannes Kepler

Even Johannes Kepler, whom Spong highly respects, states concerning man’s ability to contemplate says, “he [man] could not remain at rest in the center … he [man] must make an annual journey on this boat, which is our earth, to perform his observations … There is no globe nobler or more suitable for man than the earth. For, in the first place, it is exactly in the middle of the principles globes … Above it are Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. Within the embrace of its orbit run Venus and Mercury, while at the center the sun rotates.”

Copernicus would find Spong’s assessment of himself strange because Copernicus was an ardent Christian theist as the following quotes from him show 1 To know the mighty works of God, to comprehend His wisdom and majesty and power; to appreciate, in degree, the wonderful workings of His laws, surely all this must be a pleasing and acceptable mode of worship to the Most High, to whom ignorance cannot be more grateful than knowledge.2

“Not the Grace received by Paul do I desire, Nor the good will with which Thou forgavest Peter, Only that which Thou didst grant the thief on the cross, That mercy I ask of Thee.”3


“For who, after applying himself to things which he sees established in the best order and directed by Divine ruling, would not through diligent contemplation of them and through a certain habituation be awakened to that which is best and would not admire the Artificer of all things, in Whom is all happiness and every good? For the divine Psalmist surely did not say gratuitously that he took pleasure in the workings of God and rejoiced in the works of His hands, unless by means of these things as by some sort of vehicle we are transported to the contemplation of the highest good.”4

In conclusion, the example of Copernicus as well as the remaining early modern scientists that we will look at show highly selective Bishop Spong is in what historical and theological conclusions that he is willing to draw for the benefit of his readers. Much of his readership comprises those who have already rejected the Christian Gospel and Bishop Spong wants to supply more reasons they can use to justify their rejection of the Gospel. No serious student of history, science or theology would be hoodwinked by Spong’s deceptive use of the facts.

Resources Consulted on Copernicus

1 http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/copernicus/

2 http://www.christian-apologetics.org/pdf/SpongRev20Web.pdf

3 That Copernicanism Demoted Human From The Center of The Cosmos—Myth 6 Dennis R. Danielson found in Galileo Goes To Jail And Other Myths About Science and Religion. Edited by Ronald L. Numbers Harvard University Press 2009

New Book: Vital Issues in the Inerrancy Debate

February 12th, 2016

Being chosen as a co-editor for a new book on Biblical inerrancy, Dr. Fernandes adds his own views to those of others in the field. What is Biblical inerrancy and why is it an important topic?

The following is taken from the official site at: defendinginerrancy.com

WHAT’S INERRANCY!? AND WHY SHOULD I CARE?

It’s been said that a table must have at least thBook Imageree legs to stand. Take away any of the three legs and it will surely topple. In much the same way, the Christian faith stands on three legs. These three legs are the inspiration, infallibility, and inerrancy of Scripture. Take away one, and like the table, the divine authority of the Christian faith will surely topple. These three “in’s” complement each other, yet each expresses a slightly different distinction in our understanding of Scripture.

Inspiration. The first “in” is inspiration and this deals with the origin of the Bible. Evangelicals believe that “God breathed out” the words of the Bible using human writers as the vehicle. Paul writes,

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God (literally “is God-breathed”), and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim. 3:16-17)

Infallibility. The next “in,” infallibility, speaks to the authority and enduring nature of the Bible. To be infallible means that something is incapable of failing and therefore is permanently binding and cannot be broken. Peter said “the word of the Lord endures forever” (1 Pet. 1:23-25) and therefore its authority cannot be broken.  When addressing a difficult passage, Jesus said, “the Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:34-35). In fact, He said, “one jot or one tittle will by no means pass away from the law till all is fulfilled” (Mat. 5:18). These speak to the Bible’s infallibility.

Inerrancy. The last “in,” inerrancy, simply means that the Bible is without error. It’s a belief in the “total truthfulness and reliability of God’s words” (Grudem,Systematic Theology, Inter-Varsity, 2004, 90). Jesus said, “Your word is truth” (John 17:17). This inerrancy isn’t just in passages that speak about salvation, but also applies to all historical and scientific statements as well. It is not only accurate in matters related to faith and practice, but it is accurate and without error regarding any statement, period (John 3:12).

BUT IS IT REALLY IMPORTANT?

Yes, inerrancy is extremely important because: (1) it is attached to the character of God; (2) it is taught in the Scriptures; (3) it is the historic position of the Christian Church, and (4) it is foundational to other essential doctrines.

1. It’s Based on the Character of God

Inerrancy is based on the character of God who cannot lie (Heb. 6:18; Titus 1:2). God cannot lie intentionally because He is an absolute moral law-giver.  He cannot err unintentionally because He is omniscient. And if the Bible is the written Word of God (and it is), then it is without error.

2. It was Taught by Christ and the Apostles

Inerrancy was taught by Christ and the apostles in the New Testament.  This should be our primary basis for believing it. B.B. Warfield said,

“We believe this doctrine of the plenary inspiration of the Scriptures primarily because it is the doctrine which Christ and his apostles believed, and which they have taught us.” (Limited Inspiration, 1962 cited by Mohler, 42)

To quote Jesus himself, “the Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35) and “until heaven and earth pass away not an iota, not a dot, will pass away from the Law until all is accomplished” (Matt 5:18).

3. It’s the Historic Position of the Church

Gutenberg BibleInerrancy is the historic position of the Christian Church. ICBI produced a whole book demonstrating this  point (see John Hannah, Inerrancy and the Church, Moody). As Al Mohler pointed out (Mohler, 48-49), even some errantists have agreed that inerrancy has been the standard view of the Christian Church down through the centuries. He cites the Hanson brothers, Anthony and Richard, Anglican scholars, who said,

“The Christian Fathers and the medieval tradition continued this belief [in inerrancy], and the Reformation did nothing to weaken it. On the contrary, since for many reformed theologians the authority of the Bible took the place which the Pope had held in the medieval scheme of things, the inerrancy of the Bible became more firmly maintained and explicitly defined among some reformed theologians than it had even been before.”

They added, “The beliefs here denied [viz., inerrancy] have been held by all Christians from the very beginning until about a hundred and fifty years ago.” (cited by Mohler, 41)

4. It’s Fundamental to All Other Doctrines

Inerrancy is foundational to all other essential Christian doctrines. It is granted that some other doctrines (like the atoning death and bodily resurrection of Christ) are more essential to salvation. However, all soteriological (salvation-related) doctrines derive their divine authority from the divinely authoritative Word of God. So, epistemologically (in a knowledge-related sense), the doctrine of the divine authority and inerrancy of Scripture is the fundamental of all the fundamentals. And if the fundamental of fundamentals is not fundamental, then what is fundamental? Fundamentally nothing! Thus, while one can be saved without believing in inerrancy, the doctrine of salvation has no divine authority apart from the infallibility and inerrancy of Scripture.

IT’S AN ESSENTIAL

Inerrancy deserves high regard among evangelicals and has rightly earned the status of being essential (in an epistemological sense) to the Christian Faith.  Thus, to reduce inerrancy to the level of non-essential or even “incidental’ to the Christian Faith, reveals ignorance of its theological and historical roots and is an offense to its “watershed” importance to a consistent and healthy Christianity. Inerrancy simply cannot be rejected without grave consequences, both to the individual and to the Church.

IT’S UNDER ATTACK… RIGHT NOW!

The International Council on Biblical Inerrancy (ICBI) was founded in 1977 specifically over concerns about the erosion of inerrancy. Christian leaders, theologians and pastors assembled together three times over the course of a decade to address the issue. At the first meeting, a doctrinal statement was jointly created titled “The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy” (see full text here). This document has been described as “a landmark church document” created

“by the then largest, broadest, group of evangelical protestant scholars that ever came together to create a common, theological document in the 20th century. It is probably the first systematically comprehensive, broadly based, scholarly, creed-like statement on the inspiration and authority of Scripture in the history of the church.” (Dallas Theological Seminary, “Records of the International Council On Biblical Inerrancy”)

Despite this modern safeguard, in 2010, Dr. Mike Licona, an evangelical professor, wrote a book titled The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach. In this book, he suggested that the account of the resurrected saints walking through the city might be “apocalyptic imagery” (Mat. 27:51-53). In other words, he suggested that the events did not actually happen, but that it was lore or legend. Subsequently, Licona resigned from his position with the Southern Baptists and at Southern Evangelical Seminary. What followed is rather alarming. Incredibly, some notable evangelical scholars began to express their support for Licona’s view, considering  it consistent with a belief in inerrancy.

SCHOLARS TRYING TO REDEFINE INERRANCY

Of course, in order to defend Licona’s view they had to redefine inerrancy to include what were previously considered to be errors.  Some did this by misinterpreting inerrancy as expressed by the ICBI framers.

Since 2011, more alarming statements from Licona have surfaced, including: (1) A denial of the historicity of the mob falling backward at Jesus’ claim “I am he” in John 18:4-6 (RJ, 306, note 114); (2) A denial of the historicity of the angels at the tomb recorded in all four Gospels (Mat. 28:2-7; Mark 16:5-7; Luke 24:4-7; John 20:11-14) (RJ, 185-186); (3) A denial of the accuracy of the Gospel of John by claiming it says Jesus was crucified on the wrong day (debate with Bart Ehrman at Southern Evangelical Seminary, Spring, 2009); (4) A claim that the Gospel genre is Greco-Roman biography which he says is a “flexible genre” in which “it is often difficult to determine where history ends and legend begins” (RJ, 34). Amazingly, these views continue to gain support among the evangelical community.

Read More …

Responding to Bart Ehrman (part 3): The Design Argument

February 18th, 2015

Ehrman’s Agnosticism Concerning God
The Design Argument

For a moment, let us assume that Dr. Ehrman’s view of the universe is correct. The universe exists without divine intervention. It just is. So if we just look around at the universe, taking what we see at face value, what is the universe telling us about ourselves and itself?

The Local UniverseThe universe tells us we are a miracle (in a secular sense, of course). The universe does not exist in chaos, you see, but there exists a grand order to it. Galaxies exist along threads; Stars along webs of matter and energy. Planets spin in stable orbits mimicking the pattern set by the smallest of molecules. The physical forces holding this symphony together are delicate. And those same forces work together to ensure the earth is in just the right place, at just the right time, in just the right way, for life to exist.

The Anthropic Principle

The Anthropic principle states that the universe appears to be fine tuned to allow like on earth. One can think of a grand board covered with over a hundred dials. Each of these dials controls a different aspect of the universe. One controls the distance from the sun, another the weak nuclear force, and another the amount of water on earth. Each of these control dials has been set just right. Even a little variation in a single dial and life on earth will cease to exist.

The Anthropic principle is the basis of a popular Design argument that states:

  • Premise #1: Every design has a designer.
  • Premise #2: The Universe shows evidence of design.
  • Conclusion: The Universe has a designer.

Rather than attempt to refute this argument, Dr. Ehrman has publicly stated during numerous debates with apologists like Dr. Craig Evans and Dr. William Lane Craig that he is not an atheist. He is an agnostic. The Anthropic principle is a contributing factor to this belief. Although the God of the Bible does not exist, in his opinion, the universe certainly is not a random occurrence.

So does this mean Dr. Ehrman is a proponent of Intelligent design? He has never stated his position. Can one logically believe in the anthropic principle and reject intelligent design? Probably not.

Intelligent Design

Dr. Hugh RossIn the last 20 or 30 years, great advances have been made in fields of genetics, physics and astronomy. The more we learn, the most designed it all appears to be. This has led to the modern movement called Intelligent Design.

So let’s begin by assuming, once again, that the universe was not created by God. The universe just is and we are examining it as mere observers. Dr. Hugh Ross, a well-known intelligent design proponent and astronomer, offers some food for thought:

  1. Age of the universe:
    1. If the universe were much older, no solar-type stars in a stable burning phase would exist in the right part of the galaxy.
    2. If the universe were much younger, no solar-type stars in a stable burning phase would have had time to form.
  2. Average distance between galaxies:
    1. If the distance were much larger, insufficient gas would be infused into our galaxy to sustain star formation.
    2. If the distance were much smaller, the sun’s orbit would be too radically disturbed.1

Dr. Ross also gives some of the parameters of the earth itself that makes life possible on earth:

  1. Distance of the earth from the sun:
    1. If the distance were even a little further out, our planet would be too cool for a stable water cycle.
    2. If our planet were a little closer, the planet would be too warm for a stable water cycle.
  2. Earth’s axial tilt:
    1. If it were even a little greater, the surface temperature on earth differences would be too great for life.
    2. If it were a little less, the equator would be too hot for life and the polar regions far too hostile.
  3. The earth’s rotation period:
    1. If it were much longer, diurnal temperature differences would make crow growth nearly impossible.
    2. If it were much shorter, atmospheric wind velocities would make life on land nearly impossible.
  4. Age of the earth:
    1. If the earth were much younger, the planet would rotate too rapidly.
    2. If the earth were much older, the planet would rotate too slowly.2

Dr. Ehrman has written many books. He chooses a topic and designs each of the chapters in the book in order to support the main topic he has chosen to write on. The book is the designed creation and Ehrman is the designer behind the design. The contemporary scientific evidence asks no more of Dr. Ehrman concerning the design of the universe than a reader would ask of Ehrman when he writes a book.

Dr. Ehrman should examine the following quotes by highly esteemed astronomers. Maybe then he would publicly endorse intelligent design and, just maybe, give the God of the Bible a second chance.

A superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology …3
– Astronomer, Dr. Fred Hoyle

… the laws [of physics]… seem themselves to be the product of exceedingly ingenious design…. There is for me powerful evidence that there is something going on behind it all It seems as though somebody has fine-tuned nature¹s numbers to make the Universe…. The impression of design is overwhelming.4
– Astronomer, Dr. Paul Davies (former atheist)

As we survey all the evidence, the thought insistently arises that some supernatural agency or, rather, Agency must be involved. Is it possible that suddenly, without intending to, we have stumbled upon scientific proof of the existence of a Supreme Being? Was it God who stepped in and so providentially crafted the cosmos for our benefit?
– Astronomer, George Greenstein,  from his book The Symbiotic Universe.

The medieval theologian who gazed at the night sky through the eyes of Aristotle and saw angels moving the spheres in harmony has become the modern cosmologist who gazes at the same sky through the eyes of Einstein and sees the hand of God not in angels but in the constants of nature…. When confronted with the order and beauty of the universe and the strange coincidences of nature, it¹s very tempting to take the leap of faith from science into religion. I am sure many physicists want to. I only wish they would admit it.
– Theoretical physicist, Dr, Tony Rothman

Conclusion

Dr. Ehrman does not mention or refute the contemporary scientific evidence which shows that the universe had a beginning. He does not disagree with the anthropic principle either. So if he does believe that the universe was created, as this suggests, and therefore the universe had a creator, isn’t the God of the Bible the best qualified for this position?

Tugging on the emotional heart strings of his readers, laying out how bad the world is, does not disprove the God of the Bible. It certainly is not the same thing as answering the powerful scientific arguments for a beginning, and the beginner, of the universe. This all leads into the next part of this series which deals with the Moral Argument. The Moral argument can be used to show the existence of God from our moral sense and experience. It also acts as a foundation in answering Dr. Ehrman’s primary reason why he abandoned the Christian faith: the evil and suffering in the world that this calls into question the existence of the God of the Bible.

 

1 Hugh Ross The Creator And The Creation 154,155

2 Ibid. 154, 155

3 Ibid. 157

4 Ibid. 157

Responding to Bart Ehrman (part 2): Ehrman’s Agnosticism

December 2nd, 2014

Ehrman’s Agnosticism Concerning God

and the Cosmological Argument

After the brief spiritual biography of Dr. Ehrman given in the last article, it is important to identify the two sets of presuppositions that  he brings to the table. The first set makes presuppositions about the existence of God and the second set about the possibilities of miracles. Each set builds on and reinforces the other in his books. However, since this article only deals with his agnosticism, I’ll begin there.

Dr. Ehrman’s presuppositions about the existence of a “supreme being” are fairly straight forward. Dr. Ehrman considers himself an agnostic when it comes to whether a supreme being exist and the God of the Bible most definitely does not exist. In his mind, all the pain and suffering in the world makes much more sense if there is no supreme being than if there is.

Angelic Star FieldSo a good place to begin responding to Dr. Ehrman’s agnosticism is at the beginning; The beginning of the universe. Unless we are going to invoke magic, Dr. Ehrman needs to address the both philosophical and scientific question: How did the universe get here?

Considering that Dr. Ehrman doesn’t believe in the supernatural, he must appeal only to science, and it is clear from Dr. Ehrman’s writings that he hasn’t really considered what it means that the universe had a beginning. Considering this would lead him to the necessity of a “creator”. Apart from any supernatural assumptions, the scientific disciplines of Cosmology, Physics and Astronomy all agree that the universe had a beginning. And if the universe had a beginning, then it had a cause.

So Dr. Ehrman needs to deal with the scientific evidence for the beginning of the universe whether or not anything supernatural was involved. This evidence can be summarized into 5 major lines of evidence.

First, there are three major scientists, Einstein (1916), Tolma (1922) and Gamov (1946), who all found that the background temperature of the universe is cooling down.2  Right away this tells us that at one point it had a maximum temperature and that the universe can’t be eternal.

According to the Big Bang theory, at some point in the past all the matter and energy in the universe existed as an infinitely tiny point. Where did this come from? What was it made of? That is still the subject of speculation. Regardless, the theory states that suddenly this tiny point of intensely hot energy expanded faster than the speed of light. Immediately following this event, the temperature of the universe was at its maximum. Since then the universe has been in the long process of cooling down.1 

If the Universe had always existed, it would show a constant amount of usable energy (i.e. heat) and thus have a constant temperature. Since the universe is constantly losing usable energy, it can’t be eternal. Thus the universe had a beginning.

Big Bang VisualizationA second line evidence, once again using the Big Bang theory, is that when the tiny point of energy expanded at the beginning, all matter and energy emanated from that point outward. We should then expect to see this expansion.

Space, with all of its galaxies, solar systems, stars and other heavenly bodies is expanding from that original point of the big bang.3 Three of the most important scientists in astronomy discovered this expansion of matter throughout the universe; They were Albert Einstien (1916) Edwin Hubble (1929) and George Gamov (1946). If the universe has always existed, all the matter in the universe would be evenly distributed throughout the universe. It is not.

Penzias and WilsonThe third major line of evidence for the beginning of the universe is the Cosmic Microwave Background (the CMB). This is the original radiation wavelengths from the initial expansion we call the Big Bang.

In 1965 two astronomers, Penzias and Wilson, were listening on a special astronomical instrument designed to detect certain types of energy waves. Right away, they heard static. After an investigation, they decided that it was bird droppings on the instrument causing the static. Yet after they cleaned off their instrument, they still heard the static. Moving the instrument around, believing the source to be terrestrial, it was soon discovered that the static was coming all parts of the universe.

At first, this the microwave radiation was assumed to be the “left overs” from the original Big Bang as predicted by earlier scientists!4 However, it was far too large and too hot. Later discoveries confirmed this. Unfortunately for scientists of the day, it was found that many bodies in the universe give off cosmic microwaves.

It was decades later before satellite data gave scientists what they believe is a picture of the residual cosmic microwaves from the original Big Bang event. If this is true, and the map they created accurate, this confirms both the expansion of the universe and its cooling trend.

If the universe never had a beginning, known sources of microwaves would have accounted for what is measured. If the CMB had been absent, it would have been the end of the Big Bang theory altogether. Another theory would have been needed to replace it.

This was the most important discovery in astronomy in 500 YEARS! It was yet another indication that the universe had a beginning.

Fourthly, if the universe was caused by a Big Bang event, there should be some evidence in the structure of the universe. If the universe has always existed, telescopes should show us a very ancient universe that is almost identical to the present one since all the galaxies, stars, and planets should have existed eternally into the past.5

Dr. Hugh RossIn 1992, the scientific satellite, the Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) offered astronomers an important clue about the formation of galaxies. The data seemed to confirm that the energy which came forth from the initial Big Bang explosion was used in the formation of the first galaxies. Hugh Ross, an astronomer, states that this is “perhaps the most concrete Big Bang evidence is that stable orbits and stable stars are possible ONLY in a big bang universe. Physical life would be impossible unless planets orbit with stability, stars burn with stability and stars orbit galaxy cores with stability.”

If galaxies had existed from eternity past, galaxies would look very different  from what we see today. Life may not even be possible in such a universe.

Albert EinsteinThe fifth line of evidence for the beginning of the universe has to do with the scientific work of Albert Einstien. When one takes a bird’s eye view of the entirety of Einstien’s work, especially his theory of Relativity, it is shown that this theory shows that the universe must have had a beginning, and if the universe had a beginning, then it had a beginner. It was Einstien’s work that laid the foundation for the first four lines of evidence cited above to show that the universe had a beginning,

Dr. Ehrman has to account for the existence of the universe. Science has shown that the universe began to exist, that it did not always exist. No contemporary scientist believes that the universe is eternal. Whatever problems Ehrman may have with the God of the Bible and the problem of suffering does not make these 20th century scientific discoveries disappear. He has to refute each of the five lines of scientific evidence that shows that the universe had a beginning and therefore had a beginner. In the next article, it will be shown that the universe and the world shows evidence of having been designed. And if there is evidence that the universe is designed, then it must have a designer.

2 Ibid 4

3 Ibid.5

4 Ibid. 5,6

5 Ibid. 7,10

6 Ibid 7

7 Ibid. 9

8 Ibid. 9-11

9 Ibid. 12

10 Bart Ehrman, God’s Problem 3

Responding to Bart Ehrman (part 1): Biography

October 27th, 2014

Did Jesus Exist (2013)Who is Bart Ehrman?

Dr. Bart Ehrman is an accomplished scholar and teacher in ancient biblical texts. He holds a teaching position at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is also an atheist who writes extensively about Jesus, except that the Jesus he writes about is not the Jesus of the Bible.

His latest book is entitled “How Jesus Became God” Some of his other books include: “Jesus Misquoted” “Jesus Interrupted” “Lost Christianities”, and “God’s Problem”. In each of these books, Dr. Ehrman attacks some aspect of the Historical Jesus, the Bible, or the accepted Christian Gospel.

Of course, numerous Christian scholars have written researched and well documented refutations of his books. Surprisingly, very few doubt the evidence he presents. The biblical texts do contain both different accounts and personal retellings. What they accuse Dr. Ehrman of doing is making invalid presuppositions in his argumentation. These presuppositions skew both his view of Jesus and his view of the biblical texts.

Bart EhrmanA look at Dr. Ehrman’s personal biography shows his transformation from an evangelical Christian, to an agnostic, and finally to an atheist. Dr. Ehrman states that he’s an agnostic on the existence of God, but is most certainly an atheist concerning the personal God of the Bible. The reason for his atheism is actually a common one: the problem of evil and suffering in the world. Dr. Ehrman just couldn’t reconcile how a “supposedly” loving and caring God, as we read about in the Bible, could allow so much suffering and evil in the world. This eventually led him to the conclusion that the Judeo-Christian God of the Bible does not exist.

Dr. Ehrman grew up in Kansas in the mid 1950’s. His family faithfully attended an Episcopal Church in Lawrence, Kansas. During his high school years, Bart had a “born again” experience and began attending Youth for Christ. Bruce, a leader of the local Youth for Christ group, help to lead Bart into a “born again experience.1

Bart was very impressed by Bruce’s knowledge of the Bible and decided he wanted to be a serious student of Bible.

Bart EhrmanWith that desire deep in his heart, young Bart Ehrman went to Moody Bible Institute in fall of 1973. During his time at Moody, Bart took traditional Bible courses such as biblical and systematic theology.

At the time, Moody Bible Institute had a strong emphasis on a particular type of Biblical inerrancy called “verbal plenary inspiration.” This view taught that there were no errors in the original manuscripts.

College student Bart Ehrman soon discovered that we don’t have any of the original manuscripts of the New Testament. He then began to wonder about the accuracy of the texts we do have. Did the scribes who copied the New Testament manuscripts change, alter or distorted the written texts? Whether intentional or unintentional, could scribal errors and changes, made for theological or political reasons, have corrupted the New Testament texts? These questions concerning the transmission of the New Testament manuscripts led Bart to take additional courses at Moody on textual criticism.3

Scrap of the John Ryland PapyrusAfter graduating from Moody in 1976, Ehrman had an even stronger desire to be a Christian scholar. Despite his doubts, he continue his education at Wheaton College, a major American Evangelical college.4 While at Wheaton, he took courses in New Testament Greek. During his time there, he increasingly questioned the relevancy of believing in Biblical inerrancy. We don’t have the original manuscripts of the New Testament. Scraps do exist from the late first and second century, but the only complete manuscript copies we have were supposedly written hundreds of years later.5

After graduating from Wheaton with these questions still in his mind, Ehrman went on to Princeton Theological Seminary where he studied under the renowned Greek scholar, Bruce Metzger. He took even more courses in Old Testament Hebrew and New Testament Greek. The deeper he went into these courses, the further Bart’s confidence in the doctrine of inerrancy continued to erode.6

Dr. Ehrman’s total abandonment of his view of biblical inerrancy came when he did a term paper on a passage from the Gospel of Mark for his professor, Cullen Story. For his term paper, Ehrman looked at the story 2 where Jesus has a confrontation with the Pharisees over the disciples picking the heads of grain on the Sabbath. In the course of the confrontation, Jesus justifies his actions by appealing to the Old Testament. When David was on the run from King Saul, David went into the temple to eat the consecrated bread “when Abiathar was the High Priest.” Bart then looked at 1 Samuel 21:1-6 where it describes that during this very time when David ate the sacred bread in the temple, it was Abimelech who was the High Priest. Abimelech was the father of Abiathar. So Dr Ehrman started to wonder if the author of the Gospel of Mark made a mistake. Was the text in error by recounting the wrong man as high priest when David ate the consecrated bread?

When he handed in his term paper to Dr. Story, Dr. Story agreed with Dr. Ehrman by writing a one liner on his term paper that said, “Maybe Mark did make a mistake“.7

Everything went downhill for Ehrman from this point on. He found more supposed errors in the Bible. By the time he left Princeton Theological Seminary, he completely rejected the evangelical doctrine of Biblical inerrancy.8

The Late, Great Planet Earth coverHal Lindsay’s book “The Late Great Planet Earth” also contributed to Bart’s erosion of confidence in Biblical inerrancy. One of Lindsay’s assertions in the book is that Jesus would return in 1988, a generation of forty years after the modern rebirth of Israel in 1948. When Jesus did not return in 1988, that only confirmed Bart’s doubts about the inerrancy of the Bible.9

Dr. Ehrman states that his problems with the Bible led him away from his evangelical beliefs that he had learned in Moody and Wheaton. Though he had abandoned his evangelical beliefs about the Bible, yet he still considered himself a “liberal Christian.”

It was not the problem of missing original New Testament texts, it was the problem of evil and suffering that led Dr. Ehrman to totally reject Christianity. He states that the facts of scripture do not match with the hard facts of life. Given all the suffering and pain in the world, the God of goodness and love that Bible proclaims simply does not exist.10

Now that we’ve looked at the reasons for Dr. Ehrman’s presuppositions about the bible, in the next two articles Dr. Ehrman’s agnosticism will be answered. Then Dr. Ehrman’s atheism concerning the God of the Bible will be examined: Can he justify his atheism concerning the God of the Bible based on the suffering and pain in the world?

1 Bart Ehrman Misquoting Jesus 1,2
2 Ibid 4
3 Ibid.5
4 Ibid. 5,6
5 Ibid. 7,10
6 Ibid 7
7 Ibid. 9
8 Ibid. 9-11
9 Ibid. 12
10 Bart Ehrman, God’s Problem 3

Review of “What We Talk About When We Talk About God” (Part 2)

August 21st, 2013

First Things First

All good biblical theology stems from a proper Biblical understanding of the nature of God. An incorrect view of the God’s nature will inevitably skew one’s view of Christ, the Holy Spirit, and the nature of salvation. When reading Bell’s new book “What we Talk About When We Talk About God”, it becomes clear that Rob Bell did not begin with a proper view of God’s nature. Rob Bell’s “god’, rather than the personal and loving God of the Bible, sounds more like the impersonal “force” professed by Christian Science founder Mary Baker Eddy or the undefinable “consciences-bliss” called the Brahman in Hinduism.

Rob Bell begins his book by correctly citing famous physicists and astronomers such as Hubble, Penzias, Wilson and Einstein, whose research suggests that the universe began some time in the distant past with an event called the “Big Bang”. Other researchers, like Dr. Alexander Vilankin, built upon this foundation to prove that any universe which is expanding must have had a beginning. Thus, despite decades of attempts to prove the contrary, according to the most popular model, the universe is not eternal. The universe had a beginning.

The Solar SystemBell rightly claims that the universe, if it had a beginning, needs a cause; It didn’t just pop into being from nothing. Here he appeals to what is called the Kalaam cosmological argument. However, Bell seems to indicate that the external cause of the universe is an impersonal force we call God. To make this point, Bell constantly uses words such as “energy”, “force”, and “electricity” in describing God. (Bell Talk/God 19,109)

At this point, I think it’s worth offering evidence for a personal Creator. What does science tell us about the nature of the universe? Does this suggest a personal creator or an impersonal force? What is the evidence?

For starters, no matter what our belief about the origins of the universe, science offers us several reasons to believe that there is a creator of the universe. This creator, what Aristotle called the Prime Mover, must be intelligent, must not exist in time or space, must have unimaginable power, and should be omnipresent throughout creation. Indeed, it should be obvious that if the first cause chose to create the universe, it must be a personal being with the ability to make decisions.

The Anthropic Principle

Since we believe the universe was designed by a creator, what evidence is there to support this belief? When astronomers and astrophysicists gaze at the universe, which they do in every conceivable spectrum, what do the galaxies, our solar system, and the earth tell them about our universe? Everywhere they look, the sky speaks clearly that our universe shouldn’t exist like it does. It is so well balanced in so many ways that it appears to be designed. This is called the “anthropic principle”. And any evidence for intelligent design indicates an intelligent designer.

For example, life existing on earth is only possible because hundreds of perfectly balanced physical laws and universal constants maintain the kind of order necessary for stars and planets to exist. Given that, in order life like our own to exist, our sun needs to be stable and our planet just the right distance from the sun. That life would survive long without liquid water or protection from cosmic rays or the suns powerful rays.

In other words, many researchers readily admit that there appears to be a grand control board for the universe. All the dials on this board are perfectly set, within a very narrow range, for life to exist on earth. If any one of these grand dials for life were off just a little, one way or the other, life on earth would not be possible. This is good evidence that there is a “someone”, an infinitely intelligent someone, who set the dials.

Here are some other examples.

Let’s consider the universe itself. Just like with life, certain “dials” must be set perfectly for the universe to continue to exist. Bell correctly states the premise of the “Standard Model” that at the moment of the Big Bang, the universe came into existence. Since then, it has been in a state of expansion. If we assume this model, it is pretty amazing that the “dial” which controls the rate of expansion is perfectly set to keep a stable and life permitting universe in existence.

Big BangT imelineIf the rate of this universal expansion were larger, according to the Standard Model of stellar evolution, no galaxies could have formed. Without galaxies, our sun wouldn’t have a friendly and protected environment to exist in. In turn, the safety necessary for life to exist would be absent. On the other hand, if this expansion were smaller, according to the Standard Model, the entire universe would collapse back in on itself. Stars wouldn’t form, planets wouldn’t be warmed by their heat, liquid water wouldn’t be possible, and no life would exist in the universe.

As a matter of fact, if the distance between the millions of visible stars in our galaxy were much larger or smaller, the existence of planets, including the earth, would not even be possible. (Ross Creator/Cosmos 154-157) According to the Standard Model, the size, expansion rate, and stellar distances in our universe are just right for life here on earth.

A second example is the design of our galaxy and solar system. Examining our galactic neighborhood, we discover that many more of the grand dials for life have been perfectly set. The rotation on its axis and the tilt of the earth are all perfectly set to provide even heating and seasons, something necessary for human life to exist. The amount of oxygen and nitrogen in the atmosphere and in the crust is in just the right proportions for human life to exist on the earth. There are many more of these “dials of life” that have seen set with pin point accuracy for life to occur. If you believe the Big Bang happened, is it hard to imagine that some super intelligent being is behind it? (Ross Creator/Cosmos 190-193)

Is God The Creator?

Considering the circumstantial evidence science provides, as Christians, can we trust that this evidence points to the infinite, Personal Creator the Bible writes about. Does our God meet the requirements? Is the God of the Bible a super intelligent, super powerful being who is also personal? Does God exist outside of time and space so as to be able to cause it to exist?

Jesus TeachesGod is able to remember things. When we come to Him forgiveness, He chooses not to hold our sins against anymore. He no longer remembers our sins. (Isaiah 43:25, Psalms 79:8 and Jeremiah 31:20) God is able to speak to Man concerning Himself. (Isaiah 42:8, Isaiah 43:10-13) God is able to see what people do on earth. He heard the cries of his people Israel enslaved in Egypt. (Exodus 2:24) He heard his own people, whom he had set free from Egypt, later complaining against Him in the desert. (Numbers 11:1) God has the ability to know things, such as those who are his children and those who are not. (2 Timothy 2:19) God is a bodiless infinite Personal Spirit (John 4:24) (Martin Kingdom of the Cults 146-149)

Wrong Doctrine, Wrong Beliefs

Rob Bell’s God, the impersonal “force” or “energy” he writes about, does not sound anything like the God of the Bible. As stated at the beginning of this article, if one starts out with a false view of the nature of God, as Rob Bell has, this will trickle down into other areas of Christian Doctrine.

For example, rather than being clear about Jesus being God incarnate, Rob Bell seems to be very vague (at best) when describing of the incarnation of God. In his current book, Bell seems to use biblical terms to describe the incarnation. He states that Jesus is “the divine and the human existing in the same Body” (God/Talk 131) Yet there are other statements in his previous book “Love Wins” that seem to indicate that Bell believes that the impersonal force that He calls God became Flesh in Jesus (Love Wins 144-146) This is not the Biblical doctrine of the Incarnation.

The Biblical doctrine states that there is one God in three Persons. It was the second person of the Godhead who took on flesh and became a Man for our salvation. It is only a short step from saying that this generic impersonal force was incarnated in Jesus to saying that this generic impersonal force was also incarnated in the founders of all the other world religions.

Seattle Multifaith PanelBell seems to do this implicitly while Bishop Spong does so explicitly. Yet in this day and age, it seems this is the politically correct thing to do. I assume he doesn’t want anyone to get offended. Following this logic, some believe today that the founders of all the major world religions are all equally valid and in some way express God to humanity.

When Rob Bell appeared on the interfaith faith panel in Seattle in 2008, he offered no comments nor defense on the uniqueness of Jesus Christ. Sitting in the presence of leaders of other world religions, this spoke volumes about his beliefs. You know something is seriously wrong with a pastor when the very words of Christ are set aside for political correctness.

Conclusion

In this second article, we have covered the unique nature of the God of the Bible as Creator. He is a Personal Being rather than an impersonal force, able to create a universe full or miracles and made just right for human life.

Despite claims Bell makes about the nature of god, only the God of the Bible is truly able to love all human beings. This Love was shown in Him personally becoming a Man, dying on the Cross and rising from the Dead on the third day to give us eternal life. This love is manifest to everyone in creation.

The god of Rob Bell might sound more tolerant and less judgmental than the traditional God of the Bible, but this “god” did not go extraordinary lengths in order to redeem Man from sin and death. His god is impotent to save.

Review of “What We Talk About When We Talk About God” (Part 1)

August 10th, 2013

THE DISTURBING SIMILARITIES BETWEEN ROB BELL’S NEW BOOK AND BISHOP JOHN SHELBY SPONG

It’s been two years since Rob Bell published his first real controversial book entitled “Love Wins”. In it, Bell set out to challenge the traditional view of Hell among Christians. For Evangelicals, it sparked months of discussion and debate. What followed the confusion was a long series of stinging and harsh rebukes from eminent theologians.

Yet as thought provoking as that book was, Rob Bell is not one to shrink from controversy. In March of 2013, Rob Bell introduced his newest book ”What We talk about When we talk about God.”

What We Talk about When We Talk about God CoverThis book introduces us to Bell’s vision for future of the Evangelical Church in America. Unfortunately, the theology of this imagined future looks a lot like that of a Biblical critic from the Jesus Seminar: Bishop John Shelby Spong. Well known for their skeptical view of the supernatural and the sayings of Jesus, the Jesus seminar holds many views seen a heresy by main stream Christian theologians. This is why so many find the similarities between Bell and Spong quite disturbing.

Has Rob Bell really decided to follow Spong’s false doctrine chapter and verse or did they come to these false doctrines as all men do: By doubting the God of the Bible. As Satan so cleverly began his deception in the Garden, “Has God really said … “

In this article we will look at these disturbing similarities between Bell and Spong chapter by chapter. Then in following articles, the errors of Bell’s newest book will be examined and refuted.

CHAPTER 1: HUM

The first chapter in Bell’s book is entitled “Hum”. True to form, Bell begins with an analogy; something easy for everyone to understand. He compares Oldsmobiles to our understanding of God. The idea is that the traditional concept of a personal theistic God, which most evangelicals hold to, is simply outdated. Like the Oldsmobile, it is an old, ugly, and ill suited relic from a different era. Our understanding of automotive technology has grown exponentially in the last 50 years. Cars have become better as a result. Why, asks Bell, haven’t our our beliefs done the same?

Bell goes on to cite several examples of people for whom the traditional understanding of God simply did not work. In response, Bell says that a new way of talking about God “is being birthed”. (Bell Talk/God 2,3, 5-8, 11) Here Bell echoes the beliefs of Jesus Seminar member Bishop John Shelby Spong. Spong has stated publicly that we need a new and improved Christianity; The one that has been handed down to us over the past 2,000 years is simply outdated. It doesn’t work in the modern, complex world that we live in today. (Spong Change or Die 29-31,40-42)

CHAPTER 2: OPEN

In the second chapter entitled “Open”, Bell attempts to use the latest scientific discoveries to downplay the idea of a personal, infinite God. He mentions such scientific celebrities as Hubble, Einstein, Penzias, and Wilson who have apparently produced evidence to show that God is an impersonal force rather than an infinite personal being. (Bell talk/God-24-63) This “impersonal force” creates, pervades and sustains the world. (Bell talk/God—46-48, 62-63)

Why Christianity Must Change or DieThus, Bell believes it is counter productive to show that a personal, infinite God exists. It goes against all the evidence revealing to us a God which ”surrounds us, courses through our veins and lights up the sky here, right now”. (Bell talk/God 79)

Similarly, Bishop Spong writes about key events in the history of science which justify his claim that a personal, infinite being simply does not fit what we know of the universe. Specifically, he mentions 8 figures in the history of science whose findings show that a personal, infinite God does not exists. Rather … it’s a force. (Spong Change or Die 31-40)

CHAPTER 3: BOTH

In his third chapter, entitled “Both”, Bell asserts that all language is inadequate when talking about God. Language can be helpful but any descriptive words about God is not God. (Bell talk/god 90-91) Bishop Spong says the same thing. He writes that all human language about God is inadequate and doesn’t do God justice in describing Him. (Spong New Christianity/New World—60-63)

CHAPTER 4: WITH

The heart of Bell’s book is found in chapter 4, entitled “With”. In this chapter, he deals with the nature of God.

In his writing, Bell consistently uses impersonal terms to describe God. For Bell, it seems that God is an ”it” rather than a “Who”. He already hinted at this impersonal concept of God in chapter 1. (Bell talk/god 18) In this chapter, he begins to give the reader further descriptions of his concept of this impersonal “it”. (Bell talk/god-103)

In addition to his constant use of the word “it” when describing God, Bell also uses the Jewish word for “spirit”, ruach. In this way, he attempts to connect the Old Testament God with this impersonal entity. (Bell talk/god 105-110) Bell also uses impersonal terms such as “energy,” “the force”, “the power” (Bell Talk/God 106,108) Oddly, even while explaining how God is an impersonal force that, Bell denies pantheism, which asserts that God is an impersonal power, a force which is identical with the universe. (Bell Talk/God 109/117)

To no surprise, Bishop Spong also uses some of the same impersonal wording for God ( “it” “force” and “energy”). In his Sunday School class in New Jersey, Bishop Spong writes how members of his class speak about God in impersonal terms. (Spong New Christianity/New World 65-66) Instead of the personal deity Christ spoke of as Father, Spong recommends Buddhism and other “eastern faith traditions” as ways to explore an impersonal understanding of God. (Spong Change or Die 57)

Both Bell and Bishop Spong use the Hebrew word for spirit, ruach, to refer to God. Both try to connect the impersonal force they describe to the God of the Hebrews with it. (Spong Change or die—60) As evidence, both Bell and Spong cite liberal Protestant theologian, Paul Tillich, who also taught that God is an impersonal force. (Spong Change or Die-64-70)

CHAPTER 5: FOR

In his fifth chapter, entitled “For”, Bell gives his understanding of the Christian doctrine of the incarnation. Bell seems to affirm the incarnation, but is this Jesus the Incarnation of an impersonal force or a personal Being. Is Jesus the second person of the Triune God or not? Bell offered little information on his view of the incarnation in his previous book ”Love Wins.” Instead, Bell asserts that Jesus is the incarnation of impersonal energy, a spark, the electricity that created the universe. (Bell Love Wins 144-147, 159)

CHAPTER 6: AHEAD

In chapter 6, Bell starts giving this impersonal force some personality. God is pulling humanity forward, away from dogma and exclusiviRob Bellsm, and towards greater love, tolerance and understanding. Bell offers two examples of how he believes God is moving humanity ahead: religious pluralism and gay marriage.

Bell shares a story about his trip to an interfaith conference in Seattle in 2008. While there, he joined a panel which included the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Tutu, Pastor Mark Driscoll, as well as other religious leaders. Attendees included leaders and representatives from Islam, Hinduism, Zen Buddhism, Judaism and several Christian denominations. While there, Bell noticed a group Christians outside protesting the interfaith conference. This bothered him. He writes, “God was there, at that event, as God has always been, present with all of humanity…” (Bell Talk? God 155)

Bell seems to be saying that God moving us ahead by helping Evangelicals see how all religions are simply different paths to Him. Christians need to move on from stodgy, Evangelical traditions and see the real God of this universe; Who apparently is a universalist. Christians need to rid themselves of the Oldsmobile understanding of God. The exclusive claims made by Jesus can be very offensive to people in other religions. In fact, it is “unloving” to insist that Jesus is the only way.

At this point, it seems pretty clear that Bell is following Bishop Spong down a road towards religious pluralism. Spong affirms the “truth” of all religions when he states that the impersonal ground of being is found not only in Jesus, but also in Buddha, Mohammed, and in many other spiritual beliefs. (Spong New Christianity/New World—137-146)

Since the publication of his latest book, Rob Bell has come out in favor of gay marriage. In recent interviews, Bell has made the following statements:

– “I believe God [is] pulling us ahead into greater and greater affirmation and acceptance of our gay brothers and sisters and pastors and friends and neighbors and coworkers,”

– “I am for fidelity. I am for love. Whether it’s a man and a woman, a woman and a woman, a man and a man. I think the ship has sailed, and I think that the church needs to just … this is the world that we are living in and we need to affirm people wherever they are,”

– “I think it’s time for the church to acknowledge that we have brothers and sisters who are gay and want to share their life with someone,”

– “This is a part of life in the modern world and that’s how it is. And that cultural consciousness has shifted, and this is how the world is and that what’s happening for a lot of people, is that they want nothing to do with God and Jesus because they can’t see beyond that particular issue.”

All four statements are found online at Christian Post news.

Needless to day, Bishop Spong has made many similar statements throughout his writings.

In conclusion, let it be remembered that both Rob Bell and Bishop Spong have given us a complete systematic theology of false doctrine.

In the next article, the theological errors of each of the main chapters of Bell’s latest book will be examined and refuted.