Bishop John Shelby Spong leads the 2:00 pm audiences through a week-long conversation based on his newest book: Eternal Life: A New Vision -- Beyond Religion, Beyond Theism, Beyond Heaven and Hell.
This week having been inspired by the Eileen and Warren Martin Lectureship Fund for Emerging Studies in Bible and Theology, Jack Spong in his unique style makes accessible to the ordinary layperson emerging understandings within contemporary theology, and offers new ways in which to engage with traditional concepts.
Bishop John Shelby Spong
John Shelby Spong, whose books have sold more than a million copies, was bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark for 24 years before his retirement in 2001. Acclaimed as a teaching bishop who makes contemporary theology accessible to the ordinary layperson, he is considered the champion of an inclusive faith, both inside and outside the Christian church. In one of his recent books, The Sins of Scripture: Exposing the Bible's Texts of Hate to Discover the God of Love (2005), Bishop Spong sought to introduce readers to a new way to engage the holy book of the Judeo-Christian tradition. A committed Christian who has spent a lifetime studying the Bible and whose life has been deeply shaped by it, Bishop Spong says that he is a believer who knows and loves the Bible deeply, but who recognizes that parts of it have been used to undergird prejudices and to mask violence.
A visiting lecturer at Harvard and at universities and churches worldwide, Bishop Spong delivers more than 200 public lectures each year to standing-room-only crowds. He was previously a 2:00 pm Lecturer of the Week at Chautauqua in 2000. His bestselling books include Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism, A New Christianity for a New World, Why Christianity Must Change or Die, and Here I Stand. His extensive media appearances include a profile segment on "60 Minutes" as well as appearances on "Good Morning America," "Fox News Live," "Politically Incorrect," "Larry King Live," "The O'Reilly Factor," "William F. Buckley's Firing Line," and "Extra." His newest book is Eternal Life: A New Vision - Beyond Religion, Beyond Theism, Beyond Heaven and Hell.
Religion stemming from the teachings of Jesus in the 1st century AD. Its sacred scripture is the Bible, particularly the New Testament. Its principal tenets are that Jesus is the Son of God (the second person of the Holy Trinity), that God's love for the world is the essential component of his being, and that Jesus died to redeem humankind. Christianity was originally a movement of Jews who accepted Jesus as the messiah, but the movement quickly became predominantly Gentile. The early church was shaped by St. Paul and other Christian missionaries and theologians; it was persecuted under the Roman Empire but supported by Constantine I, the first Christian emperor. In medieval and early modern Europe, Christian thinkers such as St. Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, and Martin Luther contributed to the growth of Christian theology, and beginning in the 15th century missionaries spread the faith throughout much of the world. The major divisions of Christianity are Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, and Protestantism. Nearly all Christian churches have an ordained clergy, members of which are typically though not universally male. Members of the clergy lead group worship services and are viewed as intermediaries between the laity and the divine in some churches. Most Christian churches administer two sacraments, baptism and the Eucharist. In the early 21st century there were more than two billion adherents of Christianity throughout the world, found on all continents.