My Take: The 3 biggest biblical misconceptions
The Bible presents us with an evolving story, writes John Shelby Spong.
December 29th, 2011
09:10 AM ET

My Take: The 3 biggest biblical misconceptions

Editor’s note: John Shelby Spong, a former Episcopal bishop of Newark, New Jersey, is author of "Re-Claiming the Bible for a Non-Religious World."

By John Shelby Spong, Special to CNN

The Bible is both a reservoir of spiritual insight and a cultural icon to which lip service is still paid in the Western world. Yet when the Bible is talked about in public by both believers and critics, it becomes clear that misconceptions abound.

To me, three misconceptions stand out and serve to make the Bible hard to comprehend.

First, people assume the Bible accurately reflects history. That is absolutely not so, and every biblical scholar recognizes it.

The facts are that Abraham, the biblically acknowledged founding father of the Jewish people, whose story forms the earliest content of the Bible, died about 900 years before the first story of Abraham was written in the Old Testament.

Actually, that's not in the Bible

Can a defining tribal narrative that is passed on orally for 45 generations ever be regarded as history, at least as history is understood today?

Moses, the religious genius who put his stamp on the religion of the Old Testament more powerfully than any other figure, died about 300 years before the first story of Moses entered the written form we call Holy Scripture.

This means that everything we know about Moses in the Bible had to have passed orally through about 15 generations before achieving written form. Do stories of heroic figures not grow, experience magnifying tendencies and become surrounded by interpretive mythology as the years roll by?

My Take: Bible condemns a lot, so why focus on homosexuality?

Jesus of Nazareth, according to our best research, lived between the years 4 B.C. and A.D. 30. Yet all of the gospels were written between the years 70 to 100 A.D., or 40 to 70 years after his crucifixion, and they were written in Greek, a language that neither Jesus nor any of his disciples spoke or were able to write.

Are the gospels then capable of being effective guides to history? If we line up the gospels in the time sequence in which they were written - that is, with Mark first, followed by Matthew, then by Luke and ending with John - we can see exactly how the story expanded between the years 70 and 100.

For example, miracles do not get attached to the memory of Jesus story until the eighth decade. The miraculous birth of Jesus is a ninth-decade addition; the story of Jesus ascending into heaven is a 10th-decade narrative.

In the first gospel, Mark, the risen Christ appears physically to no one, but by the time we come to the last gospel, John, Thomas is invited to feel the nail prints in Christ’s hands and feet and the spear wound in his side.

Perhaps the most telling witness against the claim of accurate history for the Bible comes when we read the earliest narrative of the crucifixion found in Mark’s gospel and discover that it is not based on eyewitness testimony at all.

My Take: Yes, the Bible really condemns homosexuality

Instead, it’s an interpretive account designed to conform the story of Jesus’ death to the messianic yearnings of the Hebrew Scriptures, including Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53.

The Bible interprets life from its particular perspective; it does not record in a factual way the human journey through history.

The second major misconception comes from the distorting claim that the Bible is in any literal sense “the word of God.” Only someone who has never read the Bible could make such a claim. The Bible portrays God as hating the Egyptians, stopping the sun in the sky to allow more daylight to enable Joshua to kill more Amorites and ordering King Saul to commit genocide against the Amalekites.

Can these acts of immorality ever be called “the word of God”? The book of Psalms promises happiness to the defeated and exiled Jews only when they can dash the heads of Babylonian children against the rocks! Is this “the word of God? What kind of God would that be?

The Bible, when read literally, calls for the execution of children who are willfully disobedient to their parents, for those who worship false gods, for those who commit adultery, for homosexual persons and for any man who has sex with his mother-in-law, just to name a few.

The Bible exhorts slaves to be obedient to their masters and wives to be obedient to their husbands. Over the centuries, texts like these, taken from the Bible and interpreted literally, have been used as powerful and evil weapons to support killing prejudices and to justify the cruelest kind of inhumanity.

The third major misconception is that biblical truth is somehow static and thus unchanging. Instead, the Bible presents us with an evolutionary story, and in those evolving patterns, the permanent value of the Bible is ultimately revealed.

It was a long road for human beings and human values to travel between the tribal deity found in the book of Exodus, who orders the death of the firstborn male in every Egyptian household on the night of the Passover, until we reach an understanding of God who commands us to love our enemies.

The transition moments on this journey can be studied easily. It was the prophet named Hosea, writing in the eighth century B.C., who changed God’s name to love. It was the prophet named Amos who changed God’s name to justice. It was the prophet we call Jonah who taught us that the love of God is not bounded by the limits of our own ability to love.

It was the prophet Micah who understood that beautiful religious rituals and even lavish sacrifices were not the things that worship requires, but rather “to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with your God.” It was the prophet we call Malachi, writing in the fifth century B.C., who finally saw God as a universal experience, transcending all national and tribal boundaries.

One has only to look at Christian history to see why these misconceptions are dangerous. They have fed religious persecution and religious wars. They have fueled racism, anti-female biases, anti-Semitism and homophobia.They have fought against science and the explosion of knowledge.

The ultimate meaning of the Bible escapes human limits and calls us to a recognition that every life is holy, every life is loved, and every life is called to be all that that life is capable of being. The Bible is, thus, not about religion at all but about becoming deeply and fully human. It issues the invitation to live fully, to love wastefully and to have the courage to be our most complete selves.

That is why I treasure this book and why I struggle to reclaim its essential message for our increasingly non-religious world.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of John Shelby Spong.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Bible • Christianity • Opinion

soundoff (6,068 Responses)
  1. CoCoDol52

    Mr. Croffie, It is just a coincident that I use the name Coco, every since I was 18, I adopted it as a play name, and I keep telling you that I am in the US, why do you insist on me being in China, I was planning on visiting there soon, but that's all. I am a Hebrew so called black person ok.

    February 6, 2012 at 6:44 am |
    • Nii Croffie

      that wud explain some bad english. what state?

      February 6, 2012 at 6:55 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      "that wud explain some bad english."

      wow, pot meet kettle!!!

      wud is not an English word...I believe the correct word would be 'would' and English should always be capitalized.

      This Nii person claims to be a person of belief but yet is quite the hypocrite and very judgmental...I always thought it was taught in the book of fables not judge lest ye be judged or does that only apply to those of us who don't follow the fairy tale?

      February 6, 2012 at 7:01 am |
    • Mirosal

      cee wut reli-jus skoolz dun lern ya? 🙂

      February 6, 2012 at 7:08 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      @mirosal: good morning my friend, apparently being a man of the delusion doesn't mean you need to be able to spell....just lie. Hell, I'm one handed and the wrong hand at that and I still spell better than this person but then again that might just be evidence that Atheist's are of higher intelligence. 🙂

      February 6, 2012 at 7:29 am |
    • Mirosal

      and hello to you m'lady 🙂 .. why do you think we're Atheists? lol ... check out the thread on "the x-tian abolition" .. it's going to get interesting.

      February 6, 2012 at 7:34 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      @mirosal: I will check it out but am not sure of how much I will be on here today...not being able to use my good hand is putting strain on the one hand I have to use and the pain is starting there :-(. Thankfully AtheistSteve has been a gem about this. However, checking that comment section out may help...humor is good for the heart. 🙂

      February 6, 2012 at 7:41 am |
  2. CoCoDol52

    Nii Croffie, If you would truly read in the scripture Malachi 3v16, when YHWH introduces this book of (all the prophetic books) the prophets and priest put it all together from the order of YHWH to us then you would see that this book was left to the people who were afraid that all the chosen children of Judah of Israel Jerusalem were going astray leaving YHWH, loosing their heritage in the times of Nehemiah who was governor, and Malachi was the prophet at this same time in Malachi 1v6v14, where YHWH tells the people through His prophet Malachi that they are snuffing Him as the great King by bringing Him crippled and blind offerings, and to go and offer these to their governor, and it was Nehemiah. The people were so lost and mislead by idols and wrong doings that they had even forgotten their own Hebrew languages in this time in Nehemiah 13. YHWH then said in Malachi 3v16 that He will leave us the people this book, what they are trying to call the OT, for us to all REMEMBER Him, and all that He has done for us, and to not change any of His Law. In Exodus 32v31-34, Moses speaks to YHWH about this book of life of those who are written as doing righteously is with YHWH, and YHWH says He blots out of His book whom ever sins against Him speaking about the people at that time to Moses. Moses could not take on the sins of the people is what YHWH tells him everyone is responsible for their own righteousness, said in Ezekiel 14v14, will teach us, and in Jeremiah 31v30. YHWH has not changed this as His Word for as He tells us He changes Not in Malachi 3v6.

    February 6, 2012 at 6:27 am |
  3. CoCoDol52

    Sis, hey that's funny, LOL, but I'm sorry about your sister, I pray for you, and your family the best, and many good days ahead, YHWH Bless.

    February 5, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
    • Nii Croffie

      CoCo u use a popular Chinese nickname for girls. Ur English is poor and comprehension weak. then u use goodnight at high noon in US n night in China. Where r u from?

      February 6, 2012 at 5:02 am |
    • Nii Croffie

      @ Sis I admire ur bold arrogance and pride. Why do u bother to insult me if u know I am sick. I have seen worse anyway. Emotional immaturity will plague the mind which has the delusion that it is rational. I know I am emotional therefore I focus on my EQ and I think as a result.

      February 6, 2012 at 6:07 am |
    • Nii Croffie

      CoCo u still cannot read the Bible without verses, can you? It does not impress me. It also forces u to see the small picture without the big picture.

      February 6, 2012 at 7:03 am |
  4. CoCoDol52

    Nii Croffie, There should not be any 3 branches of this religion, they are all idolatry, acording to the Heavenly Creator YHWH, in Deut. 4, and Deut.32v17,, and so is Islam, a rock indeed, and none are not of YHWH, and His Law of life, and right, or either they add idols into it for instance, there is nothing in the book of life the OT, that talks about haneka nor the star of david, these are man made, as such is the crucifix all pagan, they are not mentioned in the OT by YHWH, none. YHWH the only Savior of righteousness, and peace, hides nothing from us. Isaiah 49v26. And I did the research, and it was with the Encyclopedia of the Khazars, they are jews, their king was Bulan, and he incorporated the Judaism with the synagogues around 800BC, and later on he extended into Christianity, or whatever he thought would get them into gain. Where is your proof that none of the Khazars are apostels, what I'm suppose to take your word for it, yeah right. Palestinians are Hebrews, and saying they are Arabs is that spin you people put on it. But as I said we all are mingled a bit anyway, and only YHWH has the plan of this controversy in Isaiah 34v8. You say Be Careful, is this a threat? They already won't let me tell about the ows, here what's up with that? Are you trying to confuse jews with hebrews for there is a huge difference this is why they took Hebrew Israelis out of the book of life, the so called OT, and replaced it with jews hiding the true ISRAEL in Deut. 28v15-68. Jews are from Esau, Edom Amalek Israelis, in Exodus 17v14-16, and Psalms 83, and Hebrew Israelis are from Jacob the 12 sons.

    February 5, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
    • Nii Croffie

      CoCo why wud I threaten U? I said check ur research against Wikipedia to get an independent perspective. I check mine too. How did Palestinians become Hebrews? Please be careful some of ur info is off. Some are just wrong. I love u as myself. I hope u can also love me as yourself.

      February 6, 2012 at 4:44 am |
    • Nii Croffie

      You call Scripture the Book of Life or the Book of Remembrance which it is not. The Book of Life is a record of people granted eternal life by YHWH. The Book of Remembrance is the book which remembers Good Deeds of Holy Men. They are both with YHWH.

      February 6, 2012 at 4:50 am |
  5. CoCoDol52

    Hey there blocked out cant handle truth hmmmm

    February 5, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
  6. CoCoDol52

    awasis, and Powersoak, cute, but best name for laudry day, lol, awasis you go, this is so true, no chrisitian know the truth of the name of YHWH, but Powersoak, yes these replacement names as yahweh, and yhvh, are for pronunciation purposes for those who have difficulties in saying YHWH. If many would get out of those religions, and idolatry, they would know the truth, and spirituality of YHWH as He says for us to do now these are not my words in Deut.32v17.

    February 5, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
  7. CoCoDol52

    Chris, momnoya, and studdmuffins, Chris I agree, there truly was a Solomon, a David and the 12 tribes of Jacob, now what had been written of Solomon's ideology of his views on life, as you say is depicted as being a story or maybe truth if you will, give and take, but a good analysis on how life can be for another person, and to pass on the advice to others who may find themselves in these kinds of situations in their life, are good for us. Changes I don't agree with for YHWH says He changes Not in Malachi 3v6, although life has it own notions, and preconceptions, as you say differently for everyone, this I do agreewith. Momnoya, as studdmuffins says, there has been plenty of artifacts, and archeologies to prove there was history of cultures or origin races as in the earliest piece of Hebrew writing such as the Gezer Calendar dated 900BC and other facts. But even if these stories in the book of remembrance in Malachi 3v16 the OT, are not true, they do set an excellent example of right ,and wrong, and consequences for people to follow and learn by.

    February 5, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
  8. CoCoDol52

    Nii Croffie, Here we go, why do you insist on thinking you know me, I am not in the phillipines nor china, where do you get these twist of double talk from? I specifically told you that I was in the US. And of course we are all suppose to have a true relationship with YHWH, but in reality people have been divided, and there is in difference, and among other untruths. What many call having the spirit of YHWH the Creator, is only when its convenient for them today, and this is taught through the division of Religions, forms of in difference and from our society as a whole for mankind. I do not claim to have the ethnology of those being Hebrew or jews, but YHWH does, for He knows all, and He prophesied it in Deut. 28v15-68, of the chosen people who were scatter to the four corners of the earth for their iniquities, and transgressions (the curses after the blessing, for leaving YHWH for idols, and wrong doing, in Deut.30). If one does not fit this profile in Deut.28, then you are 'NOT' the chosen son. and firstborn of the Hebrew Strong One YHWH in Exodus 4v22,23, and this is the Word of YHWH not mine. And His chosen the (descendants), are all over the world today along with the acceptance of all other nations to be with YHWH. Yes many people are mingled today, but it still has no bearing on the truth of what YHWH knows. If you were reading in the truth then, you would know, and understand this. The truth is written by YHWH through His true prophets from Genesis – Malachi in the true name of this book called the book of remembrance, the so called OT. YHWH does nothing without His prophets or servants in Amos 3v7, and in Duet.18v15-22, He teaches us this, and also to remember that His Word never changes in Malachi 3v6. Now you can squeeze, and twist, and double talk all you need to to get around the scriptures of truth this is your choice. But this is all said and done by the Almighty Creator YHWH not my words but His Word.

    February 5, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • Nii Croffie

      Now ur English is poor, ur comprehension weak and u tell me goodnight in the middle of the afternoon in US and at night in China. CoCo I am an engineer n I'm not stupid.

      February 6, 2012 at 4:56 am |
  9. CoCoDol52

    trainwreck, This is so right that YHWH the Heavenly Creator is the perfection of the imperfect son of man. To give us His glory to improve ourselves through life, and treat each other with the respect, and the righteousness of this glory we have been given. For all of mankind no matter the skin no indifference, no greed, no hate, or poverty between us. To just do, to live, and play, working, and giving, and most of all making Life the greatest priority in our world. This is the spirituality of YHWH, and His love for us all, and is why He truly ask for us all to return to Him in Isaiah 44v22, and in Malachi 3v7. And to do what is our life the law of righteousness to improve life as was prophesied in Deut. 32v45-47.

    February 5, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
  10. Dan

    You propose three poorly understood truths about the Bible: (1) the Bible does not accurately reflect history; (2) the Bible is not truly the Word of God; and (3) the "meaning" of the Bible changes with culture and time. I agree with each completely.

    However, the answer to the obvious question which remains after realizing these three claims as truth is a point upon which we apparently differ. You feel that the Bible is still a useful tool as a spiritual guide; that it continues to offer you a link to a divine will. I do not - and I cannot see how you can after making these claims.

    February 5, 2012 at 10:41 am |
    • Chris

      Yeah I agree with Dan's conclusion, if these are your claims why say in the last few sentences that it is useful?

      The Episcopal denomination, who apparently the writer is no longer a part of, seems to have has lost its center, it looks to the Bible to confirm its beliefs, instead of looking to the Bible to guide its beliefs.

      Unlike Dan, I disagree with all three of these premises. After all, if the Bible is not rooted in actual history then it has no value. Any Historian or Biblical scholar would acknowledge that it is overwhelmingly accurate historically...with this caveat: it is not primarily a book of History, but a book whose stories are written within the context of real history. There really was an actual King named Solomon...but the Bible spends its time talking about his wisdom and his half-heartedness. Its primary purpose is to give the perspective of God, not the perspective of History.
      Hence, the concept that it is the word of God. "In the Eyes of the Lord" plasters 1 and 2 Kings in case the reader has a question as to the bias of the text. It is history, but history through the lens of God.

      As for the reading of it changing over time...of course! Whoever reads anything brings with them their own experiences, preconceived notions, and view of the world. However, if the Bible has no value in reshaping these things then we are simply shooting an arrow, then finding where it lands and painting a bulls-eye around it. The Bible has done much more shaping of culture then culture has done reshaping of the Bible. Strike three.

      February 5, 2012 at 11:19 am |
    • momoya


      The bible fails horribly as a history book, and it makes all sorts of claims that are just wrong, outright. Any moderately intelligent human with a few history books can see this plainly. Its origin claims are ridiculous, too, and there's good reason to disbelieve them because they sound like the "fairy tales" of the surrounding cultures in the time period they were conceived and written.

      If you want to get a charge out of some of the stories, that's nifty, but don't pretend that archeology and history show the accuracy of the bible; they do the opposite. Those who study the bible in any sort of relevant context (not in a vacuum) understand its limitations in regards to science and history.

      February 5, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • studdmuffins

      And yet archaeological discoveries are made all the time which support various passages. 100% accurate? Certainly not. But we're not talking about a history book. We're talking about a spiritual guide to which many discoveries are made which support the age old tales. Remember what he said, they are told in the context of the times.

      February 5, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • momoya


      The bible's plethora of mistakes demand its spiritual claims be suspected past reason. Or, the bible has too many verifiable mistakes to be taken seriously on its non-verifiable claims.

      February 5, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
    • Believer

      Momoya could you show us an example of the Bible being outright wrong with a source to show us the evidence, other than the origins which can neither be proven or disproven?

      February 6, 2012 at 3:27 am |
  11. Anya Khan

    Please notice that he is a FORMER Episcopal priest, as in "he hates them now". I don't need a hater to help me decide on my relationship with G*d.

    February 5, 2012 at 8:46 am |
    • awasis

      Typical ignorant response of an ignorant person when presented with facts that they don't like. Go ahead and stick your head back up your rear end, you're the only ony that has to live in that dark hole.

      February 5, 2012 at 10:08 am |
    • trainwreck

      former as in retired, he served a full and acclaimed career, the hatred only flows towards him, he did not reject religion,

      February 5, 2012 at 10:27 am |
  12. FENDI

    Hey people, God,Lord are NOT names of anyperson (look it up in a dictionary; all of you smart people)
    YHWH is the Hebrew name for God. His name is JEHOVHA in English – Jehova in Spanish.
    Dont believe me, its in your bible – King James Version.
    The bible that, most christain use, even the Catholic church and yours.
    Look up Psalms 83:18 and Ex.6:3.
    The problem is that a lot of people dont READ the BIBLE.
    Their so stuck up in this ungodly world.
    So read the bible and dont let people like this priest tell us what the truth is.
    He doesnt even know himself. If he did, he would have said so in his comments.
    I will NOT REPLY after making my comment.
    God's name is JEHOVAH.
    NOW YOU KNOW, as it says in Psalm 83:18

    February 4, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
    • Nii Croffie

      Note that Jehovah is a Yiddish/German spelling of Yahweh.

      February 5, 2012 at 4:24 am |
    • awasis

      And what are your credentials? Do you even know what the meaning in Hebrew if each individual letter, YOD, HE, VAV, HE and what it means when put together? Can you tell me what the Name YHVH turns into when you add a S or Shen? Do you know where this letter should be added? I thought so. You know less then you think, just like most Christians.

      February 5, 2012 at 10:04 am |
    • Powersoak

      Actually the letters are not meant to be pronounced because they supposedly are the unutterable name of the Creator. If you tried to pronounce the Hebrew characters, which is almost impossible because they contain no vowels, the sound would be more like the sound of breathing in and out. "Jehova," like "Yahweh" is a Christian invention and not correct on many levels. Human beings should not presume to call the Creator of the Universe by name.

      February 5, 2012 at 11:32 am |
    • CoCoDol52

      FENDI, Jehovah, God, Lord, is not the name of YHWH, YHWH is the Hebrew, and name given in English letters. One must discern this book, there was a lot of rewriting in it as YHWH warns us in Micah 7v5. Yet, if one truly reads with more than the carnal eye you can absolutley see the truth. Js were not in existence until the 1500 to 1600s, so this is a transliteration from did you say Spanish? I thought is was German, Jehovah? Oh, well, regardless, its not His name, for the writers could not take out what YHWH wanted us to know for one, they were not that smart, and that was for us to know that in Ezekiel 36v22,23, He tells us of how His name is being profaned, and that He is not pleased with it, and what He will do about it.

      February 5, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
  13. Zipper666

    Why is CoCoDol frightened to write GOD, you know GOD, what's wrong with GOD?
    Why is the word GOD so scary?
    And she keeps quoting YHWH as "saying" this or that, when she means a human wrote down words and CLAIMED
    that YHWH told them to.
    That sure wouldn't be a valid defense in a court of law.
    In fact it's mighty close to "The Devil made me do it"

    February 4, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
    • CoCoDol52

      Zipper666, LOL, ...but really the truth is this, everywhere that you see Lord, LORD, or God, GOD, is where the hellenistic jewish roman writers of 200BCE, took out the true name of YHWH rewriting. God is not His name, and He tell us of this all through the book of remembrance the true name of the so called OT in Malachi 3v16. In the scriptue Ezekiel 36v22,23, this is one scripture where He tell us that His name has been profaned by the priest of then, and now, among the heathen. Now more so, because nothing has changed from when they first polluted His name until this day. Many elders, popes, and priest, of today do know that YHWH is His true name, but they still profane it for their own selfishness to keep the flocks coming for gain. Just like anyone who doesn't like to be called everything else but their real name, is the same way YHWH feels about it, its disrespectful especially for our Heavenly Creator, and King YHWH as He says in Malachi 1v14.

      February 4, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
  14. daniel

    So, did you guys hear about how OWS protesters threw condoms at Catholic School girls the other day? Of course not, it wouldn't be shown here for all of you to see.

    The Bible teaches that G_d is a G_d of love yet G_d is also a warrior G_d who takes action to defend His own. G_d does this many times by working through those who walk closely with Him.

    February 4, 2012 at 7:19 am |
    • Mirosal

      What's the matter? Is your 'god' too much of a p*ssy that it has to have others fight for it?

      February 4, 2012 at 7:21 am |
    • CoCoDol52

      I can't give a response to this post....hmmm. wonder why folks?

      February 4, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
    • Mirosal?

      Did you know that your pussy stinks?

      February 4, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  15. CoCoDol52



    February 3, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
    • Nii Croffie

      Cult talk

      February 3, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
    • CoCoDol52

      Nii Croffie, Why don't you stop trying to delude these people with saying 'cult' when you know YHWH is spiritual and righteous and of peace. Now you are suppose to be very learnt or you claim to be into the book of remembrance the so called Old Testament in Malachi 3v16, and yet you are going to try to appear as if you do not know what an EDOMITE is, shame on you. Like I said before, you know who I am, and I know who you are, you can fool these people, but I see you. In Genesis 25v30,34, this name Edom was the name given to Esau the twin brother of Jacob for his hatred of his birth right for it came with a heavy responsibility, and esau did not want it. And until this day his descendants still do not want it, they just want to do whatever they please, and they have been doing just that, and they have no allegiance to NOBODY, this is their way. And YHWH is their enemy in Psalms 83, and as YHWH has taught us that the Amalek Edom will be His enemy from generations to generation in Exodus 17v1-16. Now you know this, and you know exactly what a jew edomite is they are the descendants of esau, and are here today as jews, but No All Jews are Complicit to this robbery of the holy land Israel...stop misleading the flocks. If YHWH says for generations Amelek Edom will be His enemy, that means they are here today, and you know this too. Just like there are descendants from the seed of David the servant of YHWH, and you know this as well, they are here also today. mr. twist messianic jewish double talker. lol. You can keep putting that cult thing up, I guess it will fool many of the flocks, but you and I know what Isaiah 34 says about Idumea, and Edom this is prophesied for the future for them from YHWH of host. And people, flocks this is what YHWH has to say to you in Ezekiel 34, He loves you.

      February 4, 2012 at 12:24 am |
    • CoCoDol52

      Oopsy,...NOT ALL JEWS ARE COMPLICIT TO THIS ROBBREY of the holy lands Israel.

      February 4, 2012 at 12:28 am |
    • Nii Croffie

      more cult talk

      February 4, 2012 at 12:43 am |
    • Nii Croffie

      CoCo how did u come by this knowledge of Edomites being modern Jews. U see the NT is not just about Christianity but about how Christian Judaism n Pharisee/Rabbinic Judaism were born from 2nd Temple Judaism. YHWH are wrong. You are being led astray. If its your own then you've led yourself astray.

      February 4, 2012 at 4:09 am |
    • Nii Croffie

      That is why the number 1 complaint especially in the early days of Obama from Rev Pat Robertson was that Obama felt Messianic (Christian-little Christ). The r/nship was there n flowing. Such people do not lose their faith easily. He gained faith working for Christian Charities not politics.

      February 4, 2012 at 8:30 am |
    • CoCoDol52

      Nii Croffie, Do you even pay attention to what is said, why do I even waste my time?, ok, I'll say it again for you....NOT ALL JEWS ARE COMPLICIT TO THIS ROBBERY OF THE HOMELAND ISRAEL , The Homeland of our Creator YHWH, in Daniel 11v14, and Ezekiel 7v21,23. These scriptures show us what YHWHs intentions are for the robbers of His holy land Israel, from the robbers trying to establish the vision, they are not His chosen people. This is not meant for all jews, many are not involved. But the ones who know who they are, are not Israel. Personally I know they are a mixture of the (Khazars) jews, I researched it. The true chosen people from the day of coming out of Egypt at evening, until this day of their exile from YHWH from their iniquities are the Palestinians, (the chosen) among other nations, they, and many other (chosen people of (YHWH) have been scattered to from YHWH for their punishment leaving YHWH, and He will be bringing His true chosen home soon, this is a future prophecy. In Isaiah 49v7-22, this is a spiritual war as prophesied in Exodus 17v14-16, why do you think there has been so much controversy in Israel and the Palestinians. The US is supporting Israel in munition, and at least 3 billion a year. I watch Israelis News, and I follow the controversy of this robbery (imposed poverty), that is happening everyday to the chosen people all over the world especially Lebanon, and the Palestinians, while you are in denial. This is why YHWH also says in Isaiah 34v8, that He will address this controvery in His day of vengeance for Zion, this is a future prophecy, and is the day of YHWH to return (His Spirit), for the world. Get out of Religions, idolatry, and one can see the progress of the prophesies being fulfill this is real, not made up, look at the international news much is happening to our world, wake up people.

      February 4, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
    • CoCoDol52

      Croffie, This is why we have the word 'DESCENDANTS'....gosh! People look up their linage or descendants all of the time, where have you been? In one of your own post you thought that my grandma was a Jew, and I've told you before Hebrew Israelis decendants are from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob of the covenant and their (descendants), and are not jews, thats edom israelis descendants. If one believes in YHWH who many of you call God, then these are who, and many different nations are, we are His children on this earth. dang. Do people just go to church, and don't know that they are of the Creator YHWH, and our forefathers? Most believe that, we have originated from fish, the big bang,then we are from apes, and my 13yr.old son says that we are all just a huge bump (a germ) on the back of some kolosso man's neck. lol

      February 4, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • Nii Croffie

      CoCo there r three branches of Judaism-de Messianic/Nazarene(Christians), de Pharisee/Rabbinic, and de Khazarite/Khazar. The Khazar are not apostate. Most Israelis Jews r Rabbinic not Khazar. Palestinians r Arabs not Hebrews. Language is similar. I'm impressed by ur efforts but please be careful.

      February 5, 2012 at 4:17 am |
    • Nii Croffie

      CoCo I used irony I do not think ur Grandma is a Jew nor do i think u r now. Check ur sources well. They r either giving u a lot of wrong info or u r having a hard time understanding them. YHWH is a no no. Use Wikipedia or an established Encyclopedia. Don't think u know the truth but look for it.

      February 5, 2012 at 4:32 am |
  16. CoCoDol52

    momoya, This is what I just said in my post, that NO, people are not going to read or listen to the truth, they rather 'believe' in a thing than to know the truth. Isn't that what I just said? Dealing with truth is not easy. Nobody wants that, they want goblins demons, and devils dragons and hollywood.

    February 3, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
  17. Alice A

    This is a well-done essay, Bishop Spong. I appreciate you giving us some historical perspective. The next step is to wonder whether the Biblical Jesus even ever existed, as he appears to be that conglomeration of multiple other myths. As President Obama said at the Prayer Breakfast the other day, "I believe in God's command to love thy neighbor" (which isn't the same thing as believing in God...I believe in Superman's fight for truth, justice and the American Way, but I know he was fictional...)

    February 3, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
    • Nii Croffie

      U want Obama to be what u want just as U want God to be what u want so if He is not then u throw tantrums. Spoilt brat! Obama is a Christian. Stop reading ur thoughts into his. Secondly there is no way Bishop Spong can know wheder Christ was real. Was St Paul real or not? Den u know d ans 4 Jesus 2.

      February 3, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
    • Nii Croffie

      If someone believes in loving his neighbor as himself n practises it he is saved. It is the ultimate rule of Christian spirituality. In the teachings of God u r granted eternal life (not just life after death but a r/nship with God) for this. The mark of a true Saint. That is the significance.

      February 4, 2012 at 8:16 am |
    • Nii Croffie

      CoCo it is real simple u see! When u sit in China or Phillipines and claim u know the ethnology of the Hebrews more than they themselves do don't you think you are in a cult? LDS taught u similar things. Check out History of the Hebrews n Jews on Wikipedia. Someone is lying 2 u n I hope it is not u.

      February 4, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
  18. CoCoDol52

    Croffie No, I said that I read, study, and research on my own, I am by myself, I was given the book of remembrance the OT to help me on my own to remember the truth. You need people to think its a cult, you want to mislead them. Mr. double talk you also said that you taught yourself the book in one of your post. I do not know why you are so worried, many people run from the truth anyway fast. Many cannot deal with truth. This is why in Daniel's prophecy Daniel 11v39, it says that strange gods will come in the 4th kingdom, that the fathers Abraham Isaac and Jacob knew not, and it will rule over MANY, and divide the land for gain, this prophecy has been fulfilled. For there is not many in the truth not at all, they are running away from the Creator YHWH. The creator of all, all by Himself as He tells us in Isaiah 44v24,25, and in Isaiah 45v7. He does it all, and gives and take life, but people still run away from Him and His Truth. They want to just 'believe' whatever their being told. And I did not say people lie I said YOU lie.

    February 3, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • momoya

      Do you really thing anyone is ready all the crap you post here?

      February 3, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
    • Nii Croffie

      Momoya cool down n let the lady have her say. CoCo I also meant it when I said you are a cultist and u know it. Why is it that they have to give u a Bible? Couldn't u buy one for yourself? Isn't it the same thing LDS did giving u a special Bible and the Book of Mormon. Bibles are so common I wonder!

      February 3, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
    • CoCoDol52

      Nii Croffie, You wish, I never said who gave me a bible, twisting words again, mr. double talk, I said when I was given my book of remembrance the so called OT, I did not say who gave it to me but if you must know it comes from my grandma and I got it many years ago before I began reading it. I was very young then. One day I picked it up, and I read it, and I learned for myself how wonderful the truth is, is this alright with you? and your cults, well I'm very selective of who I mingle with, I walk alone, and you are really not my type, no idolatrist for my association, we had a truce did we not?, and all religions are idolatry ALL.

      February 3, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
    • Nii Croffie

      Two points for CoCo but then ur Grandma is not a Jew is she? To say all religions are idolatory but ur beliefs are not is what is clled cultism. I hope u understand that. Moreover to get angry with someone for their religion is unbiblical. Desiring to choose friends who agree with u is also cultic

      February 3, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
    • Sis


      These two, unfortunately, remind me of my poor sister after she had brain surgery, and the swelling caused quite odd behavior - for a time there, she thought that by just pointing her pen at the tv screen she was actually ordering things on the shopping channel!

      Typing interminable nonsense seems to make it real for them.

      Oh well, I guess it's keeping them off of my front doorstep!

      February 5, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
  19. Pic6

    Revelation 6
    White Horse=Jesus
    Red Horse=Hitler
    Black Horse=Makaveli
    Green Horse=Death

    Revelation 2:17
    "Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches. To everyone who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give a white stone, and on the white stone is written a new name that no one knows except the one who receives it."


    February 3, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • CoCoDol52

      Pic6, This is the hollywood that the nt teaches misleading the flocks ghost and goblins, and if one wants to be frightened, then look at these true scriptures from YHWH. Sir, it is more than what you think, instead of that make believe in the nt, what one need to know is that in Daniel 12v1,2, this is what we should be concerned about, the truth, and addressing it here, in Malachi 4v1. To get it right with YHWH our Creator, as He says return to Him for He has forgiven our sins, and has redeemed us in Isaiah 44v22. Before the day of YHWH comes.

      February 4, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
  20. Robert J

    2 Timothy 3:16 says, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in rightousness". Simply put, a Christian has to know that the Bible (the Word) is completely true and is God breathed. The Bible tells us that in order to be a Christian you must confess the Lord Jesus with your mouth and believe in your heart (Romans 10:9-13). This is key because you can't do one of hese without the other. A person must do both. When a person believes in their heart, they are believing in who the Bible says Jesus is. The Bible calls Jesus the Word (John 1). So to be a christian we must believe in everything the bible says and not pick and choose what we want to. I pray that none of the readers faith was shaken by reading this article. Know who you are and don't allow anyone to tell you the Bible is untrue. As for me, until someone makes them a world, makes them a man, and writes them a bible, I choose to believe in the Holy Bible of the true and living God. Know that God loves you!

    February 3, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • Daniel F

      Robert I'm not trying to knit pick what you said but consider this you said that scripture is given by inspiration of God from my understanding inspiration affects people in different ways. Two people can be inspired by the same thing but come up with two different things brought about by that inspiration. I think that is what the article is trying to get at in a way. It suggests that people down the ages though inspired by the concept of God had the wrong idea. I don't see how you can say God allowed any Israelite to have slaves but when they were slaves God had to rescue them and not consider that the bible was written by the Jews.

      February 3, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • CoCoDol52

      Robert J, In regards to Mr. Spong's article, he is stating that for him there are just too many misconceptions within the book of remembrance as the Creator originally called it in Malachi 3v16, the so called OT. Well, Mr. Spong had to have read the whole book to have this doubt because when you read the OT, and then, when you read the NT you will find that they do not coincide, the Nt it does not fulfill the OT, and it should. When one reads a book the beginning should match what the end of the book is about do you agree? That is why its called a book. There are similitudes in the NT but this is all they are. But for it to match in this case this is not happening, and is why Mr.Spong is so confused. For instance, I had a christian tell me that Moses talked about the afterlife, and this is not true, for Moses had specifically told the people that they must do the 'law' to live a wholesome 'prolonged' life in Deut.32v45-47, and this did not change for the Creator YHWH was adamant on saying that He changes NOT in Malachi 3v6. Therefore, why would the NT change what the Almighty King YHWH says? All through the OT YHWH tells us of our seeds and seeds as in Jeremiah 33v14-26 of the seeds of David, his seeds to carry on to govern the flocks. YHWH tells everything to us, and if it is something new as He says in Isaiah 42v9, He will tell us. Also, us He does nothing without His prophets or servants to assure us His Word in Amos 3v7. Then another christian said that this is the new covenant, well I read in Jeremiah 31v31-40 that this is the New Covenant and this is a prophecy that is to come, its the future. So how is it that without YHWH a covenant has already been done, without His say so? There is nothing about a son and a covenant with the son mentioned in the OT none. There are many changes in the NT, that are not ever said by the King YHWH. YHWH says He is our Only Savior and Redeemer, in Isaiah 49v26, and Isaiah 60v16. With YHWH saying this why would christians say that the son jesus is the savior when YHWH tells you do not liken or equal Him to no one, and He ask us that do we even know who He is? Have you heard? in Isaiah 40v18-31. Remember now, YHWH changes NOT in Malachi 3v6. Besides YHWH prophesied everyone in the book why not jesus, are you aware that his name nor story is nowhere in the OT? For it to be His son does that not seem strange? Then the only time that YHWH does mentions a son it is in Exodus 4v22,23 and He says that ISRAEL the chosen people are His son and His firstborn, and this says to me that there cannot be two firstborn sons. What say you? Are people just snuffing the Heavenly Creator YHWH?, in Malachi 1v6-14. I have read the whole book and as Mr. Spong is saying I too find misconceptions and controversy and as YHWH says He wlll address these in due time as about His name in Ezekiel 36v22,23 He says His name is being profaned. And about the pastors and priest who are misleading the flocks in Jeremiah 23v1-4 and in Malachi 2 and in Ezekiel 20 and please don't think that these are from days of old no, the book is juxtapose it tells the past, the present and the future (prophesies) the OT does.

      February 3, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • Naomi

      Well said Robert J.! Your exactly correct. To God be the glor!!! Keep teaching the truth, and praying for those that don't know the truth in JESUS name.

      February 3, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
    • trainwreck

      the Bible can not be the inerrant word of God, if it was it would mean that God has a bad memory or is a liar as their are multiple contradictions in the Bible. Simply put, taking it as the inerrant word of God negates the Bible, but taking it for what is, the attempt of imperfect man to understand the glory of God as much as possible, then it allows one to both THINK and have faith, this understanding that Bishop Spong teaches has helped many people to be able to embrace religion.

      February 5, 2012 at 10:32 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.