May 17th, 2007
The former Episcopal bishop John Shelby Spong has written a book called “Jesus for the Non-Religious”. Mostly, the book is a criticism of the supernatural and miraculous elements of traditional Christianity. The writer considers that traditional beliefs are incompatible with a modern worldview, and the miraculous aspects of the accounts of Jesus need to be stripped away to ascertain what he really stood for. But what do you end up with once all these things have been taken away? You end up with no more than a man who said some good things. If that is all he was, then why would anyone go to church every Sunday to hear about him?
Peter’s Second Letter — Chapter 2
2:1 There were false prophets amongst the people, just as there will be false teachers amongst you, secretly introducing destructive opinions, denying even the Master who bought them, bringing on themselves swift destruction. 2:2 A lot of people will follow their degeneracy, and as a result, the way of the truth will be abused. 2:3 They will greedily exploit you with misleading words. Their condemnation from long ago will wait no longer, and their destruction will sleep no more.
2:4 God did not spare angels when they sinned, sending them down to hell, in pits of darkness, to await judgment. 2:5 God did not spare the ancient world when he brought a flood on the world of the ungodly, but protected eight people including Noah, a preacher of righteousness. 2:6 God condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction by covering them with ashes, making them an example to people who want to live ungodly lives, 2:7 while saving righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the depravity of barbaric people 2:8 (because that righteous man living amongst them was tormented day after day in his righteous soul by the barbaric acts which he saw and heard).
2:9 So the Lord knows how to save godly people from hardships and to punish unrighteous people until the day of judgment, 2:10 especially people who indulge in the contamination of their sinful cravings and despise authority. Brazen and arrogant, they are not afraid to abuse angels; 2:11 whereas angels, although stronger and more powerful, do not bring abusive condemnation against them before the Lord. 2:12 These people are like unthinking animals, born to be captured and killed, insulting things which they do not understand, and they will be destroyed in the midst of their depravity. 2:13 They will suffer injuries as their reward for injuring others. They take pleasure in overindulging during the daytime. They are spots and blemishes, revelling in their deceptions while they feast with you, 2:14 while their eyes are full of adultery, and they cannot stop sinning, seducing indecisive people. They are well trained in greed, offspring of a curse.
2:15 They have left the straight road and gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages of wrongdoing, 2:16 but he was reprimanded for his disobedience. A mute donkey spoke with a man’s voice and stopped the madness of the prophet. 2:17 These people are wells without water, clouds driven by a storm. The gloom of darkness has been reserved for them. 2:18 By appealing to sinful human cravings, they speak empty conceited words to trap people who are almost escaping from the wrong type of lifestyle, 2:19 promising them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of corruption, because people become slaves to whatever overpowers them.
2:20 If, after they have escaped the contamination of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again trapped in it and overpowered, they are in a worse position than they were originally. 2:21 It would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after knowing it, to turn back from the holy commandment given to them. 2:22 The thing which has happened to them is accurately described in the proverbs, “The dog returns to his own vomit,” and “The pig that has washed returns to wallow in the mud.”