Monday, August 13, 2007

Sydney Archbishop Jensen bans John Shelby Spong

From The Australian:

A ROW has erupted within the Anglican Church over a visit to Australia by an American cleric who has being accused of modernising Christ to the point of stripping him of all divinity.

Sydney Archbishop Peter Jensen has taken the extraordinary step of banning John Shelby Spong, a fellow member of the Anglican communion who arrives in Sydney this morning, from churches in his diocese.

By contrast, Anglican Primate Phillip Aspinall has invited Bishop Spong, a leader of the church's liberal wing, to deliver two sermons in Brisbane's St John's Cathedral
. . .

Dr Aspinall defended his decision to welcome the American bishop. "Bishop Spong speaking at St John's Cathedral is not particularly extraordinary," he said. "That Bishop Spong holds views which some Anglicans might find challenging is no reason to exclude him from speaking.

"Our church has thousands of members and widely diverse views on a wide variety of subjects. [Editorial comment: somehow, I don't think the questioning of the divinity of Jesus by a bishop should be a "diverse view"] I am sure Anglicans will listen respectfully to the bishop's views and make their own minds up."

One of the organisers of the visit, Brisbane priest Greg Jenks said Bishop Spong's critics were overreacting. "His new book is a good summation of how many people understand the place of Jesus," Dr Jenks said. "It is not dramatically new information. [Well, I'm sure that's true - nothing new here - same old same old] Bishop Spong has shown courageous leadership in our church of a kind we are in need of."

During a 2001 visit to Australia, Bishop Spong was banned by the then Anglican Archbishop of Brisbane, Peter Hollingworth, from Brisbane diocesan churches. But during a 2003 visit, he was a house guest in Brisbane of Dr Hollingworth's successor -- Dr Aspinall. . .
Read it all, and many thanks to Sydney Archbishop Jensen for his steadfast leadership.

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