John Shelby Spong

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John Shelby Spong (born June 16, 1931 in Charlotte, North Carolina, United States) is the retired American bishop of the Episcopal Church Diocese of Newark (based in Newark, New Jersey). He is a liberal Christian theologian, religion commentator and author. He calls for a fundamental rethinking of Christian belief, away from theism and from traditional doctrines.

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Background

Spong was educated in Charlotte public schools. He was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1952, and received his Master of Divinity degree in 1955 from the Episcopal Theological Seminary in Alexandria, Virginia. That seminary and Saint Paul's College have both conferred on him honorary Doctor of Divinity degrees. He wrote: "[I have] immerse[d] myself in contemporary Biblical scholarship at such places as Union Theological Seminary in New York City, Yale Divinity School, Harvard Divinity School and the storied universities in Edinburgh, Oxford and Cambridge."[1]

He served as rector of St. Joseph's Church in Durham, North Carolina from 1955 to 1957; rector of Calvary Parish, Tarboro, North Carolina from 1957 to 1965; rector of St. John's Church in Lynchburg, Virginia from 1965 to 1969; and rector of St. Paul's Church in Richmond, Virginia from 1969 to 1976. He has moreover held visiting positions and given lectures at major American theological institutions, most prominently at Harvard Divinity School. He retired in 2000.

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