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Unbelievable: Why Neither Ancient Creeds Nor the Reformation Can Produce a Living Faith Today Hardcover – February 13, 2018

4.6 out of 5 stars 293 ratings

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Editorial Reviews


“In his final climactic book, Bishop Spong provides us with a primer on his core ideas, a courageous agenda for the future of the Jesus tradition, and some provocative proposals for pursuing that agenda. Essential reading for anyone who cares about the future of humanity and Christianity.” -- The Very Reverend Gregory C. Jenks, Ph.D., Dean of Christ Church Cathedral, Grafton

“For those seeking to extricate themselves from the confusion of conventional Christianity’s creeds and dogmas, Unbelievable distills an honest and demanding vision for a 21st Century faith.” -- Rev. David M. Felten, co-author of Living the Questions

“Bishop Spong has created just what we needed if we are going to save intelligent Christianity from extinction. I love this book.” -- Fred C. Plumer, President of The Center for Progressive Christianity

“If you choose just one book of Spong’s, then choose Unbelievable. This final book is not only a summation of his life’s teaching but a contemporary catechism that addresses the real questions and profound hesitations contemporary people have about Christianity.” -- Peter Francis, Warden of Gladstone’s Library

“Episcopalian bishop and prolific writer Spong has penned what he declares to be his final book, encapsulating a lifetime of thinking and teaching in order to call upon Christianity to undergo a transformation.” -- Kirkus Reviews

“Spong makes his arguments in the manner of a cogent, smart preacher or lecturer speaking to all who want to keep Christianity while dispensing with miracles, dogma, and blind faith. Luther launched a reformation with 95 theses. Spong would launch another with 12.” -- Booklist

“Spong’s stimulating call for a newly revitalized Christianity will appeal to contemporary Christians who view traditional Christianity as dismayingly outmoded.” -- Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“[Spong] takes readers back to Martin Luther’s original questioning of the Church, asking them to ponder whether or not the idea of God still has meaning. It’s easy to understand why his previous books have been best sellers. This one will be no exception.” -- Retailing Insight

“A hard-hitting critique of traditional Christianity and as a final attempt by Spong to convince believers to explore their beliefs in new and poignant ways…We stand beside him and all who thirst for a church that is not fearful of inquiry, freedom, and knowledge.” -- Spirituality & Practice

“His best book . . . He doesn’t just tear down; he seeks to put something viable, even substantial in its place.” -- Insights

From the Back Cover

At the beginning of the sixteenth century, Christianity was in a state of crisis, riven by conflicts that gave birth to the Reformation. Martin Luther’s movement was later followed by a “revolutionary time of human knowledge.” Yet these philosophical and scientific advances had little impact on Christians’ adherence to doctrines developed before these intellectual advances—which is why Christianity has become “unbelievable” today.

Bible scholar and Episcopal bishop John Shelby Spong contends that the slow withering of the traditional church makes it imperative for Christians to develop a radically new kind of Christianity—a faith deeply connected to the human experience instead of outdated dogma. To keep Christianity vital, he urges modern Christians to update their faith in light of these advances in our knowledge and to challenge the rigid and problematic church teachings that emerged with the Reformation. 

With its revolutionary resistance to the authority of the church in the sixteenth century, Luther’s movement can still serve, according to Spong, as a model for today’s discontented Christians. In fact, while the Reformers’ answers have become outdated and irrelevant, their questions can still serve to guide us today: Does the idea of God still have meaning? Can we still follow historic creeds with integrity? Are not such claims as an infallible pope or an inerrant Bible ridiculous in today’s world? In Unbelievable, Spong outlines twelve “theses” to help today’s believers more deeply contemplate and reshape their faith. 

In this final book of his storied career, Spong continues to integrate a rigorous schol-arly tradition with the Christian faith and so offers a new approach, one that challenges Christians to explore their beliefs in new and meaningful ways.

Always the perfect gift

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ HarperOne (February 13, 2018)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 336 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0062641298
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0062641298
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6 x 1.09 x 9 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.6 out of 5 stars 293 ratings

Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5
293 global ratings
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Mr. J. G. Ramsbottom
4.0 out of 5 stars Spong's last book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 21, 2018
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5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 22, 2018
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5.0 out of 5 stars Towards a Christian Vision for the 21st Century.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 27, 2018
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3.0 out of 5 stars Dangerous
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5.0 out of 5 stars Prepare to have your mind expanded!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 26, 2018
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