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Eternal Life: A New Vision [Kindle Edition]

John Shelby Spong
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Drawing on a lifetime of wisdom, New York Times bestselling author and controversial religious leader John Shelby Spong continues to challenge traditional Christian theology in Eternal Life: A New Vision. In this remarkable spiritual autobiography about his lifelong struggle with the questions of God and death, he reveals how he ultimately came to believe in eternal life.

Product Description


"Spong has spent his life and work making sense of this most fundamental human issue . . . His fans will find this spiritual autobiography fascinating, but so, too, should anyone interested in the still uncomfortable topics of death and mortality."--Booklist


"Spong has spent his life and work making sense of this most fundamental human issue . . . His fans will find this spiritual autobiography fascinating, but so, too, should anyone interested in the still uncomfortable topics of death and mortality."--Booklist

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 775 KB
  • Print Length: 290 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins e-books; Reprint edition (1 Sept. 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #149,857 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An account of spirituality by a Christian realist 25 Jun. 2011
By Dr. H. A. Jones TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Eternal Life: A New Vision, beyond religion, beyond theism, beyond heaven and hell by John Shelby Spong, HarperCollins, 2009, 288 ff.

An account of spirituality by a Christian realist
By Howard Jones

John Shelby Spong was formerly the Bishop of the Episcopal Church Diocese of Newark, New Jersey. In a country in which we hear much from Creationist, fundamentalist and born-again Christians, Bishop Spong is that relative rarity - a liberal Christian. This book was written when he was nearly an octogenarian, so he has a whole lifetime's experience of the Church to reflect on. He had already written over twenty books on religious themes.

Unlike many mediums who claim to have knowledge of the afterlife from their spirit guides, Spong believes such knowledge is impossible - until we get there ourselves. His aim is to reshape Christianity in such a way that it has full regard for the developments in science over the last few centuries, because that is the only form in which it can survive. He wraps his ideas into a story that is essentially autobiographical. He does not attempt to moderate the fundamentalist or convert the atheist: he is concerned with addressing those Christians whose faith has been shaken by the claims of the extremists and scientists alike.

Bishop Spong is obviously trying to find an interpretation of the Christian religion that is more rational, without destroying the essential elements of the faith. In keeping with much New Age philosophy he realises that the God of western religion is no longer tenable: `There is no supernatural God who lives above the sky or beyond the universe.' This is the God of western religion. This statement also implies that talk of Jesus as the Son of God incarnate is equally specious.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Journey to a 21st Century Christianity 15 Nov. 2009
In my opinion this is Bishop Spong's best book which,unfortunately,he says will be his last.As a searcher for a more relevant spirituality,I have not been disappointed.I have read it twice straight through mainly on the bus going to work,which isn't an easy thing to do but I found it so gripping I didn't hear other people's mobile phones or loud conversations.Briefly,it is the story of Bishop Spong's lifelong faith journey.This journey has taken him through and beyond religion to a much more meaningful understanding of human life with its unique self conscious awareness. He explains so clearly the role religion has played so far in shaping human belief in God,death and the afterlife and shows how so much religious language and out of date thinking about these deep mysteries makes little sense in our contemporary scientific world and must be re-articulated in a more time relevant way.Spong strives to do exactly this in the final chapters of this book.He gives me hope.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I found his criticism of traditional Christian beliefs and church rituals interesting, particularly as I am a non-church goer but someone seeking a sensible meaning. But his "new vision" is rather uncertain - which I suppose makes sense in that really no-one can know what comes after death. Worth reading but don't expect a really new illuminating viewpoint.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Refreshing and ahead of its time 17 April 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
John Shelby Spong has been ahead of his time in his thinking and reflecting on Christianity today and the future this faith may need to take if it is to survive. I saw recently that N.T Wright has also written that perhaps there is no "heaven out there" and that heaven is overlayed earth so we had better do more during our earthly lives to establish heaven on earth rather than waiting for entrance through the pearly gates (which may not exist at all). Spong is certainly more positive than Jack Mahoney in his new book Christianity in Evolution: An Exploration whereby he posits that some folk don't get an afterlife at all. He sees them as simply going into non-existence. This may be the case, although I thought it was a fact that no energy is ever lost, but that's a whole other subject.
Spong sort of sets the path that others are now picking up. Not to say that I agree with everything he writes but he gets you thinking. He challenges all the easy beliefs one may hold onto without ever really thinking about them. And even if you decide he is dead wrong, at least you have firmed up your reasons as to why he is wrong.
He writes easily so your reading is effortless. This makes the reflection part smoother since you are drawn into thinking about various topics without having to struggle with what the author is trying to say.
All in all, a good book and definitely one to stimulate thought and discussion. Great for church reading groups or bible study groups. But also good if you don't really believe anything and just need more information for your discussions with believers.
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5.0 out of 5 stars John Shelby Spong's Brilliant Mind Again! 26 Sept. 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I love to listen to John Shelby Spong's talks... we are fortunate now to have access to lots of them through YouTube. Also, I think that the author's writing skills are equally exquisite, and have no problem confessing I have all his books. I gave the book a maximum rating... and please note that my evaluation is probably skewed by the fact that I just find the author and his mind really fascinating and getting better with each work.

In this context, my criticism is directed specifically against what seems to be a redundant use of Christian or Biblical vocabulary. I think John Shelby Spong has as much in common with traditional mainstream Christianity as Christian Science or Course in Miracles.

Author's brilliant imagination combined with delightful reframing skills generate truly fascinating story which does not need to be linked to any tradition - I think it deserves attention and recognition on its own rights.

Although I did not find this time that much of the fresh and new patterns as advertised, those less familiar with more advanced aspects of Vedanta or even Buddhism, would find here some refreshing rehashing of the elements of those traditions presented here in a more western way.

So, while I have not found too much new things under the Sun in this book (in fact, I do not agree there is any really new vision presented there), I still believe it is another brilliant example of John Shelby Spong mind operating at full speed, which makes it a read worthy book again!!
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