God creates an intelligent species, man, and endows him with a spiritual nature which enables him to have a unique fellowship with God. God then gives this creation the choice to walk in harmony with the Creator, or not. Man chooses not. This failure, which results in a break in the relationship, must then be, a) judged, b) punished, and c) rectified. God quickly disposes of (a) and (b), leaving © for a set future date. In the meantime, God allows His creation to spend some untold thousands of years (minimum) learning that this initial failure on his part has lasting consequences. Despite man’s attempt to correct, to follow the straight and narrow as it were, he is simply unable on his own to return the relationship to its previous, desirable state. A valuable lesson to learn, but the real question is, has he? (Side issue, but almost always discarded in the heat of debate). God does follow through on His plan to rectify, redeem man from his failures, but again gives man a crucial choice: choose to return to God, or not. This sums up what I’d characterize as a barebones traditional Christian theology, which I feel confident most Christians of all denominations will find agreeable.
Now. I submit that there is a logical thought process that must be followed for one to accept the summation presented above. One must reach an understanding that there is only one God, He is the Creator, involved with His creation, and desiring of a lasting relationship with that creation. (Should you choose to reject any of these prerequisites, you’d likely find yourself in pursuit of another religious or non-religious direction, I’d think). But, humor me for the moment, if you would. Having reached this point, it seems eminently reasonable that this God, as described, would communicate with His creation in some manner. Directly, person to person, written language, something. Again, it seems only reasonable that this same God would want man to have a history of this relationship, simple for simple notions, more complex for multifaceted concepts. This material would be of no use if man, at any period in his progressing maturity, were unable to have full faith and credit in its intrinsic accuracy. The average person of any time period, even today, simply does not have the luxury of time to read and digest all the written works regarding the nature of God. It simply cannot make sense that God would cause His creation to forswear all else to search for Him, in some humorless cosmic version of hide and seek. This version of God matches neither the traditional Christian perspective nor the more modern, liberal interpretation favored by Spong.
And so, at last, we reach Bishop Spong. He has chosen to pick out those pieces of Christianity he finds acceptable, discarding those he finds inconvenient or undesirable or uncomfortable. And this he has based on…what, exactly? His definition of God is incompatible with God as described in the Bible. God either is as presented in the Bible, or He is not. He cannot be both. One would be an error, hence a lie. The Bible cannot be both truthful and full of lies. If the Bible is not the inspired word of God, if Jesus is not the Son of God, then Jesus is a liar or a lunatic, and God must be found elsewhere. God either set in motion inspired writings to reflect His glory or men were merely making it up as they went along. If God could not, or did not inspire the dozens of biblical authors, then one can have no faith in either the writing or the God.
Ultimately, it comes down to this: who defines God? Him? Or you?