TONY JONES AND HIS PROGRESSIVE THEO-BLOGGER CHALLENGE

For at least the past six years now online apologetics and discernment ministries like Apprising Ministries, have been doing what we can to warn you about the sinfully ecumenical [i.e. Reformation repudiating] Emergent Church aka the Emerging Church.

Sadly, it’s now grown into a neo-liberal cult operating within evangelicalism injecting it with their new postmodern form of Progressive Christian quasi-universal poison under their spiritual circus “big tent” Emergence Christianity.

Without any doubt whatsoever, one of the EC’s most influential early leaders was Fuller Theological Seminary professor Tony Jones, “theologian-in-residence” at Solomon’s Porch, which is the gathering of his “pastor” EC universalist Doug Pagitt.

In addition, Jones is the former National Coordinator for Emergent Village and it also seems he wants us to know that apparently he is “a sought after speaker and consultant in the areas of emerging church, postmodernism, and Christian spirituality.”1

There are those, obviously not following the EC closely, who think the Emerging Church is dead. However, as I told you above, those like Jones are out of the closet now as the progressive/liberals that always knew they were. They just don’t hide it anymore.

For example, now EC luminaries like Tony Jones, ELCA pastrix Nadia Bolz-Weber—and even the experimental Emergent Village Voice supervised by the aforementioned Doug Pagitt—can be found in the Progressive Christian Channel of the Patheos.com website.

And now we come to Jones’ Update on Progressive Theo-Blogger Challenge #progGOD where he says:

Last week, I challenged Progressive Theo-Bloggers to say something substantive about God. I then clarified what I hoped for… Patheos will be building a landing page where, next week, we will post links to all of the contribution. (So, there’s some further incentive: If you want a permanent in-bound link from the biggest religion website on the internets, submit something!) (source)

In his previous piece A Challenge to Progressive Theo-Bloggers Jones tells us:

I’ve been writing recently about the problems with liberal Christianity, and I had a thought this morning… [I] think that progressives have a God-talk problem. That is, progressives write lots of books and blog posts about social issues, the church, culture, and society. But we don’t write that much about God…

Progressive/liberal/mainline theology, on the other hand, has a PR problem. (source, bold his)

Here the learned Dr. Tony Jones has been quite helpful. Notice he’s “been writing” about “liberal Christianity,” which he equates with progressive Christianity. Not only that, but he includes himself with these liberal/progressives saying “we don’t write that much about God.”

So, here we have FTS seminary professor Tony Jones on record above as a liberal/progressive himself; and he also uses the terms interchangeably—along with mainline—to refer to this wrong approach to theology. This now means that they have no legitimate complaint when we do so as well.

Returning now to his previous post Update on Progressive Theo-Blogger Challenge #progGOD Jones explains:

1) I’m not saying that God must always be talked about without Jesus. I’m just saying that now, for this challenge, you’ve got to talk about God without falling back on Jesus. It’s all too easy for Christians — both liberal and conservative — to default to Jesus-talk. While there’s nothing wrong with that, I think we also need to work our God-talk muscle, without reverting to Jesus-talk. (source)

Ah, isn’t that sweet; apparently Jones doesn’t want the liberal/mainline/progressive god to be slighted by default “Jesus-talk.” After-all, remember, in classic liberalism Jesus is not God in human flesh; he is the man whom that god used to demonstrate how to best live for him/her/it.

Finally, Tony Jones muses:

2) Yes, evangelicals are listening. Some have left comments basically saying, “It doesn’t matter what we say. Evangelicals won’t listen to us talk about God anyway.” That is patently untrue. Many evangelicals read this blog, and they may read yours, too.

They’re listening intently, because they don’t think we’re very good at talking about God. And I can promise you that there are lots of younger Christians who were reared in evangelicalism who are looking for good, credible ways out of conservative culture in which they find themselves. (source)

Buckle up because here we’re off-roading mentally into the postmodern world of Humpty Dumpty language. Jones isn’t referring to actual evangelicals a la Dr. Mike Horton. Rather, the evangelicals Jones would refer to aren’t actually evangelical according to what the word meant.

Horton points out:

In May, 1989, a conference jointly sponsored by the National Association of Evangelicals and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School was held at the Trinity campus in Illinois. Dubbed a consultation on Evangelical Affirmations, the meeting revealed more than it settled.

In the published addresses (Zondervan, 1990), Carl F. H. Henry, the dean of American evangelicalism, sets the tone for [the] book with his opening line: “The term ‘evangelical’ has taken on conflicting nuances in the twentieth century. Wittingly or unwittingly, evangelical constituencies no less than their critics have contributed to this confusion and misunderstanding.”

He warned that “evangelical” was being understood, not according to Scriptural teaching and “the theological ‘ought,’” but according to the sociological and empirical “is.” In other words, Henry was disturbed that evangelicalism is increasingly being defined by its most recent trends rather than by its normative theological identity.

Author after author (presumably, speaker after speaker) echoed the same fears that before long “evangelical” will be useless as any meaningful identification. (source)

In closing this, for now, let me take the time to straighten Tony Jones out when he says evangelicals “don’t think we’re very good at talking about God.” No, Bible-believing Christians know that liberal/mainline/progressive unbelievers aren’t talking about the God revealed in Scripture in the first place.

May the glorious and majestic LORD God reveal Himself to such as these that they come to know the real Jesus.

Further reading

Endnotes

  1. http://tonyj.net/wp-content/themes/jonesing/multimedia/Tony_Jones_Bio.pdf, accessed 8/13/12.