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June 26, 2006

Comments

Andrew Seely

Yeah Julie is great like that. It was cool to finally meet her when I was in MN a little while ago.

Just Me

I was glad that I read all of the comments. There was much graciousness and love in many of them. Still, I found myself singing "They Will Know We Are Christians By Our Love" in a minor key in the shower this morning

deborah

I have read that post a few times now, and I have to say that this is nothing new. There are entire blogs and webpages dedicated to this sort of thing, and a lot are much worse.

It is a good thing to see people responding rather gently. There have been other examples where this is not so.

Most of the stuff that is being thrown at Tony is groundless. We still have Christian Pharises around today who are more concerned with condemning things that are actually personal preferences and not Bible-based theology.

However, and I will probably have to duck and cover for this, I hope that Tony Jones is looking at these kinds of articles to determine why he is so open to this kind of cristicsm. Before you get your pitchforks and torches, please hear me out. This is something that I have learned through my own personal experience. I have had critical people spread some things that were not true (in my own church, behind my back as well as to my face). I had to spend some time deciding if there was something I was or was not doing that gave the wrong impression.

The main point of that post is that the author says that he doesn’t believe that Tony is a Christian. First, I would like to say that to make that kind of statement is very dangerous, because if you are wrong, it puts you in a very bad place of judgement, both now and later (with a capital L). The author relies on Tony’s actions and lack of proclaiming the Gospel to decide this. The actions the author refers to are not necessarily a problem, most fall into Biblical grey areas. It isn’t like Tony kills children or practices witchcraft.

The lack of proclaiming the Gospel arguement has more weight, we are CHRISTians. If Tony is a Christian, his testimony and faith in Jesus should be on the inside jacket of every book he writes, in every biography blurb, and in his About section on his blog. It isn’t. This bothers me, and is one of my biggest concerns with the emerging church conversation. One of the most positive things about the ECC is the de-emphasizing of non-salvation theological differences, and it is one of the things that draws me that way. On the other hand, in the movement away from doctrinal statements the baby seems to have gone out with the bathwater – professing what you believe in – Jesus.

The Bible specifically refers our responsibility to preach Christ – from being told to have an answer for our hope to a responsibility to acknowledge Jesus before men. It should be our delight (1 Thes 2:8-9). My favorite passage on this is 2 Tim 4:2 “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and our of season; correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful doctrine.” (this would be why most of my comments on important topics are so long, as if I needed an excuse)

On the surface, it appears Tony has a problem with this. Another area of concern for me regarding this post, is the fact that no one in support of Tony has provided a quote from Tony affirming his faith in Jesus and belief in the resurrection. It seems to me that simply quoting him would be the right response. Give his answer and move on. If they still nitpick after that, then they have to take it up with God.

So, why haven’t they done that? Are quotes like that from Tony hard to find? I will give his critics this much, they aren’t that easy to find. But I did find some on his blog: “Was my confidence in Jesus, the Messiah, shaken by my time with those who do not accept his Messiahship? No, it was bolstered. But not in a fist-shaking, white knuckle way. More in a quiet, humble, this-is-going-to-be-alright kind of way.”, and “For them, it was significant that I personally affirmed the historic, physical, bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ -- in fact, when asked point-blank whether I could affirm it, my response was something like, ‘Not only do I affirm it, I consider it the pivot point in the entire history of the cosmos.’”, and lastly “yes, we believe that Jesus is the crucified and risen Savior of the cosmos and no one comes to the Father except through Jesus”.

So, my conclusion and response to this anti-Tony post? “Master, said John, we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us. “Do not stop him” Jesus said, “for whoever is not against you is for you.” Luke 9:49-50

I don’t call Tony Jones a liar.

Bill

I think that when someone writes a book about the historic Christian practices of praying and meditation on God and Christ he doesn't need to explain that he's a Christian. The fact that he's a Christian is all throughout the pages of his book and the actions of his life.

deborah

I don't think that I agree with that Bill. A Christian writting a book about Christianity is different from an athiest writting the book. The bottom line is that someone who doesn't know him, doesn't know that he is a Christian. And why not just say it?

Bill

Why not just say what?

The point that I was trying to make is that an atheist wouldn't write a book like that. Even if it were some sort of non-Christian mystic writing the book, I think that would be apparent.

I'm not trying to say that writing such a book means you HAVE to be a Christian. I'm saying there's no real reason to doubt it based on what he's written.

From my vantage point, the only reason why someone like Kenny Oliver would ask such a question is because:

a. he is opposed to anyone linked with Emergent

and/or

b. he thinks contemplative practices are evil

Both of these are clearly true based on his website.

deborah

Oh believe me, I agree with you on the reasons why Kenny Oliver made his post.

And I disagree with him that association with emerging and contemplative practice automatically puts you in opposition with Christianity.

My point is that if Tony Jones is a believer, it shouldn't be hard to find quotes that "prove" it. The fact that I found such quotes makes me feel better. There are a lot of Bible verses warning Christians not to doubt or condemn other believers, or even those who just do works in Jesus' name. The fact that finding those quotes is a bit of a shell game (IMHO) bothers me.

This is more personal opinion and interpretation than an attack on Tony Jones. (It is amazing how our personal biases influence our views) I guess I feel he should be a little more obvious about his belief in Christ.

(If we keep dropping their names, does it bump up your google status?)

deborah

The hardest part about that post is that as Christians, we have to love Kenny Oliver, even when he spews such garbage.

Offer him your other cheek Tony! Got a cloak to spare?

Bill

"(If we keep dropping their names, does it bump up your google status?)"

lol...I sure hope so.

Tony Jones
Brian McLaren
Emergent
Doug Pagitt
Jones
Tony
Tony tony Jones

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