Tony Jones: I’m even more concerned that people have statements of faith. Statements of faith are about drawing boards, which means you have to load your weapons and place soldiers at those borders. You have to check people’s passports when they pass those borders. It becomes an obsession—guarding the borders. That is simply not the ministry of Jesus. It wasn’t the ministry of Paul or Peter.
I appreciate that T. Jones (as I am sure his friends call him…cause it sounds cool) mentions Paul, I have long felt that many emergent sorts ignore Paul in route to telling us that Jesus never talked about doctrine, which ultimately seems denigrate any real understanding of Biblical inspiration that can be trusted (by which I mean that if Paul’s writing are inspired then they are the Words of Jesus)…But at any rate while I appreciate T.’s (man I wish we were friends he has such a cool name) reference to Paul, I don’t think it jibes with the writing or ministry of Paul.
For instance P. (he’s cool too) says to Timothy: What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.
There seem for Paul to be at least an implicit statement of Faith…and he was concerned that it was guarded and passed on…
He said: You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.
He also said: Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel, for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s word is not chained.
Which is both a statement of faith and a statement of his willingness to suffer for it.
Again Paul says: Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.
A statement of faith which includes both orthopraxis and orthodoxy how emergent of Paul.
As a Bonus thought and I hope T.J. won’t view this as Bible bashing:
MC ToJo (that would be his rap name): Emergent is an amorphous collection of friends who’ve decided to live life together, regardless of our ecclesial affiliations, regardless of our theological commitments. We want to follow Christ in community with one another. In a very messy way, we’re trying to figure out what that means.
How does that thought process work with this from Paul: He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.
Does this not apply because Emergent is not a church? Would Tony in an Ecclesiastical situation oppose false doctrine? Or is this somehow a culturally dated scripture in his thought process. These are the kinds of thing that I think about..I will admit that I think T.’s desire for Christlike friendliness is awesome (as opposed to my natural bent toward fist fights with those who disagree with me…), But at some point I feel like the friendliest, most gracious thing we can do is help someone to meet the True King of Glory and not a cultural distortion, which Emergent is in danger of as much as any sector of Christianity…In this sense they have similarities with other things that scare me like Focus on the Family and mono-ethnic churches and people who can watch Christian television with out screaming questionable words at the crazy Pink haired lady and Benny Hinn. But I will post about that tomorrow when we talk about how John Eldgeride is developing a wacky gospel only accessible to white dudes who love to camp, climb mountains, belch and avoid spending to much time with women. (I say you be a Christian man your way and I will be one my way..with my wife..alone, and any mountains we scale will be figurative…)