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Tony Jones’ continuous leftward slide into apostasy

by: marsha west | published: 12 01, 2008

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Emergent Church guru Tony Jones, the former national coordinator of Emergent Village, has been holding the issue of homosexuality “in abeyance” because “homosexuality is one issue that I don’t want to get wrong.” On November 23 he came out with his personal view on this hotly debated topic.

Drum roll please…… He’s for it.

After years of pondering and praying, praying and pondering, he managed to come up with the wrong answer. How do I know this? Because his “revelation” doesn’t line up with Scripture.

Evidently what the Bible teaches on sodomy made Tony feel uncomfortable, so he decided to hold back his opinion until he could come to terms with what he was “feeling.” I say “feeling” because his conclusion doesn’t comport with the written Word of God, which he professes a belief in, but decides things from his gut, I guess. Heaven forbid he should offend the “gay” community!

On Tony’s “blogalogue” he wrote a carefully crafted statement to start the “conversation” rolling -- with no mention of Scripture to back up his “enlightened” view. Before Tony gets to the point, he shares his personal story and tells how he viewed homosexuality in his early years. He wasn’t a conservative, nor was he a liberal; he says he “pretty much walked the middle of the road.”

I have to commend Tony for admitting he was wishy-washy on the issue of sodomy. Problem is, our pastors and leaders aren’t supposed to be spiritual wimps. All Christians are to boldlycontend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 1:3).

Jones also admits that he understood the biblical prohibitions to sodomy:

“I've always thought that all persons should be afforded the same rights and no one should be discriminated against. But I also knew that the biblical prohibitions to homosexual sex should be taken seriously. And I remember quite a few debates in which I argued against homosexuality using the argument from natural law, the book of Genesis, and my own pithy deal-closer, "Look, the parts don't fit. The plumbing's not right. That's how we know how God feels about it." (Emphasis his.) [1]

Then he drops this bombshell:

“And yet, all the time I could feel myself drifting toward acceptance that gay persons are fully human persons and should be afforded all of the cultural and ecclesial benefits that I am. ("Aha!" my critics will laugh derisively, "I knew he and his ilk were on a continuous leftward slide!")”

I’m one critic who’s not laughing derisively. In fact, I’m not laughing at all. I find it unfunny, and profoundly troubling, that a former pastor who holds a doctorate from prestigious Princeton Theological Seminary does not have a simple grasp of the Bible’s clear teaching on same-sex sex. I also find it troubling that a leader in the ECM, who has a ton of influence with young people, would lend his support to same-sex “marriage” knowing full well that many undiscerning Christians will adopt his “progressive” view on the subject, simply because they hold him in high regard. “The problem is,” said Ravi Zacharias, "non critical people listening to this stuff absorb it."

What people are absorbing from emergents isn’t authentic Christianity, it’s neo-evangelicalism. In other words, liberalism. I’ve covered the ECM in past columns. To find out more, read “Emergent Church Spreading Spiritual Cancer” [2] or watch Roger Oakland’s video on YouTube. [3]

T.M. Moore tackles evangelical liberalism in “Near Christianity.” He believes:

“Liberalism…is not Christianity at all, or, at best, a corrupt version. As J. Gresham Machen argued so eloquently in the last century, liberal Christianity has many appealing features, and much to commend it. In many ways it is a quite fascinating and alluring religion. It even uses all the language of Christianity and holds Jesus in high esteem. But for all that, liberal Christianity just isn’t Christianity. Indeed, Machen argued, it’s not even close.” [4]

Tony Jones’ version of Christianity is corrupt. What he professes is not the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. In fact, the ECM has all the earmarks of a cult – what Dr. Walter Martin called the “cult of liberal theology.” (Look for more on cults in a future article.)

I’m sure many people found it puzzling that Tony referred to homosexuals as “fully human persons.” (Actually, all sinners are fully human persons.) Why did he borrow a term that’s used by the pro-life movement to describe pre-born babies? “Gays” are obviously fully human (as are pre-born babies) so is he saying that those who don’t support same-sex “marriage” are denying their humanity? Or was he simply pointing out that some Christians think homosexuals are subhuman? A small minority of Christians who oppose homosexuality may feel that way, however, it’s not only wrong headed to believe homosexuals are subhuman, it’s that kind of thinking that does great damage to the cause of Christ!

Equally disgraceful is the fact that many professing Christians believe that a baby in the womb is not a fully human person until it’s able to breathe on its own! These same “Christians” believe they alone have the right to choose whether or not a pre-born baby is allowed to live or die. They will vehemently defend the right of “gay” couples to marry, yet when it comes to defenseless babies, they’re voices are silent. But I digress.

Historic orthodox Christianity holds that God’s people must “love thy neighbor as thyself.” Translated, this means we are to love all human persons. It’s a commandment, not a suggestion. So out of love for homosexuals, followers of Jesus Christ must gently tell them of the transforming power of Jesus. (1 Pet. 3:15) Believers are also commanded to pray for those who are in bondage to sin….because prayer changes things. Militant “gay” activists don’t want the public to know that it’s possible for a homosexual, who is in bondage to sin, to “change,” his/her orientation. It’s a fact that many men and women have left the homosexual lifestyle and are now straight. (For proof of this, visit the ex-gay website, PFOX)

Evidently Tony Jones doesn’t believe in God’s transforming power as he has now concluded that Christians must embrace homosexuality:

I now believe that GLBTQ can live lives in accord with biblical Christianity (at least as much as any of us can!) and that their monogamy can and should be sanctioned and blessed by church and state.”

For those who have never heard of GLBTQ, it’s an acronym for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered and Questioning.

Without getting too far afield, it’s impossible for a practicing homosexual, a bisexual or a transgender person to live in accord with biblical Christianity. (See Lev. 18:22, Lev. 20:13, Rom. 1:26-28, 1 Cor. 6:9-10.) The fact is, Scripture teaches that it’s a sin to have sex outside the bonds of marriage. GLBTQ behavior is “against nature” and “unseemly.” (Rom. 1:26-28) My point is that for the serious Christian, manmade (unbiblical) laws should have no bearing on how we think about someone’s “sexual orientation.” A Christian’s marching orders come from God!

Unfortunately, in our postmodern culture all too many so-called Christians accept what the culture deems the “norm” instead of looking to the Bible to see what God says is legitimate and acceptable! If the Bible expressly forbids something, then it’s wrong to engage in it. Not only that, it’s a slap in the face to Christ to condone what He condemns!

How could a Bible-believing Christian not know that the scriptures make a strong statement on homosexuality -- God forbids it! With that in mind, the “conversation” believers in Christ should be having is how we can best articulate a Christian worldview on the hotly debated issues, instead of tossing God’s Word into the junk heap and embracing the cult of political correctness.

Getting back to Tony Jones’ “blogalogue,” I’m sorry to say that in winding it up he felt it necessary to make this rather flippant remark:

“Well, I suppose this blogalogue will be a test of whether I have good theological and philosophical reasons for supporting the rights of GLBTQ persons to marry, or whether I've simply caved to the mushy inclusivity of pluralized nothingness. In either case…I'm looking forward to this conversation, and I'm praying that it is ultimately glorifying of God.”

Jesus made this hard statement regarding prayer:

“Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth” (John 9:31).

Regarding God’s will, here are a couple of questions people of faith need to ask themselves: Is it God’s will for human beings to change His rules (as stated in the Bible) because some rules seem outdated, intolerant, hateful, unfeasible, hard to follow, silly, etc.? Is it God’s will for people to decide what is morally right and wrong based on, not what the Bible teaches, but on how they “feel” about certain issues?

Stunningly, Tony Jones’ new found beliefs on same-sex sex are not based on what God’s Word says. What he has come to believe is born out of his compassion for those who struggle with same-sex attractions. Like many neo-evangelicals, he has bought into the liberal theology that trusts in a person’s “feelings” rather than trusting in God. By disregarding the plain teaching of Scripture, and continuing his leftward slide, Tony Jones has shown himself untrustworthy and a false teacher.

A word of warning: Engaging in a theological “conversation” with a wiley false teacher can lead you into dangerous waters. The sad fact is that many who follow the teaching of charismatic religious leaders, speakers and writers, are drowning in a sea of apostasy! Take for example emergent pastor and author Brian McLaren. Much of his teaching is highly unorthodox. For one thing, he has called the doctrine of hell and the cross “false advertising for God.” Not only that, in an interview with “Time Magazine” a few years ago, he spouted his unbiblical view on homosexuality:

“Frankly, many of us don't know what we should think about homosexuality. We've heard all sides but no position has yet won our confidence so that we can say 'it seems good to the Holy Spirit and us.' That alienates us from both the liberals and conservatives who seem to know exactly what we should think." [5]

Because he doesn’t know what to think about the practice of sodomy, he suggested a five-year moratorium on making pronouncements. In the meantime:

[W]e'll practice prayerful Christian dialogue, listening respectfully, disagreeing agreeably. When decisions need to be made, they'll be admittedly provisional. We'll keep our ears attuned to scholars in biblical studies, theology, ethics, psychology, genetics, sociology, and related fields. Then in five years, if we have clarity, we'll speak; if not, we'll set another five years for ongoing reflection." [6]

McLaren, who prides himself on representing “a more intellectual approach to Christianity” ridicules Christian fundamentalists:

“I don’t dislike fundamentalists, taken individually--they tend to be pretty nice folks. Get them together in a group though, and I get nervous. I start to twitch and break out in a rash.” [7]

Since McLaren obviously believes the Bible is foolish and inconsequential perhaps it’s the Lord who is causing him to twitch and break out in a rash!

Thanks to Tony Jones the dialogue on what to think about homosexuality has ceased. Will Brian and other emergent gurus join forces with Tony, or with orthodox Bible scholars? Time will tell.

In the meantime, some emergents will continue the “conversation” on homosexuality, knowing full well that people are dying -- and some of them are headed straight to hell! Somehow they miss the urgency. Christians who believe the Bible’s teaching on hell must get out of their comfort zones and lovingly confront anyone who is in rebellion against God. Sure, Jesus palled around with sinners, but He never condoned their sin, nor did He tell the apostles to listen to the so-called experts, then after five or ten years decide what is, and is not, sin! The One who spoke the universe into existence and remains sovereign over His creation is the real expert on determining what sin is. Thankfully, He did not leave it up to sinful humans, who carry around more baggage than the airlines, to decide!

So, then, should conservative Christians worry about the ECM’s unorthodox teaching and their continual attacks against the historic fundamentals of the faith? Would it be better to just ignore these people and pray that the movement will soon fade away? Or should we fight it tooth and nail?

“Let’s not be confused here nor be too hasty to dismiss Tony Jones’ influence not only within the emergent church, but within the broader professing church itself. It’s easy to think; “Well, he’s only one guy and there is a lot of bad teaching out there”, but if you’re a discerning Christian you will have noticed by now that the post-modern vain philosophies of the emergent/emerging church are deeply infecting the Biblically illiterate youth of our day who are being fed a steady diet of spiritual poison while sitting under the teaching of hirelings. Men like Tony Jones, Doug Pagitt, Rob Bell, Dan Kimball and Brian McLaren are influencing an entire generation to embrace vain traditions and a re-imagined theology that runs contrary to the historic, orthodox tenets which are fundamental to the Christian faith itself! This is nothing less than a Counter-Reformation!” [8]

I’ll close with a quote from renowned theologian, Dr. R.C. Sproul:

In every age the church is threatened by heresy, and heresy is bound up in false doctrine. It is the desire of all heretics to minimize the importance of doctrine. When doctrine is minimized, heresy can exercise itself without restraint.


[1] How I Went from There to Here: Same Sex Marriage Blogalogue, posted Nov. 19, 2008, By Tony Jones

[2] Emergent Church Spreading Spiritual Cancer, By Marsha West

[3] Roger Oakland speaking on the Emergent Church Movement, part 1—youtube video

[4] Near Christianity, By T.M. Moore

[5] Brian McLaren on the Homosexual Question: Finding a "Pastoral Response" Out of Ur website, posted Jan. 23, 2006

[6] Ibid.

[7] Brian McLaren’s book, “A New Kind of Christian”-- page 9

[8] You’ve Been Warned--November 22, 2008 by Coram Deo

Additional reading:

Dan Kimball and the Emergent Church Seeking Hard to Make Homosexual Sin Not Sin


Copyright by Marsha West, 2008. All rights reserved.

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