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Tony Jones not only earned his M. Div. from Fuller Theological Seminary but is now one of their adjunct professors at the Lowell W. Berry Center for Lifelong Learning.

Since 2008, he has been the ‘theologian-in-residence’ at emergent Doug Pagitt‘s church — rather, ‘holistic, missional, Christian community’ — Solomon’s Porch, in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  Jones and Pagitt co-founded and co-own JoPa Productions.  JoPa has organised emergent events and has since branched into multi- and social media consulting and training.

I probably should have used one of Jones’s recent ‘mean and moody’ photies, but you can catch enough of those on his blog and related sites.

Fuller course in 2011

In June 2011, Jones will be leading the D.Min. cohort in Christian Spirituality (emphases mine throughout):

Year One:
Co-taught with Lauren Winner (& Featuring Phyllis Tickle)

Tony Jones will work with the students to develop a personal “theology of Christian spirituality” which will guide the student throughout the course of study. Phyllis Tickle, compiler of The Divine Hours and general editor of the Ancient Practices Series will also guest lecture in the class.

Year Two:
Co-taught with Brian McLaren

In the second year, the class will meet in Minnesota and explore the connection between Christianity spirituality and nature, including possible forays into the north woods and Boundary Water Area Wilderness, with a special emphasis on Jürgen Moltmann’s theology of creationBrian McLaren, long-time pastor and author of many books will join the class for the canoe trip, and he will teach from his long-time passion for creation care and the spirituality of the wilderness.

Year Three:
Co-taught with Gareth Higgins

The nexus of Christian spirituality and our everyday lives with be the focus of the third year, with Tony Jones teaching on cultural hermeneutics and challenging the students to take their theology of Christian spirituality—developed in year one—and apply it to the world in which we find ourselves.  Gareth Higgins, Northern Irish peace activist and renowned film critic will be screening films with us and catalyzing theological reflection.  This course will take place in Pasadena and Hollywood, CA.

Hmm.  One could write volumes on this bunkum.  And let’s not even get started on ‘Northern Irish peace activist’.  Anyway, here are a few excerpts from the PDF for Year 1:

Christian spirituality is a topic both wide-ranging and specific, and this first year of the three-year cohort cycle will put some boundaries and definitions on just what Christian spirituality is.  Instead of tracing the history of Christian spirituality in a linear fashion, the topic will be investigated via the many spiritual disciplines that have been popular over the last two millennia.

Some of the reading list:

Nouwen, Henri, Walk with Jesus: Stations of the Cross (Maryknoll, NewYork: Orbis, 1990)
Peterson, Eugene, The Contemplative Pastor: Returning to the Art of Spiritual Direction (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1993)
Forest, Jim, Praying with Icons, (Orbis: Maryknoll, NewYork, 1997)
Linn, Dennis, Shelia Fabricant Linn, and Matthew Linn, Sleeping with Bread: Holding What Gives You Life (Mahwah, New York: Paulist, 1995)
Main, John, Moment of Christ: The Path of Meditation (New York: Continuum, 1998)
Pennington, M. Basil, O.C.S.O., Centering Prayer: Renewing an Ancient Christian Prayer Form (Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1980)

Along with:

Paradigm Theological Shifts
Barna, George. Revolution. Tyndale, 2005.
Hamel, Gary. Leading the Revolution. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press, 2000.
Kimball, Dan. The Emerging Church. Zondervan, 2003.

Leadership Development
Kouzes, James and Posner, Barry. The Leadership Challenge. Jossey-Bass, 2002.
Lencioni, Patrick. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2002.
Rusaw, Rick and Swanson, Eric. The Externally Focused Church. Group 2004.
Scott, Cynthia D. and Jaffe, Dennis T. Managing Organizational Change. Crisp Publications, 1989.

Personal Growth
Buford, Bob. Finishing Well. Integrity, 2004.
Dotlich, David and Cairo, Peter. Why CEO’s Fail. Jossey-Bass, 2003.
Thrall, Bill; McNicol, Bruce and McElrath, Ken. The Ascent of a Leader. Jossey-Bass, 1999.

Jones and dissenters

For those wondering what it might be like to have Prof. Jones in class, read one of his blog posts, ‘Jim Wallis Appearance Stirs Wisconsin Controversy’.  The post concerns Q90-FM’s dropping their sponsorship of Lifest, a Christian music festival in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.  Q90 said the Sojourners‘ founder’s social justice message and agenda promotes “a seed of secular humanism, seeking an unholy alliance between the church and government.”  Good for them!

This sparked an emergent v Calvinist exchange in the comments. (How do I know he’s a Calvinist?  I visited his blog.) Be sure to click on previous comments to read the best parts, including Tony Jones calling out the young Calvinist, who offers intelligent, balanced, biblically-based responses to everyone.  Nonetheless, Jones gets his digs in:

Tony Jones: Darius, tone it down. This is your last warning.

Darius: Tony, so contrary voices are not allowed? Here I thought you postmoderns were so open-minded… yet you allow people to rip on me (I don’t care, I’m thick-skinned) yet you won’t let me speak my mind. Typical intolerance from the Left.

Tony Jones: Darius, dissenting voices are welcome. A——-ry is not.

Wow, what a godly response!  Darius is obviously — and thankfully — resistant to diaprax.

Jürgen Moltmann’s influence

Before I go further into Jones’s theology, I would like to touch briefly on Jürgen Moltmann‘s.  Moltmann was raised in a secular home in Hamburg.  Growing up, he read voraciously and absorbed a great deal from classical German philosophers.  Near the end of the Second World War, he spent time in a POW camp in Belgium, where he was given a Bible to read. After the war and back home in Germany, he studied theology.  The works of Karl Barth, Luther and Hegel influenced his thought.  After ordination, he served as a pastor and later become a professor, first at Bonn University, then at Tübingen University, where he is currently emeritus professor.

Moltmann’s 1964 work, Theology of Hope, is said to have influenced movements from liberation theology to the emergent church.  You can understand why, when you read:

The church is to be seen as the people of hope, experiencing hope in the God who is present in his promises. The coming kingdom gives the church a much broader vision of reality than a “merely” private vision of personal salvation. The church is to contest all the barriers that have been constructed by man for security; it challenges all structures that absolutize themselves, and all barriers erected between peoples in the name of the reality that is to come in Jesus Christ. The coming kingdom creates confronting and transforming vision for the mission of the people of God.

People could certainly be forgiven for picking up a scintilla of communitarianism there.  Our traditional view of redemption as being individual (as the Bible says) is but a trifle.  Instead, whole peoples will be redeemed.  And a thought process like this leads to … universalism.

Jones, Moltmann and universalism

Ken Silva for Apprising Ministries takes up the story:

Now we consider the following entry at the Emergent Village blog concerning an upcoming September 2009 event:

In what has become the hallmark event of Emergent Village, JoPa Productions is thrilled to welcome Jürgen Moltmann as the dialogue partner for the 2009 Emergent Theological Conversation. Moltmann, one of the premier theologians of the 20th century, is known as the “theologian of hope.” This will be a unique opportunity to sit in conversation with a renowned theologian who has shaped the theological landscape. (Online source)

As we can also see in his post Fuller Seminary Offers D.Min. Credit… at his Beliefnet blog Tony Jones, “professor of record” for Fuller Cesspool at this event, is pretty excited about it all as well. And watching the slide down further away from anything resembling orthodoxy by Tony Jones is a very good indicator of just where this Emergence rebellion against Sola Scriptura—with their growing deceptions—is headed

So now you have a better idea what Rob Bell means when he says it’s our “duty” to “hope and long and pray for somehow everybody to be reconciled to God” (Online source).

It transpires (same Apprising Ministries link) that Moltmann taught former Fuller faculty member, Miroslav VolfJones studied under Volf.  Join the dots.

Silva warns us (emphasis in the original here):

Note carefully: Progressive Christians “pro-actively” assert Christianity is not “the only” way to God and also lend their ”support of the complete validity of other religions.” Christians should support a person’s right to believe whatever they wish to about God; but that said, we must not deceive people into thinking they are actually worshipping the one true and living God apart from being regenerated in Christ (e.g. see—1 Corinthians 10:20).

Communitarianism alerts

On January 29, 2010, Jones posted the following on his blog about fellow emergent Philip Clayton:

I’ve just spent another few days with Philip Clayton, and once again been impressed with the evangelical zeal with which he approaches progressive theology.  He is a force of nature.

Which, I imagine, is why the Ford Foundation gave him a grant to “transform theology for church and society” (read, make progressive theology popular and populist again).  I’ve been involved with him in that, particularly with Tripp “Sancho Panza” Fuller.

So, there we have the Ford Foundation — one of the ones which endowed eugenics departments at Ivy League universities in the early part of the 20th century — taking a new tack in social engineering: getting us as churchgoers to buddy up with statist programmes.  Yes, very postmodern and progressive, isn’t it?

On November 21, 2010, Jones stated that he would be attending the Wild Goose Festival, an emergent social justice and spirituality weekend in North Carolina next year:

I think Wild Goose is the next domino to fall in the movement that is reshaping the church and society….but, more importantly, reshaping me.

Anyway, Gareth Higgins (see Fuller course above, Year 3) is the festival director.


Well, that’s the Tony Jones story.  Perfect for the Fullerites.  I’m hoping you’ll see things differently.

Tomorrow: Another Fuller Theological Seminary alum made good

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