The Tony Jones Blog at Patheos
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Here’s my response to Phillip’s call:
Man, I really wish that you or some other emergent leaders would take your beliefs to the mat and challenge someone like Mark Driscoll or John MacArthur or some real life reformed theologian to an actual debate. It would really be telling. This whole “state of stasis” idea is ridiculous. The Bible is in a state of stasis. What is written is written. The words on paper do not change from time to time, they are the same.
Do we as Christians really believe that the Bible is only “words on paper” though? I know I certainly don’t. Words on paper is dead, it has profane and lacks any sacredness or life giving abilities. And while we should never forget that Christ is the source and fountain of all life and all holiness, he does indeed use Scripture, among other things, as a means for use to have access to the Gospel; to life, and to holiness. No, the Bible is not in a state of stasis, it is ever flowing, ever shifting and adapting to show us how to deal with our own struggles. If it was unable to do that, it would be of very limited use to us 2000 years later, our troubles have similarities to those specifically written about in the scriptures, but they are definitely not the same.
Great job Tony, well said
Joshua The fact that scripture is solid does not mean that they are dead. I merely means they are solid and never changing. Say your house was constantly moving, never in the same place when you got home from work and never where you left it when you went to sleep. You could never trust a place with that kind of nature. You trust that your house will always be in the place it was when you left it. Why would you want scriptures that are constantly moving and changing? Christ says himself that our houses need to be built on rock and not on sand. And what you place your faith in is sand and not rock. and it will fail you. The scriptures are a direct picture of the God of whom they speak of, God will always be the same, yesterday, today and forever. So will the scriptures. I say these things not to discourage you or simply be a jerk. The scriptures are a place that will constantly challenge you to be more faithful than you are currently, wherever you are. And if we as Christians, aren’t actively letting the Holy Spirit engage us with those scriptures then all we have is dead philosophic theism. and i wish that ever man would find hope in the unchanging of our literature, not un-certainty.
Awesome Tony. I am not sure how your desire to best understand how the God of life gives and brings life about in the world is a stumbling block to faith. Apparently some people have yet to remove Aristotle’s ‘metaphysics’ from their canon. I would have sworn it was in the pseudepigrapha at least.
the above song/poem, while sounding very pretty and awe-inspiring, is found no where in Scripture, nor has a basis in scripture. We are to built our faith on stone and not sand nor water (for then it would obviously be a boat, and really, who wants to live on a boat for forever? Even the most serious sailor comes ashore to get his feet back on solid ground)
I don’t understand the whole fascination with theology being like a trampoline, as Rob Bell puts it. Sure there are some things that need to be flexible, things that make us jump. But there are MANY things that are bricks – that are stasis, as Tony puts it. Otherwise, we would have no foundation. I guess I just don’t get all the “either/or’s” in this whole Emergence debate. Why are they not allowing for “both/and’s”? It seems all the Emergents have been scarred by fundamentalist evangelicalism and don’t want to have an semblance of that theology in their lives. They don’t look for “truth everywhere”, because they quickly dismiss anything coming from foundationalist dogma.
I think those of you claiming things to be in stasis don’t fully understand what that term refers to. It is term intended to communicate inert, essentially lifeless matter. So, when you claim Scripture is in a state of stasis in order to claim it as a foundation, you actually do harm to Scripture. Scripture can be a fixed thing, and yet not in a state of stasis. Church can be a fixed thing, and also not in a state of stasis. You are conflating terms, it seems to me.
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