On Tuesday, Jimmy Barnhill (I thought) called me out to challenge Tony Jones. Impetuously, in a fit of competitiveness, I accepted the challenge. Jimmy and Carla and Tony are friends from our days at Fuller in the early nineties, and they’ve breathed some new life in me over the last few months via blogs and e-mails. Turns out, now that I go back and really read Jimmy’s post, he wasn’t asking ME to take on Tony, but rather someone from within mainline churches to take him on like I (sort of) did back in January.
But why be trivial about details? I can win this contest decisively.
My esteemed opponent, newly named coordinator of Emergent, takes the position that to be Emergent requires people “who are courageous enough to stand up at a presbytery meeting and walk out…and not look back.” I have huge respect for Tony, and began to despair of having enough theological tools in my toolbox to take him on.
But then I remembered something, a little piece of evidence that makes this contest over and done with before Tony’s even had a chance to breathe. Your Honors, I present exhibit 1-A for your consideration, video testimony from my esteemed opponent’s own mouth:
So, to recap:
- Mr. Jones has admitted that I, and I alone, constitute the church.
- Last time I checked, I am an integral member of a traditional church.
- Therefore, one does NOT have to leave the traditional church to be faithful. In fact, all of Emergent is, by my opponent’s own admission, without my church-constituting presence.
QED. Game, Set, and Match. A first round knockout. Goliath is dead, and little David has only needed one smooth stone in his blog arsenal. Your Honors, I ask you to rule in my favor. Thank you.