Friends are more important than faith?

This is a quote taken from the Emergent Village blog itself:

Tony Jones: “This is what it really is all about for me and for a lot of my peers in Emergent … We looked at the generation of Christian leaders who preceded us, and we thought, ‘These guys frickin’ hate each other. It’s all about competition between one megachurch and another megachurch, and who’s selling more books, and who’s got a bigger radio program.’ And we were just like, ‘We’re not going to be like that. We might lose our faith, lose our churches, never get a book deal, whatever. But can we just die as friends?’ I remember having these conversations 10 years ago. ‘Let’s just die friends.’”

As important as friendship is to me – I could never elevate it about “losing my faith”.  Not only is Jones’ assessment of the previous generation of Christian leaders reductionistic, uncharitable and overly-simplistic but I think this statement explains more about the Emergent Village’s values and theology than anything else?


~ by John on November 11, 2008.

4 Responses to “Friends are more important than faith?”

  1. The more emering stuff I read that comes from the more left of center guys (like Emergent Villiage), the more I’m becoming convinced that they don’t have a robust theology of the depravity of humanity and how that affects everything this side of the new creation – even the church. Their failure to account for its effects forces them to come up with silly statements like the one above. They’re unable to live with the tension that church people are both followers of Jesus yet totally screwed up still in so many ways and it takes a life-time of grace-enabled transformation to start looking a bit more like our leader.

    Until they develop such a theology they will be forced to over-emphazie orthopraxy to the point that it clouds orthodoxy.

  2. John (and Stephen),

    I thought this quote from Tony might get this reaction from some quarters, and I just want to say that I think it is “reductionistic, uncharitable, and overly-simplistic” if you don’t hear Tony’s comment in the context it was given. This wasn’t a definitive statement, and I don’t think it was meant to imply friendship is elevated over faith — just that along the way, some people might lose their faith, but hopefully they would all remain friends anyway. That’s how I understand it, and, if you want to talk about being charitable, I think that’s a much more charitable reading of Tony’s comment.

  3. Steve – I find it a little disturbing that we constantly have to work extra hard on statements that come out of the EV in order to attain a charitable reading. Scot McKnight mentioned one of the streams that flow into the ’emerging lake’ as being ‘prophetic’ – in this stream he noted that many in the EC overstate their case for prophetic effect. He also hoped that it would settle down and become more balanced so that we avoid language that confuses and creates undue concern. My concern is that the EV guys haven’t listened to his charitable criticism enough.

  4. Steve K,

    My intention is not to take it out of its context and if that is what Tony meant then I agree with his statement.

    But I as a matter of point – you ask me to take it in the context it was given – but you(?) posted the quote without “the context in which it was given.” .

    I have read the comment again and I can now see more clearly what Tony is trying to say. But at face value I do think his comments are somewhat ambigious in intention.

    But I do stand by my statement that Tony’s comments about the previous generation of Christian leaders are unfair and guilty of one brush paints all approach.

    I agree that I know people like this, but I equally know many godly, wonderful men of a previous generation who are not like this at.

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