Supplanting God’s Word with a Post-modern Mindset- Where “The Battle for the Bible” Exists Today

November 29, 2008

Check out these words recent from ex-Emergent Village National Coordinator Tony Jones as he speaks about the formation of his views on how Christians should handle homosexuality:

With that in mind, I always responded, “I’m holding that issue in abeyance. I haven’t made up my mind yet, and I’m in no hurry to. Homosexuality,” I would say, “[is] one issue that I don’t want to get wrong.”

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!”)

In any case, 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.

Wow! Now, I don’t necessarily want to engage his particular claim at this time (that is on the way over the next couple of weeks), but I want you guys to look at the language he uses. Jones claims that “Homosexuality . . . [is] one issue that I don’t want to get wrong” and then what is the authority for his eventual stance? “I could feel myself drifting . . .” After several paragraphs of intimating his life experiences with members of the GLBTQ community and mocking the conservative position on this issue, Jones finally puts his foot down based on how he is “drifiting”!

This, posted originally on November 19, is the state of things right now. More and more people in the Christian world, particularly among Jones’ own version of “Emergent Christianity” are determining God’s will by considering their own desires, seeking to do things in their own way in their own day (see my review of The Blue Parakeet). This is a problem. In fact, as JD Greear claims in a February 2006 article for SBC Life, this is “the battle for the Bible” recast in the 21st century.

In his article, “Is ‘The Battle for the Bible’ Really Over?,” JD Greear states that

[T]he statement that “the battle for the Bible is over” is dangerously wrong on two accounts. First, anyone who thinks the question of inerrancy is “settled” is simply not keeping up with trends developing among evangelicalism. Voices calling for “balance” in this issue, by which they mean we must learn to balance the truth in our Bibles with the errors, are as loud as ever. . . . But perhaps even more significantly, to say that “the battle for the Bible has been won” overlooks the fact that the preaching of the Bible seems less fashionable than ever – especially among younger evangelicals.

I could not agree with this assessment more. The decrying of inerrancy and gospel-preaching from the emergent streams is deafening. Looking at the major books out this year by those involved, The New Christians (Tony Jones), The Great Emergence (Phyllis Tickle), and The Blue Parakeet (Scot McKnight). In each of these books traditional evangelicalism and the practice of sola scriptura are ransacked as being vestiges of a by-gone era, an era which is either inevitably dying (as argued by Tickle) or which is crusted over and in need of new blood (from Tony Jones). They just take it as a for-gone conclusion that the Bible is fallible (see my discussion earlier for why McKnight tacitly denies inerrancy) and that Scripture is only part (and maybe not even a big part) of discerning God’s will for our lives. If “the battle for the Bible” is won, then somebody apparently did not tell these people who won it.

That’s why the battle for the Bible, as I have said before (standing in the shoulders of giants, of course) is every generations battle. Today’s generation, my generation, has to stand up and reclaim inerrancy and the authority of Scripture from this renegade sect of Christianity which would have us deny Christ’s own declaration (that we are not of the world, John 15.18-19) for a bad exegesis on Paul (to become all things to all people, 1 Corinthians 9.19-23). We must not fall asleep on this, we must watch and pray that Jesus’ message will not be betrayed!