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Saturday, July 14, 2007

The Conversation is Clear as Mud

Russell Moore has been hosting the Al Mohler Radio Program while David's cousin vacations. While it is Al's show, Russell brings a unique and equally entertaining twist. Never afraid to tackle a difficult topic, Moore invited Tony Jones to join the conversation.

It is not the first time Moore invited a interviewee with a different perspective. Charity and I listened to the interview during a drive today. This exchange seemed to summarize the entire interview:
Tony, you and I have been talking about your understanding that you ought not to have necessarily a central, defining confession of faith. You ought not to see orthodoxy as something that is settled, but orthodoxy, instead, as something we are moving toward. I wonder, Tony, in a local church, or even in the emerging church conversation, what if you have an emerging wing of Jehovah's Witnesses? Where are the boundaries, the doctrinal boundaries and how are those decided if you don't have a common confession?
Well, that's a great question, Russell. I was listening to your show on Wednesday, the call-in show, and somebody asked you about interracial marriage. You expressed that basically the truth is that we are all created in the image of God, and that there's nothing against a person of one race and of another race marrying one another. Now there was a time, of course, when the Southern Baptist Convention would have said, "This is truth, that an African-American and a white should not get married." This is something that in time, as we've learned more about human beings, and I would like to say, I you'd probably agree, we know more about who we are as creations in the image of God, and we know more about God's truth (Moore interjected, "I don't believe that's what happened at all."), we have come to realize that we were wrong, and there's nothing Scriptural precluding two people of two different races from getting married. So, this is a situ...it's not relativism. It's not anything goes. It is a deliberate process by which we listen to God's Spirit, we live together in communities of faith, and we have a different opinion about a particular area of truth than we had, say, one hundred years ago.
Moore suggested he does not belive Jones' depiction of the interracial marriage issue is completely accurate. Largely, he pointed out that it was because the SBC had a confession of faith, that others were able to appeal back to it and show the convention where they were being inconsistent. This was done as they examined Scripture and saw where they were falling short. (Moore did not excuse their previous stance, instead, he said they were "liars" when it came to their declaration of what God's Word had said regarding the prohibition for interracial marriage and had to repent of that.)

Granted, this was a live radio show, so Jones did not have time to prepare his answers. However, this should be a question he has fielded before, or atleast has thought about. A few of my observations from his answer:
    1. The question is not directly addressed, though he compliments Russell and says it is a great question.
    2. I believe the interracial issue was actually handled on Thursday and not Wednesday's show.
    3. While the SBC certainly had it wrong, regarding their former "official position" regarding interracial marriage, is Jones really putting interracial marriage on the same level as understanding the Trinity, how one becomes saved or even the nature of Scripture...all debates (but not all the debate) between orthodox Christianity and Jehovah's Witnesses?
    4. Jones places the change not in understanding the Scriptures better, but in numerous studies that grew our knowledge about being the image of God and truth.
    5. While he asserts it is not relativism or anything goes, he presents a process that diminishes our ability to place faith in what we call truth. Is he really saying that because the SBC missed it on interracial marriage (at one time), that they may be wrong about the Trinity and JW's may be right?
    6. It may seem nitpicky, but I'd like to know if God's Spirit is his way of referring to the Holy Spirit. If it is, that is a leaky way to refer to a member of the Trinity and could expose why he has trouble saying the JW's are wrong.
    7. He never said JW's were wrong.
    8. He never said JW's could not be part of the Emerging Conversation.
    9. He never stated he disagrees with JW doctrine.
It's an interesting interview. I'd recommend you download it and give it a listen. I find it odd that when asked what "emerging" or "emergent" means, the director of Emergent Villiage struggled to define it. Not surprisingly, Jones pleaded a couple of times that he and Moore were more on the same page than Moore realized. Each time, Moore responded that he doesn't see the similarity.

Now that's the conversation I seem to be having a lot lately.


  • At 8:17 AM, Blogger Noel said…

    I went ahead and listened to the broadcast. It becomes so frustrating to hear people so lost in their worldly thinking. Just three years ago I was lost in that silly post-modern thinking. The most difficult part about listening to people like that is that I have seen the truth and it is so clear, and they look at it and don't see it. Scripture does say that His words will be wisdom to believers and foolishness to the unregenerate. Good summary, and yes he is a dodger of questions as many psot-moderns are. "Hmm, they stumped me on that question, so I will ask different questions for my answer and deconstruct his thinking, then I will show them who is wise!" Those people have fallen in love with their own thinking.

  • At 2:50 PM, Blogger Charity said…

    Russell Moore rocks!! :-)

    what bothered me most about jones' perspective was first of all his emphasis on human beings and not so much on Christ or the Scripture, and second, that he discredited the "theory" that Christ was 100% God and 100% man because of the human nature of the council at which this topic was discussed; as if this concept originated at the council, instead of in God's Word.

    i love that RM played "2 Sets of Jones" on the show!


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