Tony Jones, national coordinator of the Emergent Village, presented this paper at a theology conference at Wheaton college.
It is not my intention to take a flame-thrower and attack a “Tony straw man.” I have read the article twice and have tried to understand what exactly he is saying. That being said, here is a quote from page 24 of his paper:
You have heard it said that the emergent church values orthopraxy over orthodoxy, but I say to you, if orthodoxy is an event, then another veil has been torn. There is no difference between the two. “Orthopraxy,” as my friend Dwight Friesen calls it, is the dialectical tension in which these two poles stand. Let me put it more boldly: there is no orthodoxy without orthopraxy. It doesn’t exist. People may talk about it, but they also talk about unicorns.
There is no song until it’s sung — just words and notes on paper. There is no strike until it’s called by the ump — “It ain’t nothing till I call it.” And there is no orthodoxy until it’s lived.
If you don’t know what orthopraxy is, that’s ok. In a nutshell, it’s proper practice, i.e. works.
Hmm, did TJ just equate works with doctrine? Am I putting words in his mouth? I don’t think I am. I would argue that no matter what the Ecumenical councils ruled throughout the course of church history, that orthodoxy (proper doctrine) is not an earthly event. That is, the truth does not occur; events in which men discuss the truth do occur. But the truth, it flows from God, the One who has no beginning or end. Truth is objective — it has always been and is now revealed
through the Scriptures.
Further, since proper faith is based on spiritual truth — i.e. doctrine — then, to equate practice and doctrine is to confuse faith and works — the heresy foundational to most of the world’s cults and false religions. Here we see yet another really bad idea resulting from emergent conversation.
Phil Johnson of TeamPyro wrote an excellent article on this issue. Click here to read it.