Tony Jones Gets Mainline Churches Wrong

There is some study out that indicates that there is a broad range of political and social opinions in the ranks of those pastors who self-identify as Emergent. Tony Jones has attempted to use this as an “a-ha” moment where he turns into a comic book can prove David Fitch wrong when it comes to the latter’s prediction that emergent evangelicals are on a glide-path to become indistinguishable from mainline Protestantism. The assumption that Jones appears to make is that if emergent leaders were to become more mainline, they would appear to be uniformly or at least predominantly “liberal” (whatever that even means anymore). I suppose that relative to evangelical churches which are – at least officially – uniformly supposed to be conservative, by contrast mainline churches will appear relatively more liberal, but what that looks like on the ground is the presence of many churchgoers and many clergy who would affirm many of the same things that evangelicals would about scripture or the divinity of Christ or what-have-you even while there are others who might not. In other words mainline leaders look a lot like those self-identified emergent leaders do in Jones’ survey. It’s kind of ironic that he perceives mainline denominations in pretty much the exact same way as Mark Driscoll or any of the other evangelicals he doesn’t care for.