Wenatchee The Hatchet was not particularly familiar with Tony Jones or Peter Rollins until, well, until the two of them made what seems to have been the remarkably idiotic decision to sound off on Mark Driscoll.
Jones sounded off on Driscoll over here:
Rollins sounded off on Driscoll over here:
David Hayward over at Naked Pastor had a response to Jones' assertions over here:
Hayward stated that attempting to locate the problems in Mark Driscoll with theology would miss pathology. Since Mark Driscoll's theological views have ... shifted a bit here and there, attempting to locate the problems Driscoll may have (or have had) in theology is a problematic enterprise.
And even if none of that were the case for the likes of Tony Jones or Peter Rollins to have sounded off on Mark Driscoll at all, let alone at the time that they did, was kind of useless:
And over time it may turn out that someone like Tony Jones talking about Mark Driscoll not being a bad guy but having embraced toxic theology might all be moot. It may turn out that Jones defending Driscoll at a personal level but saying the guy embraced a toxic theology would be missing a fairly rudimentary point that both conservatives and progressives could probably normally agree upon, that the life you live, how you treat people, and the kind of doctrine you espouse might be both less formally connected in real life than might be imagined and that if we're going to heed biblical texts there's the matter of the lived life. I.e. progressives and conservatives could agree about the having one spouse part.
While there are going to be those who will stand by Tony Jones much like those who will opt to stand by Mark Driscoll it's beginning to seem more and more that, at best, Tony Jones having any public punditry about Mark Driscoll could be the pot calling the kettle black.
At worst, Jones may have stooped to ways of handling conflict that are egregious enough to make Mark Driscoll look sorta fallible but not beyond redemption. Then again, didn't all these guys hail at one point from the Emergent scene? It can seem as though the Emergent crew is basically toxic whether its one-time associates veered "left" or "right".
You'd think that after things blew up with Driscoll and Jones alike that we'd be able to set aside this idea that theology and ethics are necessarily connected. I mean, sure, they "should" be but let's not forget John Howard Yoder. The old idea that "ideas have consequences" seems less and less plausible after a few decades. We want to believe there's substance to the idea that what you believe and say about the cosmos should be reflected in your life ... but ... it doesn't always seem to be the case. And here we have a chance to not resort to "no true Scotsman".
But that is very probably how things are going to play out. After all ... it's not like Wenatchee The Hatchet didn't have half a decade to see how people kept coming to the defense of Mars Hill in general and of Mark Driscoll in particular. What may be pertinent to the Tony Jones situation is akin to what seems to be the case about Mark Driscoll, there are some people who are devoted to a vindication of the hero because they are vindicating their emotional, spiritual and economic investment of themselves into that hero as a brand. Wenatchee used to call Mars Hill home and over time it became clearer and clearer that a commitment to following the teaching of Jesus was at no point dependent on being associated with Mars Hill. A comparable process may be advisable for Tony Jones.
For a bit more background on all of this stuff ...