Tony Jones: Leading the Youth Toward Mystical Spirituality

Emerging church leader Tony Jones' March 2008 release, The New Christians: Dispatches from the Emergent Frontier, may not come as a shock to those who have already read Jones' books, An Emergent Manifesto of Hope and The Sacred Way. But it does provide further insights into the true nature of the emerging church. In The Sacred Way, Jones openly acknowledges his affinity with mysticism. With chapters on labyrinths, stations of the cross, the silence, centering (mantric) prayer, and more, Jones' leaves no doubt that he embraces eastern-style mystical prayer practices. In An Emergent Manifesto of Hope, he takes it to the next level. The thesis of that book could be described as:

The Kingdom of God is already here on earth, includes all people, all faiths, and in fact is in all people and all of creation and can be felt or realized through mysticism which connects everything together as ONE. see review

Those who have come to understand mantra meditation know that the usual outcome of going into altered states is a new spiritual consciousness that is open to both panentheism (God in all) and interspirituality (all religions lead to God). 1 In order to have this new spiritual outlook, one's view of "truth" must be adjusted - Jones' new book, The New Christians, provides such an outline for this adjustment. A theme of this book could go something this:

Emergents say they believe in truth, but they define it as something that is always changing and being refined, can never be grasped, and enfolds all beliefs, except the ones that insist there is only one truth.

It's not really any wonder that Jones says this - he credits Brian McLaren as "helping to birth this book" (p. 253). McLaren's view on truth resonates with the description above. As is typical with many emerging church books, The New Christians emphatically tries to convince readers that the "church is dead" (p. 4), at least church as we have known it.  (Click here to read this entire review.)

Emergent Manifesto of Hope is the new release from Emersion, a publishing partnership between Baker Books and Emergent Village. The book, edited and compiled by emergent leaders Tony Jones and Doug Pagitt, is a collection of essays by various emerging church leaders. Pagitt says the book "provides a rare glimpse inside the emerging church." This "rare glimpse" actually lays out the agenda of the movement, and in essence Emergent Manifesto is the emerging church's coming out of the closet tribute. The back cover of Emergent Manifesto describes it as a "front-row" look at this "influential international movement" and promises readers that they will come away with "a deeper understanding of the hopeful imagination that drives the emerging church." Readers are also told that they will "appreciate the beauty of a conversation that is continually being formed." However, the book fails to deliver any "beauty." A more accurate title for this book would be Emergent Manifesto of False Hope, and a subtitle (albeit a lengthy one) that would describe it perfectly would go something like this:

The Kingdom of God is already here on earth, includes all people, all faiths, and in fact is in all people and all of creation and can be felt or realized through mysticism which connects everything together as ONE.

This new collective spirituality leads people into a socialistic community where rituals, practices, and social justice become a means of salvation, but not the salvation you think of in a personal sense of being born-again through Jesus Christ. This is a collective salvation 1 that includes whole cultures and communities who follow the way of someone referred to as Jesus. (Click here to read this entire article.)

Sacred Way by Tony JonesAt a National Youth Worker's Convention,Tony Jones says the emerging church has no position on absolute truth, but his new book, Sacred Way, takes a strong position on Eastern religion and New Age practices ...


Soul Shaper by Tony Jones Soul Shaper
by Tony Jones
Exploring Spirituality and Contemplative Practices in Youth Ministry
"Ancient spiritual exercises are being implemented by youth ministries around the United States and Great Britain"

What Is Tony Jones Teaching?

Silence and Solitude
The Jesus Prayer
Centering Prayer
The Ignatian Examen
Spiritual Direction
The Labyrinth
Stations of the Cross

ead Tony's article in Youth Specialties, Youth Worker Journal where Tony tells all about his experiences with:
Taize Worship
Contemplative Prayer
Read the whole article by Tony Jones


What Is Tony Jones Doing
To Teach Youth?

According to Tony Jones, he:

* Reads only Bible versions that have no chapter or verse numbers, such as The Message.

*Reinvigorates the process of catechism.

*Quite a big fan of lectio divina* Does more and more ancient practices for corporate spirituality.*Stations of the Cross is one we've used several times.

"In a nutshell, postmodernism says there are no universal truths valid for all people. Instead, individuals are locked into the limited perspective of their own race, gender or ethnic group. It is Nietzsche in full bloom. "
Bill Crouse
Deconstructionism: The Postmodern Cult of Hermes

"...a radical shift in the way young people view reality is bringing permanent change to Europe's spiritual climate. The global forecast is both threatening and promising. Post-modernity, as this mood-change is becoming known, is not a rational, consistent, philosophy.... It is a soup of contradictory ideas....
A Global Weather Change
by Jeff Fountain

Willing to be Lost and Searching
Rather Than Accept the Gospel According to Jesus Christ

July 8th, 2005 - PBS' Religion & Ethics Weekly has just released a news story on the emerging church movement.

The story shows how far this movement's leaders are willing to go to bring a whole generation into their emergence. These leaders are compromising the gospel and keeping thousands of young people from hearing the true message of salvation.

The underlying foundation of the emerging church is New Age mysticism. With labyrinths, yoga, chanting and meditating, the emerging church is helping to unite all the world's religious traditions.

The three emerging church leaders featured in the PBS story, Brian McLaren, Doug Pagitt, and Tony Jones, speak of a new Christianity:

Doug Pagitt - "When people discover we are a church with a yoga class ... they sometimes assume that we're simply out to appeal to the cultural creatives and the neo-hippies." (p. 53, Reimagining Spiritual Formation)

Brian McLaren: Endorsing the back cover of Alan Jones' book, Reimagining Christianity, which says the doctrine of the Cross is a vile doctrine.

Tony Jones, author of Soul Shaper:"The first time I introduced this, the kids came in, and I had a candle going and a little incense burning and some Gregorian chant music on the CD player."


Quotes by
Tony Jones

"Emergent doesn't have a position on absolute truth, or on anything for that matter. Do you show up at a dinner party with your neighbors and ask, 'What's this dinner party's position on absolute truth?' No, you don't, because it's a nonsensical question." At the 2005 National Youth Workers Convention

"Postmodernism was the key to unlock the door to the future of my theology and ministry."

"Lectio divina is a very ancient way of reading Scripture—where you take a very small chunk and read it over and over."

"The first time I introduced this, the kids came in, and I had a candle going and a little incense burning and some Gregorian chant music on the CD player." Tony Jones, from interview with editor Jeff Bailey, Cutting Edge magazine, pp. 15-22.

"We've used prayer with icons, or the Eastern Orthodox
Jesus prayer."

"We've done Ignatian meditation."


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