Tony Jones (theologian)
Jones in December 2012
|Alma mater||Dartmouth College Princeton Theological Seminary|
Jones grew up near Edina, Minnesota, and graduated from Edina High School in 1986. He later graduated from Dartmouth College and attended both Fuller Theological Seminary and Princeton Theological Seminary, earning a doctorate from the latter. Jones divorced his first wife, Julie McMahon, in 2009. In July 2011, Jones wedded Courtney Perry in a religious marriage, but not legally by the laws of Minnesota in solidarity with non-heterosexual couples who could not wed: "It was for this reason that Courtney and I decided to forego legal marriage until such time as our GLBT friends were afforded all of the benefits that accrue with a legal marriage." Twenty-eight months later, they were legally wed at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden on November 11, 2013.
After attending Fuller Theological Seminary, Jones returned to his childhood church—Colonial Church in Edina—and worked there as a youth pastor for seven years before leaving for his doctoral work at Princeton Theological Seminary. As a spokesperson with the emerging church movement, Jones was invited by a similar Jewish organization, Synagogue 3000, to speak at their 2006 meeting. On October 31, 2008, Jones resigned from his leadership position of the emerging-church organization Emergent Village. Jones began attending Solomon's Porch in 2005—a church in South Minneapolis, and by April 2012, he was the group's "theologian-in-residence" and helped run workshops about connecting with congregants with 21st-century means. At the same time, Jones was an adjunct professor with Fuller. From 2009-2019, Jones worked in various capacities at 1517 Media, including five years as senior acquisitions editor for Fortress Press.
Jones has written for Christianity Today magazine, the Christian Century, and several other periodicals. Jones is the author of several non-fiction books, including The New Christians (2008). Religion Dispatches' Peter Laarman was pleasantly surprised by Jones' 2012 non-fiction book A Better Atonement; Laarman called Jones a celebrity in the emerging church movement, and recommended the book for "anyone who’s even considering whether 'that old-time religion' isn’t quite good enough any more." Jones also turned his doctoral dissertation into a book—The Church Is Flat—about the emerging church movement. In 2015 he published an expanded version of that book titled, Did God Kill Jesus? In 2012, Jones also published the controversial mobile app Ordain Thyself, which offers a variety of religions in which the user can virtually ordain themselves; the app has options for Catholicism, Hasidic Judaism, Hinduism, and Klingon religions, each of which instructs the user on their new belief system and provides photo filters to apply the appropriate vestments to personal photos. Ordain Thyself retailed for US$0.99 (equivalent to $1.1 in 2019).
- Jones, Tony (2001). Postmodern Youth Ministry. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan. ISBN 978-0310238171
- Jones, Tony (2005). The Sacred Way: Spiritual Practices for Everyday Life. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan. ISBN 978-0310258100
- Jones, Tony (2008). The New Christians: Dispatches from the Emergent Frontier. Minneapolis: Fortress Press. ISBN 978-1-5064-5495-5.
- Jones, Tony (2009). The Teaching of the Twelve: Believing and Practicing the Primitive Christianity of the Ancient Didache Community. Brewster, MA: Paraclete Press. ISBN 978-1557255907
- Jones, Tony (2011). The Church Is Flat: The Relational Ecclesiology of the Emerging Church Movement. The JoPa Group. ISBN 9780615524313.
- Jones, Tony (2012). A Better Atonement: Beyond the Depraved Doctrine of Original Sin (Kindle). Minneapolis: The JoPa Group.
- Jones, Tony (2015). Did God Kill Jesus? Searching for Love in History's Most Famous Execution. San Francisco: HarperOne. ISBN 978-0062297976
- Aamot, Gregg (August 27, 2012). "Theologian Tony Jones helps churches reach their young, restless and wired flocks". MinnPost. OCLC 191956532. Archived from the original on December 8, 2018. Retrieved May 1, 2020.
- Miller, Lisa (September 15, 2011). "Separation of church and state in marriage?". The Washington Post. Katharine Weymouth. ISSN 0190-8286. OCLC 2269358. Archived from the original on January 20, 2015. Retrieved May 2, 2020.
- Jones, Tony (November 11, 2013). "I'm Getting Married Again". Patheos. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved May 2, 2020.
- "The Emerging Synagogue?". Out of Ur. Christianity Today. May 9, 2008. ISSN 0009-5753. Archived from the original on February 3, 2012. Retrieved May 1, 2020.
Apparently Christians aren’t the only ones feeling the urge to emerge.
- O'Brien, Brandon (December 18, 2008). "Emergent's Divergence". Christianity Today. ISSN 0009-5753. Archived from the original on February 25, 2018. Retrieved May 1, 2020.
Leaders hope decentralizing power will revitalize the movement.
- Publisher's Weekly. "Surprising Range: Religious Publishing in Minnesota". www.publishersweekly.com. Retrieved July 5, 2020.
- Jones, Tony (May 25, 2006). "Is Emergent the New Christian Left 2: Tony Jones takes on Chuck Colson and 'true truth'". Out of Ur. Christianity Today. ISSN 0009-5753. Archived from the original on October 16, 2013. Retrieved May 1, 2020.
In part 2 of his post, Tony Jones addresses emerging church critic extraordinaire Chuck Colson. Colson sees the Emergent conversation as a threat to traditional Christian understandings of the 'truth.' Jones responds by discussing the interdependence of truth and community - the essence of the Emergent Village conversation.
- "Tony Jones Blesses Gay Marriage & Ordination". Out of Ur. Christianity Today. November 26, 2008. ISSN 0009-5753. Archived from the original on August 16, 2013. Retrieved May 1, 2020.
The former Emergent coordinator blogs about his views on faith and sexuality.
- Laarman, Peter (April 5, 2012). "Rejecting Blood Sacrifice Theology, Again". Religion Dispatches. Archived from the original on April 16, 2015. Retrieved May 1, 2020.
- rosefrench (May 22, 2012). "Edina pastor develops new app to 'Ordain Thyself'". Star Tribune. OCLC 43369847. Archived from the original on March 8, 2016. Retrieved May 2, 2020.
- Tesh, John. "Find Out What It's Like To Be Ordained With The App Ordain Thyself". Intelligence for Your Life. Archived from the original on May 18, 2015. Retrieved May 2, 2020.
Ever wonder what it’s like to become an ordained priest, rabbi, or swami?
- "Ordain Thyself App: Become A Religious Leader With The Swipe Of A Finger". The Huffington Post. September 11, 2012. Archived from the original on May 2, 2020. Retrieved May 2, 2020.