Report from The Elephant Room Round 2

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The second annual Elephant Room event is over and the blogosphere is already lit with responses. I had the opportunity to attend a simulcast of the event in Lansing, MI at Riverview Church, one of Mark Driscoll’s Acts29 church plants. During the event, I tweeted around 100 quotes from the participants using the SharperIron Twitter account and took 4 pages of personal notes.

What follows will not be a summary of each of the seven conversations. That would be an exercise in vain repetition since Trevin Wax masterfully transcribed (and very accurately, might I add) on his blog what each person said, pretty much word for word. You can read it at Kingdom People.

What I do want to do is offer some personal reflections and observations about the event as someone who was able to not merely read what was said but see it said. As is the trouble with properly interpreting emails, so it is with properly interpreting the words of others in a setting like this when you cannot see the facial expressions and body language that sometimes enhance or say more than the person’s words.

Theology

There is no doubt that the invitation of Bishop T. D. Jakes sparked a huge controversy and was the focal point of the event leading up to Wednesday. Immediately before The Elephant Room 2 blog announced that Jakes was being invited, it announced that Mark Dever was going to join the event. Then, immediately after the Jakes announcement, the Dever announcement was removed. To my knowledge, no explanation was ever published, from either MacDonald or Dever, as to why Dever withdrew his presence from ER2, but it does not take a seminary class in theology to figure it out.

In conversation number four Jakes and Driscoll discussed the issue of what major or essential doctrines need to be agreed on or confessed in order to be saved and also have fellowship with other believers. In a word, what many anticipated to be the most controversial and heated discussion ended up being anticlimactic. If you have not already done so, I suggest reading through Wax’s transcript of this conversation at least twice in order to make sure you really soak in what was said (MacDonald has promised to provide his own transcript of the discussion).

Jakes gives an overview of his journey through different kinds of churches and what has led him to where he is now on the doctrine of the Trinity. Before the event, a number of Jakes’ articles on his view of the Trinity resurfaced. I would say that—as many others pointed out—people had reason to be concerned that his articulation of the doctrine of the Trinity doctrine was not orthodox Trinitarianism. Even Driscoll posted about Jakes trinitarian views (no longer available) and upon interacting with them, seemed to indicate that Jakes defined the Trinity in modalistic terms and that he hoped the ER2 would be an opportunity for Jakes to either publicly claim it or recant it. I would say that neither happened.

As Wax’s post states, MacDonald and Driscoll asked Jakes if he believed in one God and three persons. Jakes agreed, though he did say he had problems with the term persons and opted rather for the term manifestations. While neither MacDonald nor Driscoll pressed him to explain his problem with persons in describing the Trinity, this is where the issue lies and where the problems with modalism are evident.

One can only speculate that if Dever had been present he would have asked him to explain this better (and rightly so). Even a cursory knowledge of the historical development of the church’s struggle to faithfully articulate the doctrine of the Trinity shows that the terms and concepts of essence and person were crucial to the orthodox formulation of the doctrine. Jakes neither explicitly denied the modalism he was taught earlier in his life nor did he explicitly affirm the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity. To be fair to Jakes, he seems to be in the middle (at least in his mind) and did express his struggle with both positions. Some, as MacDonald is on record saying, take the position that to affirm God as three in one is enough and that to ask for more is to go beyond what Scripture requires us to affirm. MacDonald said people should not require him to agree with their articulation of God as three in one. Hearing MacDonald say this, and more, reminded me of reading Stackhouse and (even more) Olson’s views of evangelicalism in the recent book Four Views on the Spectrum of Evangelicalism.

In my opinion, what Jakes did affirm at ER2 and what he has gone on record elsewhere saying about the Trinity were not the same, because he is more modalistic elsewhere. Yet they were the same in one respect, because he did reject the use of the term persons which is foundational to orthodox trinitarianism. In discussing this with the others at my table Wednesday, this was the general consensus.

Though this may not be the right comparison, for MacDonald to say you have no right to press me on how I explain God as three in one because there is mystery in the Trinity and we still see through a glass dimly (both of which I can affirm), is akin to saying Christians have no right to ask a Mormon to define what they mean when they say Jesus is the only begotten Son of God and we should therefore call them brothers in Christ. The difference between an orthodox Christian and a Mormon is how we define who Jesus is and how we understand Him to be the only begotten Son of God. As the old saying goes, he who defines the terms wins the debate. In theology, the meaning you give to the terms you use means everything. That’s where the difference can lie and that’s why we need Jakes to explain why he doesn’t like the term persons and what he, or anyone else, means when he affirms that God is three in one. I have no doubt that Jakes has moved away from full blown Oneness theology, and I want to take him at his word, but I also know that he might mean something different than I do when he affirms God as three in one.

Evangelicalism

Though not as controversial or surprising, Steve Furtick squarely put himself in the evangelical camp of Roger Olson’s post-evangelicalism when he stated that he is intent on defining and facing the center of theology and not any kind of boundaries. In the first conversation, Furtick also goes on record by identifying himself as a Southern Baptist, though I am sure he would not identify with the SBC.

In the fifth conversation, Graham and Jakes discussed how churches can create racial diversity. This conversation was interesting on two levels. First, the conversation and interaction was very informative about how churches need to, and can, foster racial diversity within their congregations and communities. Time and time again, not only in this conversation but throughout the whole event, Jakes made highly informed and astute observations about race in the church. A few times his comments were followed by utter silence due to the power of his remark. I found myself responding with an audible “Wow!” after many of his comments, and I was not alone in doing so, in my room with over 100 other people.

On another level, the conversation on race between Graham and Jakes gave the opportunity for them to share their ten-year relationship of working together. Graham is a Southern Baptist and Jakes is (as he jokingly stated) a metho-bapti-costal. They have preached in each other’s churches and their churches have worshiped together. Graham is the pastor of Prestonwood, which is an SBC church; and Jakes appears frequently on the TBN network as well as Graham through his PowerPoint Ministries. I understand and applaud the desire of these pastors to work toward racial reconciliation in their churches and with other churches, but seeing how they can come together as close as they do is a hard sell for me. I can’t see the SBC endorsing Jakes and TBN. I guess that, though Mohler and others have gone a long way in bringing back conservatism to the SBC, there are still more bricks to be laid in the road.

Personalities

It is worth commenting not only on the things said but on the men themselves and how they presented themselves.

Cordeiro’s pastoral heart showed through time after time, especially when talking about how to handle pastors who have failed morally. He could be accused of being too lenient, but he showed a desire to love the fallen and restore them to the church. He was very candid about his five year bout with burnout and again offered good pastoral advice to others struggling with it.

Loritts was the most Reformed pastor there (he is on the board of TGC), and he was not afraid to go after watered down preaching practices that could characterize guys like Furtick. He was theologically informed and showed a high view of Scripture and the need to be clear in our presentation of the gospel without qualifying it to death.

Graham was helpful in his interaction with Jakes on racial diversity in the church. He did a decent job of defending (against Drsicoll) the need for denominations. He somewhat successfully showed how the SBC is more theologically open than Driscoll’s Acts29 network, because they are not so dialed in on hiring Reformed guys.

Furtick was the youngest participant. What struck me the most about him was his awareness that he was in a room with men older and wiser than he, and he made no attempt to act as if he was at the same level as the others. He showed great humility as the younger pastor. He wisely opted out of commenting on several remarks because he felt unqualified and he continually expressed that he felt he was learning more than he was offering in advice and opinion.

Jakes articulated himself perhaps better than the rest (aside from the Trinity issue). He is a student of the culture and history. He offered great one-liners, time and time again. He is compassionate and presented a shepherd’s heart.

Driscoll was his quick-witted self, delivering many great one-liners as well. He seemed to be much tamer than last year (more on that). His favoritism towards networking (though not a fault) was clear, as well as his disfavor for denominations. He likes to sum things up in neat categories of two or three.

MacDonald was perhaps the most perplexing. You could sense that he was under pressure and stressed about the heat this event has brought him. No doubt, he is upset over his “separating” from his position at TGC. (He did refer indirectly to that.) He discussed how this event, and the invitation of Jakes, has lost him some friends—and, no doubt, it has. On two occasions he discussed his fundamentalist background in mostly negative ways. I understand his frustrations and agree with some of his critiques, but he did not come off as charitable, especially for as public a figure as he is. In the final conversation dealing with how to handle people you disagree with, MacDonald sort of let loose his feelings about who he is going to associate with. He stated he would invite any Christian he wanted to the event. If he was willing to invite Jakes (which he didn’t have to do) at the expense of other good friendships, then one wonders where MacDonald will go next.

The future of the Elephant Room

I want to comment as well on the nature of the Elephant Room. I am sure that most readers have seen at least one or more of the clips of last year’s event. There is no doubt that the conversations were centered on pitting two guys against each other on a hot topic to see where they disagree or agree. Watching those clips shows that there were some intense moments. Creating and showing controversy was the point. The idea behind the “elephant in the room” phrase was evident last year.

This year was much different (as the others at my table agreed). The most controversy occurred during the Jakes discussion over the Trinity and some of MacDonald’s pushback towards Cordeiro on how he handles pastors with moral failures. This time around, the conversations were centered on sharing wisdom from the different yet complementary approaches of the participants towards certain topics. There was virtually no disagreement within the room. Most of the disagreement was aimed at people or groups outside the room (this took place in general terms—no names or groups were mentioned, with the exception of fundamentalists).

The Elephant Room 2 was more about what can we learn from others through conversation to unite us and less about the elephant in the room that divides us. There is a place for this, but I’m not sure it is best to do it under the name The Elephant Room. The participants were diverse and it showed. The point of the ER is to have the conversations in public that go on in private. But I fear the elephant in the room was left to be just that, and the Elephant Room event became a means to bring us together.

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Joel Shaffer's picture
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From the Horse's mouth from Trevor Wax's Kingdom People

Quote:
MacDonald: Apparently (to Jakes), there has been confusion about what you believe.

Jakes: My situation is not that different from his. My father was Methodist. My mother was Baptist. I was raised in a Baptist church. But I was raised in church without a committed experience with Christ when my father died. My conversion to Christ took place in a Oneness church.

Driscoll: By Oneness meaning?

Jakes: It was not a UPC church. It was similar.

Driscoll: Jesus only, modalism?

Jakes: They believe in Jesus Christ, he died and raised again. But how they explain the Godhead is how Trinitarians describe the gospel. I was in that church and raised in that church a number of years. I started preaching from that pulpit. But I’m also informed by the infiltration from my Baptist experience. I ended up Metho-Bapti-Costal. I’m a mixed breed. It is easy to throw rocks at people who you do not know, but when you see the work of Christ in their lives, you try to build bridges. So even though I moved away from what that church’s teaching, I didn’t want to throw rocks. Much of what we do today is teach people to take sides. But I believe we are called to reconcile wherever possible. My struggle was that in some passages, the doctrine fits and in other places it doesn’t. I don’t want to force my theology to fit my denomination.

(Jakes is going through Jesus’ baptism and the “let us” at creation.) The Bible made me rethink my ideas and I got quiet about it for a while. There are things that you can say about the Father you cannot say about the Son or the Spirit. There are distinctives. I’m very comfortable with that. There is very little difference between what I believe and what you believe. But I don’t think anything that any of us believes fully describes what God is. We in our finite minds cannot fully describe what God is.

Driscoll: We all would agree that in the nature of God there is mystery. But within that, for you, Bishop Jakes, the issue is one God manifesting Himself successively in three ways? Or one God existing eternally in three persons? What is your understanding now? Which one?

Jakes: I believe the latter one is where I stand today. One God – Three Persons. I am not crazy about the word persons though. You describe “manifestations” as modalist, but I describe it as Pauline. For God was manifest in the flesh. Paul is not a modalist, but he doesn’t think it’s robbery to say manifest in the flesh. Maybe it’s semantics, but Paul says this. Now, when we start talking about that sort of thing, I think it’s important to realize there are distinctives between the work of the Father and the work of the Son. I’m with you. I have been with you. There are many people within and outside denominations labeled Oneness that would be okay with this. We are taught in society that when we disagree with someone in a movement, we leave. But I still have associations with people in Onenness movements. We need to humble both sides and say, “We are trying to describe a God we love.” Why should I fall out and hate and throw names at you when it’s through a glass darkly? None of our books on the Godhead will be on sale in heaven.

Quote:
Driscoll: Do you believe the Bible is the perfect, infallible Word of God? Do you believe God is Three Persons? Jesus is fully God and fully Man? He died on the cross for our sins? He rose from the dead? He is coming again? Apart from Jesus is no salvation?

Jakes: Absolutely.

CPHurst's picture
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Joel, do you feel my

Joel, do you feel my assessment of Jakes position is misrepresentative?

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Benny Hinn's website

Benny Hinn's website articulates in the " beliefs" section orthodoxy. Congratulations T.D. you habe caught up with Hinn in being willing to agree to an orthodox expression. Now for the examination of your teacings which encompass heretical ideas. Orthodoxy is the primary favade used to introduce error

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Craig, I think for the most

Craig,

I think for the most part its accurate. From what I could gather, at one time Jakes was Modalist, but now holds to One God, three persons. Yet he wants to keep the word, manifest because of its Biblical connotations (I Tim. 3:16) but it seems as if he has redefined it. The problem is, that even though he readily affirmed God in three persons, he left a few questions unanswered, which were not pushed as you rightly stated.

At the same time, this whole situation reminds me of the World Wide Church of God (Armstrongism) when they began discovering the truth. As they were starting to embrace the doctrine of the Trinity and that salvation was by grace through faith in Jesus, and were renouncing the apostate doctrines that Armstrong had developed, many evangelical discernment groups actually made it tougher because of their skepticism. Hopefully, one of these men from the elephant room can come alongside of Jakes (if he'd let them) and help him through the process such as what Hank Hannegraaff did with the World Wide Church of God.

A troubling difference for me, however, is that even though Jakes seemingly now embraces Trinitarianism and rejected Modalism, he gives the impression that he can still have the same fellowship with Oneness Pentecostal brethren. He seems to downplay the difference and doesn't seem to understand why they are separating from Him when Jesus calls us to unity. That was quite a revelation....that since Jakes has become Trinitarian, many of them were practicing separation from Jakes.........

Maybe next year they can bring Jakes back and deal with his belief of the health and wealth gospel. They may not have nearly as much in common as they did with the Trinity......

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I think God's people are

I think God's people are really gullible in this day and age. We know we need to see the hand of God at work in this day of decline. I just don't believe that hand of God is going to come in response to paying to attend or watch some mega-religious event - do you? Yet, in this pop culture, there is an addiction to costly pow wow's in fundamentalism and outside of fundamentalism. The biggest benefit seems to be that somebody's home or ministry facility gets some remodeling done from the money that was made after paying for the expenses.

In our gullibility with such events, all kinds of mega-atrocities are tolerated - the Young's with the bed on top of the church for 24 hours, Osteen cowardess toward the gospel of Jesus Christ, TD Jakes doctrinal errors and so on.

But the people love it, so the shows will go on.

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Joel, thanks for your

Joel, thanks for your clarification. If they have Jakes back next year, I would be partially surprised if they discuss the health/wealth gospel issue. This ER event was about unity and not the diversity of last year. I would love to see it happen but I don't have much confidence it will.

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Pastor Joe Roof wrote: I

Pastor Joe Roof wrote:
I think God's people are really gullible in this day and age. We know we need to see the hand of God at work in this day of decline. I just don't believe that hand of God is going to come in response to paying to attend or watch some mega-religious event - do you? Yet, in this pop culture, there is an addiction to costly pow wow's in fundamentalism and outside of fundamentalism. The biggest benefit seems to be that somebody's home or ministry facility gets some remodeling done from the money that was made after paying for the expenses.

In our gullibility with such events, all kinds of mega-atrocities are tolerated - the Young's with the bed on top of the church for 24 hours, Osteen cowardess toward the gospel of Jesus Christ, TD Jakes doctrinal errors and so on.

But the people love it, so the shows will go on.

Joe,
Do you believe Pastor James' motive is merely entertainment?

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I have no idea what his

I have no idea what his motive was/is. My problem is with the method - Christians paying for some big event - leaders making crazy wrong decisions and everybody getting excited about - etc. In the end, it seems the biggest impact of these events are - 1. A lot of attention. 2. A signifcant about of money thrown around. 3. Little advance of genuine spirituality.

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Pastor Joe Roof wrote:I have

Pastor Joe Roof wrote:
I have no idea what his motive was/is. My problem is with the method - Christians paying for some big event - leaders making crazy wrong decisions and everybody getting excited about - etc. In the end, it seems the biggest impact of these events are - 1. A lot of attention. 2. A signifcant about of money thrown around. 3. Little advance of genuine spirituality.

One of the most overlooked narratives in Scripture is that of Simon in Acts 8:18-23. Simon, a believer (vs. 13) who followed and was involved with the ministers (vs. 13 FF) made a critical error for which he was held accountable as a baby Christian in scathing terms.

His error? "...Thou has thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money."

The rebuke? "...Thy heart is not right in the sight of God...Repent...of...thy wickedness...For...thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity."

My perspective on events such as you address above? They are little different from Simon's error (attempting to purchase the Holy Spirit's gifting with money) or Balaam's error (attempting to sell the Holy Spirit's gifting for money/prestige).

Might be time to re-think some of our modus operandi in the evangelical community.

Lee

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Alex Guggenheim wrote: Benny

Alex Guggenheim wrote:
Benny Hinn's website articulates in the " beliefs" section orthodoxy. Congratulations T.D. you habe caught up with Hinn in being willing to agree to an orthodox expression. Now for the examination of your teacings which encompass heretical ideas. Orthodoxy is the primary favade used to introduce error

This is what a hurried up post will get you, a "habe" (have) and a "favade" (facade).

I like what Lee and Joe Roof point to and certainly the money being charged is simply ludicrous and biblically incomprehensible. But this, apparently, is simply the inconsiderate standard being, not just tolerated, but celebrated among many Protestant/Evangelical groups. "Hey, we have to pay for it somehow so we just will charge for the Word of God". Nonsense.

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From a Harvest Pastor and SIer

Pastor Joe Roof wrote:
I have no idea what his motive was/is. My problem is with the method - Christians paying for some big event - leaders making crazy wrong decisions and everybody getting excited about - etc. In the end, it seems the biggest impact of these events are - 1. A lot of attention. 2. A signifcant about of money thrown around. 3. Little advance of genuine spirituality.

Pastor James has not hidden his reasons.

Quote:
"The purpose of The Elephant Room was not to change what Mark Driscoll writes or what Bishop Jakes believes or how Steven Furtick evangelizes or how Crawford Loritts associates. The purpose was to talk, and to model grace and truth."-Pastor James MacDonald

If you don't like the methods, that's certainly your freedom. Be I would caution you to be careful about questioning heart and motives that you can't see.

Quote:
In the end, it seems the biggest impact of these events are -
1. A lot of attention.

Today, there is an incredible amount of ungracious and unloving conversation happening between brothers in Christ. And much attention is given to it!
However, the Word of God demands we take a different tone (Col. 4:6; Eph. 4:29-32). Pastor James is trying to model the gospel! Not backing down on truth (listen to his 30+ years of preaching...you might not agree with every nuance, but there is no doubt about what he believes about the truth of God's Word)...but showing love and grace. In my opinion, that deserves a lot of attention. It's a message that needs to be said loudly. As he put it, "Let's stop talking ABOUT one another and start talking TO one another."

Quote:
2. A signifcant about of money thrown around.

The Elephant might...just might...break even with DVD sales. Very few people, if any, are going to getting rich off the event. And the message of loving, gracious communication in a day when the opposite is most often modeled is worth throwing some money at.

Quote:
3. Little advance of genuine spirituality.

That depends on how you define "genuine spirituality." I would agree that this Round was heavy on grace...but is grace not "genuine spirituality?" Kinda the point, isn't it? If we are devaluing grace so much, shouldn't someone put a HIGH value on it and model it for others to see? Isn't advancing grace (modeled best in the GOSPEL) advancing spirituality?

I guess I'm a little defensive. The more I've had the chance to see Pastor James "in real life" the more admiration and appreciation I have for him. He's a loving, gracious, kind person who LOVES God's Word deeply. He's bold and taking a stand on truth AND grace has cost him. I think that deserves some respect...and that the very least he should get the benefit of the doubt. That would be...gracious.

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Lee wrote: Pastor Joe Roof

Lee wrote:
Pastor Joe Roof wrote:
I have no idea what his motive was/is. My problem is with the method - Christians paying for some big event - leaders making crazy wrong decisions and everybody getting excited about - etc. In the end, it seems the biggest impact of these events are - 1. A lot of attention. 2. A signifcant about of money thrown around. 3. Little advance of genuine spirituality.

One of the most overlooked narratives in Scripture is that of Simon in Acts 8:18-23. Simon, a believer (vs. 13) who followed and was involved with the ministers (vs. 13 FF) made a critical error for which he was held accountable as a baby Christian in scathing terms.

His error? "...Thou has thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money."

The rebuke? "...Thy heart is not right in the sight of God...Repent...of...thy wickedness...For...thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity."

My perspective on events such as you address above? They are little different from Simon's error (attempting to purchase the Holy Spirit's gifting with money) or Balaam's error (attempting to sell the Holy Spirit's gifting for money/prestige).

Might be time to re-think some of our modus operandi in the evangelical community.

Pastor James will probably make NOTHING from The Elephant Room2. And Harvest will do well to break even. Insinuating he, or anyone involved, is motivated by money is incredibly ungracious.

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Thanks, Jamie

I strongly disagree with the decision to invite Jakes. I strongly disagree with treating it, since he was there, as a time to build unity. Anyone can affirm a sound doctrinal statement, but what he actually teaches on the nature of God, and some of his other errors, make unity-building a highly dubious approach. And others within Harvest Bible (or at least, that were within Harvest Bible) agree.

But there is absolutely no need for anyone to go down the path of impugning motives. Tell him he's wrong, tell him he's unwise, separate from him if necessary. James Macdonald is a brother and should be treated like one. If he's off-track, deal with what he's done rather than what his motives might have been.

Impugning motives without rock solid evidence is uncharitable and counter-productive.

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Kind Wisdom

Though I might not agree with your opinions, I certainly appreciate your kind wisdom, JG. Time and time again you have proven to be gracious. Thanks.

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Inconsistency and poor judgement

Hey Jamie,

From your profile, just a question. Are you pastor of a church plant from MacDonald's church? If so I appreciate you sticking up for a friend and/or mentor if that's the case. I take your points about MacDonald not making money from the Elephant Room. The flip side of not the fact that charging for the gospel is wrong that the laborer is worthy of his hire. I don't think his motivation was money at all. In fact, I think he has good motives generally.

However, I guess as one of the fundamentalists/past fundamentalists/searching fundamentalists in this forum, I do question his practice, methods, and the way he relates to the church. I wonder if you could respond to this video from "Wretched Radio." Why in the world would James and Mark ignore Jakes' prosperity theology? I was really hoping Driscoll at least would question him on this. MacDonald may have been playing the good host. But Driscoll's inability to confront doesn't fit his personality or past. I'm not a big fan of "Wretched's" tone. But their point is inescapable.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zcLga26xH8U

Just a few personal notes.

1. I have been personally helped and strengthened from the ministries of James MacDonald and (more so) Mark Driscoll. At the same time, I reserve the right to push back on their excesses or bad judgments. I hope you do the same.
2. I agree with Mark Dever's (my former pastor) decision to pull out of the conversation. My assumption is that MacDonald jumped the gun by inviting various pastors without telling other pastors whom he was inviting. My impression is that if MacDonald's motive was to be a good host, he failed in practice to be the host of a conversation that pushed each participant in a real way.
3. The thing is about hosting false teachers like Jakes, is that it doesn't work. Most false teachers do have good things to say, even things that the church could generally benefit from. But in the end, Paul tells us not even to eat with such a one, and the Elephant Room went well beyond breakfast at Denny's. Dialogue with false teachers will either not look like dialoge, or it muddles doctrinal positions badly.

I hope MacDonald humbly learns from his mistake and heeds criticism. But he seems to blow off any sound criticism as fundamentalist or extreme.

Best,

Shayne

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Push Back...with Grace

Shayne,
I am the pastor/church planter of Harvest Bible Chapel, Fort Wayne, IN which is a church plant from the Harvest in Chicago. I would consider Pastor James my friend and my leader. And although I've benefited from his direct, personal teaching (and will continue to do so), I don't think our relationship would be considered a mentorship, so to speak. I'm simply one of the Senior Pastors that have been trained by him and his team to plant a Harvest Church. Hopefully that's clear enough.

James has already responded as to why the prosperity gospel question did not come up at this event. If it's OK, I will let him answer the question....
http://jamesmacdonald.com/blog/?p=11180 ]"Bishop Jakes, 2nd Decisions, and Coming Home"

Quote:
"I hope MacDonald humbly learns from his mistake and heeds criticism. But he seems to blow off any sound criticism as fundamentalist or extreme."

Unfortunately, others have not seen what we have been able see. Let me just say he has proven to be a man who humbly receives rebuke. In fact, I don't know anyone else who has more people speaking into his life than he does...and that is by his own invitation.

His decisions may differ from yours...and from others you respect. They (and you) are certainly at liberty to push back. Iron sharpens iron, after all. The point I was trying to make is that the "push back" should be done with grace and love, which was the very point of the Elephant Room 2. I found it unfortunate that some on SI were saying...less than gracious...things about him. IMO, there is a measure of respect that Pastor James has earned through years of faithful service. Many people have been greatly impacted by his ministry...and he has continued to be faithful to the Lord as he has gone through intense, personal trials. Disagree...but do so with love. That's the point of the ER...and I felt the reminder was needed here. That's why I posted something here in the first place.

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Jamie Hart wrote: Pastor

Jamie Hart wrote:
Pastor James will probably make NOTHING from The Elephant Room2. And Harvest will do well to break even. Insinuating he, or anyone involved, is motivated by money is incredibly ungracious.

You're personalizing a generic observation.

A minister specifically gifted by the Holy Spirit to accomplish a specific work in a specific assembly decides he can market his gift (i.e., establish a big conference that other ministers wanting to mimic his results are willing to spend [possibly ] big bucks to gain) differs little from Balaam. Reverse that where ministers wishing to secure that same gifting (as demonstrated by results) by paying is awful close to being Simon.

I am quite aware that there are some very close similarities between legitimate sharing of "how to" and marketing the Holy Spirit's gift. That is where the consistent prayer for a spirit of discernment is an absolute must. [As an aside, true discernment must delve into the matter of motive ].

All that to say that marketing a spiritual gift, in either buying or selling, is clearly condemned in Scripture, and is a matter deserving intense scrutiny in the evangelical community.

Lee

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Prosperity gospel

Jamie,

I'm failing to see any discussion of the prosperity gospel in the article to which you referred me. Try again? I'm actually less interested in what MacDonald would say about the decision not to discuss the prosperity gospel, than yours. What is your opinion on the lack of going after Jakes regarding his prosperity gospel, given that both Driscoll and MacDonald stridently preached against the same teaching as antithetical to the gospel. I guess you see that most of us question his wisdom to bring in Jakes because nice "dialogue" indeed tends to minimize great differences. I think the fact that Jakes' prosperity gospel did not come up substantiates that fear. Can you see how MacDonald fits exactly the fundamentalist narrative in this way? Are there any facts you could point to that would help me see it your way?

Shayne

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Regarding my quote

Jamie,

Quote:
"I hope MacDonald humbly learns from his mistake and heeds criticism. But he seems to blow off any sound criticism as fundamentalist or extreme."

Regarding the quote from myself you've quoted, I've been following James on twitter and viewing conversations between him and his critics. At times, when someone questions his wisdom, he'll go off on them, telling them "you = blocked." Later, somehow the tweets go missing. Also controversial blog posts from James tend to go missing or redirect to another, more amiable blog post, especially at the beginning of this controversy. That's just what I've seen, and it sets up the impression in my mind that he doesn't do well with heeding criticism, even if it's genuine out of good motives.

Again, I can't judge motives. I'm just giving you my sincere impression viewed through an internet lens.

Shayne

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Even Voddie Baucham canceled

Even Voddie Baucham canceled his speaking engagement at Harvest this weekend because of the elephant room with Jakes. Had taken a plane there and turned around and got another plane home.

http://apprising.org/

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Ouch!

Check out this video regarding the ER 2 put out by Todd Friel

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zcLga26xH8U&feature=youtu.be

Alex Guggenheim's picture
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But Pastor Roof, all of these

But Pastor Roof, all of these men are nice, sweet, sincere and have agreed to say they accept the most basic orthodox beliefs, that makes all their other teaching and practices okay, right? Just say you agree with ORTHODOXY!

Kevin Subra's picture
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My Small Addition

I guess my concern is more general in nature. When is it proper to confront firmly rather than to be gracious (a.k.a. as Jamie Hart suggests, which I wholly agree is proper at times).

I don't have a clear answer. I just observe in Scripture that there are indeed times when Jesus did not act "with grace" toward religious leaders (at least as it is defined by some), and verbally drew and quartered them. I mean, how many times did Jesus use the labels "hypocrite" and "viper" to call these leaders down? There was even a time when the Savior just went through the Temple and cleaned house (literally), dumping over tables and whipping people. Would we chastise Him for not being gracious then also? Is this only legitimate because He was the Son of God, or are we to be bold enough to speak up when that type of grace is necessary? (We are to grow to be like Him, right?)

When Peter displayed doctrinally erroneous behavior in separating from the Gentile believers to sit with the Jewish believers (as relayed in Galatians 1), he apparently went and stood on Peter's feet and gave him a verbal whooping right to his face, right there in public, with no warning. Was Paul wrong ("ungracious") then also?

We need to be gracious as a rule - no argument there. But are there not times when we quit being so touchy-feely that we simply bring the Word to bear on a situation or we are, in reality, abandoning our responsibility to God? At what point do we quit being friendly / gracious (probably seen by many as synonymous) and call an error an error, and an enemy of the truth an enemy? When are we gracious for the truth?

I don't have the answer, or probably even a good suggestion. I do believe graciousness is the norm. I do believe, however, that it is clear in the Word that the answer is not to always address public displays of compromise, error, or perpetual non-resolution with kid gloves and effeminate demeanor. When are we required to speak up and take the "you're not being gracious" accusations out to the trash? When does graciousness turn into being spiritual sissy? (For a bit on the lighter side: http://vimeo.com/9956032) It's really not funny. We seem fail to fight - ever - because we get accused of being ungracious.

There has to be solid truth here somewhere. Can anyone connect the dots for me?

For the Shepherd and His sheep,
Kevin
Grateful husband of a Proverbs 31 wife, and the father of 15 blessings.
http://captive-thinker.blogspot.com

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Kevin Subra wrote: ...Can

Kevin Subra wrote:
...Can anyone connect the dots for me?

As I like to say, WDTAD! That is: "What Did the Apostles Do?"

The Book of Acts is your friend. In it you have the apostles (and a few others) tackling various and sundry issues affecting the church and the Gospel. Sometimes "graciously", as with Apollos in Acts 18; sometimes with harsh tones, as with the aforementioned Simon of Acts 8; sometimes by conference, like Acts 15. The point is, there is plenty of narrative there to deduct some pretty solid principles that guide most situations we would find ourselves in.

Enjoy the hunt.

Lee

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Baucham's Statement (Article Link)
"Even if Jakes had come out with a statement on the doctrine of the Trinity, it would not have done anything to change the fact that he preaches 'another gospel.' (Gal 1:8–9) Having studied the 'Word of Faith' movement, and seen the devastation it leaves in its wake, I was disinclined to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the man who has been this country's most popular purveyor of this heresy in the past two decades," the pastor continued.

Here's the link to the full article: http://www.christianpost.com/news/voddie-baucham-reveals-rift-with-james...

For the Shepherd and His sheep,
Kevin
Grateful husband of a Proverbs 31 wife, and the father of 15 blessings.
http://captive-thinker.blogspot.com

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Doug Wilson weighs in.

http://www.dougwils.com/index.php/General-Ruminations/the-rogue-elephant...

"First, the whole initial point of the Elephant Room was to demonstrate how to have manly disagreements between brothers, and the result of this attempt has been a very unsightly fracas between brothers. It is has struck me as being beyond ironic that the prototype model for irenic disagreement has turned into a fireball. It reminds of those old film reels with a guy standing on a barn with batman wings, with a large crowd below in response to the publicity, gathered there to see him fly. And then something else happens."

Kevin Subra's picture
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Carson and Keller Weigh In

http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2012/02/03/carson-and-keller-on-...

"What that means, of course, is that Christian leaders are charged with discerning when and how the tough line must be taken. Even when discipline is demanded, it should never be vituperative. But to appeal to the many passages that exhort us to love without simultaneously thinking through the many passages that bind us to uphold the truth is not only one-sided, it is in danger of being manipulative: if you do not agree with me, you are unloving. Of course, the manipulation can run the other way: if you do not reject this person or this position, you do not care for the truth."

For the Shepherd and His sheep,
Kevin
Grateful husband of a Proverbs 31 wife, and the father of 15 blessings.
http://captive-thinker.blogspot.com

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