The Elephant Room Controversy - driven by 'White Idolization'?

“Some of the strongest reactions were African Americans in the blogosphere…And to take a little bit of a tangent here, and I’ll get back, the loudest voices in the conservative evangelical world, in my estimation right now, are your older, white reformed voices…And you’ve got some African Americans who so idolize that – what some people would call white idolization – that they then feel as if they’ve got to be the voice for black culture to speak against people like T.D. Jakes. So what happens is, you kind of prop them up.

Bryan Loritts: When the truth of the matter is, the term ‘black’ is very complex…….We’re different, we’re different. So my concern is, African Americans, a small minority speaking against Jakes, and then leveraging that in the white theological world for some of these older white theologians….”

James MacDonald: “What would they be leveraging it for?”

Bryan Loritts: “To fit into their circles….”

James MacDonald: “Opportunity…?”

Bryan Loritts: “We want to be in their circles. And so we’ll allow ourselves to used as a puppet. That is my perception of some of this backlash.”

James MacDonald chairs a discussion of the second Elephant Room event and gets an interesting response from one of the attendees.

Partial Transcript

Direct Video Link

H/T: Phil Johnson at Pyromaniacs

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MarkClements's picture

So now, "some of this backlash" is from black pastors, etc. who want to be accepted by MacArthur, Piper, Dever, et.al.??? Seriously?!?!?!??!? The "small minority" can't actually be theologically astute enough to see that Jakes is wrong? They're just looking for the big Reformed guys to throw a bone or two of recognition or opportunity? Has Loritts got any idea what he saying? How utterly disappointing. Instead of trying to engage the points of disagreement he pulls the race card. I don't expect him to be a conservative but to flame opposition to Jakes as opportunistic is pretty low.

How long does MacDonald get a pass for this kind of stuff?

jimfrank's picture

After observing politics for a good number of years, when any black leader of any sort is criticized in any way, "playing the race card" becomes the knee-jerk standard operating procedure. I don't know who Bryan Loritts is, and I really don't care. Apparantly this man has an axe to grind. Don't give him a wheel!

Charlie's picture

Carson and Keller wrote a very thorough article on the Elephant Room that I don't believe has been posted yet. In point #5, they address the concerns of African Americans in TGC that ER was way too easy on Jakes. I thought it was interesting that they accused TGC of spending all its time discussing "white" theological problems, and not tackling the theological foibles of the African American community.

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

My Blog: http://dearreaderblog.com

Cor meum tibi offero Domine prompte et sincere. ~ John Calvin

Alex Guggenheim's picture

I was discussing the Carson/Keller article and agreed with a friend that while it did say more than other responses it seemed, by and far, more reflective of the issues which are being struggled with rather than offering an effective remedial critique, though a few corrective elements were present. This is what I believe is necessary to fully address the issue and light or suggestive remedies will simply permit similar conflicts in the future. I have a 5 part series already written with part-one posted at my blog and it hopes to robustly tackle the remedial aspects. It examines the underlying construct which encourages, even passively permits, these kinds of conflicts.

JG's picture

Quote:
Here, for example, is the Nonconformist and Independent for 17 November, 1887: "Mr Spurgeon and those who follow him seem to be intent upon accentuating the differences of Nonconformists, instead of seeking to draw nearer to each other by unity with their Lord." So the issue Spurgeon thought important is not taken up, but Spurgeon himself is divisive. It is easy to multiply historical examples of this sort.

Those who take up important theological issues must do so in love, examining their own hearts, avoiding snarkiness and oneupmanship; those who appeal to love and unity need to actually engage with the issues, refusing to duck them.


How many times have evangelicals refused to actually engage with the issues with appeals to love and unity? Are these men actually telling us that love and unity is not sufficient grounds to ignore important issues?

Jay's picture

Dr. Doran http://gloryandgrace.dbts.edu/?p=641 ]weighs in :

Quote:
I’d like to make three points about these charges. First, this is a classic example of shifting the focus away from the complaints being lodged against ER2 and T. D. Jakes to the people who have lodged them. The age and ethnicity of the ER2 critics are really irrelevant. The real question is, “Are they right in their complaints?”

Second, and much worse, is that Loritts impugns the motives of the black critics of ER2 and Jakes by suggesting that they are being vocally critical in order to gain acceptance with the middle aged white guys. This really is a despicable tactic which borders on calling them a bunch of Uncle Toms. The only commendable aspect of his assertion is that it is so transparent that the slime factor is easily seen.

Third, I think it important to point out the role that MacDonald plays in facilitating this baseless charge against his black critics. It is obvious that Loritts is being interviewed by MacDonald in order to make this point. Worse, MacDonald plays all naïve in the face of Loritts’ accusation against his brothers, “What would they be leveraging it for? Opportunity?” What James ought to have been doing is saying, “Brother, it seems like you’re judging these men’s motives, aren’t you? Have any of them told you that they are opposing ER2 in order to gain a larger hearing in the white theological world?” Instead, MacDonald plays his part perfectly and lets Loritts take the cheap shot.

The irony here is that the whole exchange leaves the door wide open for speculation as to why Loritts would take that shot and also why MacDonald would give him air time to make it. The reason that is so is because neither MacDonald nor Loritts actually engaged the charges against Jakes and ER2. Instead of dealing with theology and biblical obligations to defend the Gospel, they threw in some red herrings. I think that stinks.

The theological issues at stake in this debate are very important—denial of the Trinity and a false prosperity theology are major, not minor problems. That these matters were so poorly addressed in ER2 should be a very serious cause of concern. It was a classic case of pietism trumping doctrine, with the added intoxicant of celebrity schmoozing poured on top. A very bad day in light of Acts 20:28-30.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells