26 January 2012

After the Circus Parade

by Frank Turk

Yes, part 3 of my conference notes are already posted, so you can see them below.  However, yesterday T.D. Jakes (apparently) came clean as a fully-throated Trinitarian, and suffered a round of brotherly acceptance from James MacDonald and Mark Driscoll, so the whole matter is settled and now you people seem to owe everybody an apology for your godless, cessationist carping about orthodoxy and such things.

Right?

Oh wait: James MacDonald resigned from the leadership of The Gospel Coalition just days before Bishop Jakes' revelation that "manifestations" and "persons" are, pretty much, the same thing as long as you make sure your footnotes are properly added (you know: there are things the Father does which the Son did not do, and so on).  And the question of whether or not the Prosperity Gospel is in any way problematic with regards to the preaching of Christ, and Him crucified, (especially when it comes to the consequences of giving and, in the actions of a pastor, taking) just didn't come up.

So here's the deal: Phil is in deepest, darkest Eastern Europe this week, and I gave Dan the week off so I could post my conference notes here and link to the audio.  That means I get to post the first response to the Elephant Room 2 content.

Ready?

Ahem.



1. Someone needs to check the date for Mark Driscoll's shelf life as a reliable person.  In the past month, he utterly disgraced himself on the "Unbelievable" podcast by interrogating this host, Justin Brierly, and accusing him and the whole British Christian church of being a flop because they also don't have a Mark Driscoll, and they have a few women pastors.  But, when the other shoe drops and he has Bishop Jakes sitting before him in a place where there are supposed to be hard conversations, Bishop Jakes gets the velvet gloves -- including a complete whiff at the issue of egalitarianism in Jakes' own theology and church.  Of course, Jakes was not criticizing Driscoll's book, so the question of whether he's a good egalitarian or a bad one seems to fade in the distance.

2. The Gospel Coalition's response to MacDonald's resignation is par for the course for an organization that, frankly, values unity above the means to achieve unity (which is: sharpening each other with the truth).  The dodge that they are a "center-bounded" organization also needs to be checked for its shelf-life date as this kerfuffle demonstrates exactly what it means to be "center-bounded" -- you can hang out with us as long as you don't embarrass us, and when you do embarrass us, you just have to excuse yourself and we'll smile and wave.  If what happened yesterday was that Bishop Jakes exonerated himself from the charges of, as they say, bloggers, then credible people should embrace his clarifications (they certainly weren't any kind of recanting), and we happen to know of a group who are qualified to do just that.  If Jakes' chat with Mark Driscoll does not finally clear things up, then what's the best way for the council of TGC to handle Mark Driscoll's (non-resigned council member) endorsement of Jakes' orthodoxy?  I don't have any suggestions, but I think ignoring it is the way old-school Fundamentalists acted when their leaders did stupid things, and we know that TGC is not a group of Fundies, right?

3. TGC is not the only organization that has bacon in the fire after yesterday.  Acts29 is full of men who, if you ask me, are serious and sober guys with theological convictions that the Gospel matters -- which is why they bring it to the least of these, wherever they are.  I know Acts29 guys.  I know they abhor the Prosperity Gospel, anti-trinitarianism, The Oprah/Osteen axis of feel-good pep talks (which passes directly through the center of Jakes' church), using the Bible like a fortune cookie generator, and phony expressions of anything, including unity.  I'm looking forward to them helping us understand what happened yesterday because they, too, are not old-school Fundies who support their leaders no matter what, and the "matter what" has presented itself as if the circus parade has just come down Main Street.

So there you go -- you're going to miss a great post on what the Gospel means to marriage and the church today because you're going to get totally absorbed by this post.  Good thing nothing ever disappears on the internet.







108 comments:

Frank Turk said...

For the record:

1. Frank Turk is a menace and must be stopped.

2. No Coffee was spilled or bought to deliver this message.

3. I think the tone is just fine. You should see what I cut out before you say this stuff is hard-hearted.

4. Chris Rosebrough can speak for himself about what happened to him. Right now he's getting 10X the readers of this blog, so he's not lacking an exposure.

Dan McGhee said...

Mean-spirited nazi. That is all:)

Robert said...

Sounds like par for the course...which is sad. There is always the possibility that some of these guys will humble themselves before the Word of God. It is sad because we haven't seen any sign of that happening.

Kay said...

I find myself flabbergasted, truly, by the whole string of events.

Seth said...

5 starts baby!

Driscoll is getting annoying. You gave a good example: his harsh questioning of Justin, then the soft questioning of jakes.

So Driscoll and the others let Jakes get by with asserting "manifestations" is the same as "persons"?

Frank Turk said...

For those requiring it, the transcript of the Jakes/Driscoll exchange is found here, thanks to the multi-talented Tom Chantry.

David Regier said...

I'm just going to throw down and suggest to everybody to forget this dumb, stupid Elephant Room fiasco, which is both dumb and stupid, and read and listen to Frank's marriage talk. Which presents the actual Gospel in a way that we all really need to think about.

By doing so, you will be able to avoid speculations as to why some celebrities talked to other celebrities (really, this is like People Magazine for us), and you will be edified by learning how to think about marriage and the Gospel.

So scroll down.

/end rant

Si Hollett said...

Driscoll has always had a lot of problems (smutty mouth, manliness=bullying jock, seeking celebrity, etc), but now it should surely be difficult to defend him as orthodox, and hard not to have him as a full-blown heretic?

I'm surprised that very little has been said on his heretical Christology (that also is basically modalism as the distinction between persons is all temporary): that the Son isn't eternally begotten of the Father as it's wrong to 'speculate' on these relationships - and thus we should not use creedal words like 'begotten' or 'proceeds' to talk about the relationships in the trinity (Doctrine, page 27-28: one paragraph after he has a go at the West for changing the creed by adding the filoque, he demands changes to the creed!). All the fuss when 'Doctrine' came out was about unlimited/limited atonement, rather than about this far more disturbing issue.

DJP said...

I know, it's so sad, isn't it?

If only someone had been proactive about all this! If only someone had, say... oh, I don't know... done a post focusing on how to discern and express whether there'd ever been real meaningful repentance on Jakes' part. Like, months ago, to give plenty of time for circulation and discussion.

Wouldn't that have been cool? Then the big and little names could have made questions like that such a meme that there's no way MacDonald and Driscoll would even try to pull a fast one and pretend that they didn't need to face and ask those hard questions.

Sigh. If only.

Oh well:
Of all sad words
on tongue or pen
the saddest these -
"It might have been"

Strong Tower said...

Para-church organizanatans need to be put out of our misery.

Frank Turk said...

Regier:

Gadfly.

olan strickland said...

It was apparent that uncovering the Modalism of Jakes was not on the agenda. A Jehovah's Witness would have done a better job at that than Driscoll.

David Regier said...

Actually, curmudgeon.

leadsoldier said...

A Harvest of Sorrow.

(with thanks to Robert Conquest)

Shamgar said...


Someone needs to check the date for Mark Driscoll's shelf life as a reliable person. In the past month, he utterly disgraced himself on the "Unbelievable" podcast by interrogating this host, Justin Brierly, and accusing him and the whole British Christian church of being a flop because they also don't have a Mark Driscoll, and they have a few women pastors.


I'm just now starting to review Driscoll's interaction in the Elephant Room - so I can't speak to that. However, I did review the above after you linked to that ridiculous blog in your twitter feed the other day.

Frankly I think your observations on Mark are way over the top here. For someone who is used to being harassed by the "tone police" you'd think you'd be a little bit more gracious about it with others.

Mark was engaged in a discussion, and he got a little animated about his topic. It happens. I think the analysis that he in any way suggested the British Church of being a flop because they don't have a Mark Driscoll is ridiculous and completely lacking in any attempt to read Mark's word's in the context of his larger ministry.

Sometimes I think you guys get caught up in valid criticism of the man and then just start seeing everything he does through a critical lens. Maybe it wasn't the best or clearest possible argumentation on this point, but who said he had to be the best at arguing the egalitarianism point?

Tim Bushong said...

I was just so frustrated by the conversation- the hedging of bets, the confusion, the "oh yeah- THAT"S what I believe, yeah" from Jakes, and the obvious *whew* of relief from MD that he wasn't now obligated to pursue it any further.

And you're spot-on regarding Jakes' connection to the prosperity "gospel"- somehow he gets a pass on that stuff...

BTW, now that I've spent a little time with you, Frank, when I read your writings it's almost like I can hear your vocal inflections, as if you were actually right here speaking. Your writing style and your speaking style go hand-in-hand- it's a seamless robe- and as James White says: "Consistency's a beautiful thing."

Or something to that effect...

Jared T. Baergen said...

Someone actually tweeted that "T.D. Jakes affirmed the Trinity" and "was clear and sophisticated on the issue." Any thoughts bloggers?

Quite honestly, that was the part of the "conversation" yesterday that scared me the most because many thousands of people watched this thing live all across the country, and now people are running around thinking the Trinity is exactly how Jakes described Him. That's very bad.

And for some of those younger in the faith, Jakes probably confused and messed them up real good. I'm sure this won't be the end of this topic. The next generation always has to deal with the mess left behind from the previous generation. Sad panda.

On a different note, I'm going to read Frank's post on mawwiage. It is probably more beneficial to life :)

Shamgar said...

I will say though - having now read the transcript Chantry posted, I think I'm going to be ill from the whole lot of them.

Frank Turk said...

StrongBad Tower:

I think the better solution is for people to take their associations and what they stand for more seriously. I'm actually a fan of the idea of center-bounded affiliations -- if we can admit that there are some planets which are on an orbit too far out to be really a planet in the same system.

Dan McGhee said...

In Session #7 (We Can Work It Out) MacDonald said, "I was in California and I played golf with a well-known pastor. (He’s not a fan of you, Mark.) Not one hole, but two, three, five, eight holes, he couldn’t stop talking about everything bad Driscoll does. I was so upset about that. I got off the course and I called Jack Graham, who has everyone’s cell phone number. I said, “Jack, get me Driscoll’s number...”

Let's see, Hmmmmmmmm, well-known pastor in California......

(Taken from Trevin Wax's blog at TGC)

Frank Turk said...

Shamgar:

Aha.

Andy D said...

I am finding myself growing out of the current "fad" of teachers such as Driscoll and others, and as I am maturing in my walk with Christ turning to the older writings of the Puritans and other older men such as MacArthur, Piper, Beeke, and others who have been around for a while and been in the trenches for a while instead of the younger crowd. It seems that the "younger" crowd seems to be arguing amongst themselves while the older crowd when they were that age, were out in the field battling for Christianity and enduring much slandering from the world, while holding fast to the Gospel.

Robert said...

Dan,

Isn't it amazing that MacDonald doesn't say that he confronted this well-known CA pastor about this? I mean, you'd think that if he had such a big problem with it, he would have actually said something...anything! It must not have been that important, I guess. Well, not until he called his super-secret fan club together and formed a little brotherhood. And all of the things we read about him (MacDonald) lately just affirm that he was part of that secret group long before now. ER is just his way of staging his coming out party and opening the doors for everybody else to join in.

Robert said...

Frank,

You should really work up a graphic with these guys as the clown act at the circus. That would be quite fitting! You could even have them juggling flaming false doctrine/teaching to each other.

The only question is who would be the elephant in this circus?

Dan McGhee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mark | hereiblog said...

I'm saddened by one of my fellow Southern Baptist's Open Letter to T.D. Jakes.

candy said...

It is interesting to me that MacDonald is so warm and gracious to so called Christian leaders who are murky in their understanding of the Gospel, and snarky and obviously resentful (not to mention gossipy, in his treatment of certain CA pastors and others who have called him on the carpet.

Robert said...

Dan,

All I can say is wow. I guess when he reads the Biblical qualification for an elder to be above reproach, he takes that to mean he is at a level where you can not reproach him. Reading, understanding, and applying that correctly takes looking at the context and humbly receiving the truth.

BrettR said...

On point #2--

In churchless Oregon, we need a little bit of a Fundy history lesson. I am totally lost on this point. Well, I think I get the point, but everything around the point is undiscovered territory.

Help, please?

Rhology said...

Y'all here turned me on to the Unbelievable? podcast of Brierley and Driscoll.
The big story here is that Justin Brierley affirmed annihilationism.

BOO. Very disappointed, and my jaw actually dropped open when he said it.

I didn't find the podcast very bad. Driscoll was more or less fair though a little prickly, and Brierley's affirming heresy earns him poor marks, but the interaction itself was decent enough.

Frank Turk said...

Brett:

Case in point.

Frank Turk said...

Rho:

I think Brierly is prolly a liberal, no question.

I think the way Driscoll treated him, compared to how Driscoll treated Jakes, is educational at least.

Rhology said...

Good call Frank. Maybe it's because Jakes is more of a man than a squishy Brit like Brierley.

Jules LaPierre said...

One quibble...your tone could have been stronger ;)

Strong Tower said...

I am still at a loss as to how real life accountability is carried out. I guess walking away from a mess is one way, but it doesn't seem to be the biblical way. If I was to advocate, even by association a heretic like Jakes, even as a layman, I might be fenced off. How is JM accountable? It seems to me that the inherent flaw in these kinds of associations goes is the very integrity of what it means to be the church. Sure enough, we can form whatever associations we want, but as an adherent to the inter-church disciplinary clauses of the 1689 and the WCF, I find it quite difficult to just allow for the existence of non-accountable para-church ministry.

Now you may not agree, but both confessions actually extend beyond the local church and even beyond denominational boundaries the call to account. Especially seen is the need to curtail the activities of certain "notorious and obstinate offenders." Or, ...cases of difficulties or differences, either in point of doctrine or administration, wherein either the churches in general are concerned, or any one church, in their peace, union, and edification; or any member or members of any church are injured..."

While we may agree that there are limits as to what one church, or an association of churches, may do to discipline the troublers, the fact remains that with so-called extra-church organizations there is no functioning mechanism to carry out such a charge.

I would think that anyone holding to such confessions, or at least the idea of visible church accountability would think twice about joining a non-accountable group. The question is, just where could the members of such go to have their day in court, or just where could any single individual who is a member of a church who has been offended by some other member(s) go to have their case heard?

The conditions now do not exist and until there is a coucil, a synod, or whatever one wants to call it, that can make a determination about the disposition of the individual(s) troubling the church, I think it best to refrain from any such affilliations.

The internet is a great public square, but it lacks any authority and settles no disputes.

Citation Squirrel said...

I just checked the date on Driscoll ... he has expired. We should probably toss him out before he gets moldy and ruins anything else.

Scott said...

Frank,
Awesome article. I interned at an Acts29 church and when I become a lead pastor, or plant a church I'd probably go with Acts29. I agree with your assessment of its pastors. Some that I know here in Texas and in Oklahoma are how you described them. I do not for the life of me understand, though, where Driscoll is coming from in some of that stuff and wonder if more guys (at least around here) would take more of a Matt Chandler approach (At Code Orange) than a Driscoll approach at the Elephant Room

Dan said...

In comparison to Elephant Room 1, which actually addressed some issues head on, this one seem to wrestle was third tier questions and stayed away from the more polarizing issues that people are concerned about. I would have loved to see a debate between the Prosperity view of the Bible and a reformed view. Egal vs Comp. Seeker versus Reformed. Etc.

Everyone was too similar here in Methods to really cause tension while listening too. Plus, Corderio and Loritts are nice guys but they don't have a rabid following like Furtick, Driscoll and Jakes.

This was flat overall and greatly disappointing. Great Insight Frank.

FYI - @ Rhology- just because Brierly is a Liberal, he brings a lot of very conservative scholars (Like James White for instance) on his show. He does a much better job of handling controversy, asking the right question and pointing out the elephants in the church than anything I've seen in the states. When interviewing Rob Bell for instance, I wouldn't have guess he was an annihilationist. I would recommend his show (Unbelievable?) as a good resource.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Driscoll, MacDonald, et al to Jakes after Jakes' comments on Trinity: "Grace to you."

Some folks to Driscoll, MacDonald, et al: "Why are you giving grace to Jakes? He played you! C'mon, man! No grace to and for Driscoll and MacDonald!"

Thankfully, John MacArthur's "Grace to You" ministry is appreciated by many.

Rhology said...

No question Brierley is overall very good at what he does. He needs to stop bringing on heretics and calling them "Christians", but I guess the origin of my longtime beef with him about that is now much clearer.

Tom Chantry said...

TUAD,

So, just to be clear, are you saying that the only important issue here is who can be gracious to whom?

dac said...

Just to push this conversation off course for a minute....

Are not churches who's preaching is basically using the Bible like a fortune cookie generator any different than the RC selling dispensations in Luther's day? I mean, you give your money to the church and they give you the promise of something from God they cannot deliver?

Am I missing something?

feel free to return to the main topic now.

word verification "grabgy" mmmmmm

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Pastor Chantry,

Much thanks for doing yeoman's work in transcribing the video.

With regards to your question, the answer is no.

It was just an observation. Which I hope is a factual, accurate observation.

Tom Chantry said...

OK, glad that's the answer. I, too, am glad that GTY is such a blessing to so many.

And you're welcome. As I said, insomnia can be a wonderful thing. It's all a question of how to use it. Help me out guys, I'm thinking of a book; should it be Forty Nights of Insomnia or Your Best Insomnia Now?

Sam said...

Don't Waste Your Insomnia... Insomniasperement... Vintage Insomnia?

Jules LaPierre said...

Insomnia Wins.

Aaron Snell said...

Experiencing Insomnia

Scooter said...

Reformed, Insomniac, and Hater: How Being a Sleepless Cessationist Made Me a Curmudgeon

Robert said...

Tom,

How about The Pursuit of Sleep?

Solameanie said...

Here is The Christian Post's mishmash on this issue. Just a brief line about doctrinal questions, and the rest centered on all the "statements" from the parties.

Brian said...

The difference between Brierly and Jakes is that Jakes has been on the cover of Time Magazine. That gives him legitimacy and is why he got the softball questions.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

From Solameanie's link to the Christian Post:

"After prayer and counsel with other Christian leaders and some of our Elders, James [MacDonald] believes it is best to simply resign from the Gospel Coalition and continue to pursue his vision of gracious conversation, face to face, as model for how to handle disagreement in the church."

My principled objection to this claim is that Harvest Bible Church refused to let Chris Rosebrough and Erin Benziger from attending Elephant Room 2. In fact, Rosebrough was threatened with arrest by HBC elder Jim Rowan.

How in God's good and holy name does that serve as a "model for how to handle disagreement in the church"?

Isn't that hypocrisy?

Eric said...

TUAD,

Do you really think that Frank's concerns/points in this post can be translated as saying "No grace to and for Driscoll and MacDonald"? Is that a fair characterization? Is it inherently ungracious to point out areas of concern and express a desire for brothers in Christ to grow in their sanctification and Biblical ministry?

Frank Turk said...

Was TUAD posting here? I wasn't talking about the Manhattan Declaration, so I didn't expect his to show up -- did he say something I should have read?

Caleb Land said...

I had to stop watching. Seriously guys, stop talking about how you all really like each other and you are all swell guys. People paid, not for anger and vitriol, but for honest and frank discussion about "the elephant in the room."

This event should be renamed "Mutual admiration/promotion" society. It stinks, because I would have liked some people with some cajones to have respectfully debated the real issues.

Scott Shaffer said...

Carl Trueman weighs in:

http://www.reformation21.org/blog/2012/01/do-you-beat-your-wife.php

DJP said...

Be sure to link to our posts on his blog.

Oh wait... you can't.

DJP said...

Oh wait... he did! Well, to Frank's, anyway.

Frank Turk! BIG TIME!!

DJP said...

...aaaaaaaand Chantry! Yow!

Truth Unites... and Divides said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Truth Unites... and Divides said...

C. Michael Patton at the Parchment and Pen blog has also written a post on this event:

TD Jakes Not Modalist? An Update form the Elephant Room.

And thanks to Scott Shaffer for pointing us to Carl Trueman's post which was very helpful.

Frank Turk said...

Chantry: the man behind the curtain at TeamPyro.

michelle said...

Did anyone say The Insomnia Driven Life?

michelle said...

On a serious note, I just read Carl Trueman's post. I am one of the "African American refugees" from prosperity style churches like Jakes' that Trueman alludes to; and yes, I am heartbroken and dismayed by the embrace of Jakes by the larger Evangelical community. I thank God for His grace toward me that my faith was not completely shipwrecked by the havoc this theology wrought in my heart. My heart mourns...

stratagem said...

You know, I really can't understand why in the Christian realm, so few people seem to understand the concept of "actions speak louder than words."

This Driscoll guy, whatever he says that may be good, look at his actions alone and then tell me whether he ought to be paid attention to. Then tell me why people still do pay attention to him for something other than comic relief.

Marla said...

After reading this and then Tom Chantry's Transcript (thanks Tom), and then Trevin Wax's blogs (I like Trevin -- but seems a little naive in this particular venue) I think the fallout from this is going to be bad...
I think one can only conclude:

1. Methodology doesn't matter. Those who say it does are just fuddy-duddys and haters crouched behind their walls.... (Frank, DJP, famous CA pastor...)

2. If you have numbers, God must be blessing your ministry.

3. If someone has personal charm and professes Christ, that is all you need to welcome him as a brother (Hybels, Furtick really?)

4. Why is Joel Osteen missing from this? Seems James MacDonald would like him and agree we're going to spend eternity together, so why bother of methods..or doctrine.. or the Bible...or whatever.

James, Mark, TD, all have the inside track. I'm just soo out of touch....

Tom Chantry said...

Oh, Michelle! The Insomnia Driven Life!!! That makes me actually want to write a book. But think how many nights I'd be up writing it!

Rich Barcellos said...

is this turk on paul edwards?
http://den-a.plr.liquidcompass.net/player/flash/audio_player.php?id=WLQVAM&uid=188

Seth Stark said...

Just wanted to say thanks for your thoughts on Jakes and the Elephant Room. I'm a regular reader of this blog, and always find it encouraging. I think you are spot on in your assessment of this latest episode. Keep up the good work!

Cathy said...

If I recall, Mark Driscoll was a very tough cross examiner when he was speaking directly to the demons who were "harassing" his counselees- however, he is not so tough on a pastor who has a documented history of pedaling doctrines of demons.
Come to think of it- he is very tough on (by his own accounts) men who are found to be in sexual sin. But when it comes to the sin of worshipping a different god and therefore believing and proclaiming a different gospel- ehh, that's only worthy of a few questions mixed in with some light hearted banter.

Frank Turk said...

rich - it was in fact me.

winning or radio fail?

Truth Unites... and Divides said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Graham and Nicola said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Graham and Nicola said...

If this live blog is accurate,there must be an immediate and robust response from The Gospel Coalition. If this is a snapshot of contemporary evangelicalism, we have to ask “is there any room for Nicea in evangelicalism? Does evangelicalism take the Trinity seriously?”

Here’s the issue. Do the Father and the Son, and the Son and the Spirit, have an “I-Thou” relationship? (Call it a “me-you” relationship, if you want to sound contemporvant) Does the Father love the Son, in a self-giving love? Do the members of the Trinity genuinely love one another? Are those relationships real and not figures of speec?

It simply isn’t enough to say “well, I can use the language of persons. But I prefer to talk about manifestations because the Son does a different job than the Father”. That misses the point of Trinitarianism completely. Modalists can easily affirm that there are things about the Father that are not true of the Son. They are different modes – that is what it means to be a modalist.

Contra Carl Trueman, it does not take a three year course of study, or a specialist course in the Church in the Third and Fourth centuries, to detect the error, or to see the substance of the debate. Flick through Roger Olson's "The Story of Christian Theology", Craig and Moreland's "Philosophical Foundations of a Christian Worldview" or Gerald Bray's "The Doctrine of God".
Once more -does growth take precedence over honoring God in evangelicalism? If it does, it’s time to pack the bags and go somewhere else to worship.

G&N

Graham and Nicola said...

To be honest, we believe that TGC have been completely outmaneuvered here.
MacDonald resigns; Driscoll remains. MacDonald gains freedom of maneuver; Driscoll's council membership lends ER2 respectability.MacDonald's resignation means that any criticism seems mean spirited; Driscoll's council membership protects him from criticism.

Furthermore, until official transcripts are released the Council cannot comment - they will be accused of misrepresenting ER2.

Apart from Trevin Wax - who would not post the comment that we just placed on this blog, but is posting comments praising God for Jake's Orthdoxy - the Coalition is quiet. (So now they will have to contradict their latest blogger if they are to raise concerns about Jakes modalism.)

Spiritually, this is a disaster. Frankly, the evangelical Church has just mass produced mill-stones to hang around Church members necks. It's almost enough to turn (one of) us to confessionalism.

N&G

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

"Oh, Michelle! The Insomnia Driven Life!!! That makes me actually want to write a book. But think how many nights I'd be up writing it!"

That's funny, Pastor Chantry!

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

A rather direct attempt to distill this controversy:

"Is Jakes a Wolf in Pastor's clothing? (A modalist wolf, leaving aside Word-Faith Prosperity Gospel teaching for the moment). Are these other pastors (MacDonald, Driscoll, et al) undiscerning shepherds who have given a pass to a Wolf-heretic? Isn't it a mistake to give grace to a wolf-heretic, and aren't these ER2 pastor-shepherds derelict in their duty to protect the evangelical flock?"

If we nut it out, aren't those the bottom-line concerns?

ANiMaL said...

Anyone else grieving at this mess?

I don't know the heart of anyone from the ER. I know I've watched enough TD Jakes to know I would warn anyone listening to him for spiritual advice to run. He preaches physical prosperity as the natural outcome of the gospel. The bible does not. Do I need to be more nuanced than that?

1 Tim 6:5 "people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain."

If this doesn't describe what I watched of Jakes then I know nothing and shouldn't comment

If it does describe Jakes can we just rebuke him, call him out, and move on? You know to important things... LIKE MINISTRY. (HT: frank turk)

This is a weird struggle for some of us who have family directly impacted by the likes of Jakes. 1 Tim 6:6 seems so on target for where us non bloggers who are thinking too much about it should be.

Thank you to the team here, and others who carefully show the real teachings so we can guard and protect, while unleashing the truth.

Sir Aaron said...

Does anybody else think the elephant needs to be put down?

Dr. James Willingham said...

Egalitarianism just might be found more in Sovereign Grace than most people imagine. In fact, could that be the cause of the rise of such in America in the beginning. A member of a nearby Baptist Church was excommunicated in 1861 before the war began, and he had it recorded in his tombstone a mile down the road from the church and its cemetery. His objection and expulsion was over the treating of Blacks as equals in the membership of the church. You know, like Black Brother so and so and Black Sister so and so. Family equality, no?

DJP said...

o_O

mike said...

I was wondering if anyone else was a bit concerned by the rampant self congratulatory exclamations of humility by almost everyone in the room?

If its real, do I get to be the primary herald of my humility?
Or is it best shown by standing in a small circle in public and all screaming "the guy to my right is incredibly humble" ?

Just wondering

Frank Turk said...

Dr. Willingham:

Wha-a-a-a-at?

Frank Turk said...

You know what the funny thing about the Apostle Paul is? He can tell you what the fruit of the spirit is, and tell you what love is, and speak radically and eloquently to what virtues in family and society ought to look like as a consequence of Christ, but then when he says, "follow my example," it's not because he's humble and a great leader. He will be the first to tell you he's the scum of the Earth, and the chief of sinners.

Hew says to follow his example in suffering and sacrifice.

Cf. Elephant Room, and the Nines.

Brad Williams said...

Look, that panel is the elephant in the room of evangelicalism.

If every small church pastor in America would realize that the power of God is the gospel and not the wisdom of men, we could rid ourselves of exploitative celebrity pastor culture that has sprung up because of our lack of confidence in the gospel.

Next year, I wish big wigs would invite small-time pastors to be speakers at a major conference. Then we could get a glimpse of humility. The topic could be: How many Gospel Coalition charter members does it take to out a modalistic Word of Faith preacher?

You can supply your own punchline because that conference won't happen.

Frank Turk said...

I wonder if the Calvinist gadfly blog will ever have any new posts on it ever again? because these gadfly guys are really, really good. They have such a lousy EIC, but these guys are good.

And humble.

mike said...

Frank, FOR THE WIN!

moodygrad2000 said...

Velvet Insomniac

Mary Elizabeth Tyler said...

I am sooooo thankful Mark Dever didn't attend this circus. As far as the rest of this goes, I am all talked out on this subject. I am sick and tired, and tired always follows sick (as Bill Cosby used to say), of this whole fiasco.

I just keep hearing this song in my head: "When will they ever learn, when will they ever learn?" We may have to wait for ER3 before finding out.

Thomas Louw said...

Did Dr James play the race card.

I will raise you a Trinity.

Phil said...

Mary, at elephant room three they will be serving mutton for the snack and giving away performance fleece sweaters to remember the event by.

When the shepherds take pity on the hunger of the wolves... man... where do you go from there?

Kamilla said...

I've just one question:

If Jakes is a full-flooded Trinitarian, why does he still hold the title of "Vice-Prelate" in the modalist HGAA?

Charlene said...

Since I'm a glutton for punishment, I read Tom Chantry's transcript--thank you Mr. Chantry for your work on that. It had to be painful. Couldn't help thinking all the way through: this is bad. Very, very, very bad. The confusion this will cause for those who are new or weak in the faith is tremendous. Jakes redefined the terms in such way that he confessed to being a modalist but since modalist=trinitarianism in is book he denied being a heretic. So we're back to square one.

I certainly don't understand all the fawning over Jakes (definition of "fawn": "give a servile display of exaggerated flattery or affection; show slavish devotion, esp. by crawling and rubbing against someone." For a moment there I thought Jakes was going to be named the fourth person of the Trinity! Ugh.

I have to ask MacDonald and company what it's like to reinvent the wheel. I mean, so much church history was thrown under the bus with this thing. The crack ER 2 team somehow stumbled across the secret to "saving" the Christian church in America--wait, let's not set our sights so low-- saving Christianity itself that was somehow overlooked for the past 2,000 years because everyone was too busy "fighting" over orthodoxy. Somehow everyone in church history missed the idea that if we hold hands with heretics we can expand our numbers a lot faster than if we condemn them.

Novel.

I can't believe no one ever thought of that before. And to think that it was hidden in the Word all this time when Jesus prayed that we would be one just as He and the Father are One. How could we have missed that? Oh yeah, and Paul used the word "mystery" so we don't need to understand the Trinity 'cause we can't, 'cause it's a mystery, so don't even try 'cause then you'll be a know-it-all and God's not with know-it-alls, He's only with the humble so then God won't be with you.

Ok, I'm wiping up the overflowing sarcasm here but the elephant just exploded and I don't even want to know what the clean up is gonna look like on this one.

Tom Chantry said...

Velvet Insomniac is good, but if we're going that direction, why not Insomnia Wins? Or Old School Emergent: Blue Like Insomnia.

Tom Chantry said...

Kamilla,

Jakes said, "I still have fellowship, associations, relationship, and positions within and without Trinitarian and Onenness movements." (emphasis mine)

Yet another eye-popping moment in the "discussion" in which no one on the panel raised an eyebrow.

Tom Chantry said...

Charlene,

I certainly don't understand all the fawning over Jakes (definition of "fawn": "give a servile display of exaggerated flattery or affection; show slavish devotion, esp. by crawling and rubbing against someone." For a moment there I thought Jakes was going to be named the fourth person of the Trinity! Ugh.

It all goes back to "fidelity & fruitfulness." For MacDonald, fruitfulness is defined as drawing in big numbers, and that is the proof of fidelity. Consider these quotes:

"I think you honor us and you humble us, a man of your stature and commitment to the gospel and fruitfulness would come and sit with us in this room, let you and me ask him what he believes?

"However, when a man confesses his trinitarianism, and people say, “Is he trinitarian enough?” Step away from me on that. That’s when we begin to need to get into more of “what do you believe about the gifts?” and “How Trinitarian are you?” “What do you believe about the role of women?” That’s when we need to turn down, as you said, the rhetoric and let a man’s confession and let a man’s fruitfulness speak for itself."

Really, James? So the relationship between questions about orthodoxy and perceived fruitfulness is not what we all thought. We don't look at the doctrinal content of a ministry to determine whether its big numbers are actually fruit. No, that can't be questioned. Big numbers are always fruitfulness, and such fruit speaks for itself; it proves orthodoxy.

By that measure, Joseph Smith was the most fruitful of all the orthodox teachers of the nineteenth century.

Frank Turk said...

I'm just saying that there are some really fruitful Mormon temples put there, and they'd probably sign up for the Jakes Form of Unity. That will sure advance Unity.

Robert said...

I wonder if this will lead to other resignations from TGC. One would hope that Dever and Anyabwile will be strongly considering either that or a strong response from TGC.

Also, all of this talk of fruitfulness is so off target. God blesses people who do things right and people who do things wrong. We can just read through the Bible and see how true this is. And shouldn't we most of all be striving to be holy? If so, shouldn't the undershepherds of the Church understand that means doing things correctly? And that entails parsing out what gifts are still present in the church, what doctrine we teach, whether women should lead or teach in the church.

For MacDonald or any of these other guys to suggest that we don't need to be sorting these matters out is paramount to telling God, "I don't care how You tell me things should be done, I'm going with what I think is right and I'm not going to listen to the counsel of any godly persons You might send to tell me differently." Kinda bears a striking resemblence to Israel ignoring the prophets. Just go read the book of Amos (won't take too lonb b/c it's short) and see how God speaks through Amos to detail all that He did to try to tell them they needed to turn back to Him and do things the right way.

Jules LaPierre said...

Charlene, you took the words right out of my mouth whrn you said, "The crack ER 2 team somehow stumbled across the secret to "saving" the Christian church in America--wait, let's not set our sights so low-- saving Christianity itself that was somehow overlooked for the past 2,000 years because everyone was too busy "fighting" over orthodoxy."

The layers of absurdity on display in the Elephant Room are so thick, where does one even begin to dissect? This goes far beyond the isue of modalism my friends.

Doulos Christou said...

"...exploitative celebrity pastor culture ...lack of confidence in the gospel."

Brad, thank you! Spot on.

Unknown said...

ER3 - Joel Osteen, Oprah Winfrey, Pope Benedict, and Benny Hinn....and James MacDonald in hologram form. All moderated by Mark Driscoll of course.

Daniel Bennett said...

As many of us are rightly concerned about the doctrine and methodology of ministers like T.D. Jakes, how do we express that concern without veering into Fundamentalism's excessive focus on secondary separation? How can the leadership of TGC do so?

In other words, Frank's unanswered question ("If Jakes' chat with Mark Driscoll does not finally clear things up, then what's the best way for the council of TGC to handle Mark Driscoll's (non-resigned council member) endorsement of Jakes' orthodoxy?") is an important question.

Tom Chantry said...

@ Daniel Bennett,

The answer must be that we do not want to criticize people for knowing others, talking with others, or even appearing at their conferences. Matt Chandler @ Code Orange is a good example of why we shouldn't adopt a "doctrine" of secondary separation.

But the whole purpose of ER was to bring Christian leaders together to discuss how to best advance the cause of Christ. The initial controversy was over the fact that an invitation to a heretic in this context seemed automatically to give him an evangelical imprimatur as "orthodox." Already this was far different from merely dialoging with someone or speaking at the same conference.

Then, MacDonald embarked on three different roads to deal with the controversy. First, he tried (and failed) to redefine the conference by asking what "brother" means - as though we don't all know in a Christian context. Then he began to hint that there was going to be some big reveal when Jakes came that he had changed his tune. Finally, on the day of the conference he affirmed Jakes' dismissal of all theological terms and accepted as "orthodox" Jakes insistence that you can be Trinitarian and Oneness all at the same time.

To repudiate this nonsense is not to engage in secondary separation.

Kamilla said...

Tom,

Thanks. IOW, the more things change, the more they stay the same. That's the line he's been using for years.

Not to toot my own horn too loudly -- but back in the years when Promise Keepers first grew to the big stadium rally stage, they had TD Jakes speak at their conferences one year. After I put in a call to a board member I happened to be acquainted with - when I told him about Jakes' modalism, and after he got over his "How dare you question us!" snit, I did notice they had the sense not to ask him back in future years.

And they weren't exactly known for being theological hardliners, were they?

Frank Turk said...

Daniel --

As we say in this neck of the woods, "aha!"

Jules LaPierre said...

Tom:

Yes. "To repudiate this nonsense is not to engage in secondary separation."

And, lets be clear...no one is delighting in any of this.

Frank Turk said...

OK - I know leaving comments is part of the fun on the internet, but this has reached it's climatic moment as far as I'm concerned. When we have actually circled back to the questions I have raised in the post, and we agree they need to be answered, We're done. We've said what needs to be said.

:-)

DJP said...

Well, I just want to say again, Chantry so often offers such comment-gold, doesn't he? Great note to end on.

OK, closed again.