01 February 2012

Elephantiasis

James MacDonald Plays the Race Card
by Phil Johnson



I know it's not my day to post, but this:



is probably the most blatantly racist presentation I have ever witnessed from an ostensibly "mainstream" evangelical source.

The take-away message is this: If you're an old white guy with any hint of Reformed theology in your confessional statement and you don't think T. D. Jakes's equivocations at Elephant Room 2 were sufficient to erase decades of concern about his Oneness leanings and his relentless proclamation of a false Prosperity Gospel—then you must be a racist. And even if you don't think you're a racist, you should shut up anyway. Because in the black community relationships are more important than any doctrine, including the gospel and the Trinity. We all should strive to subjugate doctrine to relationships anyway.

If on the other hand you are a young black man with Reformed convictions—or any black person who just has a keen interest in doctrinal and biblical accuracy—you are a sellout and a reproach to your own community. The only possible explanation is that you are guilty of "White Idolatry." You secretly wish to earn favor with Whitey. You should not only shut up, you should be ashamed. As far as the importance of relationships is concerned, we don't really care to have one with you.

End of discussion.

So much for open dialogue and not hiding behind walls of disagreement. The Elephant Room experiment clearly wasn't really about that in the first place. It wasn't about real unity or truth, either.

How does 2000 years of Christian consensus on the doctrine of the Godhead get sent to the back of the bus so blithely in the name of unity and racial reconciliation?

And why the deafening silence from so many men and ministries who supposedly are committed to standing for the defense and proclamation of core gospel truths? If you can be intimidated into silence by the race card when a greed-mongering prosperity-gospel Sabellian-sympathizer is being hailed by once-sound evangelicals as someone to be emulated, what doctrine will you defend openly and publicly?

Phil's signature

Addendum 1[Added by Frank]: Chantry dropped a link to an article by Thabiti Anyabwile over at the TGC web site about this sort of thing, published the day before the Elephant Room.  There are probably a dozen money quotes in that essay, but here's the one that stands out like a watchman on the wall:
I also want my non-African-American brothers to realize the harmful dynamic of pitting one African American against another. When two white brothers disagree publicly over a theological issue, there’s likely not a community “back home” trying to decide which brother is “black” and therefore which brother to follow. Historically, some white leaders have intentionally played one African American leader against another with the aim of dividing and weakening the community. That’s a history well-known and a strategy much hated in African-American communities. So, when a conflict between two African American religious leaders takes place publicly, care must be taken not to walk into this troubled narrative and trap. Inevitably, pitting two African-American leaders against one another is going to result in (1) one of those leaders losing “black” authenticity in their community, (2) one or both of those leaders being marginalized for their cooperation with “outsiders” to the community, and (3) the White brothers who do the pitting being seen as unconcerned about the Black community and unrighteously attempting to anoint the next Black leader. No one wins. if you’re from outside the African-American community, think very long, hard, and carefully about ever calling some African Americans to take your position in defense against other African Americans. It’s disastrous for everyone, and, frankly, you won’t begin to pay the deeper costs over the longer period that your African American friend will.
Read the Whole Thing.  For the record: I mean you, A29 pastors & leaders (specifically people who were heckling Chad Vegas' blog post on quitting A29 over this event), HBC pastors, and specifically the staff of the mothership at HBC on James MacDonald's staff.


186 comments:

Dave said...

Thank you massively Phil!!!

Rich Barcellos said...

If you are black and you question ER2ers, you are an Uncle Tom. If you are white and you question ER2ers, you may be a middle-aged white Reformed guy. There is no tertium quid (third way)? A black Reformed guy who is neither an Uncle Tom nor white? Or even a white Reformed guy who is neither middle-aged nor black? There are other options. Not everyone is right about this. Phil is not everyone. Therefore, Phil is right about this.

Javanut said...

As I see it, there are several more names to move from the decent, capable bible teacher column over to the heretic column.

I'm almost to the place now of just reading the biblical text and ignoring man's commentary (not there yet but getting close).

Frank Turk said...

Absurd. Corny. Stereotypical. Shallow.

And utterly condescending.

If James MacDonald tells me one more time how humble or humbled he is and then proceeds to insult other people by implying they have unexpressed motives for their words which he cannot substantiate, it will be a debt upon his own soul. He's treading into the territory of unrepentant and persistent sin, and he needs to listen to those who have given him good counsel.

Lord have mercy.

Matt said...

That honestly so infuriated me that I don't really know what to say. So much for no Jew nor Greek. Being Mexican-Japanese American, I guess it's time that I start finding some theologians of my race to associate with. Just WOW. Calling all white folks who disagree with ER2 racists and all black folks who disagree Uncle Toms in one fell back-handed swoop. Shameful.

BrettR said...

With every day that passes and with every new banal nugget that spews from the elephant room number two, the more I admire the wisdom of Mark Dever --despite his racial handicap;)

Jules LaPierre said...

No wonder they hate blogs.

Thank you for saying what had to be said, Phil.

Lane Chaplin said...

Thanks for this, Phil. It's one of the most racist things I've ever seen period. Sure, it gets me upset that they say I'm racist because I value orthodoxy, but what really gets my goad is the fact that they are basically calling my strong, Biblical black brothers and sisters sellouts for valuing discernment as well. It's amazing that an "Evangelical" organization is now adopting the typical extreme left wing tactics of defense when they can't produce viable answers themselves. The fact is lost on many that this is nothing more than an ad hominem argument. Instead of "you are wrong because you have smelly feet" it's "you are wrong because you're white, middle aged, and Reformed" and "you are wrong because you agree with people who are white middle aged and Reformed." An ad hominem is the sign of desperation because they know their arguments have failed.

PreacherBill said...

Just a note, this doesn't just apply to ER2. The same objections were being thrown at me on twitter because of my open criticism towards Steven Furtick and the Code Orange Revival. I was accused of being a reformed hater because I was pointing out the false preaching being 'performed' at COR. This is the battle cry of the liberal evangelical pseudo-christian superstar elite.

MilHamaH said...

MacDonald wanted to be machiavellian again in his politics video but ended up rotten, smelly "mackerelian" only playing brutal opening gambit with three unaware and gullible pawns in order to smuggle the sabbelian in...
And Frank do not tell me about MacDonald's "humbleness"... Pastor who bought himself $1.9 million dollar mansion in Inverness, Il at the end of 2005 as MacDonald did cannot possibly be humble even if he changes his last name to Mr.Humble...

Jules LaPierre said...

Thank you as well for pointing out the deafening silence that is literally hanging in the air. Following this embarrassing display, there is absolutely no room left for neutrality.

Chad Vegas said...

Maybe calling brothers mean-spirited fundamentalists just doesn't have the punch it used to...

Simon Thomas said...

Genesis 1-2 makes it clear tGod made only one race the HUMAN race, dont these get it.??? Maybe they just odnt believe scripture.

Lane Chaplin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lane Chaplin said...

TeamPyro: "How does 2000 years of Christian consensus on the doctrine of the Godhead get sent to the back of the bus so blithely in the name of unity and racial reconciliation?"

Calvinistic Industry Blogs: "Have you seen this new video by Youtube sensation Jonathan Barkley?" (or whoever he is)

The silence is deafening.

+1 TeamPryo

Pastor CT Jermin said...

I am Black, Reformed, and middle aged, and happy to declare it! This opprobrious spectacle broke my heart. Doubly so, because a friend of mine had made the same albeit not so veiled comments on my Facebook Page about Dr. Baucham the day before, and though I was sickened, I thought that he was an isolated voice. then along come these... persons... Now I am embarrassed, sick, ashamed and sad. Have Mercy Lord. Once again ethnicity trumps orthodoxy...

jordan said...

I'll take your racism claim, and I'll raise You Voddie Baucham. http://www.gracefamilybaptist.net/voddie-baucham-ministries/blog/elephant-room-2012-01/. Look who is perhaps the biggest critic of Thomas Dexter Jakes.

leadsoldier said...

He really did say it...

...some African-Americans .. a small minority... speaking against Jakes.. to fit into white circles". What white circles? Middle-aged white Reformed guys... that's who.

And of course this is what middle-aged white Reformed guys demand, as the price of fellowship, from their black brothers. That should be obvious to everyone. It all makes beautiful sense now. After all, they have their own churches, why should we let them into ours with their uppity theological ideas?

Now listen up little people; when we want your opinion of Bishop Jakes, we'll give it to you, okay?


The 'small minority' of African Americans speaking against Jakes, they need to look around and realize they are a minority, and listen to the voice of reason from the majority, for whom THIS guy obviously is the spokesman. When you are in the MINORITY, little brother, don't be tugging on superman's cape. Don't be spitting into the wind... don't be messin' around with JIM now, ya'll hear, boy? Back to the bus.

Austin Duncan said...

Egregious. Vile. Revolting. Puff piece. Manipulative. Athanasius just rolled over in his grave. So immodest and condescending. I abhor that video. Phil, thanks for your helpful analysis.

Charlene said...

Thank. You. Very well said for a white guy, Phil ;–D. I'm black and reformed and you took the words right out of my mouth. As a former HBC Rolling Meadows attender, I'm just appalled at how MacDonald has sunken so low, so fast. Church history did indeed get sent to the back of the bus. The ensuing silence speaks volumes about the state of the church these days.

Phil Johnson said...

See, Charlene, the thing is: I can't figure why any young person like you would WANT membership in a fraternity of cranky old white guys. Welcome, anyway.

Frankly, I found the accusation humorous that Reformed African Americans are merely currying favor with old white guys. It's not like people are pressing at the doors to get into our group. It's not exactly a prestigious brotherhood. And in all candor, I would be happy to turn MY megaphone over to a young person from ANY ethnic group, if only that person will be faithful to Scripture and hate all falsehod.

Ryan said...

This whole debacle is sickening and the lack of pastoral concern is astounding...truly, the silence on these celebrity pastor's part is deafening.

When will those entrusted with the care of the sheep stand up and sound a warning that a charlatan has been let into the fold? When will the notorious use their notoriety to protect God's people? When will the preservation of unity cease requiring the blood of orthodoxy?

Where is our John Calvin, life laid between the liberals and the sacraments? Where is our Luther, unable to do anything but stand?

Will no-one break rank and sound alarm? Thabiti has done the flock fine service thus far, but will he stand alone, a 'white-idolizer'? Please, won't someone else join him?

Eddie Eddings said...

Thanks, Phil, for such an informative post with such interesting comments.
This melodrama of black and white is troubling to say the least. It's a combination of depravity and pride that throws the Truth out in favor of a man-made unity.

Eric O said...

i have never heard this term "white idolatry" for the black pastor before.
Is this a common term in the black church or is it new?

JMello said...

Oh, its good to see the Church is learning from politics to impose its will, through the use of race-baiting and coercion though guilt trips. All this just to, ironically, ignore the Elephant in the room.

Tom Chantry said...

One point missing here. If a middle-aged white reformed guy appreciates Voddie Baucham or Saiko Woods, well, he picked the wrong black preacher to appreciate. See, James MacDonald can call Voddie and Saiko a couple of Uncle Toms, and it proves how racially sensitive he is. But if you appreciate their thoughtful passionate defense of the gospel, then you better stop it, you racist!

Mike Weaks said...

Well Phil, this is where you got it wrong. 2nd paragraph 2nd sentence, "old white guy." I am older than MacDonald and I resemble that remark. I didn't even know I was an old white guy till you mentioned it...C;

Sam said...

MacDonald's intro is that these are "fruitful" men. It seems in MacDonald's mind numbers=fruitfulness. What about the fruit of what's coming out of everyone's mouths in the video? Seems that love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, self-control, and things such as these, are absent in the video and the whole mess. I commented on Loritt's blog, where he wrote some of the things he said in the video, pointing out the racism in his post and for some reason my comments stayed in moderation and were never posted.

The pastors in the video may indeed bear much fruit in their ministries but their statements in the video are just ridiculous.

Tom Chantry said...

Sam,

I've been saying that for months. The purpose statement of the Elephant Room pits fidelity against fruitfulness as though it were possible to pursue one without the other. The reason? To MacDonald, "fruitful" means nothing more and nothing less than drawing large numbers. Keep that in mind whenever you hear him speak and you'll understand everything that lies behind this mess.

candy said...

One thing that is really bothering me about the whole ER2 and this video, is the oft reapeated line of "YOUR perspective of truth might be different than MY perspective of truth", thus tearing down the idea that the Gospel is absolute truth. These essential truths were hashed out and clearly spelled out in the beginning of the Church and handed down through the centuries, and MacDonald wants to make it seem like those essentials are just petty differences in the Body of Christ.

On a completely unrelated note, I am also getting really tired of the term "tribes".

fishformen said...

Did anyone notice the irony? One old white reformed guy with 3 young black men, some if not all, harvest church planters?

my word verification was growlsly....

Tom Chantry said...

I also want my non-African-American brothers to realize the harmful dynamic of pitting one African American against another. When two white brothers disagree publicly over a theological issue, there’s likely not a community “back home” trying to decide which brother is “black” and therefore which brother to follow. Historically, some white leaders have intentionally played one African American leader against another with the aim of dividing and weakening the community. That’s a history well-known and a strategy much hated in African-American communities. So, when a conflict between two African American religious leaders takes place publicly, care must be taken not to walk into this troubled narrative and trap.

Does it make me a racist If I point out that Thabiti Anyabwile said these words the day before the Elephant Room?

fishformen said...

Not to mention, Jakes has already been accepted by old white men from TBN. What does that say to the argument presented?

word verification: hooti

candy said...

"Historically, some white leaders have intentionally played one African American leader against another with the aim of dividing and weakening the community. That’s a history well-known and a strategy much hated in African-American communities. So, when a conflict between two African American religious leaders takes place publicly, care must be taken not to walk into this troubled narrative and trap."

Wow. I wish someone would send that quote to MacDonald, not that he would accept it as valid at this point.

DJP said...

I haven't the words. Disgusting. Phil and the commenters have nailed it already.

What color is the Biblical truth of the Trinity? What's the epidermal shade of fidelity to the Word? When did the value the Bible puts on maturity get turned into a vice?

Just disgusting. Worse and worse.

Nice to see some waking up to the, to be charitble, odd priorities and distribution of virility among the official "Gospel" machinery. Welcome to the party already long in progress.

donsands said...

"As far as the importance of relationships is concerned, we don't really care to have one with you.

End of discussion.

So much for open dialogue..."

Thanks for bringing this out Phil.

This James Mac is a "pot calling the kettle black." What a fool he is.
The Gospel of our Father in heaven, giving His Son to be lifted up for our filth, so that we might receive Him, through the Holy Spirit, is totally disregarded by Jakes, and it's no big deal?

BTW, superb article in TableTalk this past month. Very edifying. Well done. Gracias.

danny2 said...

Athanasius was an African! (Egypt). The discussion should not be about ethnicity but about the Word! (written and Incarnate!)

Frank Turk said...

Chantry: you need to link to the Thabiti quote.

Tom Chantry said...

http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/thabitianyabwile/2012/01/24/this-black-leader-or-that-black-leader/

Tom Chantry said...

That's the link. Sorry not to have it formatted nicely as a link for everyone - gotta take my kids to school. (That's the sort of thing us middle aged racists do when we're not plotting the downfall of the black race.)

Pam said...

Being beyond the "middle-aged" category, the words taught in my youth come back loud and clear. "there are no races with God" and "Be sure your sin will find you out." Troubling to me is that these folks are "Christian leaders" who seem to forget what the Bible says, not to mention how hurtful their words are.

KP said...

At the risk of being accused of "White idolatry" (which is simply a more palatable equivalent of "Uncle Tom,""Oreo," and other such epithets) I agree wholeheartedly with you, Phil.

Throughout this whole fiasco we have been constantly warned about the dangers of imputing motives to those with whom we disagree but have not spoken with. Yet this is exactly what has been done in this case. When I heard the charge leveled, the first question that crossed my mind was "Isn't that a double-edged sword? If one is going to grant that some blacks hold their theological convictions on the basis of wanting to be accepted by a bunch of old, white, Reformed guys, then shouldn't we be willing to consider the possibility that others might hold theirs in order to fit in with white, hipster, megachurch pastors? Either case is insulting and deflects from the real issues.

stratagem said...

Q: "why the deafening silence from so many men and ministries...?"

because,

A:"you can be intimidated into silence by the race card"

because,
They were always politicians at heart to begin with.

Phil Johnson said...

KP: "If one is going to grant that some blacks hold their theological convictions on the basis of wanting to be accepted by a bunch of old, white, Reformed guys, then shouldn't we be willing to consider the possibility that others might hold theirs in order to fit in with white, hipster, megachurch pastors? "

Great point. More likely to be the case, if you ask me, because there is no prestige or "prosperity" to be gained by admission to the "old Reformed white guy" fraternity. We're just a bunch of cranky guys with no style and bad (or no) hair.

Frank Turk said...

Let's please avoid, with low tolerance for exception, the idea that we can read the hearts of the men doing this. It doesn't make what they have done any worse to say that they have this vile motive or that vile motive, or this vile profession or that vile profession. In my view, if they are doing this in pristine innocence, it is plenty vile, plenty inexcusable, and they should repent of what they have actually done.

Unless you have received a vision from the Holy Spirit (like a video or something) which exposes the vile motive you are proposing, and have a signed confession from the motive-bearer, keep the discussion to what is done rather than what is perceived or implied regarding motives.

You can do it. You're that clever. Whoever "you" are.

Frank Turk said...

For the record, Phil has great hair, and we cranky bald reformed guys keep him around as our tribute to Elvis and Simon Cowell.

DJP said...

It's unkind of you — particularly you — to say anything about anyone's hair or lack thereof, Phil.

Hater.

DJP said...

Tag.

Sam said...

age discrimination is also at play here (while not nearly as inflammatory). So if we have older men of any race (white in the case of the video) who have proven to be sound in doctrine and practice, we're to automatically discredit them because of their age? My first full time church work was as a youth pastor and the senior pastor was in his 70s. He asked me early on who some of my favorite theologians were and I gave him a list of a few guys who are still alive and were young at the time (some were solid theologians, others not so much). His loving response was "theology has been around longer than these guys." (in other words dig deeper). I doubt I would have made the effort to read Spurgeon, Calvin, Luther, and others were it not for his exhortation. There are a few men who write and minister in that same spirit today and we should be thankful for their labor of love not throw them under the bus because they are "too old." I'm a youngish guy (40) and honestly when left to myself can do and say some really dumb things. I'd much rather look to someone with experience and a reputation for faithfulness to learn from rather than the new breed where pragmatism rules. And by the way, when does "middle age" officially begin???

Jules LaPierre said...

78 is the averge life expectancy, so middle age begins around...well...welcome to middle age, Sam.

Frank Turk said...

Middle Age begins when you realize that the #1 source of all your problems in life are you-yourself-personally, and it takes the edge off your idiotic self-righteous self image so that you can easily and sincerely say the words, "I was wrong. I apologize. Please forgive me."

You'd think that would start immediately upon regeneration, but my experience is that we can say those words to God and be completely oblivious to the fact that we also owe that sort of humility to our fellow men. Most guys come to that realization around age 46-48. Some guys never get there.

Be happy when you finally end you adolescence and enter middle age. It is a good thing.

Tyler Wallick said...

As I process all of the fallout from ER2, this Spurgeon quote came to mind and seemed to fit:

Wisdom is the right use of knowledge. To know is not to be wise. Many men know a great deal, and are all the greater fools for it. There is no fool so great a fool as a knowing fool. But to know how to use knowledge is to have wisdom.”

Frank Turk said...

Oh - I was tagged!

um ...

Phil, I prefer to call my baldness hirsutitude, and I resent you for making me uncomfortable for doing so.

TAG

CCinTn said...

I’m assuming that part of MacDonald’s purpose for bringing Jakes into the fold was under the guise of racial unity and that perhaps was also the reason for having Voddie teach at the Men’s Conference. I guess his lack of discernment didn’t really pick up on Voddie’s Reformed viewpoints, which we have now been instructed would make him an Uncle Tom, at least until Voddie had the uppity audacity to disagree with MacDonald and to take issue with the ‘real’ black man Jakes over the Theology From A Bunch Of Dead WHITE Guys. (Phil, feel free to change the Hall of History to reflect the new change)

Tax Collector said...

Would the Apostles be considered old, cranky white guys?

Just saying…

I am SO looking forward to Heaven.

9 After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to OUR God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” – Rev. 7:9&10 [Emphasis mine]

Eric O said...

As a co leader of the event with Mr. MacDonald, should Driscoll get a pass.

Mary Elizabeth Tyler said...

James MacDonald is desperately grasping at straws because he feels backed into a corner. So what does he do? He lashes out with the most outlandish rhetoric possible. He feels the disdain from most all of the stable, orthodox, Reformed men, so he seeks to paint the picture with the race card. As if to say, “See, I can’t find any real support from the old white-boy-network, so I’ll show them; I’ll drum up some support by making it a racist issue.”

What a coward! This entire fiasco keeps taking on layer after layer of absurdity. I think it will only continue to spiral out of control, and my hope is that all of us don’t go down in flames along with it, when it finally crashes. Let us stand boldly for truth, but not be consumed ourselves along the way.

Frank Turk said...

Who gave Mark Driscoll a pass? I mean, besides everyone in Acts29 except Chad Vegas?

Jules LaPierre said...

Who gave Mark Driscoll a pass?

TGC.

Frank Turk said...

BTW, if I was going to become a pastor, and I had to change my name from "Frank Turk" to do so, I would immediately change it to "Nash Vegas". "Chad Vegas" would be a close runner-up.

Frank Turk said...

Jules:

yes, of course. My mistake.

:-)

Cathy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
donsands said...

hirsutitude?

I sort of have hair like Bill Murray. Not sure what you call that.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7A2mIl2sLbE

Brad Williams said...

I hope I can offer a bit of push-back on this without getting eaten in the dog-pile, but here was my reaction to this talk.

First, there is a LOT to learn from this video if we can back up from it for a moment, and it could be extremely helpful to us for that reason.

What Brian Lorittz(sp?) starts saying at 4:18 (not James MacDonald!) is the biggest deal here. The talk about "old white reformed guys" and black reformed pastors having "white idolatry" is explosive. But I humbly submit that idolatry is always a conversation worth having.

But that is exactly the problem with race relations, especially black/white relations in the church. These guys are having a fascinating conversation about race when they ought to be hashing out Sabellian/modalist/prosperity gospel! The problem of race is so volatile that once it comes up, every other decent discussion is obscured.

So Phil gets offended because..err..uh..he is a reformed white guy. And maybe Thabiti gets offended by the insinuation that he is a white idolater. Now then we all start yammering about Bob Jones and 1960 and all the awful junk white people perpetuated against blacks. And it is true and awful, and white people wind up feeling bad about it because we are wretched.

Meanwhile, TD Jakes is preaching the prosperity gospel and obfuscating the full deity of Jesus of Nazareth. SEE?! This is a red herring of epic proportion, and we have to quit rising to that bait. That is EXACTLY what Thabiti was talking about!

This isn't about James MacDonald or black/white relations. This is about embracing a heretic who is blowing up lives by teaching prosperity gospel screed. Don't fall for the race debate on this one!

The problem with this talk is that it is a splendid talk about race at the wrong meeting.

Cathy said...

"How does 2000 years of Christian consensus on the doctrine of the Godhead get sent to the back of the bus so blithely in the name of unity and racial reconciliation?"

This quote and Mary's comment made me think of the movie "Speed"....
James MacD has taken over an out of control bus; he kicks the old white reformed guys to the curb, grabs TD Jakes on board, and throws Pastor Baucham under the bus, all in the name of grace and love of course. He speeds crazily off with a wild-eyed look to .... Where exactly???

At first glance it all seems so out of control, until I see James MacD's tweet today:

If something doesn't make sense to you start with this assumption: "i don't have all the information"

Hmm- that's the same tactic he used prior to ER II to say critics were prejudging Jakes.

Regardless of whether this is planned or out if control, it's simply outrageous.

Jules LaPierre said...

Brad Williams...man of the hour.

Robert said...

Jordan,

I read that article after reading Austin Duncan's article (which I found on Fred Butler's blog) about Baucham. I was quite impressed with how Baucham addressed the whole ER2 mess in his article and have thought much less of MacDonald since reading it. I thought Baucham actually showed a lot of grace to MacDonald.

Doulos Christou said...

Really... I thought I'd seen it all, but this one takes the cake. I’m seeing an opportunity for a new TGC video. Use your imagination with me on this one (if you want to rap along, your part is in CAPS):

[Cue beats]
I was sittin’ at Starbucks drinking a BREW
When in strolls are really FLY DUDE and his CREW
Everybody knew that the man WAS DOWN
But he just stood there and looked a-ROUND
The folks were all fawnin but he was like “CHILL”
And then he looked at me reading my BI-BILL
He got up in my grill and said “I must insist,
I like the MIDDLE-AGED CALVINIST”

Yo… D.A. Carson’s in da HOUUUUUUUSE

What do you think? Viral (or just an infection)?

Cathy said...

Brad-
Isn't that what it means to play the race card: instead of dealing with the issue at hand in a substantive way (in this case- a heretic, who happens to be black), you shout racism.

Robert said...

Brad,

I agree and I believe that once we do leave behind the racial arguments, we'll see much more fruit. One thing I gained a lot from was listening to Thabiti talk about the mythology of race and how there are cultural differences in the world, but all humans came from Adam and Eve.

donsands said...

"The problem of race is so volatile that once it comes up, every other decent discussion is obscured."-Brad

I don't think so. We are discussing how doctrine is imperative whether you are black or white. Skin color means nothing.

James is foolish for setting this discussion up. It's manipulative.

I miss you're point to be honest.

I wasn't "offended". I'm angry. And I pray James would come to the Gospel, and to his senses, as well as these three black brothers.

Brad Williams said...

Cathy,

Yes, it is. But, when you watch the video, it does not appear to me that Brian dropped the race card intending to dodge the issue. To him, the issue seems settled, TD Jakes is okay. He has moved on and is talking about race now.

And we go off and talk to him about race, instead of going..wait, wait, wait...this is about the Trinity, bro. I know that we are currently still talking about the Trinity, but it is getting eclipsed and will get more eclipsed as the race issue rises.

Instead, we ought to say, "Hold that thought about white folks and white idolatry. That's loaded! Let's talk about Jesus, the Son of God. Do you think that Jakes believed the Son of God existed before the incarnation?"

Bam. There. Back to topic. Next year, schedule a talk on race and evangelicals. Invite Eric Reymond, and Brian Lorittz and Thabiti Anyabwile and whoever else you like. Invite old reformed guys. Let's do that.

But not here. Not now. Let's talk about the prosperity gospel and the Trinity.

And then race.

And then small-church pastors and big church pastors.

So many elephants!!

DJP said...

I think you absolutely completely miss the point, Brad. IMO, you're not seeing something everyone else has missed, you're seeing something that isn't there. Voddie Baucham nailed it; the only racism in this situation is the soft racism he described. This vid is a callow, cowardly dodge borrowed from the realm of politics and used to a similar ill effect.

Cathy said...

Brian may not have dropped the race card in order to avoid the issue- James MacD did that. He is the one that set up this video, and he is the one asking the questions. I think he did this because there has been some push back on him for not been tough enough on Jakes.

Frank Turk said...

Brad, my 'Mater Brother from another mother --

I would add: "directed at the wrong people."

Mary Elizabeth Tyler said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eric O said...

Im sorry,
I should have been more clear in asking if Driscoll should be held to account in the same way MacDonald is.
Poor wording on my part.
He is a part of TGC.

Mary Elizabeth Tyler said...

Good one, Cathy; and a very graphic picture! But I think James MacDonald has had the road map in front of him all along. He has been in the drivers seat from day one. The first time he called Jakes a brother in Christ was the wrong move into oncoming traffic. Now he is looking for some sort of detour around this giant pothole, of his own making, nonetheless!

I keep thinking of the old quote, "Oh what a tangled web we weave, when we first practice to deceive."

Jesse said...

1. Should we be surprised when those who are trending toward theological liberalism start using the terms/techniques, ie. race card, of the social liberals?

2. How do they classify Athanasius and his rigorous defense of the nature of the God-head? He wasn't white, black, or American but he was still much more African than any of those chaps. It just proves how they have brought American concepts of race and race language into this debate. A debate which is largely of their own making.

Brad Williams said...

Dan,

You think Bryan Loritts was being cowardly? I think he was wrong, but I do not think that cowardice was a motivation. In fact, none of them struck me as cowards in this particular video.

And I'm not missing the point. I'm making a point. My point is that if we allow ourselves to get blustery about the race card getting dropped our indignation will obfuscate the real problem.

I don't care if Bryan Loritts think I am a racist. I do care that he understands the problem of the prosperity gospel and modalism though.

I read Voddie's article, and I thought it was fantastic. I also read Thabiti's article and thought the same. We knew this might come, and it is a real problem. But we ought to address first things first.

Maybe you get it, and you are shrugging and thinking, "That was a dumb thing to say." But other folks will hear this and go off chasing rabbits about race when we ought to be hunting heresy bears.

Frank,

I don't comment on those other sites. Everyone who is anyone is here, right? :)

DJP said...

The real problem is that a false teacher was given false credibility, and then the giver refused to take responsibility for his foolish actions (and inactions), then hid behind a blustery cloud of claimed "racism."

To extract from that "Yeah, we really should talk about racism, what they say about that is really great, that's the real problem here" is... mm... not on-target.

Jules LaPierre said...

Thinking out loud: If a false teacher was given false credibility, the giver of that false credibility must also be false.

Frank Turk said...

Jules --

Can't he just be unwise and perhaps unrepentant rather than "false"? "False" implies to me that we have to write off all his useful preaching because of his current (and, God willing, temporary) bout with pride and conceit. I think it's too soon -- even with this ridiculous video's appearance -- to say James is never going to turn around.

Brad Williams said...

Dan,

Ah, you missed my point. I was trying to say exactly what you just said. Perhaps I was unclear.

The REAL point is the Trinity and the eternal person of the Son of God. The thing that we can learn from this video is that talking race obfuscates the point at hand here. If we are going to talk about that, it deserves a conference all its own.

My hope was that people won't get so worked up over the race part and get so busy being offended over that. It will inevitably cause the conversation to drift. That was my only point.

Fish For Christ said...

There are black Christians!? Woops! I need to take my gospel glasses off. Oh, wait, now I see in color. Better put those glasses back on...

Bill Honsberger said...

Well now that the racist card has been played - there is still one more upping of the ante -
First one to "Nazi" wins!!!
Having been called a doctrine nazi before, I take some joy in being suspicious of the fact that this card will be played in this scenario soon. Gotta be the culture to reach the culture right? And this is where our culture always seems to go now.
That being the case you just gotta know that somewhere someone will do it.
When you have no argument - the ad hominums must come out to play.

donsands said...

"If WE are going to talk about that, it deserves a conference all its own."

We are talking about a black false preacher. James and crew talk about the white reformed and TD.

And so Phil talks about all this as well.

Brad I am not understanding your point at all.

I think you need to back up and start over.

Tom Chantry said...

I thought the rule was "First one to 'Nazi' loses...

...have I had it wrong all this time?

Brad Williams said...

Donsands,

Thanks for the advice. But I think I'm right about this. You're the one who is angry, remember? And that is exactly my point. The anger of man does not bring about the righteousness of God.

Phil was right to point this out. But we shouldn't point it out with the kind of incredulousness that distracts. There is no sense in getting mad about it. It does not help the cause of Christ one bit. Just make a note of it, and turn the conversation back to the Trinity.

Here's the facts: White people have been racist and are still racist. Conservative seminaries did not allow black students to enter their schools. That stuff leaves a mark, and tons of baggage. That makes the race card easy, and it makes our apoplexy disingenuous.

So instead of getting mad about the race card, just note that there are grievances and problems and steer the conversation back to the Trinity ASAP. Getting mad won't help. It will only hurt.

DJP said...

Oh good heavens.

So A says he's going to do something stupid.

Fifteen people say "Here's why that's a bad idea."

A says God told him to do it.

Fifteen people say that too is a bad idea, his bad idea is still a bad idea, here's why it's a bad idea, here's what will come of his bad idea, here are the things he would have to do to make his bad idea not a bad idea.

He does his bad idea.

Turns out, it's everything they said it was, a world of bad. Worse.

So he says they're racists. In the saying, he's implying a whole class of people can't be expected to love, discern, or stand for truth; and that anyone who calls them to do so is a racist. He also countenances the smearing of particular age ranges. He also countenances the implication that certain men who do care are Uncle Toms.

The result is harm to the cause of Christ, the Gospel, people, and churches full of people.

But, nothing to get mad about, right? What's most important is to be God's little dispassionate mannequin?

Doulos Christou said...

I don't know, Dan. I still like my rap video idea. It's not really a hip idea, so you can tell that I really am a middle-aged white Calvinist, too :)

Ken said...

There are a lot of similarities to the addendum that Frank added by Thabiti Anyabwile – to missions work and reaching other cultures.

(I appreciate his helping us think through this.)

There are similarities in attitudes and politics, and this whole dynamic of “us vs. them”, etc. in the Muslim world, and trying to get the gospel into any new culture - when it comes from the "white missionary" - those that accept the gospel and the truth; get labeled in a similar way and there is the whole "us vs. them" mentality.

It is very difficult . . .

“No one wins.”

The Arab – Israeli conflict also has a lot of the same underlying issues and problems.

Only Christ can break down the enmity, hatred and suspicion and fear and judgmental reading of motives.
Ephesians 2:11-22

Tom Chantry said...

At the risk of sounding po-mo, I think Dan and Brad are both right. *duck*

Here's what I mean - what was done was execrable, and you can count me in the camp of the furious. But I have the deepest admiration for anyone who can keep his calm better than I and say, "OK, but let's get back to the gospel."

The church just wouldn't be the church if it didn't have its Pauls as well as its Barnabuses. (or should that be Barnabi?)

Jules LaPierre said...

It's a good thing to be a little bit Paul and a little bit Barnabas.

Tax Collector said...

“I think it's too soon -- even with this ridiculous video's appearance -- to say James is never going to turn around. “

That’s a great point Frank. How much time should I give him? Personally, it’s not so much as a time issue as it is an issue of subject matter.

I mean, I can have great fellowship with brothers/sisters who are not pre-trib/pre-mil in their eschatology – even if they never repent. 

Subjects that are considered essential doctrines of our faith though? How long?

Your pastoral advice here would be greatly appreciated.

P.S. Thankfully, I never really read or studied much of Macdonald so it’s not such a blow to me personally, but it does impact the body of Christ in a negative way and yes, that upsets me.

Brad Williams said...

Dan,

"But, nothing to get mad about, right? What's most important is to be God's little dispassionate mannequin?"

Dispassionate mannequin? See, now that is as dumb as calling me a racist. I don't really care if you think that about me, though, any more than I care if you think I am a racist.

Here's an idea! Check my man card (which you kind of did). Throw a fit and call people cowards and stuff (which you did). Stomp around the office for awhile about it (you may not have tried that yet). Go get your two-hander and hack things up (sounds like fun). Get your War-Paint on straight to match your eyes (FREEDOM!). Do what you gotta do, man.

When you get done with your hissy fit, let's try and talk to three of those guys on the panel about the Trinity and Prosperity Gospel. The other guy can go and take a potty break. People have already talked to him. I am not ready to chunk the other guys under the bus yet.

I got plenty of passion, some of it misplaced. But I try not to bother with defending myself against scurrilous attacks when there are more important matters at hand.

CCinTn said...

To add another wrinkle to the fray, the TGC website has a link called How the Elephant Room is redefining the pastoral office by Tim Raymond under the "Right Now" list.
He makes some great observations such as: "By lifting up men with minimal theological commitments as examples to pastors, the Elephant Room is proclaiming, perhaps unwittingly, that a rigorous concern for sound doctrine is not essential to the pastoral office. And, Therefore, for any man to say, “I’m not very concerned about sound doctrine,” is simply another way of saying, “I’m not qualified to be a pastor,” let alone an example for pastors to emulate."

So, when the issue of doctrine has been the salient point of those who objected to Jakes' invite to ER, how does MacDonald in any way connect the dots and come up with "See, they are racists"?
According to MacDonald's blog site from a couple of days ago, the interview that he had with the 3 black pastors occurred immediately after ER concluded. This means that it was not a reaction to the tweets and blog posting after ER but in anticipation of what the response was going to be. In other words, this interview was planned prior to and can we say for the purpose of bringing race into the discussion as a way of marginalizing the objections of his detractors?

Brad Williams said...

Dan,

I have missed our talks. We should do this more often. :)

And yes, I threw in "hissy fit" just to anger you. I'm fairly certain that was sinful on my part. I'm trying to be sorry about, but I felt that I had to say something passionate so you wouldn't call me a manling or something.

Tom Chantry said...

OK, Brad, before this gets out of hand (as if it isn't quickly doing so) let me try to restate my earlier comment in a somewhat clearer way:

If you can manage not to be angry about this for the sake of Christ, that's great - and may great good come out of it. But there are two times it is right to be mad. One is when someone attacks Christ, and another is when someone attacks His church. All four men on that video did both. Those of us who are angry ought to be permitted to be angry - and it's not, in my opinion, a "hissy fit."

DJP said...

You know, Brad, a lot of that sounds like fun. Wish I had the time! The rest is misrepresentation.

I feel like you're writing in an alternative universe. In my world, I am one of many who weighed in on this WELL IN ADVANCE of the events. With them, I was roundly ignored.

And Brad — I did it really calmly and methodically! You'd be so proud! See: here and here.

And then what Mac and Mark did was absolutely completely ignore all that, do a whitewash - and then called us all old racist haters and failures or Uncle Toms, depending on our age, skin color, and church size.

And now you seem to just want to pretend there's no predicate and say "I'm so glad you brought up race! It's so relevant!" - even though it was only brought up to tar anyone not flamboozled about Jakes.

And I'm finding that wrongheaded. Thabiti and Voddie already engaged race-related issues. I and others already engaged Gospel/truth-related issues. This is not a good start. It's a bad dodge.

Over to you.

michelle said...

Brad, this is the issue as I see it.

The whole problem with this entire video is the fact that the main issues regarding Jakes - His dodging the questions regarding the Trinity and his Prosperity "Gospel" - was washed away by the introduction of "race" into the conversation. MacDonald was wrong to even allow the conversation to go there, or agree to have such a conversation.

It is an avoidance tactic to not talk about the important issues of the day. By playing the race card, a Black person can silence their opponent because that person will not fear that anything said after the fact will be deemed "racist". They have effectively shut down any meaningful conversation that can be had about the issues of orthodoxy. Instead of addressing the arguments that have already been laid out by people like Anyabwile or Baucham, he chose to bring three men into his studio to talk about race...really?? It is not Phil and company having the hissy fit...it's MacDonald. He refuses to address the real issue here. This is what is infuriating.

I don't like being called an "Uncle Tom" or sellout, or Oreo or White idolater (been called all them and more in my lifetime for various reasons, including my theological leanings), and no White person, young, old, fully coifed or bald, wants to be called a racist because they care about orthodoxy. But this has nothing to do with being personally offended - at least not for me. This has to do with being frustrated that the possibility of meaningful, fruitful conversation is questionable now that the race card was introduced. MacDonald's decision to have this conversation was irresponsible.

DJP said...

Michelle FTW

donsands said...
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DJP said...

Don: "and so the Gospel is not that big of a deal to you I guess."

Never thought I'd hear myself saying this to you, you're a far gentler and kinder brother than I; but I think that's at least a step too far, and I think you should retract.

I don't think that of Brad. I don't agree with him, I don't even really understand what's animating him in this particular — but that's not among my suspicions, and I think it's unfair and unhelpful to suggest.

Tom Chantry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cathy said...

Michelle-
Amen, sister.
And not only did James MacD throw a hissy fit, he threw a cowardly hissy fit, because he wouldn't even make the accusations of racism himself. He called in 3 men to do his dirty work for him.
And one of the accusations is that old white men use black men as their puppets. The hypocrisy is mind-boggling.
Like I said earlier, it's outrageous.

Tom Chantry said...

I don't even really understand what's animating him in this particular

Back to my initial question: must one be angry at this? I believe there is good reason to be angry, and our anger is righteous. I don't know whether anger is required by Scripture. And Brad is not angry.

I think I actually do understand. I agree that race should never have come up. It would be great if the discussion had continued on the subject of the Godhead and the gospel and not been senselessly derailed. Brad hopes to nudge it back on the right track, and to that end he's decided not to be angry. I admire that...

...so long as I'm not criticized either for being absolutely furious at the dishonor given to Christ and the violence done to His church by MacDonald et. al.

Robert said...

DJP,

You know the only way to raise the stakes from here is for MacDonald to say that God told him/lead him to know that the people critizing him and Jakes are racists...

Tom Chantry said...

@ Robert,

He could say that he saw their racism in his head like a movie...

...oh wait, wrong out-of-control celebrity preacher.

DJP said...

Oh, you're asking my opinion? Well, candidly, if one has the least glimmer of understanding of and concern for the spiritual health of "black churches," and then if one sees ANYONE calling Thabiti or Voddie "Uncle Toms" in this situation, and then doesn't get a little heated? Yeah, I wonder what's going on there.

DJP said...

Robert, good reminder of the fact that there still is a Perfect Storm that could be had here.

Robert said...

Tom,

Maybe Driscoll and MacDonald can do one of those round table discussions and make their assessment together

candy said...

Bill Honsberger. You are too late. MacDonald already used the Nazi card. Tweet from August: "Why are so many reformed folks like Nazis - filled w insecurity and harshness over every percieved threat of less than total conformity?"

DJP said...

Candy, shoulda been in baseball: excellent catch.

Robert said...

I agree, Dan. Unless you are totally isolated from the black culture in the US, you can't help but to get upset any time this nonsense is thrown out there to divert people from the truth. And it should be even more angering when this happens in the realm of evangelicalism. MacDonald needs to remember that the Bible tells us that God opposes the proud. And then there is this:

"'But to this one I will look. To him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word.'" (Isaiah 66:2b)

I don't see an ounce of humility in the efforts of a person to attack his critics instead of actually address their criticism. I'd also say that most of us have probably had throughts like that run through our heads, but that the Holy Spirit convicts us of the sin of such thoughts if we are saved (and our consciences aren't seared) if we take the time to think about it. Whether or not we submit to the conviction of the Holy Spirit is another question. And whether we take time to think about it is another concern as well. Who knows why he did it, but it was wrong. Let us pray that he repents of his sin and apologizes for these types of attacks.

Robert said...

Wow, Candy. I don't even want to think about that too much because it makes my mind wander into areas that I don't need to think about.

Doulos Christou said...

So I just watched Part 2 - of the interview, and I'm scratching my head at the continued insistence that loving doctrine is somehow antithetical to loving people.

Doulos Christou said...

And TGC FINALLY weighs in on this whole mess (with the Don preparing to do so as well)! http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2012/02/01/seven-thoughts-on-the-elephant-room-and-t-d-jakes/

Darlene said...

I don't have a dog in this fight, but I'm not unacquainted with ecclesial conflict. It's during those times that I'd prefer to follow in the footsteps of the Desert Fathers and Mothers, however my current state of affairs beckons me. So I must postpone the journey to the desert for another time.

Speaking of ecclesial camps, I doubt I'd ever be accepted in Reformed circles. I can't quite embrace the ethos. But it's reasonably good to observe y'all from a comfortable distance.

Jehovah Mekoddishkem said...
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Jim Pemberton said...

Well, I'm a white middle-aged Reformed guy, but don't really fit well into any culture. That means that I must be worse than a racist and my 2 cents isn't worth 2 cents to anybody.

But I do have a coupe of plastic pennies:

1. "...microscopic interpretations based on a telescopic view..." 5:50 Pot meet kettle much? Actually, I think they're projecting.

2. Starting from 6:26 "...how [African Americans] make decisions based on relationships, it's a very, very relational culture..." then back at 5:38 "We want to be in their circles." Wouldn't this apply to Jakes too?

DJP said...

Doulos Christou: and...?

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Pastor Driscoll offers post-ER2 thoughts in a post titled: 10 Reflections on the Elephant Room.

Pastor Driscoll seems to be more teachable and more open to Godly correction than Pastor MacDonald.

This excerpt among several in his post reflects that:

"Some years ago when I was leading our megachurch with no formal theological training and having never been a formal member of any church let alone a pastor in any church, I was in a scrum with the emergent church and was completely full of myself. Dr. Gerry Breshears, former president of the Evangelical Theological Society, put an arm around me, built a degree program for me, loved me, served me, and helped me grow theologically.

He remains to this day a dear friend loved by my family and me. I also appreciate that when many were taking shots, Dr. John Piper came and stood next to me put an arm around me and said he had hope for me and loved me.

People like this are a gift."

Upon reading this, several thoughts occurred:

o Piper associated with Driscoll.

o Piper associated with Rick Warren.

o Could it possibly be that Driscoll is trying to do with TD Jakes what Brashear and Piper did with him?

Sam said...

Loritts removed his white idolization post. I hope it's a sign of a change of attitude.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Sorry, typo in comment above. Should be:

o Could it possibly be that Driscoll is trying to do with TD Jakes what Breshears and Piper did with him?

Jehovah Mekoddishkem said...

Thanks Phil, I always look forwards to you sorting out the dirty laundry.You do such a great job

"As Dr. Baucham said, there is the race of the unredeemed and that of the redeemed and that is all."


Pro 6:19 "a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers. <this is one of the six things that the LORD hates

Doulos Christou said...

DJP: IMO, DeYoung and Taylor are at least starting to respond, and the direction seems hopeful. I'm praying that TGC, as an organization, takes a very strong and public stand against this entire sad episode, and that - having access (at least historically) with James MacDonald, they'll have some role in his much needed repentance. Having attended HBC for a couple of years in Rolling Meadows, I am at least praying for this. Oh, and that someone over at TGC will eventually get around to addressing the Driscoll elephant in the room. And the Furtick one. And the Noble one. And...

And I guess nobody liked my weak attempt at rap humor :)

michelle said...

I found this interesting article: http://www.credomag.com/2012/02/01/how-the-elephant-room-is-redefining-the-pastoral-office/

Troy Sing said...

I had to view the video twice to be sure that I hadn't missed anything. From my observation of the video, I think your reaction may be a bit exxaggerated (as is the title to your blog post).

You said: "The take-away message is this: If you're an old white guy with any hint of Reformed theology ... and you don't think T. D. Jakes's equivocations at Elephant Room 2 were sufficient ... then you must be a racist."

What I took away was that MacDonald was presenting the perspective of 3 black reformed pastors who thought ER2 was of value, with regard to doctrine, clarification and some perspective on black/white reformed/non-reformed culture. And that long-distance cyber criticisms are less profitable than face-to-face/relational dialogues.

Then you said: "If on the other hand you are a young black man with Reformed convictions—or any black person who just has a keen interest in doctrinal and biblical accuracy—you are a sellout and a reproach to your own community."

What? That's what you heard? He was sitting across from 3 young black men with Reformed convictions and doctrinal interests.

And: "The only possible explanation is that you are guilty of "White Idolatry." You secretly wish to earn favor with Whitey."

Again... that's quite a leap. Idols and celbrity-like worship of big names in Christianity are always idolized by many Christians. It's a very real issue that needs to be discussed. And it takes place within black/white/young/male/female/etc. cultures.

I think Pastor L. initiated the topic and tried to speculate the motivation behind some of the African American bloggers criticisms were because they were trying to fit into the more popular circles. And these current, reformed stars appeared to be all "white."

Is there a general perception that African American pastors have a less refined theology than their white counterparts?

If that's not the case then Pastor L.'s comments were misguided. If there does seem to exist such an understanding, even if only historically, then his positing for the critical motivations were merited, at least in his eyes.

Personally, I think that V.B and T.A.'s blog responses were cetainly not motivated by a desire to fit in, but for a love for the truth. However, I don't know what bloggers he was referring to.

Anyway... just wanted to say... I think your blog post was a bit of a straw man.

Normally I agree with you. But perhaps you could tone down some of the "race card" rhetoric and stick to the doctrinal stuff. I know you're mad at these guys, but don't let that skew your objectivity.

Darlene said...

Let's please avoid, with low tolerance for exception, the idea that we can read the hearts of the men doing this.

Mr. Turk, that is excellent advice. Motives are ascribed without much thought on the Internet these days. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

Frank Recinos said...

As a young Hispanic Pentecostal that becoming Reformed I'm kind of ticked. I didn't become reformed to curry favor with anyone. I saw the unhealth of the prosperity gospel and it's influence in the Hispanic community (and Black community) It saddens me that these men (who's communities are FILLED with prosperity hucksters) would not want to know why that wasn't an issue brought up during ER2. It's even sadder that one of them said about the Jakes interview "It was a homerun". Troubling indeed.

donsands said...

Dan, You are as usually you are spot on. Thanks for exorting me. I needed that.

Here's my comment restated:

"It does not help the cause of Christ one bit."-Brad

Anger surely can help. You need to get angry Brad, or it show you don't really care that TD Jakes, and these others think the truth isn't that important.

"Be angry, and sin not" my friend.

And what would you have said to our Lord when he whipped people out of the temple with a whip He made?
Just wondering what you think about His anger.

May our Savior to continue to help us and guide us as we comment back and forth.

Frank Turk said...

Troy Sing:

When HBC provides the transcript of this conversation, I will ask you to reiterate your concerns, and I will address them. I think the transcript will make it utterly clear what happened here.

Brad Williams said...

I am going to get Tom Chantry's phone number and call him before I post from now on.

Also, I'm fine about people being mad that TD Jakes got his back-slapped like a long lost fraternity brother when he weaseled around on the persons of the Trinity in front of their face. And not one of them, not one thought to ask, "Hey TD, can I call you TD? Great. Say, do you believe that there was a Son of God before the Incarnation? In other words, do you believe that the Son of God is eternal and co-equal with the Father?"

But if you ask that, and someone says, "You know, I bet you are asking that out of the pressure to conform to old white guy reformed theology." You shouldn't get mad at that person. You should laugh.

michelle said...

Brad - I wish it were as simple as you propose, but unfortunately it's not...

Sheldon Clowdus said...

Anyone else find it terribly ironic that in order to justify "loving one another" as a better Christian virtue than "arguing over doctrine" MacDonald must quote scripture supporting the biblical DOCTRINE of "loving one another"?

So in essence he is saying "The biblical doctrine of "love one another" makes biblical doctrine unimportant.

Bill Honsberger said...

Candy - I stand corrected - Thanks for that update on that. Some point of order issues though - I still think proper form is to call someone a racist before one gets to Nazi. Obvious JM is not as culturally aware as he thinks.
Marquis of Queensberry rules and all.
I love when people on the left or rushing left as fast as they can, are always talking about acceptance and tolerance as they blast those they leave behind. Curious nes pah? I mean that retort from JM is almost Maclarenesque in its generous orthodox sense isn't it?
"They will not endure sound doctrine" Nothing new here but more people to pray for.

stratagem said...

You're right Frank, I should not have said these guys were politicians at heart. I should have instead said something like, "they are acting like politicians." A world of difference. The Holy Spirit uses brothers like you to correct each other. Thanks for calling me on that.

Frank Turk said...

OK, I'm provoked -- and to be clear it's not Sheldon's comments which provokes me but the number of times I have seen his statement in various forms over the last week.

1. There are certainly people who would say that loving people is more important than doctrine -- in an extreme kind of way. They would say that we can embrace Catholics and Mormons and all manner of post-Christian philosophies as Christian. I'm not sure that MacDonald & Co. have said that, and I'm not sure they would. let's be careful not to assign that to them when they wouldn't own it.

2. What I think they -have- said is that we should ask for the least, listen with a lot of generosity, and hope for the best. There is no way to read this from Scripture, but this is where they are right now. I think we can have sympathy for that view even though we disagree with it because what it really says is that a person's sin doesn't separate them from Christ: nothing separates them from Christ. Therefore we shouldn't separate them from Christ if they say they believe in the one and only savior of men. But at the end of the day, this is just not enough: it is actually less than mere Christianity.

3. In disagreeing with #2, we shouldn't become people who are continually drawing smaller and smaller circles of exclusion until we can only stand in our circle with one foot. It's easy to become those kind of people, and I know none of you want to be them.

Frank Turk said...

Strat:

I'm always available to beat on you.

stratagem said...

LOL - well, better the wounds of a friend, then!
I never saw a sin that could hurt me after I repented of it. It's only the ones I refused to repent of, that do the ongoing harm.

Sheldon Clowdus said...

Frank,

I read your comment and went back and rewatched the latest video....and you are correct. It would appear that I have over-reacted and as a result attributed something to James MacDonald that he is not guilty of. I apologize for that.

The Squirrel said...

And just where are bushy-tailed middle-aged Reformed Dispy arboreal rodents supposed to fit into this whole mess?

Squirrel

Robert said...

I loved reading this in DeYoung's post about this whole mess:

6. There is a painful racial dimension to the Jakes controversy that is difficult to untangle. I’m not going to wade into all the discussion of motivation and what perspective more closely represents the African American church. But I will say this, and with deep regret: I was taken aback when one African American brother graciously pointed out to me, and a number of other whites, that he was sad to see so many of us quick to criticize Rob Bell (and rightly so he said) but silent on the devastating ministry of T.D. Jakes. It felt like a lack of concern for the many African American brothers who—out of love for the gospel and for the Lord Jesus—are laboring faithfully to lay a better theological foundation in the black church than men like T.D. Jakes have given. My friend was right. I wrote about Rob Bell because literally almost every person I knew was asking about it (which wouldn’t be true in an African American context). I didn’t think to talk about Jakes because I don’t know people in my circles who pay him any attention. Looking back, I regret that I did not do more to speak more directly about the Elephant Room and the serious mistake in inviting T.D Jakes to share the platform in this way. Granted, the situation was more complicated because James was hosting it and I consider him a friend and a brother on the same team. The situation seemed to call for private conversations more than public statements. There were many of the former, which was right and proper. But I see now more of the latter were also necessary.

I love that he is able to admit that he should have acted in a different manner in response to the criticism he received. This is what we should hope MacDonald's response would be...although it hasn't been to date.

Rich Barcellos said...

A big problem in this whole mess is the lack of local church confessionalism (I mean a doctrinal statement with teeth and clear and ample connection with the Christian theological tradition) along with a lack of ecclesiastical accountability (I mean the type that has processes spelled-out for difficulties/differences to be addressed). Though these things being in place do not solve all problems, they do provide theological and ecclesiastical boundaries within which to work and confront. OK, I will come out of the closet. If I were not a confessional Reformed Baptist, I'd probably be OPC (that is, if Carl Trueman would not bark against it too loudly).

donsands said...

"Marquis of Queensberry rules and all."

Ah, Marquis of Queensberry.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Bm0RIs-VJU

(This is no reference, nor resemblance to our blogging BTW)

CR said...

Robert's comment at 1:45 pm about Kevin DeYoung's post really hit's the nail on the head of what went wrong. Thank's for posting this Robert and I'm glad that Kevin DeYoung took responsibility for what many (but not all) in the TGC council failed to do.

DJP said...

Oh? Kevin's a good man. Did he mention and link to the warnings that were issued (and ignored) 2, 3 months in advance? I'll have to go read that.

Aaron Snell said...

Tom Chantry:

Way back up the pile, you said:

I've been saying that for months. The purpose statement of the Elephant Room pits fidelity against fruitfulness as though it were possible to pursue one without the other. The reason? To MacDonald, "fruitful" means nothing more and nothing less than drawing large numbers. Keep that in mind whenever you hear him speak and you'll understand everything that lies behind this mess.

Your judgment here continues to be vindicated, it seems to me. A commenter on Justin Taylor's post noted the following from Mark Driscoll's recent reflections on the ER2:

“While I can and do learn a lot theologically from my tribe, the truth is there are not many evangelistically fruitful churches in my tribe and there are not any churches larger than ours I can learn from. So, I have to go outside of my theological tribe to learn certain things” (emphasis mine)

I think there's a lot MD could learn from my young, small church pastor that would prove to be gold and precious stones in the day of testing, rather than the hay and straw of some big church pastors.

Here's an idea for a conference: what can the church learn from the wisdom of small church no-name nobodies? Featuring a bunch of guys you've never heard of, but should.

DJP said...

Oh dear. He thought JT did a good roundup. Not a promising start.

Sean@Southway said...

Did anyone else love the "I've been humbled, so I'm not going to say I was successful. Instead, I've brought in three other pastors to tell you I was successful." bit?

jmb said...

If Obama loses the election, we can expect to hear Elephant Room Rhetoric Redux.

C. T. Bennett said...

There would have been more clarity from the ER2 discussion if Driscoll and Furtick had been replaced by Tebow:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/01/tim-tebow-cancels-prosperity-pastor-rod-parsley-talk_n_1247893.html?ref=religion&ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009

But then Tebow has more experience reading phony defensive set-ups that are designed to fool you rather than stop you.

Ian Hall said...

Thanks for the post. Your work in exposing the latest sorry mess to hit evangelicalism is appreciated.

I've posted some thoughts from one of those dead guys that John Macarthur is always encouraging everybody to read. I hope you will forgive the shameless plugging of my own site. But I think John Gill's comments on 2 John 9-11 are worth considering.
http://christforaustralia.wordpress.com/2012/02/02/john-gill-on-fellowship-with-false-teachers/

Tom Chantry said...

I'm a huge fan of having an "addendum 1" when there's never another addendum. Had me running back all day for the mythical addendum 2.

Hey, it's Wednesday; somebody had to accuse Frank of causing the downfall of Western Civilization.

James S said...

Another excellent post from Phil.

I also found another well-written take on the ER2 at 'Ordinary Pastor', The blog of Erik Raymond, that is well worth checking out. (actually linked to from The Gospel Coalition blog)

http://www.ordinarypastor.com/?p=9747

It is a guest post by Byron Yawn who makes some great points - it is entitled "An Open Letter to Matt Chandler (Some Thought on ER2)"

~Mark said...

The whole "Hey look; I got some ______ people to talk with me to offset what I did with/about/to the other _____ people" dodge frustrates me to volcanic levels.

Want to lose respect? Play this game.

~Mark said...
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~Mark said...
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C. M. Sheffield said...

The irony is that these three black pastors are accusing men like Anyabwile and Baucham of being used as props by old white guys while they are ostensibly doing the same thing!

"Reformed blacks are just props for old white racists!" said the three young black pastors to the delight of the old white guy across the table.

CR said...

DJP - No I'm not saying DeYoung pointed out any links of the warnings. He admits that he and a number of whites have been silent on the ministry of Jakes. I'm just giving DeYoung credit for what he said on his post for he and others being silent on Jakes. By DeYoung's admission, after being confronted by a black Christian on his and other white Christians, DeYoung admitted that because many people in his circles don't pay attention to Jakes he didn't think to talk about him.

CR said...

"after being confronted by a black Christian on his and other white Christians silence..."

norqvader said...

Chad Vegas removed his post...missed it!

Matt Gumm said...

The only thing that was lacking in this meta (besides a reference to Pyro I) was a link to Carl Trueman's comments.

stratagem said...

Well, the "Nazi" card may have been played already, but we really have one more level to go to... no one's been called a "Hitler" yet!

Jehovah Mekoddishkem said...

CR said-"The irony is that these three black pastors are accusing men like Anyabwile and Baucham of being used as props by old white guys while they are ostensibly doing the same thing!"

James is using the 3 black men at the table

D. C. said...

Ok I have to ask JMB, what do you mean by this comment:

If Obama loses the election, we can expect to hear Elephant Room Rhetoric Redux.

Tom Chantry said...

James is using the 3 black men at the table

Whether or not that is his intent (and honestly, can we know) he is ignoring the advice given in advance of ER2 by Pastor Anyabwile:

If you’re from outside the African-American community, think very long, hard, and carefully about ever calling some African Americans to take your position in defense against other African Americans.

Don't miss the link in Frank's Addendum 1 (still waiting for the second, Frank...). That article lays out (in advance) the necessary context to this video.

rom623rom828 said...

Way way up in this thread at 8:09 AM Feb 1, DLP made the excellent statement:

The real problem is that a false teacher was given false credibility, and then the giver refused to take responsibility for his foolish actions (and inactions), then hid behind a blustery cloud of claimed "racism."

Well said DLP.

"blustery cloud" -- so true, so disappointing, SO AGAIN!

There was a lot of concern among his sheep (such as me) when MacDonald and his elders allowed the "I see things" bedding expert Driscoll to fill the pulpit at HBC during the weekend of April 2/3, 2011.

On April 17 during a "heart to heart" (church matter talk) portion of the weekend service, MacDonald thrashed the sheep "critics" in his congregation, using Titus 1:12 to claim they were "lazy gluttons" -- people who come to church only to be spiritually fed, fed fed but dont serve at the church so these sheep use their idle time to wrongly criticize the leadership.

Adding "blustery clouds of claimed racism' to "blustery clouds of claimed lazy gluttons" leads to quite a storm.

Not for sure when the blustery clouds started to occur at HBC but the sky seemed somewhat blue when Joe Sowell and sons were still on HBC staff about 3 years ago.

The downward transformation at HBC from the solid, reputable pulpit filling by Sowell 3 years ago to Driscoll in April 2011, to Furtick in August 2011 has been a stunning to say the least from my perspective in the bleachers. Will it be Jakes in 2012? Wait and See. Ha.

Anyway, the Race card was preceded by the Nazi card which was preceded by the Lazy Glutton card.

You are loved!

The Damer said...

MacDonald has become a guy screaming "stop the attacks" while holding a six gun in each hand and blasting away at anyone that isn't 100% with him.

I'm washing my hands and moving on.

Frank Turk said...

D.C. -

It means that if Obama loses the election, obviously America is racist.

D. C. said...

Frank,

Thanks. I hope that if President Obama loses the nation will not be branded as racist and if he wins the nation will not be branded as the next USSR. ;-)

Caleb Land said...

That is literally one of the most frustrating things I've ever seen. Thank you for your post, I couldn't agree more. To say that people like Thabiti Anyabwile and Voddie Baucham or just sucking up to whitey and their concerns are invalid because they aren't really black or something is just beyond words.....so, so frustrating.

jmb said...

D.C. - Admittedly it was a cryptic statement, esp. since I was referring to the meeting after the ER.

I meant that, if Obama loses, there will be a lot of voices saying that white people voted against him because of his race, not his policies.

jmb said...

Oops. Didn't see that Frank answered
the question. Thanks.

Publican_Chest said...
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Jehovah Mekoddishkem said...

Tom Chantry-"Whether or not that is his intent (and honestly, can we know) he is ignoring the advice given in advance of ER2 by Pastor Anyabwile:"

Thanks Tom for your gentle correction

D. C. said...

Mr. Turk,

For fear of moving in the realm of tone police I am curious if you or anyone else on the team has expanded upon this thought you expressed @5:54am :

Let's please avoid, with low tolerance for exception, the idea that we can read the hearts of the men doing this. It doesn't make what they have done any worse to say that they have this vile motive or that vile motive, or this vile profession or that vile profession. In my view, if they are doing this in pristine innocence, it is plenty vile, plenty inexcusable, and they should repent of what they have actually done.

Unless you have received a vision from the Holy Spirit (like a video or something) which exposes the vile motive you are proposing, and have a signed confession from the motive-bearer, keep the discussion to what is done rather than what is perceived or implied regarding motives.

You can do it. You're that clever. Whoever "you" are.


I think this is something we all need to be mindful of in this era of rapid and instant feedback about any given subject. Words on the screen jump out at us all in different ways and we find ourselves engaging with others as with we know them in ways that are not possible many times. It is difficult to avoid sometimes but I have to constantly remind myself to focus on the issue, the topic, the disagreement vice someone's heart.

Frank Turk said...

I see it as a self-evident truth.

D. C. said...

Yes but Mr. Turk you have those wonderful glasses!! ;-) Thanks to Team Pyro for all that you do for folk like me!

mwhenry said...

Playing along with the race card game, and the secular identity politics routine so soon come to the evangelical arena, I would like to identify myself.
I resent being called white, because I am "euro-american". I will have everyone know that my mixed heritage, in some generations having unknown ethnicity, should be well respected.
I am not middle aged, I am chronologically advanced. If you are not, you cannot disagree with me because, well, you can't see my perspective.
And God willing, it will be some time before I am "living impaired" and on the other side of the grass.

Ruth said...

Okay, Pyro team...bottomline, what would be your advice to someone who is a member in a Harvest church? What if that someone was a pastor of a Harvest church?

If I read between the lines (in this post and others about the issue), you seem to be saying that Harvest is not a good place for believers to be. Could you clarify? Thanks.

Jim Pemberton said...

@mwhenry: I beg to differ...

*waits for lightning to strike*

Seriously, though, James White and Voddie Baucham just had a great discussion on this sort of thing between "white" and "black" Christians in the US:

AOmin page
direct podcast download

It's worth a listen.

JKyle said...

I formerly appreciated Mac's preaching and actually think I got something beneficial out of it. Sadly, it was near the end of his run as a stable preacher and then the elephant showed up and smashed everything. One thing that should be interesting, in my opinion, is the fact that Mac has 70 or so pastors out there at his HBC Fellowship churches and not a one of them seemed to be competent enough to be ER participants. Another thing that strikes me as odd is that Luke and Landon showed up in the train about the time it seemed to have ventured off of the rails. Can anyone say cool dad?

JKyle said...

The current message series at HBC is Big God, Small Me. Is that One God in Three Persons or just one manifestation of God? I speak faith over this in the name of Jesus manifestation and declare to you that it is One God in Three Persons!

Rick Koenig said...

I don't want to get off-track here, but when I read Thabiti Anyabwile's comments (addendum-post by Frank T) came across quite differently to my eyes.

"So, when a conflict between two African American religious leaders takes place publicly, care must be taken not to walk into this troubled narrative..."

"If you’re from outside the African-American community, think very long, hard, and carefully about ever calling some African Americans to take your position in defense against other African Americans."

Sounds to me like: if the religious conflict is between two African American religious leaders, we non-African Americans are to stay out of it. Really? Even it if relates to scriptural truth? We are to have or voice no opinion?

"It’s disastrous for everyone, and, frankly, you won’t begin to pay the deeper costs over the longer period that your African American friend will."

Why? Because he'll be tainted due to his association with non-African Americans? What "deeper costs" does that African American face? Is it that an opponent within the African American community will inevitably play the "Uncle Tom" card if that person can be even loosely associated with what a white person says or thinks? I've seen this too often not to wonder.

Please correct my error.