Friday, January 27, 2012

The Elephant Room did not do pastors any favors...

As I stated in an earlier post, the endorsement of T.D. Jakes (and it was an endorsement!) from the folks at the Elephant Room will only lead to more confusion among evangelicals who already struggle with discernment. Because of this, pastors who care about historic Christianity will have more work to do to guard their congregations from the likes of Jakes.

Carl Trueman affirms this reality:

Thanks to the great and the good (both the vocal and, more worryingly, the strangely silent), I am sure many pastors of churches will now have to waste a lot of valuable time reading the works of T D Jakes in order to help their congregations understand why there is concern not simply about his doctrine of God but also his understanding of how the Lord blesses his people. You can probably skip the diet book; his nutritional advice is not, as far as I know, a matter of heated debate

Justin Taylor has brought my attention to a very helpful survey of his writings at 9 Marks. This may well help to save some time which could then be spent on other things, like pastoral care and preparing sermons.

One thing in all this is very puzzling: few evangelical leaders have hesitated to warn in the past against Joel Osteen. Jakes' theology of prosperity seems little different yet there is comparative silence in those same quarters on this man. Is Osteen simply a soft-target? Or is it just that he does not hang in the right crowd these days? There is no doubt who is going to be being read in more evangelical congregations in the coming weeks and months.
I have, on a number of occasions, warned my congregation about the dangers of prosperity teaching. In response, several have voiced to me their dismay. From their perspective, "We don't struggle with that." What these good brothers and sisters have not understood however is that there are renewed efforts to "mainstream" these false teachers. The most recent Elephant Room proves the point. Whose more "mainstream" than James MacDonald? Even Southern Baptists like Ed Young Jr. and Stephen Furtick have enthusiastically endorsed and partnered with T.D. Jakes.

What is more, these errors regarding the nature of God, the nature of faith and how God blesses his people snake their way into the church in ways more subtle than the vaudevillian antics of Creflo Dollar and Kenneth Copeland.

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