Wednesday, February 1, 2012

"A Win for Team Jakes"

Prior to Elephant Room 2 there were a number of black pastors who expressed deep concern about two pastors as influential as Mark Driscoll and James MacDonald lending broad credibility to T.D. Jakes, an unrepentant Modalist (Jakes says now that he is not a Modalist although he is still vague and has never actually repudiated Modalist heresy and clearly affirmed biblical Trinitarianism) and propagator of prosperity heresy. These black pastors were rightly dismayed and even vexed that some of their white brothers were going to offer public approval to a man whose theology has done great damage to the black church.

One of those thoughtful pastors, Anthony Carter, who cares deeply about biblical Christianity
wrote about his concerns prior to Elephant Room 2. As it turns out his concerns were entirely valid.

Jakes is no dummy. He will be careful not to say anything that would indict him as a false teacher. He is a smart man. You don’t get to his position being stupid. Therefore, I fear that by the end of the discussion, when all the rounds have been fired, and the dust has settled, the elephant in the room will be Mr. Jakes himself. He will be standing tall shaking everyone’s hand and thanking them for giving him another platform on which to promote himself. No matter what is said, unless Jakes denounces his previous teachings or is exposed as a false teacher, it’s a win for team Jakes and a loss for those of us left to clean up after the elephant has done his business.
Another black pastor, Thabiti Anyabwile gave voice to the same concern:

If Jakes could be won over and would publicly teach orthodox Trinitarian views, that could be huge. If the discussion turns warm and fuzzy, “aren’t we all brothers in the end,” the damage could be irreparable—to everyone. (emphasis mine)
Please read Thabiti's entire post HERE.

To make matters worse, charges of racism are now coming against those who voiced their dismay that MacDonald and Driscoll would embrace T.D. Jakes.

But what would explain James MacDonald's decision to cancel Voddie Baucham's appearance at a Harvest Bible Chapel men's conference?

I was naive to think that there would be no fallout if I decided to go forward with the Men’s Conference. The Men’s Conference was scheduled to take place two days after ER2. Once my worst fears were realized at ER2 (i.e., Jakes equivocated on modalism, was not even challenged on WOF gospel, etc. see here for a detailed analysis), there was no way for me to 1) keep silent on this growing controversy, and 2) attend the Men’s Conference, without giving tacit approval to ER2. The decision to go public was inevitable. The only question was how.

I have a regular practice of posting notices of upcoming events in my monthly newsletter, and on my Facebook fan page. These have been invaluable tools that keep people apprised of when I’m coming to their area (or the area of friends and family whom they’d like to invite to one of our events), how they can pray for me, and what kind of doors the Lord is opening for the ministry.

As per my practice, I posted a link to the Men’s Conference and asked, “Any fan page members planning to attend...” As you can imagine, there were more than a few questions about my position on ER2, my relationship with James MacDonald and Harvest Bible Chapel, and a whole host of other things. I answered those questions as honestly as I could. I made it clear that I opposed the decision to invite Bishop Jakes; pointed out what I saw as his masterful ‘dodge’ on the trinitarian question (and subsequent affirmation of modalist language), and gave a brief explanation of my reasoning for keeping this prior commitment (see here for a recap).

This did not go over well with James MacDonald. Upon my arrival at the church the next day, he and I sat down (along with my assistant and several members of his staff) and had a candid conversation about my decision to answer questions in a public forum. Ultimately, we agreed that it was not a good idea for me to speak at the conference. We prayed, shook hands, embraced, and ended the meeting as brothers. James also insisted on paying the agreed honorarium (Added 1/31/12). MacDonald had already made arrangements for a replacement speaker. My assistant and I were escorted to a waiting car and taken back to the airport.
Read the whole thing HERE.

So Voddie Baucham was disinvited after stating that it was not wise to give a platform to a false teacher. T.D. Jakes was given the hand of fellowship. Voddie Baucham was escorted out.

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