Justin hits the nail on the head:
The most controversial part of the Elephant Room inviting T.D. Jakes to participate is not whether or not it’s permissible or advisable to have a conversation with someone who cannot affirm Trinitarian orthodoxy and who preaches a prosperity gospel.
Rather, the bigger problem (as I see it) is that James MacDonald defended the decision under the idea that the Elephant Room is all about “Getting brothers together who believe in salvation by grace alone through faith alone but normally don’t interact.” Further, their site explains that the motivation behind the Elephant Room is “a dual desire to challenge and unite this generation’s pastors.”
I could not agree more. If a pastor wants to host a forum that includes an unbeliever, there is no problem with that. And in fact, under the right circumstances, it can be quite profitable to those who see the interaction. I have in mind, for example, Doug Wilson’s many meetings with Christopher Hitchens that later appeared in the movie “Collision.” In that case, no one was ever confused about Christopher Hitchens’ standing vis a vis the truth of the gospel. The same cannot be said for the invitation to T.D. Jakes. For some people, the invitation implies that all the participants have some sort of standing as Christians and faithful pastors. Therein is the difficulty.
Carle Trueman of Reformation 21 Quotes James McDonald on T.D. Jakes
2: I do not agree that T.D. Jakes is a Modalist.
I affirm the doctrine of the Trinity as I find it in Scripture. I believe it is clearly presented but not detailed or nuanced. I believe God is very happy with His Word as given to us and does not wish to update or clarify anything that He has purposefully left opaque. Somethings are stark and immensely clear, such as the deity of Jesus Christ; others are taught but shrouded in mystery, such as the Trinity. I do not trace my beliefs to credal statements that seek clarity on things the Bible clouds with mystery. I do not require T.D. Jakes or anyone else to define the details of Trinitarianism the way that I might. His [Jakes’] website states clearly that he believes God has existed eternally in three manifestations.
Here is James McDonald’s Revised Statement. Probably done after he removed the shoe leather from his mouth.
“2: I do not agree that T.D. Jakes is a Modalist. (Based on input I have gotten I have re-written this section for clarity)
I affirm the doctrine of the Trinity as I find it in Scripture. I believe this doctrine is revealed in the Bible and accurately expressed in historic confessionalism. T.D. Jakes website states that he believes God has existed eternally in three manifestations which is modalist language. I am looking forward to hearing him explain his position currently and how that may have changed from things he has said historically. I am also excited to hear him state his views on money, which may be closer to Scripture than the monasticism currently touring reformed world. I believe T.D. Jakes shows immense humility by being willing to step outside his own circles to interact with christian leaders and discuss his theology. Getting people together within the broadest spectrum of Christianity who don’t normally interact, is what the Elephant Room is all about. Talking about issues that separate with grace and truth is what the Elephant Room is all about. We are greatly honored that T.D. Jakes has agreed to participate.”
Seems James McDonald is confused about the trinity and what he believes? He does not trace his beliefs to creedal statements, II believe this doctrine is revealed in the Bible and accurately expressed in historic confessionalism
Whats with the back and forth? So what does James McDonald believe? Sounds strange coming from someone who is part of the Gospel Coalition. What’s up with the Gospel Coalition? Is T.D. Jakes going to join soon?