The Elephant Room: The T.D. Jakes Controversy

The Elephant Room

For those who aren’t familiar with The Elephant Room:

The Elephant Room features blunt conversations between seven influential pastors who take differing approaches to ministry. No keynotes. No canned messages. These are “the conversations you never thought you’d hear.” All conversations are moderated by James MacDonald of Harvest Bible Chapel and Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church

The purpose of the Elephant Room is to model loving confrontation and gracious disagreement that honors relationship and allows diversity of opinion but stands without compromise on the revealed word of God. As Proverbs 27.17 instructs us that iron sharpens iron, so we want to sharpen each other for effective ministry. You’ll be stretched and challenged in your convictions while gaining practical insights from a variety of pastoral perspectives.

James MacDonald has invited T.D. Jakes to be part of the upcoming session of The Elephant Room to discuss his views on the nature of God in relation to the Doctrine of the Trinity. Jakes is a modalist, he believes that there is only one Person of the Godhead, and that this Person appears in different “modes” throughout Scripture: God the Father in creation, Jesus in redemption, and the Holy Spirit in regeneration. By believing this, Jakes denies the orthodox teaching of the Trinity: God being three Persons, but one essence.

MacDonald inviting Jakes to be part of The Elephant Room is something that has troubled me deeply since I first heard about it. As I’m sure it has troubled many. After reading Justin Taylor’s blog on it today, and Thabiti Anyabwile‘s as well, I’m left a little more concerned than I was before. My concern is not that Jakes was invited to the Elephant Room, but how the hosts will address the issue of Modalism.

I don’t know McDonald or Driscoll (or the other mediators/participants), other than what I read and listen to on the web, so the purpose behind this really confuses me. Especially because I haven’t had the benefit of joining in on the previous Elephant Room sessions.

I would hope that they would use this opportunity to clarify Jakes’ position for their own understanding (and for all of the viewers), confront Jakes if they find him to be endorsing heresy and call him to repent, and dismiss him from the conversation if he does not do so.

My concern is their response to what I believe will be Jakes’ affirmation of modalism. If we were so quick to confront and dismiss Rob Bell for leaving orthodoxy for embracing universalism, can we do no less with Jakes for embracing modalism?

Obviously, my prayers are with Driscoll and McDonald, and I pray God gives them the courage to stand for the truth in person as emphatically as they do in online content, writing, and preaching to a congregation. Additionally, my prayers are for Jakes, that he would repent and turn back to the Biblical truth concerning the doctrine of the Trinity.

And I would ask that you join with me in this prayer.

One response to “The Elephant Room: The T.D. Jakes Controversy

  1. Pingback: Confessionalism, Boundaries, and Discipline | TransformingWords

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