James MacDonald, T.D. Jakes & ER 2
For several years now I have listened to James MacDonald and his preaching through his Walk in the Word radio program. Over the course of those years James MacDonald has preached on various subjects and has had proper exegetical rendering of the word of God. He has always stood firm on the side of the word of God both in his preaching and attitude towards others. Handling subjects with love and truthfulness. So when I heard of this latest issue that seems to be the buzz in the blogosphere I was a little dismayed to say the least. What is this issue all about you ask?
The issue that seems to have everyone, including myself upon further research, in a buzz is his invitation of T.D. Jakes, a non-Trinitarian preacher to the Elephant Room 2 and his reference to him as a spiritual "brother" in Christ. What is more disheartening is the fact that instead of James MacDonald admitting that he misspoke or misuse the word "brother" he has dug in his heels and has gone on the attack. Sadly I have noticed over the last year of listening to Walk in the Word a change in the attitude of James MacDonald towards others who may criticize him or question his theology. He seems to have gone from lovingly defending the word to a harsher approach that can be seen in his blog "Not for the Faint of Heart" addendum. He says it euphemistically: "We are asking that those interested in what we are doing allow the conversations to take place before making final conclusions about their wisdom or helpfulness." He is basically holding to the attitude that he wants his critics to shut up and go away and stop questioning what he's doing. There are multiple layers of irony in this. MacDonald purports to be championing fearless dialogue with people he says he doesn't necessarily agree with. But there's a distinct and clearly discernible direction to the drift of the "dialogue." It is painfully obvious that MacDonald is not so keen to listen and learn when someone more conservative than he wants to share a perspective. MacDonald casts off restraint and reverts to angry-sounding rhetoric.
The question I would like to raise here is how can James McDonald rightfully call T.D. Jakes a spiritual "brother" in the Lord? T.D. Jakes denies the Trinity, one of the quintessential doctrines that makes you a Christian. You cannot deny the Trinity and still be a Christian. When James MacDonald calls T.D. Jakes a spiritual "brother” he is making T.D. Jakes look like a Christian or a "brother" when he is not one. MacDonald is confusing the issue for any non-discerning or unlearned real Christian that does not know anything about the subject of non-Trinitarian verse Trinitarian theology. You can see this troubling reference to the participants in the Elephant Room 2 as spiritual "brothers" in the video I posted below.
In the earlier "Humble Pie" blogpost, MacDonald had expressed "regret that the purpose of the Elephant Room was not expanded and explained before including a greater breadth of participants." Now I took this to mean that maybe MacDonald realized his mistake and regretted his misuse of the word “brother” in the promo video for ER 2. Unfortunately, this was not the case as seen in the video above, His has dug his heels in on this issue and you can see that from his tone on the issue he has no perspectives on changing his use of calling T.D. Jakes a spiritual “brother”.
Another point I find troubling is that James MacDonald is a council member and a influential spokesman for The Gospel Coalition. With his influential membership position being noted on the TGC this raises the question does James McDonald view the doctrine of the Trinity as a central requirement to be a Christian? If The Gospel Coalition holds Trinitarianism as an essential doctrine to Christianity than the council members need to deal with MacDonald and his calling T.D. Jakes a spiritual "brother". If they refuse to deal with this issue or do not hold that Trinitarianism is an essential doctrine then what is the point of the organization? They would be better off changing their name to The Self Coalition.
It seems to me that James MacDonald is going down a dangerous path. Instead of coming out and apologizing for misspeaking and clarifying position of his reference to Jakes as a spiritual "brother" he instead is deciding to dig his heels and to cause division were division is not needed. I'm sure just as I sin daily James MacDonald does too. I am sure too that he needs to repent daily as I do for those sins. Unfortunately some of those sins are public and with that being so MacDonald being a teacher in the public arena needs to be able to humble himself and publicly apologize for the mistakes he makes and the sins that he commit in the public. If MacDonald would admit his mistake and clarify what he meant we all could just move on.
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