31 January 2012

The Elephant Room Continues to Stomp On Its Critics

My, it certainly is difficult to eradicate an elephant, isn't it? The ER2 drama continued today, as I'm sure many of you are already aware. I wonder if anyone is videotaping all of this, documentary style? It sure would make for better entertainment than the proposed movie about "a church" that James MacDonald is hoping to produce. But I digress.

Over the weekend, it was reported here that Pastor Voddie Baucham, who had been scheduled to speak at a Men's Conference being held at Harvest Bible Chapel (HBC), had canceled that appearance due to "differences regarding ER2." This apparently began when, in response to questions regarding the T.D. Jakes ordeal and ER2, Pastor Baucham posted the following on his Facebook wall:
(Online Source)
Well, apparently Baucham's honest (and biblical) comments didn't sit too well with HBC or James MacDonald. Yesterday, in Voddie Baucham Responds, a portion of Baucham's own blog post was shared, wherein he stated,
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. (Online Source)
Now, you may have noticed that this final paragraph contains an emboldened sentence which was not present at the original posting. In this sentence, Baucham states,  "We  prayed, shook hands, embraced, and ended the meeting as brothers. James also insisted on paying the agreed honorarium." This morning Baucham shared a little more detail as to why this brief statement was added.

Okay, fair enough. Although, it is my personal opinion that Pastor Baucham had already made it very clear in the final paragraph of his blog post that he and MacDonald had not parted with any animosity between them. As for the payment of the honorarium, really, that is ridiculously beside the point. The offer of a mere check hardly provides any sort of restoration to the credibility and integrity that has already been lost by the leadership of HBC due to the manner in which this situation was handled. Yes, I realize those are somewhat harsh words. I say them because, not long after Pastor Baucham updated his already gracious and loving, yet forthright blog post, per James MacDonald's request, James MacDonald published a brief blog post of his own.

In this post, entitled Post-Elephant Room Interview, Part 1, James MacDonald interviews three African-American pastors in an attempt to ascertain their opinions on what transpired at ER2. One of these pastors was Charles Jenkins, pastor of Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church in Chicago. Jenkins is the pastor who was brought in as Voddie Baucham's replacement at the Harvest Men's Conference.

But perhaps the most outspoken of the three men in this video was Bryan Loritts, pastor of Fellowship Memphis Church. As you may recall, Loritts has most recently been catapulted into the spotlight for his blog post entitled, My Day With James MacDonald, T.D. Jakes and the Elephant Room. In this post, Loritts called for the reformed community to “repent” of their harsh criticism and one-sided attacks on Bishop T.D. Jakes in regard to his beliefs about the Godhead’. In response to this call to repentance, Daniel Neades of Better Than Sacrifice wrote,
Loritts has apparently failed to understand that it is because we love people – including T.D. Jakes himself – that we want to be sure that they are neither inadvertently trusting in a non-Trinitarian god of their own imagination, nor being deceived by a false prosperity gospel, such as the one Jakes preaches. Loritts uncharitably judges the inward thoughts and intents of his opponents. (Online Source) 
Precisely. I couldn't have stated it more accurately myself. Also in his blog post, however, Loritts played the ever-popular, and ever-inappropriate, "race card." It seemed that this issue had been adequately dealt with throughout the weekend, however, and many of us hoped that it would be laid to rest. Unfortunately, in the video posted on James MacDonald's blog, the "race card" was played again, and in a most fast and furious...and illegitimate, manner. About four minutes into the original video as it appears on MacDonald's blog, one will hear the following dialogue between Loritts and MacDonald:

Bryan Loritts: “Some of the strongest reactions were African Americans in the blogosphere….um, I’ll just go ahead and say it, who strike me as wanting so bad to be in the white theological world. And to take a little bit of a tangent here, and I’ll get back, the loudest voices in the conservative evangelical world, in my estimation right now, are your older, white reformed voices. And so that implicitly sends the message that mature Christianity in the conservative evangelical world is ‘older white.’ And you’ve got some African Americans who so idolize that – what some people would call white idolization – that they then feel as if they’ve got to be the voice for black culture to speak against people like T.D. Jakes. So what happens is, you kind of prop them up. When the truth of the matter is, the term ‘black’ is very complex…….We’re different, we’re different. So my concern is, African Americans, a small minority speaking against Jakes, and then leveraging that in the white theological world for some of these older white theologians….”

 James MacDonald: “What would they be leveraging it for?”

Bryan Loritts: “To fit into their circles….” 

James MacDonald: “Opportunity…?”
Bryan Loritts: “We want to be in their circles. And so we’ll allow ourselves to used as a puppet. That is my perception of some of this backlash.” 
(Partial transcript courtesy of Sola Sisters. Note the video below has been edited to only include the conversation referenced above).   
As Ken Silva noted earlier today, it indeed seems that James MacDonald is attempting to "sneak modalism in the back door" as "we're essentially told that if we reject T.D. Jakes as a Christian brother, it's because we're racist" (Online Source). Yes, it certainly does seem that way, doesn't it?

Not long after this video appeared on MacDonald's blog, Voddie Baucham responded on his Facebook page:
(Online Source)
How sad that the conversation above was indeed a "full-blown expression" of what Voddie Baucham spoke about and warned against in his original blog post. Also disappointing is how this veiled slap in the face was posted so soon after Baucham had accommodated MacDonald by updating his own blog to more accurately report on Saturday's events. Once again, I am personally thankful and even humbled by the gracious, yet firm response and assessment offered by Pastor Baucham.

Friends, this is not about race. At all. To manipulate this situation into one that is rooted in race is absolutely absurd. It seems to reveal an immature reaction to criticism of any kind and, more importantly, it demonstrates a lack of biblical conviction. This is about biblical truth. The concerns that have been raised regarding the theology of T.D. Jakes are based solely upon the fruit of his very public ministry, one that has taught not only the heresy of modalism, but also that of the Word-Faith prosperity gospel...a false gospel.

So while everyone else is getting fired up over the dangerous dealing of the "race card," I would ask the reader to remember what is really at stake here: the Word of our God.

In his letter to Titus, the Apostle Paul offers some important words to those men who would be elders. Now tell me, who among the pastors involved in this controversy are actually heeding Paul's instruction?
For an overseer, as God's steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it. (Titus 1:7-9)
**UPDATE 01 February 2012**
The following was posted this morning on Voddie Baucham's Facebook page:

Voddie Baucham's Scheduled Appearance at HBC Men's Conference Canceled Due to "Differences Regarding ER2"
Voddie Baucham Responds
"We Can Work it Out:" Is James MacDonald Qualified to Have this Conversation?


  1. "It seems to reveal an immature reaction to criticism of any kind and, more importantly, it demonstrates a lack of biblical conviction."
    Very true. If they had true biblical arguments they could present they wouldn't need ad hominem arguments.

  2. Precisely. You can call people names till the cows come home (or the elephants, as it were), but until you deal with the actual substance of the issue, your attacks are sophomoric and baseless.

  3. Being a "reformed" person I want to invite Loritts to my PCA church one Sunday and see if he thinks we're a bunch of white folks. We're not. We have people from all over the world...Africa, Asia, Cuba, Mexico, middle east, and of course America! And our church is very biblically conservative too. So I do not appreciate the ad hominem attacks either.

  4. This just shows again, again and again how manipulative, cunning and machiavellian MacDonald really is. Who is he to call people and ask them to alter their blog posts? Who is he to use young, naive, gullible and attention seeking pastors to flame up racial issue and racial division in the Church in order to smuggle a sebellian heretic Jakes to the mainstream while most gullible will be too distracted by flamed up by him racial issue to notice what is really taking place? Is this below the belt dishonest tactic for the unity? Of course it is not while unity is on MacDonald's lips. It is rather another manipulative move by MacDonald who has a proven track record of manipulation, evasion, intimidation and coercion of people and churches to bend them down to his agenda. This is no different this time except he is really playing with fire and will get burned in the end. By the way have you noticed cheap subconsciousness targeting trick of MacDonald holding the Bible in his right hand all the time as a sign of authority and his position while he did not open it even once nor was there a need for the Bible in this manipulative political show with these three naive pastors as pawns to be sacrificed in MacDonald's gambit? Wow. He is going from bad to worst. He really is.

  5. quote "As Dr. Baucham said, there is the race of the unredeemed and that of the redeemed and that is all."

    there's really no such thing as racism between colors it's a superficial argument and when it's used to cover their error and their arrogance, it's appalling to say the least.

    as I've stated in another post about the same issue, This is totally unChristlike, unacceptable and inappropriate for anyone calling themselves a Christian. Even if and that's a BIG IF someone is racist, this is not proper to even gossip about but to go before the Lord in love and pray for that person and love them with the love of Christ.-Love covers a multitude of sins. If someone has wronged me or offended me I don't go talking about it especially to smear people ~that's just pride.

    The resurrection power of our SAVIOR should be all the righteousness that fills me up.

    Totally unacceptable behavior.That's the farthest thing from Christians hearts and minds who love Jesus and are motivated by the love of the TRUTH and their loving devotion to the Lord. I can understand this with unbelievers but with people who call themselves "Christians"?? This is disgraceful-Pr.13:5

  6. So... let me get this straight. MacD embraces a prosperity modalist as a brother, causing all kinds of strife and controversy, filling the church with doctrinal error and confusion, and *Baucham* has to be diplomatic about it, to ensure everyone they parted on good terms as brothers?

    In general, I'm sick of sound believers having to defer to those who promulgate error, all in the name of "love".

  7. Amen Despeveiile, as a former harves Member who knows James, I affirm your spot-on analysis and disgust of James and his tactics of intimidation. He is an emperor with no clothes. All emperors are able to draw a crowd o sorts, but tis emperor is headed to Gods' sure judgement against such manipulative hirelings.

  8. "Okay, fair enough. Although, it is my personal opinion that Pastor Baucham had already made it very clear in the final paragraph of his blog post that he and MacDonald had not parted with any animosity between them."

    Then why did Voddie ask us to pray that he would not respond in anger?

    I agree with Anonymous."I'm sick of sound believers having to defer to those who promulgate error, all in the name of "love"."

    Amen..! Sick of the idea that we have to be kind and diplomatic to wolves and to possible sheep who insist on playing with the wolves.

  9. Truly sickening, disgusting and bigited. Loritts speaks in shadows and third persons, speaking for a nebulous "some". Mo facts, no logical reasoning just "my estimation". In one small space he manages to slam mature, white, older, conservative, and even Black folks.

  10. @mwhenry, I agree with you-you hit the nail on the head.

    He's putting himself in the judgment seat as judge as if he knows people's hearts. That's a very dangerous place to be. We have no right to prejudge people's motives as he has done because we are not God, we don't know all things, we don't even know our own wicked and deceitful hearts. When someone uses their "estimation" that's exactly what Jesus said not to do. "Stop judging by mere appearances and make a RIGHT judgment"-John 7:24.

    We are to judge by their fruit righteously after we've taken the log out of our own eye before GOD but to step beyond that is wrong and hypocritical.

    Jam 4:11 "Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it.

    Jam 4:12 There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you--who are you to judge your neighbor?

  11. While they are all singing kumbaya, they never even brought up Jakes being a prosperity and word of faith preacher. I just finished reading the new post over at Ken Silva's blog. So while they all try to disguise modalism and then try to make people feel guilty with the 1Cor.13 love passage, they try to say that, because no one has the complete undertanding of the mysteries, that it is ok to reword what they are, according to their understanding. The Word of God says only Trinitarianism is orthodox and there is no room for our interpretation.
    Maybe they might want to read the other 1 Cor. passage,5:11, that says not to even eat with such as these(idolators) much less try to reconcile their false god with our one, true God all for the sake of LOVE. I thought love for unbelievers was telling them the Truth of God's Word not agreeing with them.
    God help us all.

  12. @Anony with the love passage in 1 Cor.13

    They are not rightly dividing the word of God but only using God's word for their own advantage, their own gain

    They're cherry picking and it's disgraceful.

    vs6 of 1 Cor.13 "Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth."


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