04 February 2012

Adventures in Not Making a Point, With Carson and Keller

Well, The Gospel Coalition's Don Carson and Tim Keller have finally offered their own response to the Elephant Room 2 brouhaha. Kind of. Sort of. They wrote a long article, anyway. The length of their blog post may give some indication as to why it took  so long for us to hear from these two influential leaders. Surely such a lengthy post was not written overnight!

The first few paragraphs of their commentary is interesting and helpful. As they dive back into church history, Carson and Keller provide a brief overview of the historical positions and arguments on the Trinitarian nature of God. Such an understanding is of course necessary for one to comprehend precisely why there is such concern over today's situation regarding T.D. Jakes and the acceptance of him as a Christian brother by men like James MacDonald and Mark Driscoll.

Following this opening history lesson, however, the article takes a convoluted turn. Carson and Keller say a lot without actually saying anything conclusive. So, if you enjoy reading well-constructed, intelligent-sounding articles that ultimately arrive at a clear and substantial conclusion, I do not suggest reading this post by Carson and Keller. If, on the other hand, you enjoy reading well-constructed, intelligent-sounding articles that seem to take the reader around in circles and never arrive at a conclusive point, then I encourage you to take some time and read it.

If you fall into the former category, however, might I suggest instead that you wander over to Apprising Ministries, where pastor-teacher Ken Silva has provided a partial transcript of Voddie Baucham's interview with James White. Unlike his fellow Gospel Coalition members, Baucham has no difficulty making his very important point:
Baucham: No, I don’t think it was… What I am here to address—what I do think is absolutely crucial—is that the Body [of Christ] is being divided over this [race] issue. And the Body is being divided over a man [T.D. Jakes] who is one of the most poisonous influences in the [visible] church today.
White: Now, you’ve been speaking about this for a long time. Help our listeners to understand.
Baucham: Yes.
White: Why would you say something like that; because so many people  look at him and they see success, they see—he’s been on the cover of Time magazine, for crying out loud. I’m—is Time still being published? It might be, I don’t know. (Baucham laughs) Who really knows anymore—but, you know, here’s the very picture of success and prominence and all the rest of this stuff, and yet here you’re talking about a “poisonous influence.” Why would that be?
Baucham: Two things. One, the doctrine of the Trinity. And I don’t mean by that, that he’s influencing people because he’s out there teaching publicly on the Trinity.
White: Right.
Baucham: There are clips of him, you know, teaching on the Trinity—but those things are few and far between. He’s smart enough to not build his empire on that issue. I mean, he knows that. He’s smart enough not to do that. You gotta go and search for those things that he’s taught on the Trinity. But [the issue's] his absolute perversion of the Gospel. The Word of Faith movement, the prosperity gospel, is a poison. It is a cancer. It is destroying people. It is absolutely destroying lives. It is another gospel. It is to be condemned. And it was not even addressed in this whole process. And [T.D. Jakes] is the chief purveyor. I mean, he is the godfather. Again, you know, there’s been a sort of meteoric rise of, you know, smilin’ Joel here in Houston. But T.D. Jakes—T.D. Jakes is the godfather as it relates to, you know, Word faith teachers, and so on and so forth. It breaks my heart that this is being allowed, and that he is basically given entre into whole nuther layer of evangelicalism.
White: Hmm.
Baucham: Besides that, my wife is from Dallas—I made this point in—in my blog piece. My wife is from Dallas. I have friends in Dallas; I preach in Dallas a lot. [I] know pastors in Dallas, churches in Dallas. I have seen, firsthand, the influence that T.D. Jakes has had over the last decade since he came to Dallas. He has not made evangelicalism in Dallas more thoughtful, more theological, more Biblical, more Gospel-centered. That has not been his impact. His impact has been quite the opposite, in fact. (29:30-40:06, Online source)
To read the rest of this partial transcript, visit here. To listen to the interview in its entirety, visit this link, or you can watch below.



  1. I listened to the full hour of Voddie and James yesterday. Voddie's analysis and conclusions were dead on target of the whole er2 deception/mess. It is good to hear another powerful and unafraid voice exposing the filth that is said and done in the name of Christ. As a not-so-middle-aged (64) white reformed guy I stand shoulder to shoulder with my black brother in this and would encourage him to continue the fight and expose the evil for what it is. Blessings to both my brothers, Dr. White and Dr. Baucham.


  2. I read the entirety of the Keller/Carson post, and it did not surprise me. I expected and got length, but little breadth. While some theological areas were flushed out quite well, others just lingered long enough to hope something would be answered.
    A glaring example is the entire aside of "black council brothers" (paraphrase) saying xyz. Well hold on, that would have been a real good spot to stop anyone in their tracks and say "brother, we are one in Christ". This whole racial issue has been now given top billing by the powers of GC. Now we all, every time we speak or write will have to acknowledge "hidden" and "subtle" racial issues. We will all be self-identifying when we are black, but not white, and somehow have to tow some invisible line.
    That post addressed virtually nothing of the underlying problems that even caused a debacle like er2.
    Pastors who curse, have porn visions, call other pastors nazis, threaten to have brothers and sister arrested, invite heretics to their house of worship do those things because fundamentally there is something wrong with their theology, or it's other than just mouthing.
    It's beyond stunning that the post barely scratched any person and the sinful parts they had in the debacle. From A Carson, I am really surprised. This is how it's going to go down; a genteel circling of the wagons without claiming to own any wagons.
    I truly hope this is only the beginning of this battle. Because as, Jame White or Phil Johnson described it ( I could be wrong, I think it was one of those two old white reformed types) this is our generations downgrade controversy. I hope this burns through the evangelical world so we can all have our eyes open to the truth, and be able to face one another in honesty, not deceit.

  3. I'm not surprised with Keller. I don't trust him as a reliable source. He is oblique and stays detached from being solid in the Christian faith and his sermons are always a plethora of periphrases and circumlocution -makes me blah

    Someone who cannot give a solid answer for heaven, hell, who is saved not saved, the clear message of the gospel etc, is straddling a fence-neither hot nor cold but lukewarm.

    I so enjoy Voddie and White as they are not afraid to say the truth. those are real soldiers for Jesus Christ

  4. Excellent comment by mwhenry- totally agree!

    How can one have any regard to Keller when he promotes contemplative spirituality, federal vision, poor view on creation, and promotes women mystics (Monk etc) ? The Gospel Coalition needs to wake up regarding it's members! (ie: Driscoll, Chandler-- oh! not Chandler!!-- YES! -->Hearing audibly from God (in his car) along with promotion of contemplative spirituality!- ExtraBiblical!)

    WHY would Carson even link arms with Keller? The old saying, "Birds of a feather?.." sad thought...

    Praying to God Almighty to open the eyes of some of these men who are part of this "coalition" and asking that those who stand for the "gospel" would either leave or let these men go their own way!- asking in Jesus' name, amen.

  5. church history? study of the trinity? whats that all about just entertain me. i am an evangelical christian 2012.....at least that what i am being taught. how come mega-churches (n.w. chicagoland) do not do things as families.


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