There was no shortage of controversy surrounding yesterday's Elephant Room 2.
Everyone from the basement bloggers to prominent pastors within evangelicalism seemed to have strong opinions concerning what could, or would result from yesterday’s event. And while there nothing but controversy on the outside, inside the Elephant Room there was a surprising lack of conflict.
In fact, it turns out T.D. Jakes is NOT the Antichrist, a heretic, or even a modalist (by the way if you still don’t believe that, you’re simply not paying attention.) Contrary to the countless criticisms, yesterday was one of the most constructive, convicting, and compelling conferences I’ve ever attended. While our entire team attended and loved the first round of the Elephant Room, this year was a GIANT step forward for what I believe is a much needed model in the church today.
Here are the three things I saw...
It took blood, sweat, and tears for each of these men to make it to the Elephant Room. Some of them lost friends and many of them lost affiliations due to a willingness to associate with those they differ with. The result was a humble tone that covered each aspect of the day from start to finish.
The Elephant Room is one of the few places I've seen pastors talk TO and not just ABOUT those they may not see eye to eye with regarding every facet of Biblical theology and ministry methodology. I was humbled by how this kind of honest and humble conversation lead to clarification and set a clear example for each of us who have the honor of serving as pastors.
By God's grace I have the great privilege of calling James MacDonald "friend", and after yesterday I've never been more honored to do so. The vision and conviction Christ placed on James' heart for this event has come with a tremendous cost. He's been slandered, criticized, and ostracized for the willingness to give men more than a mere sound bite's worth of time to answer hard questions and clarify what they believe and why they do what they do. Each of these men took criticism from their own tribes and camps, but had the courage to follow through on what they believed God had asked them to do.
The criticism will continue and the slander will never cease. My blog will be one of many written regarding what took place yesterday and a sad number of them will still call Bishop Jakes a heretic (he's not) and most will accuse Pastor James of "going soft" (nothing could be further from reality). While some will be content to make a point on their blog, yesterday's example has further inspired me to want to make a difference with my life. So by God's grace I'll be striving to move forward modeling the humility, conversation, and courage I saw in the Elephant Room.