Tuesday, January 31, 2012

James MacDonald Slated to Speak at Counseling Conference where Reconciliation is Taught, Only A Few Days After Calling the Police to Have Fellow Believers Escorted Away from the Elephant Room 2 Conference

Article by Pastor Rob Willman (Rendering Truth blog), posted with permission 

When a pastor mentioned Philippians 4, most people immediately think of verse 6-7, which reads:
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
But just TWO verses prior we have these beautiful words penned by Paul through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit:
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near.
Notice that sentence: ‘Let your gentle spirit be known to all men.

How beautiful is this command from the Lord!

God’s Word also lists gentleness, peace, and joy among the 9-part fruit of the spirit in Galatians.

Now that I’ve painted that Scriptural background, I want to bring to light the unfortunate incident that occurred last week. An explosive story broke concerning the ecumenical ‘Elephant Room’ conference and a couple of would-be attendees. You see, Chris Rosebrough (creator of Pirate Christian Radio and Fighting for the Faith) and Erin Benziger (Do Not Be Surprised blog) were both denied entry into the Elephant Room 2 conference on January 25th.

ER2 was hosted by James MacDonald of Harvest Bible Chapel and Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church. You can read about it here and listen to Chris Rosebrough’s account of the events here. Chris Rosebrough was even threatened with arrest by Harvest Bible Chapel elder Jim Rowan.

Now friends, please remember that the very same James MacDonald gave speaker TD Jakes ‘a get-out-of-jail-free card’ when it came to questioning Jakes about his modalistic theology, and his aberrant beliefs concerning the Trinity.
According to the Elephant Room’s ‘About us page’:
The Elephant Room is more than an event. It is the outgrowth of an idea. The idea that the best way forward for the followers of Jesus lies not in crouching behind walls of disagreement but in conversation among all kinds of leaders about what the scriptures actually teach. We must insist on the biblical Gospel, right doctrine and practice but not isolate ourselves from relationship even with those who believe much differently. (Online Source)
Is it just me or does it seem like the very actions by James MacDonald and crew are AT ODDS with the stated purpose of the Elephant Room?

These men are at odds with Scripture. Didn’t the Holy Spirit command us to let our gentle spirit be known to all men?

Why is James MacDonald willing to give the nod of approval to anti-Trinitarian TD Jakes, who preaches a false gospel (read about it here) and at the same time kicks Chris and Erin out of the Elephant Room conference?

They weren’t even at the main event, but at a satellite location where a live feed would broadcast the event. So that rules out the concern that somehow Chris Rosebrough and Erin Benziger were going to disrupt the ecumenical love-fest going on.

But wait! It gets even better.

Chris and Erin did receive a refund of their tickets to the event, but there has been no effort made to pay for their travel expenses. Instead, the men who ran this event allowed Chris and Erin to travel quite a distance even though MacDonald and crew KNEW they would be turned away.

And just when you though that it could be any more hypocritical, it appears that now James MacDonald is going to appear as a featured speaker at the Biblical Counseling Training Conference (BCTC) – 2012 (Source) at Faith Church.  The host church offers biblical counseling, and their Biblical Counseling page (Online Source) states:
First, we believe that the Bible, given by God, is sufficient for life in that, when properly interpreted, it reveals to the believer all the data necessary for one to understand his need for Christ, how he can please the Lord, and how to live in a god-honoring way regardless of the circumstances whether comfortable or oppressive.
So they believe that “Christians are to live in a God-honoring way… whether comfortable or oppressive.”

And for those people (like me) who believe words mean things, Faith Church links to the confessional statement of the Biblical Counseling Coalition in order to clarify their position on the importance of Biblical counseling.

Wouldn’t you know it, the Biblical Counseling Coalition’s statement on biblical counseling sounds surprisingly similar:
Biblical Counseling Must Be Directed toward Sanctification
We believe that wise counseling should be transformative, change-oriented, and grounded in the doctrine of sanctification (2 Corinthians 3:16-18; Philippians 2:12-13). The lifelong change process begins at salvation (justification, regeneration, redemption, reconciliation) and continues until we see Jesus face-to-face (1 John 3:1-3). (Online Source)
They believe in reconciliation. Amen! They should.

They promote sanctification, where the believer should be more Christ-like until Jesus returns. Amen to that too.
Yet James MacDonald (who hasn’t made any steps towards reconciliation with Chris Rosebrough or Erin Benziger) is one of the featured speakers.

I find it all mind-boggling. Let’s recap the sequence of events, shall we?
  • Elephant Room 2 conference happens. James MacDonald and Mark Driscoll are the hosts.
  • Chris Rosebrough and Erin Benziger are turned away at the door, with Chris threatened with arrest.
  • Meanwhile -  TD Jakes (still a modalist) gets an affirming nod from the ecumenical group inside, welcoming him as a fellow Trinitarian orthodox believer.
  • No apology or attempt at reconciliation is made towards Chris or Erin.
  • Similarly, Pastor Voddie Baucham declines a position in the Elephant Room 2, yet was slated to speak at the Men’s conference hosted by James MacDonald two days after the Elephant Room 2 ended. (Online Source)
  • James MacDonald apparently didn’t like Pastor Voddie’s statements on the Elephant Room (Online Source) and allowed Voddie to fly in for the conference before he met with him to discuss whether he would be able to speak at the Men’s Conference.
  • Voddie stated that “MacDonald had already made arrangements for a replacement speaker” when they had their meeting. (WOW!)
  • Voddie’s Facebook shows that he was given a ride back to the airport to catch a plane home.
  • James MacDonald is going to speak at Biblical Counseling Conference Feb 12-17th. This conference offers aNANC (National Association of Nouthetic Counselors) Track with exams.
  • NANC, Faith Church, and the Biblical Counseling Coalition all sound very solid and biblical.
I say all that to ask this key question:

How can James MacDonald take center stage as a keynote speaker at a Biblical Counseling event promoted by a church that supports sanctification, by a group (NANC) that supports reconciliation and God-centered sanctification, when James can’t even attempt such reconciliation himself?

I personally verified that Chris Rosebrough has not been contacted by James MacDonald or Mark Driscoll since he was drubbed at their pachyderm-smelling conference.

Couched in the framework of the Scriptures I mention above, please explain how James MacDonald is qualified to speak at a counseling event where the certification track (NANC) is all about reconciliation.

Which one of these is not like the other?

 Additional Resources 

Talk Show Host Chris Rosebrough Threatened With Arrest At The Elephant Room 2

Elephant Room Security on Lookout For Dangerous Persons

Threatened With Arrest At The Elephant Room 2 - Chris Rosebrough's Article

Elephant Room 2: May We Now Regard T.D. Jakes As Trinitarian and Orthodox?

Hypocrisy Reaches New Heights in The Elephant Room

Elephant Room 2 Claims First Acts 29 Casualty

Interview With A Former Oneness Pastor

Carl Trueman and the Elephant Room

A Measured Response to Bryan Crawford Loritts' Request for the Reformed Community to “Repent” of their Criticism of T.D. Jakes

File This One Under "Oh, The Irony...."

The Doctrine of the Trinity

Running Scared: Why Is The Elephant Room Afraid of Scrutiny

Even Better Than The Race Card

James MacDonald Resigns From The Gospel Coalition

A Church Breaks With James MacDonald's Harvest Bible Fellowship

A Review of T.D. Jakes Code Orange Sermon

Code Orange: Revival or Deception?

Why Is Oneness Pentecostalism Heresy?

James MacDonald Digs Deeper Hole For the Elephant Room

T.D. Jakes' Modalism is Just the Tip of the Iceberg

James MacDonald, T.D. Jakes and Postmodern Obfuscation

Oneness-Pentecostals vs. Christians

Is Nicene Christianity That Important? An historical-ecumenical note