Pastors Still Stomping on Elephant Room, Theological Differences

Reverberations from a pastors theological roundtable continue as Christian leaders share their thoughts on the Elephant Room held more than a week ago – some saying the event resulted in harmful side effects.

While co-host Pastor Mark Driscoll wrote this week that he believes he learned more about leadership during his "24 hours in Chicago for the Elephant Room than any other experience" of his life, other pastors, such as Tim Raymond, state the event lifted "up men with minimal theological commitments as examples to pastors."

Raymond, who is the pastor at Trinity Baptist Church in Muncie, Ind., wrote in his post published on the Credo Magazine Website on Wednesday, that although he did not want to evaluate the "gospel according to [Bishop TD] Jakes" (one of the pastors participating in the Elephant Room), he wanted to warn Christians of the danger from the event's inclusivity.

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"Allow me to state my point plainly," Raymond wrote. "By lifting up men with minimal theological commitments as examples to pastors, the Elephant Room is proclaiming, perhaps unwittingly, that a rigorous concern for sound doctrine is not essential to the pastoral office."

Jakes of The Potter's House in Dallas and a handful of other pastors were invited to participate in this year's Elephant Room (Round 2), hosted and moderated by Driscoll and James MacDonald. The Dallas pastor was hit with several questions about how his theological beliefs have developed, specifically in regard to the Holy Trinity.

Driscoll, near the end of the discussion during a session last week, pointedly asked Jakes if he believes the Bible is "the perfect, inspired, final authority Word of God," to which Jakes responded "absolutely."

Jakes responded in the affirmative to several other creedal questions posed by Driscoll – including belief in the Trinity as one God, three persons – and although his responses seemed to quell any further controversy at the time, pastors' posts in the blogosphere seem to indicate otherwise.

MacDonald wrote in his post, "Bishop Jakes, 2nd Decisions and Coming Home," that: "The nuance of relationship is sadly lost in the world of those who believe doctrinal accuracy (which they have no corner on) is the pinnacle Christian priority."

He continued, "But if 1 Corinthians 13 is teaching anything, it's that even doctrine that removes all mystery (a facetious impossibility) – apart from love – is worthless. I make no apology for prioritizing relationship in these conversations."

In his post, "10 Reflections on the Elephant Room," Driscoll writes that it was an important event and "rather than talking about Christian leaders, the opportunity to talk with them is important as it models humble but forthright disagreement."

"In the acrimonious age of the Internet this kind of modeling is important. I know I too have been guilty of talking about people rather than to them, so I do not exclude myself from the need to learn and mature in this area," he confessed.

Driscoll said that he would address participants privately rather than publicly when it came to specific issues.

"I don't want to be a lonely old man shooting everyone who does not fit on my island," he stated. "I have close friendships, most of them private, with Christian leaders across the theological spectrum. We share a love for Jesus and a love for each other. Some consider me their theology buddy whom they can call on issues, and I deeply enjoy those friendships and want to serve in any way I can."

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