The Elephant Room

On September 26, 2011, James MacDonald publicly announced that T.D. Jakes was going to attend The Elephant Room 2 Conference,  scheduled for January 2012.  By the very next day, MacDonald was already responding to criticisms regarding the invitation to Jakes.  The most often discussed concern in the the run up to ER2 was Jakes’ views regarding the Trinity.  However, in the broader culture, Jakes is far more known for his controversial, lavish lifestyle and his alleged preaching of a “prosperity gospel.”  MacDonald stated in the September 27th blog post, “I am also excited to hear him state his views on money, which may be closer to Scripture than the monasticism currently touring reformed world.”

As has been documented publicly in the media and publicly acknowledged by Jakes, he owns a multi-million dollar mansion, drives a Bentley, flies a  private jet and is a multi-millionaire.  As far as his beliefs regarding money, the gospel and God’s financial blessings for your life it would be far better to hear it from Jakes himself.

Remember, heading into ER2, James MacDonald believed Jakes’ views on wealth were closer to scripture than those in the “reformed world,” and he was excited to hear what Jakes has to say about this issue.  So what did Jakes say about his views on money and ministry?  What penetrating questions did James MacDonald ask about these views?

Nothing.  No questions.  Silence.

But this should not come as a surprise.  How could a pastor earning over $500,000 a year ask a critical question of Jakes regarding money?  How could a pastor living in a $1.9 million dollar mansion present an alternative point of view to Jakes on the issue of money?  How could a pastor challenge Jakes regarding money after asking at ER1:

“Why do we have to keep hearing about 1,000 people groups who haven’t heard the gospel? We’ve given enough over the years that that should be addressed by now.”

The theological tragedies committed at ER2 are, by now, well documented.  We need not rehash the details of these issues here.  However, for your edification, we offer you Carl Truman, et al as they discuss the manifest problems with MacDonald’s handling of ER2.

More importantly, in the aftermath of the Elephant Room 2, MacDonald repeatedly stated that affiliation was not equivalent to the endorsement of a man’s ministry.  But after making this argument for months, James MacDonald thought it appropriate to attend, in June 2012, the 35th anniversary celebration of the ministry of Thomas Dexter Jakes – a celebration that included an homage from Oprah Winfrey, herself.  So, if affiliation does not equate to endorsement, does celebration equate to endorsement?

Regardless of how one answers that question, it must be remembered that MacDonald carries the title “Pastor.”  And as such, he is responsible for those sheep in his care who may not be able to nuance out the finer details pertaining to his involvement at such events.  So why would he attend this event?  Is he trying to tell the world that he endorses Jakes’ ministry, or is he not?

Are we alone in our concerns about the debt, the salary and ER2?