The Elephant here is a serious slander of James MacDonald in the Pyromaniac’s room. *sigh* But some demonic spirit has fiddled with my computer, and I keep getting an annoying error report, and so I am forced to post my response here.
The post by Phil Johnson is here, and I have no quarrel with it. But I took exception to these slanderous comments on the meta about James MacDonald,
“It is a rare megachurch pastor who is concerned about what kind of fruit is produced in their ministry. There are of course a few very noteworthy exceptions to this. But the Nobles and MacDonalds of this world are clearly unconcerned.”
(or, scroll down to the very end of the comment thread to read it). Because the reputation of another godly man is at stake, and no-one else seems concerned about this slander of a man with a history of integrity in the church he serves, I was compelled to stop lurking. Here is another letter, this time to JuniorTeamPyro:
Interestingly, you have read between my lines and made some false assumptions here: “You may well think that his ministry is going in a good direction” — now, where did you get this idea? I said, “I am concerned for the direction of his ministry.” Might this be a pattern for you, a certain hastiness to form conclusions? And did you do the same disservice to James MacDonald?
Because the truth is, I feel uneasy about MacDonald’s direction. When I read the blogpage quoted above, and read of his squishyness concerning the Trinity, and sensed, as you do, the possibility of its being demoted to a secondary issue, I was very concerned. Like James White, I Love the Trinity!
And like Mr. White, I do not consider it a matter of “doctrinal hairsplitting.” I spent several months on a blogthread debating a Oneness Pentecostal so I am thoroughly acquainted with the heresy of Modalism — so, no I do not think this vagueness concerning the personhood of God is a good direction for Mr. MacDonald’s ministry!
But am I like you, one of those ‘pugnacious purveyors of pertinacity’? Those are Alaistair Begg’s choice words, part of his warning to pastors that I urge you to give a listen to, Tom: I will remind you of his own pertinent words. Begg thinks pastors should not be “distracted by ceaseless arguments” because then they have “ceased to be a power in edifying and evangelism…. when they think they have to correct all the ills…they have lost sight of delivering to the people what they most need: clear sound helpful instruction of the Scriptures.”
You seem ready to go to the shed and reach for the pike, Tom. But even that firebrand Todd Friel urged some caution in judging James MacDonald’s stance last Monday on Wretched Radio! I too, am going to wait and see. I plan to pray for those in ‘The Elephant Room’ to parse out exactly what this phrase “existed eternally in three manifestations” means to the glory of the Triune God. And pray especially that –oh me of little faith! — Jakes would repent of his idolaltry. And that if he does not, that James MacDonald would forsake building bridges toward heresy, and would affirm this truth that has been tried in martyrs’ blood. And all of that repentance would be a good, and God-honoring outcome of the Elephant Room…that of iron sharpening iron. It is indeed good and pleasant for brothers to dwell together in unity, but it is awful when it is at the expense of the truth.
I can’t resist this. I’m sorry, I just can’t! “Go to war with the Church?” Really? Didn’t we all have such a delightful discussion concerning this particular hypocrisy in February? So you are still blind to all the scorched earth surrounding the endless Open Letters generated from that site? The wounds from chainsaws regularly taken to those with doctrines or preaching practices differing from “Biblical Christianity”, aka “Pyros Brand”? And then you wrap it all up by calling James MacDonald’s statements “arrogant and spiteful” Oh Tom, Tom, there really are no words. I pray to God you will be given a vision of your very blind spots.
Your statements would be hysterically funny if they weren’t so incredibly sad.
Now I am going to go write James MacDonald a letter I’ve been meaning to write for ages. I am going to tell him of a patched-up prodigal I know whose heart was softened by his ruthless and tender Gospel preaching. And that he is still one of the few preachers this one, now returned to the Father’s house, will eagerly listen to — tunes it in faithfully, every day! And this one is growing in faith, humbly asking forgiveness, admitting faults, responding to the appeals Mr. MacDonad regularly makes to his listeners to repent of their sins. It is a lovely and ongoing work of the Spirit that gives great joy to my my heart. I suspect Mr. Mac Donald would rejoice with me too. Because this is real fruit growing out of his ministry he needs to hear about. Especially now.
Believing the best (about you too!),