From the Elephant Room website:
What are the "majors" of Christian doctrine that cannot be diluted or denied for a person to be a Christian? How can we help one another move beyond the bare minimum of accepted belief, to a pursuit of robust, soul-satisfying, biblical substance? How should we relate to those who do not yet embrace the benefit and priority of sound biblical doctrine? Is there a difference between a person in error and a wolf in sheep’s clothing? What benefits derive from keeping the majors on a separate list and not letting the ‘minors’ divide us? Is it possible to love the truth without compromise and still work passionately for unity?
Session 4 - Ticket to Ride
Driscoll, Jakes, MacDonald
I’m surprised by how hard it was to get people in a room to talk. Frankly I’m embarrassed.
Let’s just talk. Let’s talk about the book you wrote. Let’s model grace and truth.
Grace and I wrote a book the first half is on marriage and on sex. Some people have a lot of free time. You can read a book about friendship and sex with your wife and write a blog about those things or go work on them. I’d rather go work on them.
Those who are liberal think we’re too liberal because we preach the Bible and those who are more conservative think we’re too liberal in the way we talk about sex.
How do you handle the stress?
I want to be humble and learn, but at the end of the day I believe it’s a good book and we wanted to help people not win an argument.
I apologize in advance, but some people have questions on what you believe. We’re here to listen.
My father was Methodist and my mother was Baptist. I didn’t have a real experience with Christ until I met him in a oneness church. It was not a UPC church, but somewhat similar. Jesus-only, modalism. How they describe the godhead is very different than how Trinitarians do. I was in that church for years.
My problem of that as I preached…I’m also informed by Methodism and Baptist wasys…what I found out is it’s easy to through rocks to people you don’t know. But when you get to know people, you try to build bridges of understanding.
Old saying, “He who stands in the middle of the road gets hit from both sides.”
Though much of what I learned in oneness is different than how I now understand the godhead, I didn’t want to switch sides and throw rocks.
I’d love to hear you articulate what you learned.
My struggle is that sometimes oneness fit but sometimes it didn’t. I didn’t want to force the Scriptures to fit my theology.
Such as Jesus baptism. Or creation “Let us.” “I am in the Father, and the Father is in me.” That helped me rethink some of the things I was taught. I began to realize there are things that could be said about the Father that couldn’t be said about the Son. There are distinctives in the work of the Holy Spirit.
Here is where I find the problem. I don’t think that anything any of us believes cannot fully describe God.
We would agree there is mystery. But within that, the issue between Trinitarianism and modalism is one God three persons, or one God manifesting in three ways.
I stand today on one God, three Persons. You describe manifestations as modalism, I call it Pauline. “For God was manifest in the flesh.” The semantics can be this way or that way, but before the controversy started, Paul used the word manifested.
There are distinctives. Father didn’t bleed and die. The person of Jesus did that. We are baptized into the body by the Holy Spirit. That is consistent with my belief system.
I’m with you. I have been with you.
When we get to know people by their labels. Then comes all the baggage of how we define those labels.
We are taught in our society that if we disagree in a movement, we leave. I still have relationships and leadership with in oneness because I believe that we need to humble and say we are attempting to describe a God we have not seen fully, seen in a glass darkly.
Why should I throw rocks at you when what I understand through a glass darkly?
None of our books on the Godhead will be published in heaven.
Because people’s descriptions differ, it doesn’t make it demonic.
Thank you for joining us. You don’t have to be here. You were on the cover of TIME. You have options.
It takes courage and humility to go into an unscripted situation and be outside your tribe.
I loved you and enjoyed you and hearing the story of your context and upbringing. I walked away saying I appreciated getting to know that man.
You’re coming out of a oneness background, you demonstrate humility saying I'm studying the Bible and changing some things I’m thinking.
To help others understand you, how have you been treated by some oneness people.
I’m the heretic, very much, in some circles.
In some new circles, I’m getting beat up. In other older circles I’m the heretic. I have to read the article to see what kind of heretic I am.
It’s time for this conversation because when we compare we do it at the expense of new Christians.
The only thing Jesus prayed that we can ansewer is Father I pray that they may be one as you and I are one. That’s one thing in our power to answer and we do not do.
One God, three persons, apart from Jesus there is no salvation, the Scriptures are inerrant, Jesus death and resurrection, etc.
I want to be where Jesus says he stands, which is with humble people. I want to honor what you’ve said. I feel deeply in my heart that God is both three and one.
Jesus is the only God that we will ever see. In Revelation it seemed that the Father and Son were on the same throne. I believe that God is one and three persons. But I know my head will explode.
If what we have heard today is satisfying and a person isn’t satisfied, then the are unsatisfiable and we need to move on.
There will always be people known for what they are against than what they are for.
When I hear you say we will see one God on a throne, my heart leaps. But as we stumble through this, I believe that stumbling is worship.
Bishop Jakes, why are you here?
I love people. This (theology) is not a big issue for me. I know where I’m at. We have got to learn to talk to each other or we’re going to die.
I’ve been friends with Bishop Jakes for the last ten years, but I’ve found in him consistency in what he has said, who he is, and what he believes. I hope that this puts to rest a lot of this jive about this Trinitarian issue.
I believe that when we see God, we’ll see Jesus. There is one God and he’ll give himself in three eternal Persons.
There is so many things bubbling in my heart. One line, we need to stop letting people tell us who we are and engage it.
One of the things bugging me is the subtle ways we slander and prostitute the word discernment. We are so free to draw conclusions without talking to them with a spirit of love and compassion.
Thank you. You’re modeling something for a young pastor that I hope I can do well.
My hope is that nobody watching is thinking we make people line up with us. My hope is that it’s not “OK, so Bishop Jakes is now alright with us.” I hope that we’ll learn to assume the best because not everyone can be in this forum.
I hope we put 1 Corinthians into practice.
WWII was not one by US but by Allied forces and we disagreed with some policies. We have to put aside some differences to move the Kingdom forward.
The issue of the Trinity is not a small thing. It’s central to Christianity. It’s a pillar of orthodoxy. However, when a man confesses Trinitarianism and we begin to ask if he’s Trinitarian enough, step away from me. That’s when we need to tone down the rhetoric and discuss.
6,000 churches close every year. 3,500 people leave the church everyday. Only 15% of churches are growing. We have a massive problem. The church in the US is hemorrhaging. It’s in a free fall.
We need to wake up and figure out that the constant negative rhetoric is not helping the church. It’s hurting it.
They’ll know that your Jesus’ disciples by your love for one another.
The preceeding were summary notes from the Elephant Room. These are not direct quotes but rather a play by play intended to give an overview of each conversation at this year's event. I encourage you to watch this year's conversations once available for fullest context. - Jake