By Apprising Ministries special correspondent Erin Benziger of Do Not Be Surprised…
This is a repost of an original article on Do Not Be Surprised…

My, it certainly is difficult to eradicate an elephant, isn’t it?

The ER2 drama continued today, as I’m sure many of you are already aware.

I wonder if anyone is videotaping all of this, documentary style?

It sure would make for better entertainment than the proposed movie about “a church” that James MacDonald is hoping to produce. But I digress.

Over the weekend, it was reported here that Pastor Voddie Baucham, who had been scheduled to speak at a Men’s Conference being held at Harvest Bible Chapel (HBC), had canceled that appearance due to “differences regarding ER2.” This apparently began when, in response to questions regarding the T.D. Jakes ordeal and ER2, Pastor Baucham posted the following on his Facebook wall:

(Online Source)
Well, apparently Baucham’s honest (and biblical) comments didn’t sit too well with HBC or James MacDonald. Yesterday, in Voddie Baucham Responds, a portion of Baucham’s own blog post was shared, wherein he stated,

I have a regular practice of posting notices of upcoming events in my monthly newsletter, and on my Facebook fan page. These have been invaluable tools that keep people apprised of when I’m coming to their area (or the area of friends and family whom they’d like to invite to one of our events), how they can pray for me, and what kind of doors the Lord is opening for the ministry.

As per my practice, I posted a link to the Men’s Conference and asked, “Any fan page members planning to attend…” As you can imagine, there were more than a few questions about my position on ER2, my relationship with James MacDonald and Harvest Bible Chapel, and a whole host of other things. I answered those questions as honestly as I could. I made it clear that I opposed the decision to invite Bishop Jakes; pointed out what I saw as his masterful ‘dodge’ on the trinitarian question (and subsequent affirmation of modalist language), and gave a brief explanation of my reasoning for keeping this prior commitment (see here for a recap).

This did not go over well with James MacDonald. Upon my arrival at the church the next day, he and I sat down (along with my assistant and several members of his staff) and had a candid conversation about my decision to answer questions in a public forum. Ultimately, we agreed that it was not a good idea for me to speak at the conference. We prayed, shook hands, embraced, and ended the meeting as brothers. James also insisted on paying the agreed honorarium (Added 1/31/12). MacDonald had already made arrangements for a replacement speaker. My assistant and I were escorted to a waiting car and taken back to the airport. (Online Source)

Now, you may have noticed that this final paragraph contains an emboldened sentence which was not present at the original posting. In this sentence, Baucham states, “We prayed, shook hands, embraced, and ended the meeting as brothers. James also insisted on paying the agreed honorarium.” This morning Baucham shared a little more detail as to why this brief statement was added.

Okay, fair enough. Although, it is my personal opinion that Pastor Baucham had already made it very clear in the final paragraph of his blog post that he and MacDonald had not parted with any animosity between them. As for the payment of the honorarium, really, that is ridiculously beside the point. The offer of a mere check hardly provides any sort of restoration to the credibility and integrity that has already been lost by the leadership of HBC due to the manner in which this situation was handled. Yes, I realize those are somewhat harsh words. I say them because, not long after Pastor Baucham updated his already gracious and loving, yet forthright blog post, per James MacDonald’s request, James MacDonald published a brief blog post of his own.
In this post, entitled Post-Elephant Room Interview, Part 1, James MacDonald interviews three African-American pastors in an attempt to ascertain their opinions on what transpired at ER2. One of these pastors was Charles Jenkins, pastor of Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church in Chicago. Jenkins is the pastor who was brought in as Voddie Baucham’s replacement at the Harvest Men’s Conference.
But perhaps the most outspoken of the three men in this video was Bryan Loritts, pastor of Fellowship Memphis Church. As you may recall, Loritts has most recently been catapulted into the spotlight for his blog post entitled, My Day With James MacDonald, T.D. Jakes and the Elephant Room. In this post, Loritts called for the reformed community to “repent” of their harsh criticism and one-sided attacks on Bishop T.D. Jakes in regard to his beliefs about the Godhead’. In response to this call to repentance, Daniel Neades of Better Than Sacrifice wrote,

Loritts has apparently failed to understand that it is because we love people – including T.D. Jakes himself – that we want to be sure that they are neither inadvertently trusting in a non-Trinitarian god of their own imagination, nor being deceived by a false prosperity gospel, such as the one Jakes preaches. Loritts uncharitably judges the inward thoughts and intents of his opponents. (Online Source)

Precisely. I couldn’t have stated it more accurately myself. Also in his blog post, however, Loritts played the ever-popular, and ever-inappropriate, “race card.” It seemed that this issue had been adequately dealt with throughout the weekend, however, and many of us hoped that it would be laid to rest. Unfortunately, in the video posted on James MacDonald’s blog, the “race card” was played again, and in a most fast and furious…and illegitimate, manner. About four minutes into the original video as it appears on MacDonald’s blog, one will hear the following dialogue between Loritts and MacDonald:

Bryan Loritts: “Some of the strongest reactions were African Americans in the blogosphere….um, I’ll just go ahead and say it, who strike me as wanting so bad to be in the white theological world. And to take a little bit of a tangent here, and I’ll get back, the loudest voices in the conservative evangelical world, in my estimation right now, are your older, white reformed voices. And so that implicitly sends the message that mature Christianity in the conservative evangelical world is ‘older white.’ And you’ve got some African Americans who so idolize that – what some people would call white idolization – that they then feel as if they’ve got to be the voice for black culture to speak against people like T.D. Jakes. So what happens is, you kind of prop them up. When the truth of the matter is, the term ‘black’ is very complex…….We’re different, we’re different. So my concern is, African Americans, a small minority speaking against Jakes, and then leveraging that in the white theological world for some of these older white theologians….”
James MacDonald: “What would they be leveraging it for?”
Bryan Loritts: “To fit into their circles….”
James MacDonald: “Opportunity…?”
Bryan Loritts: “We want to be in their circles. And so we’ll allow ourselves to used as a puppet. That is my perception of some of this backlash.”

(Partial transcript courtesy of Sola Sisters. Note the video below has been edited to only include the conversation referenced above).

As Ken Silva noted earlier today, it indeed seems that James MacDonald is attempting to “sneak modalism in the back door” as “we’re essentially told that if we reject T.D. Jakes as a Christian brother, it’s because we’re racist” (Online Source). Yes, it certainly does seem that way, doesn’t it?

Not long after this video appeared on MacDonald’s blog, Voddie Baucham responded on his Facebook page:

(Online Source)

How sad that the conversation above was indeed a “full-blown expression” of what Voddie Baucham spoke about and warned against in his original blog post. Also disappointing is how this veiled slap in the face was posted so soon after Baucham had accommodated MacDonald by updating his own blog to more accurately report on Saturday’s events. Once again, I am personally thankful and even humbled by the gracious, yet firm response and assessment offered by Pastor Baucham.

Friends, this is not about race. At all. To manipulate this situation into one that is rooted in race is absolutely absurd. It seems to reveal an immature reaction to criticism of any kind and, more importantly, it demonstrates a lack of biblical conviction. This is about biblical truth. The concerns that have been raised regarding the theology of T.D. Jakes are based solely upon the fruit of his very public ministry, one that has taught not only the heresy of modalism, but also that of the Word-Faith prosperity gospel…a false gospel.

So while everyone else is getting fired up over the dangerous dealing of the “race card,” I would ask the reader to remember what is really at stake here: the Word of our God.

In his letter to Titus, the Apostle Paul offers some important words to those men who would be elders. Now tell me, who among the pastors involved in this controversy are actually heeding Paul’s instruction?

For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it. (Titus 1:7-9)

Voddie Baucham’s Scheduled Appearance at HBC Men’s Conference Canceled Due to “Differences Regarding ER2”
Voddie Baucham Responds
“We Can Work it Out:” Is James MacDonald Qualified to Have this Conversation?