Elephant Room 2 Thoughts

Today, I was able to attend the Elephant Room 2 at Gracepoint CC in Wichita. Here are my thoughts as we go along here today. In general, I think that this is a great idea to allow open conversation between different perspectives. At the same time, I wonder if some of these issues are standing issues or if they are issues that find their genesis from the event. Perhaps there is a bit of inception going on in ecclesiological discussion.

First, no women on the panel. I don’t think that this is a good idea, anymore. It might not get Driscoll to get involved, but the church, in general, has moved on from this.

Session 1

Is there a future with denominations?

James McDonald fake bakes…

Jack Graham vs Mark Driscoll-
I appreciate Jack Graham’s overview. Driscoll says use denominations for the money. I think Driscoll’s point of “primary allegiance” is a good question.

Accountability and stewardship is important. Can if also translate into control and no room for creativity?

Planting churches discussion is interesting. I think we can assume what McDonald and Driscoll thinks a church is (reformation definition). JG finds value in seed throwing, even without firm strategy.

Networks are tribes. I think that it is true, but is it good for ecclesiology? Leaders are followers first, in the kingdom. (hat tip, Len Sweet)

Furtick- give respect to those who fought hard in the past. Good point. Nice deep V-Neck, also.

Prediction- Acts 29 will unite the impulse of evangelicalism that is doctrine-first based, reformation-oriented. There will probably be another unifier of evangelicalism under another moniker that emphasizes the piety and transformative experienced first-based. Hopefully they will get along.

Conversation #2- Gospel presented in its fullness

Crawford vs Steven

How would MacDonald define the gospel? I can probably guess it is something short of Scot McKnight’s idea of it.

Crawford- I like his thoughts on the gospel and how it is shared (Scot McKnight’s treatment is good for this discussion, also)

River with 2 banks- what the Bible says the gospel is and what is the anointed approach to share it

Heresy- edit the content around the presentation

Definition of gospel is too broad. Gospel should be entrance into the kingdom of God.

Steven- his atonement is Substitutionary… he really is a SBC.

Crawford- tension, give people a chance to respond and not make them choose to respond. Scot McKnight- the gospel is proclamation not liminality.

Front-loading the gospel- point people to Jesus, not to a brand of theology. Don’t crowd the cross. Good idea.

In my humble opinion, the bulk of “gospel” shared so far is reductionist, it is plan of salvation “soterian” not the whole story.

McDonald’s idea of preaching the gospel in new ways is great.

TD Jakes- don’t solve the mystery by the recipe and science. Cross is beyond formula.

Jack Graham’s baptism is probably important, but it comes off as magisterial.

Would’ve loved for the guys to answer this question, “Did Jesus preach Paul’s gospel?”

McDonald’s book has “True” in it, as does Driscoll’s new book… interesting…

Conversation #3- Pastors juggling ministry and avoiding burnout

Cordeiro- what runs you inside can destroy you in the process of burnout.

Pastors sin on the top-side, using spirituality and ministry tasks (outside of God’s true call).

Cordeiro is a sage. Dropping Christlike health knowledge.

This conversation is bringing the best of all three of these guys.

Have friendships that complete, not compete against you.(TD Jakes)

Good thought from Driscoll, have spouse ask “How are you,” instead of “What are you up to?”

Crawford’s thoughts on leaders leading young leaders to a burnout trajectory is important. Identity is formed not in ministry but in relationship with God.

Conversation #4- Majors doctrines that we need to agree on (Driscoll and Jakes) The one I’ve been waiting for. Should be a good discussion.

There is plenty of discussion of Trinity… good discussion.

Discussion was different than I thought. I liked it. I felt that Mark’s list was more simple than I thought he would bring. However, I am not surprised that the origin of his center is congruent with Grudem and Conservative Evangelicals. Though the ancient ecumenical councils do not have a statement of scripture, they probably infer inspired and authoritative.

TD Jakes’ concern over communication is prophetic.

It’s been said, God takes words to flesh in Christ. Let’s not let our pursuit of doctrine take flesh back to words.

Conversation #5- Racially Diverse Churches

I think Jakes’ thoughts on the sliding of racial division with information age. Cross pollination is necessary. Night clubs are doing better at integration.

God challenges us to become uncomfortable. Comfort is the replacement of old time racism.

The integration now has to be intentional, the first integration was forced. (Industrial Revolution)

If our prayers, life does not reflect “every tribe and nation” then we do not have authentic Christianity. -Lorritts

Structure is needed when immaturity is lacking. When maturity increases, structure can as well.

Some of the greatest leaders in the Bible are multicultural, Moses, Paul, etc…

Conversation #6- What if a Pastor fails/Restoration (Cordeiro/Lorritts)

Remove the person, place them in isolation (check contrition, not just confession)

Ask, “Why did you not self-correction?” Look for the self-correction impulse in staff, one of the best attributes for one to have.

Too many people believe in us to fail. Be careful.

Conversation #7: Confrontation with pastors who disagree with one another

How big is your world? Is your state your nation? This discussion could be closely associated with the discussion between Driscoll and Jakes.

Affirm the center. This is a good discussion in Evangelicalism, are we center-set or bounded set?

Boldness is standing out with a brother when it costs me something. -Furtick

Love people and discover the principles as we go. -TD Jakes

We need to develop a new pathology; being identified for what we are for and not for what we are against. -TD Jakes

Conversation #8- Speed Round (Random Questions from the speakers)

It was good to hear these guys talk candidly.


Published by joeskillen

I'm a husband, dad of 2, Pastor at Eastminster Presbyterian Church in Wichita, KS.

4 thoughts on “Elephant Room 2 Thoughts

  1. I didn’t get the chance to check out Elephant Room II, but then again, I only caught glimpses of the first one. I couldn’t have said it better than you in your first paragraph: “In general, I think that this is a great idea to allow open conversation between different perspectives. At the same time, I wonder if some of these issues are standing issues or if they are issues that find their genesis from the event. Perhaps there is a bit of inception going on in ecclesiological discussion.” I guess that is why I tend to steer clear of those types of things in the first place. I think they can be great tools for discussion, but on the flip side, it can incite further thought-provoking ideas that will only cause further disagreement. In the long run, is it more advantageous or is more detrimental? I think the latter.

    1. I agree about the further disagreement. The hope for the event is that it would model open discussion among one another and develop bridges. I hope that it does.

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