The recent resignation of a prominent pastor from a parachurch organization raises questions about the role such organizations can and should play within evangelicalism.
James MacDonald, pastor of the six-campus Harvest Bible Chapel, abruptly resigned from the Gospel Coalition on January 24 because of "methodological differences." MacDonald told Christianity Today his resignation was partly prompted by an invitation he extended to popular black preacher T. D. Jakes to appear in a debate event MacDonald sponsors.
Many evangelicals have accused Jakes of heretical views of the Trinity and of preaching a prosperity gospel theology. Observers questioned his planned appearance at MacDonald's conference, the Elephant Room, when MacDonald extended an invitation to Jakes last fall.
"I think what it really came down to was, I felt that what I was doing was right," said MacDonald, who said he wasn't expecting the backlash. "I wasn't going to be pressured into uninviting [Jakes] under any circumstances."
MacDonald said he wants to help Jakes approach an orthodox view of the Trinity.
"I don't think that throwing grenades in his lap as he seeks to ascend the hill of biblical orthodoxy represents the behavior ethic of Christ," he said. "I believe that face-to-face conversation between people in the family of God is a way of advancing the mission of unity that Christ gave to us."
The Elephant Room is a day-long event where pastors discuss theological beliefs. Jakes said at the January gathering that he has moved away from a "Oneness" view of the Godhead and embraces an orthodox definition of the Trinity.
In a statement a week after MacDonald resigned, Gospel Coalition leaders Tim Keller and D. A. Carson disagreed with MacDonald's approach ...