Wednesday, September 28, 2011

James MacDonald disagrees with people who think T. D. Jakes is a modalist

I learned of this bit of trivia by way of the Boar's Head Tavern resident Matthew Johnson
Among other things James MacDonald wrote the following:
... I affirm the doctrine of the Trinity as I find it in Scripture. I believe it is clearly presented but not detailed or nuanced. I believe God is very happy with His Word as given to us and does not wish to update or clarify anything that He has purposefully left opaque. Somethings are stark and immensely clear, such as the deity of Jesus Christ; others are taught but shrouded in mystery, such as the Trinity. I do not trace my beliefs to credal statements that seek clarity on things the Bible clouds with mystery. I do not require T.D. Jakes or anyone else to define the details of Trinitarianism the way that I might.

So he affirms the doctrine of the Trinity as he finds it in Scripture.  He believes it is clearly presented but not detailed or nuanced.  Nothing should be clarified that is left opaque. 

So does this mean that MacDonald is seriously laying out a precedent through his public teaching and blogging in which it is more crucial to agree with him that, say, congregational rule is Satanic and most be spoken out against more vociferously than, say, Nestorianism?  Or Docetism?  Is the Satanic nature of congregational polity that clearly spelled out in Scripture in comparison to say the fully divine and human nature of Christ?  If you don't get things nailed down along the lines of the Nicene Creed about the Trinity, well, hey, no biggie.  But you better be sure you're not advocating congregational ecclesiology or suggesting that multi-site church preaching and sacramentology might have some long-term short-comings.  Yeah, that, uh, is really reassuring there, man.  For a second I would have thought that the Trinity and how we formulate it and understand it is nothing less than a make or break issue in the Christian faith. But what do I know?  I only sat through the 2008 Doctrine series Mark Driscoll preached.

For the record, going through 10 of 27 books of the NT doesn't prove a person has any competence as an exegete or biblical scholar.  Sorry, but it's true.  A preacher can go through the whole book of Romans one verse at a time but if he's a Jehovah's Witness it's washed up. 

What people say and think about the Trinity matters astronomically more than whether or not they'll agree with James MacDonald that congregational church leadership is from Satan or that multi-site churches constitute a basis from which MacDonald can keep Mark Dever from finishing more than a single sentence.  MacDonald can say that the Trinity is a big deal and we know this is because it is true.  But just the idea that not being informed by a creedal approach about the Trinity while sticking up for the idea that congregational rule is of Satan ... that's just something I don't get.  Maybe someone can explain it to me.


chris e said...

Carl Trueman's followup is also pretty good:

Anonymous said...

Frank Turk:
Playing Nice With Heretics

Wenatchee the Hatchet said...

And then there's this