The “In” Crowd

This is a pretty devastating post by Wenatchee on Mark Driscoll’s position on running debate/discussion with T.D. Jakes. For those of you not paying attention to this little kerfluffle, Jakes is controversial to the Angry Young Calvinists or whatever we call them this week because he may or may not be a modalist. I don’t care, I actually really don’t care what Jakes thinks, but Driscoll’s been zealous about doctrine and, as Mr. The Hatchet points out, savaged Shack author William Young over not being sufficiently orthodox on the Trinity. Money quote here:

“William Young is, let us remember, a novelist and not a pastor.  He is not regarded by anyone as a pastor, or a theologian, or a spiritual authority on jack squat.  Let me reframe this a bit for further clarity, William Young self-published his one novel with a few other guys’ help (who he’s been suing, apparently) and it’s a novel.  It’s a made-up story that does not present itself as a sermon, as a catechism, as a creed, as a confessional statement, or anything other than a tale about a person.  Young never seems to have been out to create the next Nicene Creed or the next Heidelberg catechism or some Westminster Confession.  It’s just a novel, and it is to date, apparently the only novel he has published.  There may not even be a second one, folks.

T. D. Jakes, by contrast, is a megachurch pastor who has been in ministry for decades, and Driscoll believes Jakes deserves the most leniency we can muster.  Innocent until Driscoll thinks Jakes is guilty even though Driscoll seems to have not really bothered to investigate things much.”

Here I think Carl Trueman is also insightful in explaining that Jakes influence is what gets him not the harsher judgment that Paul talks about, but a free pass:

“The extremely negative reactions to my posts earlier this year on the topic of celebrification now look at best naïve, at worst special pleading by vested interests designed to distract from the obvious.  The critics of the contemporary scene need no longer argue for the distorting effect of celebrity on the church world; the actors themselves have shown everyone the reality of the case.  Only those in a state of willful denial or with a personal investment in maintaining the status quo would argue otherwise.  In reality, all that is really left to do with regard to the celebrity culture is to fix the indemnity.”

Yep folks, we’ve gone to the complete inverse, being a big-name pastor is now not a cause for someone to be heavily scrutinized, rather it’s a free pass. I was reminded of something I wrote in July, “Those at the top no longer identify with their congregation or their community, but with the other Big Name Pastors.” It’s hard not to feel cynical about this, in an era where greater grassroots community participation is possible, those at the top are trying to fix their positions and protect their authority.