Church leaders in 65 locations around the country experienced the simulcast of The Elephant Room yesterday, an event hosted by The Gospel Coalition designed to bring open and honest conversation between well-known church leaders on topics relating to theology and practical ministry. Participants included James MacDonald, T. D. Jakes, Mark Driscoll, Jack Graham, Steven Furtick, Crawford Loritts, and Wayne Cordeiro.
Topics of conversation included the segregation of the church, what to do when a staff member has a moral failure, the future of denominations, the basics of our faith and discipleship, and how a church leader can effectively manage the stress of the ministry.
Earlier this week, James MacDonald resigned as a member of the council of The Gospel Coalition; he wrote on his blog that he held differing “methodological convictions,” but other sources said MacDonald’s resignation had much to do with the inclusion of Bishop Jakes on the speaker’s panel of The Elephant Room. An email from the executive director of MacDonald’s church, Harvest Bible Chapel, read, “Last week James was put under a lot of pressure from the leaders of The Gospel Coalition…to pull the plug on Bishop Jakes coming to the ER conference” because of Jakes’ “current doctrine” and “infighting among the black members of TGC.” According to another email to the senior leadership of Harvest Bible Chapel as quoted by The Christian Post, MacDonald resigned so he could “continue to pursue his vision of gracious conversation, face to face, as a model for how to handle disagreement in the church,” not wanting his “minor role on the Council to hinder [the organization’s] work as a whole.”