Voddie Baucham, Pastor of Preaching at Grace Family Baptist Church in Spring, Texas, has released a blog post in which he explains why he turned down an invitation to participate in the second round of The Elephant Room, held Jan. 25.
The Elephant Room, a theological roundtable featuring blunt conversations among seven influential pastors, generated a noted level of controversy due to the invitation of Bishop T.D. Jakes, founder and senior pastor of The Potter’s House in Dallas, to participate in the discussions. Jakes has been accused of heresy by some in the Christian community for his affiliation with modalism, which explains the Godhead in non-Trinitarian terms.
Pastor Baucham described in his blog that it was that very issue that led him to decline the invitation by Pastor MacDonald, who moderated The Elephant Room discussions along with Pastor Mark Driscoll. Baucham is also a member of The Gospel Coaltion, a committee of Christian leaders from which MacDonald resigned before The Elephant Room roundtable, amid speculation that his resignation was linked to Jakes’ presence at the event. Although the Grace Family Baptist Church pastor identified other concerns he had over participating at the conference, such as not “fitting in” with the other megachurch pastors due to his relatively small congregation of 500, and because he does not appear regularly on TV events and radio shows, his main issue was with being a part of a conference that welcomed Jakes as a “brother.”
Baucham also noted that the “Word of Faith” gospel that he believes Jakes preaches is “heterodox and harmful.” The Southern Baptist minister also claimed that Jakes’ influence in the Dallas Metroplex has been “negative, at best” and that The Potter’s House bishop is an example of “the worst the black church has to offer.”
“He has brought a charismatic, theatrical, excessive, ‘Word of Faith’ flavor to the city that permeates many churches (especially black churches),” Baucham elaborated, saying that he has seen firsthand the influence Jakes has had on Texas communities.
“Even if Jakes had come out with a statement on the doctrine of the Trinity, it would not have done anything to change the fact that he preaches ‘another gospel.’ (Gal 1:8–9) Having studied the ‘Word of Faith’ movement, and seen the devastation it leaves in its wake, I was disinclined to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the man who has been this country’s most popular purveyor of this heresy in the past two decades,” the pastor continued.
This debate is heating up quickly!