James MacDonald has just submitted his resignation as a council member of TGC (The Gospel Coalition). This is of course good news to hear given MacDonald's recent compromise of the Gospel message. It is however sad that his resignation has to come from him, instead of him being admonished by the other council members who should have the intestinal fortitude to rebuke MacDonald for his compromise (c.f. Titus 1:9). Yes, TGC is not a denomination, which is why I did not ask for them to discipline him. But rebuking those who contradict sound doctrine (in either word or deed) is not limited to those with same church affiliation or the lack thereof.
Pastor Ken Silva has received an interesting email on this issue. As it states in part,
Last week James was put under a lot of pressure from leaders of The Gospel Coalition, a reformed group of about 50 pastors he has fellowshipped with for the past few years. They were asking that he 'pull the plug' on Bishop Jakes coming to the Elephant Room (ER) conference. Their reasons are rooted in weak evidence of Jakes' current doctrine and infighting among the black members of the Gospel Coalition who have deep seeded resentments. Crawford Loritts is the black pastor who spoke at James' 50th birthday and is also a council member of the Gospel Coalition. Crawford is participating in this ER conference because he believes in what James is doing and has stepped forward to help. All that to say, not even Gospel Coalition members are unanimous in the opposition, but certain influential men have rallied to pressure James to cancel Bishop Jakes. After prayer and counsel with other Christian Leaders and some of our Elders, James believes it is best to simply resign from the Gospel Coalition and continue to pursue his vision of gracious conversation, face to face, as a model for how to handle disagreement in the church.
I wonder, is this how Christians should navigate doctrinal disagreements? I understand the desire to correct a brother behind closed doors, and the desire not to be seen fighting in public. But firstly, MacDonald's error is public. Secondly, MacDonald refuses to repent of his sin. Are we engage in the same type of staff relationships that secular corporations engage in?
The only person who spoke up publicly is Thabiti Anyabwile and for that he has my respect. At least he understands (in this particular instance) how damaging MacDonald's compromise has on the witness of the Church. If only Carson and Keller were of the same caliber! But of course, New Evangelicals will be New Evangelicals, regardless if they are called the National Association of Evangelicals, Fuller Seminary or The Gospel Coalition. I guess I should not have high expectations of them.