This was originally posted at Modern March
Let me first commend you on your acceptance to join the furnace that is the Elephant Room. You have taken a lot of heat over the years from pastors and theologians of all ilks, and you have handled it rather gracefully just as you did today. Perhaps the greatest compliment that one can give you is that humility does not seem to be something that you struggle with.
At 22, I felt the Damascus Road calling to ministry and dropped everything that I was doing to pursue ministry. This led me to start school over and begin a Biblical Studies degree at Dallas Baptist University. Interestingly, the school at which I studied and lived is no farther than a few football fields from your church, The Potter’s House.
Being the young angry Calvinist that I was, my first inclination that was that you were a heretic and probably hated Jesus more than I hated the traffic your church creates outside of the campus gates every Sunday morning and evening. I often had thoughts of attending one of your services and later blogging from my dorm room in my underwear about what a shame to God’s cause you really were. When I heard that people were getting saved at your church from Potter’s House members that I had class with, I was praying for REAL salvation to come upon those who bought into your heresies. Want to know the funny part? I hadn’t so much as listened to a single sermon of yours.
So, I listened to a few of your messages and tried to convince myself that I didn’t like what you were saying (though I did much of the time) and was determined to believe that you were a snake oil salesman which a fancy suit that cost too much money. Of course, I was too busy arguing with Calminians at DBU to consider whether or not I was wrong about anything, much less whether or not you were the Antichrist.
Needless to say, the onus was on me – not you – to repent.
As the past few years have come and gone, I have begged the Lord with great fear to humble me and allow me to love my brothers in Christ, regardless of differences, so long as they are not denying the foundational tenets of our faith. When hearing about your inclusion in the Elephant Room, I was greatly excited to hear that you would be cross-examined about your theological beliefs. People were all over the Internet already accusing Mark Driscoll and James MacDonald of associating with a heretic who denied the Trinity, when in reality they were doing what they should: allowing a brother to defend himself in his own words. I was a little disappointed in your responses in Christianity Today regarding the Trinity, but leading up to the Elephant Room I re-read it and had to remember that the interview was 12 YEARS AGO. Chances are, you have developed and grown quite a lot since then.
At the Elephant Room, you answered the question everyone had been asking: Do you affirm the Trinity? Is there one God in three manifestations (a Oneness Pentecostal theology that you’d affirmed so long ago), or is there one God in three persons (the orthodox view)?
Your response: ” I believe the latter one is where I stand today. One God – Three Persons.”
You went on to explain that you’re not afraid of the word “manifestation” because Paul used it, which in context I agree with.
You were then asked the follow-up question by Driscoll: “Do you believe the Bible is the perfect, infallible Word of God? Do you believe God is Three Persons? Jesus is fully God and fully Man? He died on the cross for our sins? He rose from the dead? He is coming again? Apart from Jesus is no salvation?”
You response: Absolutely.
This letter is getting long and you are a busy man, so let me say this: I love and affirm you as a brother in Christ. There will be many people who parse your words from today and still doubt you. Sadly, people believe that you a) owe them an explanation satisfactory only to them, and b) that you’re probably still a heretic even though they can’t name a theological reason why. I don’t agree hardly at all with your methodology or even sometimes your exegesis, but I know this – you are the real deal and I can learn a lot about loving Jesus and loving others from you.
Praying for you,