‘No more sectarian Jesus’, was the catch-cry of the original Elephant Room meetings, started six years ago, where recognised ministers from different Christian streams were invited to discuss issues and differences of the day in a civil manner – as brothers in the Lord.
It was controversial, and gathered flack from the usual critics. Missing the point completely, the polemicists argued that there were people from different streams discussing issues. For them, then, as today, the only ‘qualified’ speakers had to be from the same stream – theirs.
The Elephant Room 2 was even more controversial. It included T D Jakes. The polemicists went ballistic for months. Their issue was over the doctrine of the Trinity, despite the fact that many other issues were discussed.
The discussion was lost in the one-eyed nature of the critical response. The claim was that Jakes never really affirmed a belief in the Trinity during the discussion, nor rejected the Oneness Pentecostal position. That debate still rages.
The whole point of the exercise was lost in the sound of polemicist dissent. The Elephant Room discussions became an anachronism.
But the thing was that the men in the Elephant Room discussions were from different understandings of scripture discussing their differences with an aim of ending schism.
Did this work? For some it did, for many it merely highlighted the ongoing divisions in some quarters of the Body. The unwitting schismists on the polemicist sites won the day, or so they thought.
High on the list of dissenters are the intransigent polemicists. These people come and go. After all, they have to sustain a blog presence these days, and that means a constant stream of fresh material.
As they are mostly negative in their approach towards others in ministry, they need a single-minded, sardonic attitude to many people in the Church. Finding fresh material means using online search engines chasing unedifying search phrases that lead to controversial rabbit trails.
The level of cynicism is astounding, and would be psychologically demanding to a rational person. They are classic schismists in the mould of religious legalists, though they claim to be spiritually discerning.
It was inevitable that they would not be able, by their insular rigidity, to grasp the point of The Elephant Room discussions.
Against Drs Brown & White
So, being unable to understand the basic premise of The Elephant Room discussions, you’d think the polemicists would leave it all alone as a bad idea altogether, but, no, they are steaming ahead with their own, somewhat compromised, version.
Elephant Room 3, then, is an exercise by the Pulpit & Pen crew that pulls in ‘NAR polemicists’ from all over the world, or so they claim. So far, reams of material from only one anonymous polemicist has been used.
The difference is that, rather than invite ministers from a variety of doctrinal persuasions, they are inviting a group of like-minded polemicists into a discussion about two men who are not invited to the party.
So neither Dr Brown nor James White has the opportunity to put their case before the Elephant Room 3 judiciary committee. They are going to talk about them, not with them, completely against the original intention of The Elephant Room discussions.
This is surely a scam. It is taking the original concept of the Elephant Room, which brought together leaders from different streams to discuss issues and doctrine that they may have had disagreement over, and turning The Elephant Room 3 into a gossip club that decries or defames two men who are not present to defend themselves.
This is not a discussion in the same mode as the Elephant Rooms 1 and 2. This is a group of people getting together to level accusations at two brothers in the Lord. It is a beat-up.
False anonymous claims
In the build-up to Elephant Room 3, Pulpit & Pen have been publishing a series of articles from the anonymous churchwatchcentral blog. Most of the articles have dubious content that bends history and creates links that never actually existed, and is mainly an attempt to list hundreds of charismatic and Pentecostal leaders as ‘NAR Apostles’.
Yet Pulpit & Pen have taken this in and are using this anonymous contribution as the opening gambit in their dubious discussion.
None of this is in the spirit of the Elephant Room discussions. They have used the title ‘The Elephant Room 3’ as a click-bait to attract the curious and those who would like a third discussion along the lines of the previous two.
Name your source
Before I knew who the ‘NAR polemicists’ from all over the world might turn out to be, I suggested that the material from churchwatchcentral would be the main criteria for the beat-up, and challenged Pulpit & Pen to name their sources, including the main writer at churchwatchcentral. They have, thus far, failed to do so.
Therefore, their main protagonist, so far, is disqualified. Let him put a name to his claims, or be named in the discussion as it takes place, otherwise, surely, his material is null, and the whole scam will be shown to be a sham.
Naming respected ministers in an unprecedented attack on their character and ministry when hiding behind a pseudonym is very poor form. Joining in with this subterfuge is just as shoddy, and irresponsible.
Most of the contributors at Pulpit & Pen are known, even if, recently, some have chosen to write under the pen-name ‘News Division’. If they are to retain any kind of discernment credibility, they should name their source if they are going to proceed with this divisive charade.