Catalyst Conference Organizers: You Should be Better Shepherds.

Really, Catalyst?  you are doing it again.  Bringing in TD Jakes is a mistake.  I recently wrote a piece on the secrecy of his financial practices, but the real issue I have with Bishop Jakes being invited to speak at Catalyst lies in the fact that he does not hold to the historical doctrine of the Trinity.

Modalism, the belief that God manifests himself in three ways, like the popular “water, ice, vapor” analogy, has been declared a heresy since the third century.  Yet Bishop Jakes, in a hat-tip to his Oneness Pentecostal-influenced upbringing, still holds to that heresy today.  Oneness Pentecostals hold to a heretical doctrine.

There are only one or two doctrines that I will stand up and fight for.  The Trinity is one of them.  Bishop Jakes, in response to being called a modalist, affirmed the “water, ice, vapor” analogy.  That’s like making a case against the use of technology, via email.

Why, Catalyst?  Why invite him to speak?  What benefit could the next generation of Christian leaders have from hearing from him?  He rejects one of the most foundational doctrines of Christianity!

If you are interested in a fair report done by a respected website, check out CARM’s Article on TD Jakes.

I’d really love to hear a response from the organizers and leaders of Catalyst, like Brad Lomenick.  I know, little old is probably not going to get a response from Catalyst.  But it’s worth a shot.  They are supposed to be shepherds, and they’ve let a(nother) wolf into the sheepfold.

*UPDATE* After having been privately asked to back up my claim that Bishop Jakes holds to modalism, I wanted to pass along two articles from CRI (The ministry of Hank Hanegraaff, popularly known as the “Bible Answer Man”)  The first is very long, but I feel like it is fair.  Find it here. The Second is a followup to that article, and much shorter.  Find it here.  The simple fact is that no matter what you call it, it’s modalism.

*UPDATE 2* Just got a call from Brad Lomenick, the lead guy over at Catalyst (that’s also his comment down there), and while he asked for privacy regarding the actual content of our call, I will let you know that I am relatively comfortable with their stance on why to bring in guys like TD Jakes and Rob Bell, and it has moved it to an “agree to disagree” issue for me.  I’d still not bring him in, but I respect his decision to.  After all, they didn’t ask my opinion for a reason.  I also want to note that I should have emailed him first, as opposed to publicly blasting him. (though it was never my heart to blast, just asking an honest question.)

5 Replies to “Catalyst Conference Organizers: You Should be Better Shepherds.”

  1. I was just studying up on Oneness Pents/Modalism as I am preaching on the Holy Spirit on Sunday, Jakes was a name that popped up. Sorry to hear Cat is looking the other way.

  2. I generally don’t like posts like this.

    The staggering momentum of our culture is pointed towards applauding those who can find fault rather than applauding those who take risks and try things.

    I used to subscribe to a handful of ‘watchdog’ blogs and I realized that I always ended up angry after reading them — usually more at their willingness to criticize and judge people who they had never met than at the ‘problem’ being identified.

    BUT, all that said, I think this is a really legit concern.

    Rob Bell promotes an understanding of the Bible that, in the end, makes it say almost anything we want it to, and I believe that with very genuine intentions, he might be leading a whole lot of folks to hell.

    And Jakes seems to be the same kind of guy. Even more than his rejection of the trinity, his ‘prosperity gospel’ tendencies completely disqualify him based on my understanding of the scriptures.

    I’m also not surprised at all that Catalyst would invite him. I’ve been very confused for the past couple of years about where their foundation lies. I know the theoretical mission is christian leadership, but it seems like they just make a bunch of ‘christian’ rockstars.

    A catalyst is, by definition, an element that you add to a process to speed it up. My question is: what is the catalyst movement a catalyst for? If it’s the Gospel, then why add confusion? And why do most of the sermons have more to do with production than Jesus.
    If not the Gospel, then… What’s the point?

    1. Thanks for the perspective on “applauding those who find fault.” That’s a good word, and my heart inclines toward that sin of mudslinging. I just have grave concerns for an organization like Catalyst, because I think they are doing some neat stuff, and I’d want them to justify to the world bringing in questionable teachers.
      I’m not slinging mud. Thanks for your comment.

  3. hey Ben- happy to have a conversation with you about this. i sent you an email so we can talk. thanks.

    1. As a follower of both your blogs, I’m proud of both of you. Ben, I agree with your concerns, and thought TD Jakes was an odd choice for the conference. Brad, I really respect you calling Ben. You could have ignored him. Way to man up. Leadership inherently means there will be people who will disagree with you and your decisions, and while you probably cannot address every disagreement with every person, especially in a wired and very connected Christian community, it was good of you to contact Ben.

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