I’m not there, but I wanted to weigh in on Catalyst, and ask some honest questions.  Please hear that my heart is not to criticize, but to honestly ask.

I am a little surprised to see Rob Bell on the list of speakers for Catalyst.  I’ve written before about Rob, and what I think of the one book of his that I’ve read.  After a quick perusal of the recommended reading on his website, it seems that he puts more stock in Judaism than Christianity.  Having a Jewish understanding of the scriptures (unless it is a messianic perspective) simply means that you are listening to people who disagreed with Jesus on his most fundamental issue (his own identity—that he was and is God in the flesh, sent to save sinful, broken people).  That’s a pretty shaky hermeneutic.

So I wonder why Catalyst would have him come and speak.  I do not argue that he is a gifted communicator, and a passionate guy.  I’m not throwing stones at the guy, but I think that some of his teachings are dangerous (at worst) or confusing (at best).  Surely the organizers of the conference are aware of the uproar the mention of his name causes in evangelical culture.  Yet they brought him anyway.

The other issue that has me shaking my head is the use of the TNIV on the Youversion Live event for Andy Stanley’s talk.  This may simply be a technological deal, and they are unaware that it is using a gender-inclusive, highly controversial “translation” of the original languages.  If it’s just an oversight, that’s fine.  But if it’s an intentional choice, I have to question it.  Why go with that translation?  The NIV works just fine (and carries almost no connotative baggage even for more conservative biblical scholars), or the ESV, or the NAS, or the NKJV, or even a paraphrase like The Message.  Using the TNIV (intentionally) is a blatant theological statement.

Those are my questions.  Id love for some folks who are/were there to weigh in.  More than that, I’d love if some of the organizers could weigh in and explain these choices to me.

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.)