"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

The Problems with Elephant Room II Are the Elephants in the Room



Christian blogs keep me informed. Enid, Oklahoma is the geographical center of the United States, but it is definitely not the geopolitical, cultural, or religious center of the world. Enid's isolation from major metropolitan areas does not mean that Christians in Enid cannot be kept informed on what is happening in the world at large. The Burlesons have access to Enid's free city WiFi Network and can connect at home to high speed cable Internet. The world and information about God's people and His church are brought to us via the computer. The 21st century has become the 15th century all over again in terms of reformation and revolution. In AD 1440 the German Johaness Gutenberg (1398 - 1468) invented the printing press. Prior to his invention, information spread by word of mouth, a very slow process in a foot and horse age, and by handwritten books. Prior to the 15th century scrolls or books were either written or copied by hand. Only the very wealthy or wise possessed these precious manuscripts. When Johaness Gutenberg invented the printing press the modern information age began.  Men like Martin Luther and Erasmus became famous because Gutenberg's press turned their handwritten theological treatises into thousands of books available to the comman man. Luther's handwritten 95 Theses Against the Sale of Indulgences, pinned on the door of Wittenberg Castle, was printed and distributed throughout Europe. The Reformation of the church had begun. The Age of Enlightenment was possible because of the Gutenberg Press. By 1620 English author and philosopher Francis Bacon would write that the press "has changed the whole face and state of things throughout the world." The spread of information became so critical to a fast changing world that the machine gave its name to the very people who informed others of what was taking place--the press.

The Internet is the modern Gutenberg press. Bloggers are the modern press. Powerful information is being spread quickly, seamlessly, and effectively.  Religious leaders are being caught in their lies. Sexual predators are being caught in their crimes. False teachers are being exposed for their greed. Powerful religious leaders are being challenged about their desire to control. Religious denominations are being confronted with their hypocrisy. Information is power, and the power has shifted from leaders who control the flow of what they want the people to know, to the people who are capable of bringing down leaders. Christian leaders are trying to adapt, but many are caught off guard by the public criticisms. For men who have cacooned themselves in a protective environment, surrounded by sycophants who fawn over their leaders, the only way to handle criticism is to denounce those who deliver it. Matt Chandler has said bloggers should be dismissed as legitimate critics because "they live with their moms," a surprisingly short-sighted slam by a pastor who should know better. Perry Noble, Mark Driscoll, Stephen Furtick and a host of modern mega-star preachers have said similar things about bloggers. Interestingly, these men and a handful of other Christian leaders are getting together to discuss the modern church in meetings they have come to call The Elephant Room. These meetings are designed for "Any pastor or student or motivated disciple who is serious about theological ideas and how they shape methodology. Not purely pragmatic or theoretical, the conversations hope to stir changes of mind and retrench long held beliefs. A great event for teams and groups, the conversations are a starting point for important conversations." Elephant Room II is being held January 25, 2012 and will be able to viewed in locations all across the United States. What I find interesting is that most of those who are either participating in hosting or leading the Elephant Room discussions have been critical of the modern-day Guttenberg press--blogs. So, with just six weeks left until Elephant Room II, and in the spirit of the Elephant Room's purpose statement, the following questions are designed to point out the Elephants in the Elephant Room.
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(1). Why are you charging $99 for those who view this session?
(2). If 10,000 people from across the United States view Elephant Room II, where does the one million dollars collected go?
(3). How much money do the leaders and speakers of the Elephant Room make for doing the program?
(4). If your purpose is "to stir changes of mind and retrench long held beliefs," why is it that you criticize those who seek to "stir changes of mind and retrench long held beliefs" of your own ministries?
(5). Have you ever considered the fact that your charges against "the establishment" in Christianity are now ringing hollow because you have become the establishment in the minds and hearts of a younger generation, and you have taken up the same practices of former establishments by denigrating your critics?
(6). Would each of you disclose how much salary and benefits you take in from your church and how much money you make in the sale of your books, tied to the messages that you preach at your church?
(7). Do you double-dip your salaries by earning a income from contributions of church members and then keep the royalties of your books that you sale, books that are products of  the hours you work for your church?
(8). Why do you consider it God-honoring and biblical when you curse from the pulpit or use sexually vulgar or crass idioms to get a point across?
(9). Does your congregation grow in size because people feel they have been entertained when they leave your church, or are people truly growing in their understanding of the truth of God's Word through your teaching?
(10). Why do the speakers in your Elephant Room all look the same, dress the same, talk the same, and view Christian ministry the same as if there is only one correct way to do Christian ministry in our culture?
(11). Where are the women in the Elephant Room?
(12). Do you consider the message of God's grace through Jesus Christ and His blood redemption of sinners at Calvary an optional message on Sundays?
(13). If you have 30,000 people who come to an Easter egg hunt on Easter Sunday morning, what difference does that egg hunt make in the lives of those 30,000 on Monday morning?
(14). Why do the men in the Elephant Room seem so thin-skinned when it comes to people who question them?
(15). Is it possible that the questions being asked in the Elephant Room are softball questions designed by the people who have created the Elephant Room, and that the actual questions that need to be asked are those designed to reveal the elephants in the Elephant Room?

(Update: Luke McDonald has answered each of my fifteen questions in the comment section. I wish to express my appreciation for his responses and encourage everyone to read what he has to say and note the tone and manner in which he has responded. All of us, including other participants in the Elephant Room, could learn from his example.)
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I can guarantee that the attention of more than a few bloggers are now on Elephant Room II.

76 comments:

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Wade, you ask where the million dollars is going.

I have no idea, but guess the last name of the guy who is the "director" of the "Elephant Room" event?

MacDonald. Luke MacDonald. Perhaps Luke would tell us where the million dollars is going, and how much the participants are paid.

Another great gig for a relative of a mega church rock star.

I would hope pastors would tell FBC Jax that they will not attend their pastor's conference this year in protest of this event being a part of the pastor's conference.

Anonymous said...

Q: "Why are you charging $99.00 for those who view this session?"

A: That is for the cheap seats only. If you want to watch Elephant Room II LIVE at MacDonald's Harvest Bible Chapel, the tickets are $379.00 each - a bargain, certainly.

Anonymous said...

CORRECTION: Tickets are $349.00, not $379.

Know What I'm Talking About said...

This link describes anyone who is willing to pay $349 to watch Elephant in the Room LIVE.

Anonymous said...

When MacDonald's Elephant Room II circus was first announced (Your Ringside Seat Awaits), one of three big names, Mark Dever, was supposed to be a participant. Now, it appears that Dever's name has been scrubbed from the circus website. What happened?

Anonymous said...

Dever's dilemma is clear. Identify with Elephant Room or stay in the good graces of others who are beginning to back away from the Elephants.

Anonymous said...

They are Tetzels (they have a corner on the Gospel). Listen to them ("the church") and you might obtain salvation for your souls (as long as you pay the indulgences ($349.)).

Bill

Anonymous said...

I think many of these comments were taken out of context, for example, Matt Chandler and the video clip there...
If you have just a bit of background listening to Chandler, you would know most of the time he references wolves, it is in cases such as ungodly men coming into a pastors flock as wolves looking for a nice girl, and it is the pastor's duty to point them out and deal with them... This is 100% Biblical, and a duty of the pastor. Chandler's beef (you won't get this from watching a few seconds of out of context remarks) is that pastors do not do this today. They let the congregations deal with it, when the pastor is charged with his flock's protection.

Hence, yes! Pastors do need to do this! They cannot sit by and just hope the congregation deals with it.

It is a shame when a pastor strips the Bible of context and it is equally of shame when they strip each other of context.

wadeburleson.org said...

Anonymous,

Thanks for your comment. I am more than happy to receive your correction of my comment about Matt Chandler. I did listen to the video. Twice.

My question for you is simple: If I accept your defense of Matt Chandler and the context of his comment, what in the world does "bloggers live with their mothers" have to do with properly handling criticism?

I am not unfamiliar with leaders criticizing bloggers. I am also not unfamiliar with backtracks when stupid comments are made. I stand by what I wrote in my post.

Matt Chandler's comment was extremely short-sighted, and regardless of context, it is a stupid comment to make.

Anonymous said...

Wade, I can find the audited finances and salaries of some of these pastors on their church website, where is yours?

Not that I care how much a pastor makes, as long as he lives within his means... I just find it odd you call these other pastors out on financial transparency when as far as I can tell, they are far more open than your own!

Anonymous said...

"what in the world does "bloggers live with their mothers" have to do with properly handling criticism?"
Nothing, and I myself was not sure what he meant. Chandler uses humor heavily. I do not think, given the context of what he teaches, you can hang him on that one comment. Perhaps it was a terrible attempt at humor, I am not sure. I do not think we can ignore everything else he has said on this matter and only leave "living with their moms" as what we weigh him with.

He may have even been making a greater comment on bloggers in general, that strip Scripture of context, and it was just what came to mind.

I am not sure, these are just guesses. I think it foolish to ignore everything else he says and leave only one case of ill chosen wit to define him.

I am 100% on board with your greater message, here, I just think the examples have been taken out of context, I do not think the attack on it quite warranted.

Anonymous said...

Anybody know how to photoshop out there?

Take that photo and put a spread of peacock feathers attached to each of their bottoms. May as well. For $349, or $99 for the video, we can all watch them strut around with their tough-guy grimaces and macho attitudes, totally enamoured with their own puffed-up images.

Matthew Lautensack said...

8) depends on the situation.
10) they don't if you know how far left and right some of the speakers are both culturally and theologically, Platt is not the same as Furtick.
11) it's discussion about pastorship by pastors, since women aren't biblically qualified to be pastors they won't be speaking at this event.
12) No. But just like a pure diamond there are many facets and many different angles to view it from.
14) I think this one depends on who's questioning them and why.

I know I'm not a member of the elephant room panel and some of the questions are softballs. I am also not pleased with TD Jakes being invited to speak as he is by definition not a Christian. However some of the topics and buttons pushed in the first elephant room were good such as the Chandler/Furtick topic. So just because the discussion has some flaws doesn't mean it isn't worth viewing or engaging with.

Matthew Lautensack said...

One more thing I believe Chandler was saying by his comment that most of his blogging critics are 25+ years old and still live with their moms. He was basically saying they need to man up, get a job, move out, and do something with their lives. They are basically children that can shave. At least that was my interpretation of hid comment. Now it certainly isn't true of all bloggers but that's besides the point.

wadeburleson.org said...

Anonymous 5:50,

I believe in absolute transparency regarding salaries for any pastor in the ministry, including my own. Our Personnel and Finance Committees do not place our itemized budget on our website. Any church member who desires to know the compensation of any and all staff members can receive that information from the Personnel chairman upon request. I have long argued that our salaries should be public, but the Personnel Committee, long before my tenure as pastor of Emmanuel (beginning twenty years ago), made it church policy (approved by the church) that all salaries of our staff (from custodians to secretaries to pastors) will be lumped together in our Personnel budget. In the most recent official national church compensation survey for Senior Pastor positions at churches our size I came in just below the 50% level, meaning half of the pastors in churches our size make more and half of the pastors of churches our size make less. Finally, our church just went through a very thorough audit which will be presented at our quarterly business meeting in January. The Finance Committee reported at the last Leadership Team meeting that the auditor, a large and accomplished firm out of Oklahoma Ciy, had high praise for the way our church handles finances.

I have nothing to do with church finances. I can't sign checks. I don't count the offering, and I do not sit in on Finance Committee meetings. I trust that answers your questions and next time you ask let me encourage you to set aside your embarrassment or shame and put your name with your question. The righteous are as bold as a lion.

wadeburleson.org said...

Anonymous 6:02,

You wrote: "I am 100% on board with your greater message, here, I just think the examples have been taken out of context, I do not think the attack on it quite warranted."

I'm glad we have connected on the greater message. Our definition of "attack" may be a tad different. I don't feel I am attacking. I asked my questions out of curiousity and maybe to temper some lauditory praises about the Elephant Room without thinking through some important considerations.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Matthew: Perry Noble said that he did not raise up internet bloggers to say who wolves are and are not. He thinks only pastors, elders, of the church are to do this if there is any. I think he's dead wrong.

Matt Chandler said: Don't bring up internet bloggers in here and then proceeded to say the rest of his statement.

Debbie Kaufman said...

That should say, Perry Noble said he did not think God raised up bloggers to call out the wolves based on personal preference etc. Typing too fast. :)

Anonymous said...

While I think the whole Elephant Room thing disgusting, I also find your cheap shots just about as bad. Seems you can find something about women in everything you see and for you to criticize them about not posting their salaries when you know your's won't be posted is a bit of hypocrisy. You do come off as a bit of a Pharisee.

Wanda (Deb) Martin said...

Wade,

Thanks so much for exposing the elephants in The Elephant Room.

I just checked to see who will be hosting it in North Carolina (where I live). There are two locations:

(1) Elevation Church in Charlotte (Steven Furtick's church)

(2) Vintage 21 in Raleigh (an Acts 29 church)

My family and I attended Vintage 21 once last year, and it is definitely modeled after Mark Driscoll's church on a much smaller scale. (The contemporary service at your church was much more enjoyable BTW).

Because the student registration fee is somewhat reasonable ($29), I believe they are targeting a young, impressionable audience. I would imagine that quite a few college and seminary students from Southeastern will be attending.

Liberty University is also hosting The Elephant Room, which supports my theory.

There is one church in Oklahoma participating.

Registration - Locations for The Elephant Room

wadeburleson.org said...

Thanks Wanda!

wadeburleson.org said...

Anonymous 8:43,

I have been called many things at many times for many reasons, but Pharisee is usually not in the mix, at least for me! Laughing. Thanks for commenting.

Wanda (Deb) Martin said...

Let's not forget that it was Matt Chandler who called an anonymous critic a Narcissistic Zero.

These guys can dish it out, but they sure can't take it. They really ought to spend less time in the limelight because their flaws are showing.

Wanda (Deb) Martin said...

From the Elephant Room website:

Bring a Group To Elephant Room 2

"We have received a lot of inquiries from churches looking to bring their staff or professors looking to bring a whole class. We would love to work out a rate to help you bring a whole group. The event will make for great conversation about organizational values and practical beliefs. We heard from lots of people that the last round stirred a lot of important talk in their team.
If you would like to inquire about bringing a group, email us at info@theelephantroom.org"

Oh yeah, I see what's going on...

Tom Kelley said...

All good questions, Wade. They do indeed fit in with the spirit of the Elephant Room's purpose statement, which sounds similar to points you've made on your blog (such as maintaining a commitment to the essentials together with openness to those with different viewpoints on non-essentials, etc.)

They can be sure that bloggers and others will continue to ask the hard questions they seem unwilling to ask of themselves.

From theelephantroom.com:

The Elephant Room is more than an event. It is the outgrowth of an idea. The idea that the best way forward for the followers of Jesus lies not in crouching behind walls of disagreement but in conversation among all kinds of leaders about what the scriptures actually teach. We must insist on the biblical Gospel, right doctrine and practice but not isolate ourselves from relationship even with those who believe much differently.

These are conversations about the most Christ honoring ways of building a church. Our goal is unity, however a true unity cannot be fashioned in pretense or denial of truth nor can it be won among those who prefer sectarianism to the unity Jesus prayed for. To advance Christ’s call to unity we must do what men have always done, we must push and prod and challenge and sharpen each other’s beliefs and methods. Fidelity and fruitfulness, both matter. No one has a corner on the truth and methods must do more than ‘work.’

What if we created a new ‘tribe?’ A tribe based on being humble enough to listen and reconsider what the Scriptures actually say. A tribe that holds the essential tenets of the faith with a ferocious intensity and is open handed with everything else. Maybe, together, we can create a new center? A place where we are for everything the bible demands and demand nothing that scriptures are silent about. Look for guests from all places and belief systems. Don’t be surprised if you hear a conversation with someone that offends you or denies the faith as you see it. Don’t be shocked if you hear conversations with world religion leaders, or criminals or sinners of every variety, “such were some of us.” If the conversation can be helpful, clarifying, insistent or illuminating, or if we hope it will be . . . you will find it in the Elephant Room.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Here is Chandler blasting anonymous critics, calling them "narcissistic zeros".

Anonymous said...

Re: Finances

If the pastors of these churches also have committees which have opted to not publish their salaries, do they get a pass?
It seems that this is your pass. Does it ring true for these other pastors?
If so, your church being modeled the same way: why were they called out for something they do not control?

Anonymous said...

Re: Finances

If the pastors of these churches also have committees which have opted to not publish their salaries, do they get a pass?
It seems that this is your pass. Does it ring true for these other pastors?
If so, your church being modeled the same way: why were they called out for something they do not control?

Anonymous said...

FBC Jax,
Odd, you aren't a fan of Chandler's dislike of anonymous critics, and yet seemingly are of Wade: "next time you ask let me encourage you to set aside your embarrassment or shame and put your name with your question. The righteous are as bold as a lion."

Perhaps the support of anonymous critics changes depending on agreement of the topic at hand?

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

11:36 - sorry, didn't catch your name. What was it? Mine is Tom.

wadeburleson.org said...

Anonymous,

I believe Tom Rich above all individuals has shown 'support' for anonymous critics. His experience, by the way, has softened my approach toward those who wish to remain anonymous.

You are more than free to remain anonymous. I think you miss my point. Criticism from those who make themselves known is powerful and transformational to the recipient. "If that guy (or gal) is courageous enough to put their identity behind what they say, then they must truly love and care for me and want what is best for me." The only reason you should remain anonymous is if you feel the potential of retaliation for speaking out. It probably is more a reflection on me that you feel the need to remain anonymous and I will do my best to show you that questions you ask are legitimate and there is no reason to hide.

wadeburleson.org said...

Anonymous,

One other thought. When I find myself tempted to post a comment anonymously it is because I have something at stake in the discussion. I don't want to be perceived as self-serving or defensive, so I wish to comment anonymously. That temptation to be anonymous is usually a check in my spirit that I ought not post a comment because if I were to post it anonymously, my motives would not be God-honoring.

Anonymous said...

This whole concept seems to be Narcissism on parade to me. They just cannot get enough of themselves.

Jack Watts wrote about this...this problem of Self Deprecating Narcissists in Ministry. It seems to be epic in proportions and amazing how few see it because they love to follow man and have their human spiritual heros.


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jack-watts/selfdeprecating-narcissis_b_843434.html

The internet is really showing some of us that many of these celebrity Chritians are empty suits. They would have found a stage and audience somewhere.

Lydia

Anonymous said...

Wade,

Since you know the amount of your salary why don't you post it on here. This isn't your church and your budget committee isn't overseeing what you print.

After all, you do want openness and transparency.

wadeburleson.org said...

Anonymous, I can't give you my exact salary because of Personnel Committee policy, but I will tell you that my salary is less than $75,000 and more than $50,000 plus housing and benefits. Hope that helps. Blessings to you.

Brett said...

Anonymous,

You are a coward.

wadeburleson.org said...

Brett,

I accept that anonymous is desiring true transparency and trust that his efforts will be consistent across the board. :)

lukemac said...

Hi Wade (and others).Luke MacDonald E-Room Director here. I saw your post last night and wanted to respond to your questions as best as I can.

(1). Why are you charging $99 for those who view this session?

The price was originally $59 until a certain and then $79 until just recently. The first E-Room lost money before the DVD sales. I have found that the technology and other costs (lunch, promotion, web support, etc.) really add up when you factor across 70+ sites. We have a student rate of $29 to try and engage as many college/seminary students as possible. Hope that helps.

(2). If 10,000 people from across the United States view Elephant Room II, where does the one million dollars collected go?

There is little chance that that amount will come in. Like noted above hundreds and hundreds of people registered at significantly reduced rates. Additionally, if the event ends up cash positive, all the money will go towards expanding the ministry of Walk in the Word into more radio stations and more places.

(3). How much money do the leaders and speakers of the Elephant Room make for doing the program?

All the speakers receive a generous but not outrageous honorarium for their time with the exception of Pastor James MacDonald who receives nothing.

(4). If your purpose is "to stir changes of mind and retrench long held beliefs," why is it that you criticize those who seek to "stir changes of mind and retrench long held beliefs" of your own ministries?

I am not sure that I agree with the question. While I obviously can’t speak for all the speakers or people involved, we have tried to acknowledge that at least some of the criticism from this event was brought on by our lack of clarity. http://jamesmacdonald.com/blog/?p=9292
We definitely don’t handle criticism perfectly, but are aiming to grow in humility and grace.

(5). Have you ever considered the fact that your charges against "the establishment" in Christianity are now ringing hollow because you have become the establishment in the minds and hearts of a younger generation, and you have taken up the same practices of former establishments by denigrating your critics?

I am not sure that I totally understand the questions and who it is specifically directed to, but we have never tried to make hammering ‘the establishment’ anything to strive after. We have received immense blessing from the generations that have come before, and truthfully with the splintering of tribes in the internet age, I am not even sure anymore who ‘the establishment’ would be.

lukemac said...

6). Would each of you disclose how much salary and benefits you take in from your church and how much money you make in the sale of your books, tied to the messages that you preach at your church?

I think the reasons I won’t answer this question have been well covered in the comments here already. I will say that all of our (Elephant Room, Walk in the Word, Harvest Bible Chapel) ministries have yearly audits and high scores from all evangelical financial evaluators.

(

(9). Does your congregation grow in size because people feel they have been entertained when they leave your church, or are people truly growing in their understanding of the truth of God's Word through your teaching?
O
ur church definitely prayerfully hopes the latter is true of us. Entertainment is of little value to us as it is easy to find everywhere and not a biblically honoring way to build a church.
(10). Why do the speakers in your Elephant Room all look the same, dress the same, talk the same, and view Christian ministry the same as if there is only one correct way to do Christian ministry in our culture?

I am not sure how to answer this exactly. We have a pretty good cross section of old/young, black/white/asian, TBN/Gospel Coalition/Seeker-ish/Southern Baptist. Obviously not everything is represented, but I feel we have a pretty good cross section.

(11). Where are the women in the Elephant Room?

Although the organizers are unapologetically complementarion, we will probably have some women in future rounds. With only 7 participants, you can’t get every combo every time. This round our aim was to be much more racially diverse and I believe that has been achieved.
(12). Do you consider the message of God's grace through Jesus Christ and His blood redemption of sinners at Calvary an optional message on Sundays?
Never.

(14). Why do the men in the Elephant Room seem so thin-skinned when it comes to people who question them?

See answer to question 4.

(15). Is it possible that the questions being asked in the Elephant Room are softball questions designed by the people who have created the Elephant Room, and that the actual questions that need to be asked are those designed to reveal the elephants in the Elephant Room?

We asked for feedback through the website and twitter about what the conversations should be about and received around 1000 questions submitted. The conversations we will be having very well line-up with the most requested questions.

lukemac said...

and finally...I must say that I find FBC Jax comment above to overwhelmingly uncharitable both in assumption and tone.

running this event in addition to my other responsibilities (I am a youth pastor and one of the worship leaders at the church) has certainly not been a 'great gig'.

it has been a massive amount of work and very very painful at times. not sure why that potshot was necessary.

Wanda (Deb) Martin said...

lukemac,

I appreciate your sincere responses to the questions that were posed.

Regarding Steven Furtick who planted his church in my native state, I had heard of him but hadn't seen him until he posted this shocking video last March.

Hey Haters

How do you respond to such ungodly arrogance?

wadeburleson.org said...

Luke,

Thank you sir.

Well done. I appreciate the manner in which you have responded and consider your example pf patiently answering each question one that should be imitated by us all, including myself. My respect for and appreciation of you and your ministry has grown through this little exchange.

Finally, I would like to see a response to Wanda's question (see above), but I should say that realize in advance that it is difficult if not impossible for you to speak for others who are participatants in the Elephant Room.

I usually remain silent when it comes to other ministries and their desires to reach the culture for Christ. Two things caught my attention about the Elephant Room

(1). The slams coming from some participants over bloggers and issues they raise, and
(2). An undue emphasis on what I consider an unbiblical and illogical approach to women and their relationship to men. I realize that complementarianism is a word that needs defining, because I believe myself a complementarian in the purest definition of the word. What I do not believe is that the Scripture anywhere, in any place, emphasis that a woman can only find her fulness and identity through a relaionship with a man--and that is a definition of complentarianism that I find myself wishing to debunk.

Anyway, once again, thanks! I will put an update on the post so people will know you have responded to the questions.

Wade

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Luke - thank you for coming here to post answers on Wade's blog.

Can you tell us how much the participants are paid? What the participants consider "generous" we might consider "outrageous", so please let us know.

Also, can you help us understand why $79 is required? These simulcast sites are at church facilities that already have the equipment necessary to show the event. Many of us don't understand why pastors have to pay $79 to watch 7 other pastors in a round table discussion. Why would your church charge $349 entrance fee for pastors to see it live?

Are participants allowed to in advance define specific topics that are off limits for them? I hope that the John Langworthy/Jack Graham topic will not be off limits when the issue is how to handle ministers caught in sin.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Wanda: I agree with Steve Futrick's Hey Haters video. I was involved in blogging 5 years almost 6 years ago and I felt the same day. There are haters as he described them out there.

Stephen said...

Dog,

Excellent questions.

I look forward to hearing a response to each and every one of them.

Debbie Kaufman said...

that should be felt the same way. Every word Steve Futrick spoke in this video conveys my feelings. I saw Dr. McKissic, Sherri Klouda and Wade among a few who these haters attempted to stomp down. They didn't succeed, though they thought they did. I see it still.

Anonymous said...

While I'm "the original" Anonymous here who brought up finances, most of these comments are not mine, including some of the follow up questions.

I find it both odd, yet humorous, that this blog and FBC Jax (where it linked to) put down pastors for supposedly not liking internet critics, yet display the same character here: just look at these comments!
Both Wade and FBC clearly dislike the anonymous comments and prefer names. Maybe Chandler and Friends simply take it a step farther by taking a humorous jab at them, but I see no difference between the two parties, here.

Wade, my question still went unanswered... If their church has similar policy to yours, do they get a pass?
If so, why call them out on something that you know they may not be able to provide, just as yourself?

Anonymous said...

I am a coward for asking Wade about his salary when he has done the same thing with others? Not hardly.

And by the way, I agree with the way Wade's church does it.

Anonymous said...

I thought Luke's comments were right on target and done in a professional, Christian manner. He is to be commended.

Whether they include women is up to them. If you don't like it, then have your own Elephant Room.

And how much they pay their speakers is absolutely none of anyone's business but their's. This isn't a public organization nor one which owes the blogging public an explanation of anything.

Jerry said...

Anonymous,

You are off base if you think it is none of anybody's business how much the honorarium is for the men who speak in the Elephant Room.

You may not think it your business, but you can't speak for me. If some men from the church I lead desire to go, I think it very appropriate to ask the question.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous,

You ask Wade "If their church has similar policy to yours, do they get a pass?"

It would seem to me that it depends upon the knuckleheads who are asking the question. It doesn't seem like you are willing to give a pass to Wade's church, does it? Do you think the men in Elephant should be given a pass?

lukemac said...

@FBC Jax.

I would be more than happy to answer your questions after you interact with my feelings about your comment written above.

Anonymous said...

"It would seem to me that it depends upon the knuckleheads who are asking the question. It doesn't seem like you are willing to give a pass to Wade's church, does it? Do you think the men in Elephant should be given a pass?"

I am simply pointing out a bit of hypocrisy. I agree with the past few comments: I really don't CARE how much these pastors are getting paid, nor what they make (given they are good stewards with what they are given). Right now it seems a "do as I say, not as I do" situation.

I'm still interested in hearing Wade's response to this, as well as his views on compensation.

Bobby Lee said...

From the way I see it, WADE B deserves a lot more salary than he seems to receive --- based on his success in ministry leading his church, growing his church thru God's leadership, and the number of people in his church, etc. I do not know him personally but I have followed him from "afar." He is amazing and I say ATTA BOY for the great work he does and the fine example he provides for other pastors like me. Most men in his position would demand $150,000 or more! I feel this shows his humble heart! Thanks Wade for being so transparent.

Anonymous said...

Related....

Bill Kinnon's exchange with James MacDonald and why we should be very leary of these types:

http://kinnon.tv/2011/06/james-macdonald-and-i-in-blog-conversation-sort-of.html

This was in relation to MacDonald's assertion that "congregationalism is from Satan"

Gene S said...

Well, well----let's try not to be caustic and we are doing pretty well in this divided world.

It seems this program is from the fundamentalist side of the coin--both politically and religiously. We will see how many respond and participate.

Many great questions thus far and too many are yet unanswered for me to make any conclusions.

Old Wade sure knows how to find interesting stuff to discuss and I applaude the exposure.

Big news this morning is withdrawal or troops from Iraq / a jobs bill starting to cook / Newt still at the head of the Republican pack (for the moment) / hatred of the President / AND the leaders of N. Korea gone to the "land above (or below) as more comes out.

I'm betting on the "land below." Could be guessing about the destination of mega church folks promoting hate and discord instead of "Peace on earth to men of good will."

Anonymous said...

"and finally...I must say that I find FBC Jax comment above to overwhelmingly uncharitable both in assumption and tone."

Because that's all he knows how to do is throw around potshots at people. His blog is about as disgraceful as any and is a perfect example of why blogs have the reputation they have. I say this as a blogger. Those who abuse blogging by way of accusation and hate and utter nonsense are the problem. That is the Watchdog.

CT

Gene S said...

CT---between Jax Watchdog and Burleson, much hidden agenda and activity has been exposed.

I prefer to liken both of them to good investigative reporters who outed Tricky Dicky Nixon---and it wasn't easy nor safe to do such.

Dee Parsons said...

I am so sorry that it has taken me this long to weigh in. Things at my house have been more crazy than usual but all is well.

Our visit to you proved one thing. You are exactly the man that we see on your blog and in your sermons. Humility, transparency and a willingness to put your reputation on the line for the things of God are hallmarks of your life. This becomes even more apparent when one views the "trying too hard to be cool" pastors out there.

TWW, Tom Rich and others have documented the serious concerns related to the ministries of Driscoll, Furtick, Noble and others. Yet, they get a pass because the complementarian establishment will acknowledge anyone who preaches their gender gospel. They are willing to sacrifice dignity for crassness when they get their way. How unlike the Son of Man they are in this regard.

Wade, I fear that the gender gospel has jumped the fence and become a primary issue, up there with the Virgin Birth. It would have been included in the Nicene Creed if these guys had been in charge back then.

We are entering a new era in the post-evangelical scene. As Andy Davis said in his recent screed-there is nothing that is non-essential. And that worries me.

Debbie Kaufman said...
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Debbie Kaufman said...
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John Wylie said...

Dee Parsons,

You said,
"Yet, they get a pass because the complementarian establishment will acknowledge anyone who preaches their gender gospel. They are willing to sacrifice dignity for crassness when they get their way. How unlike the Son of Man they are in this regard."

With all due respect I reject this whole "gender gospel" terminology, we simply disagree on the roles of men and women and how they relate to each other. This is not a gospel issue at all, in my opinion. Secondly, some of the biggest critics of these guys are what I would call the complementarian establishment. Long before I ever read anyone from the egalitarian blogging world crticizing guys like Driscoll, conservative complementarians were sounding the alarm about his emergent church connections and all of that. Have you read some of the comments on SBC voices about Driscoll made by comps? So, no I don't believe for a minute that they get a pass because they are complementarians, when the very first to criticize them were comps. The comp establishment will not
"acknowledge anyone who preaches their gender gospel".

Dee Parsons said...

John Wylie
Then why was he invited to SEBTS to speak?
Also, why are complementarian statements making their way into the statements of faith of many church, right next to the Virgin birth, etc.?

John Wylie said...

Dee Parsons,

Please understand that I'm not trying to be argumentative. But just because SEBTS is having one of these men it doesn't mean the entire comp establishment is accepting of him. Further, it doesn't mean that the reason people are accepting of him is because he is comp. Once again I've read and heard more criticism of Driscoll and others from comps than I ever have from egals. Just read the comments comps make on blogs about Driscoll and others and you'll see that there are many in the comp establishment that have leveled criticism against some of these guys in the elephant room. John MacArthur would be one who has been very critical of some of these guys.

On your second question, just because something is in the church doctrinal statement it doesn't mean it's a gospel issue. Most churches cover such things as eschatology, that are not necessarily gospel issues. The BFM 2000 for instance has a comp statement but it's no where near the statement on the virgin birth. Anyhow, I'm just saying that you shouldn't clump all comps in together any more than you should clump all egals together.

Anonymous said...

John, There is a lot of cognitive dissonace concerning Driscoll going on over at Voices. On one hand, they tend to be uncomfortable with his "I see things video" but claim it is just an abberation since he has correct doctrine. So, I am seeing a definite pass when it comes to behavior and Driscoll. What I do not get is how they do not see that video as part of his doctrine?

In fact, McARthur and his employees seem to be about the only celebs who do speak out about Driscoll...strongly in no uncertain terms.

Lydia

Anonymous said...

John, I am also thankful you do not lump all egals together. I prefer to be called a mutualists, anyway as I think that describes what is taught in scripture better.

Anonymous said...

Driscoll, co-moderator of Elephant Room II, is a bully who has wrested control of "his" church from his elders and installed himself as supreme pontiff maximus of his own denomination. And, Acts 29 churches all pay him tribute.

"Driscoll has little patience for dissent. In 2007, two elders protested a plan to reorganize the church that, according to critics, consolidated power in the hands of Driscoll and his closest aides. Driscoll told the congregation that he asked advice on how to handle stubborn subordinates from a “mixed martial artist and Ultimate Fighter, good guy” who attends Mars Hill. “His answer was brilliant,” Driscoll reported. “He said, ‘I break their nose.’ ” When one of the renegade elders refused to repent, the church leadership ordered members to shun him. One member complained on an online message board and instantly found his membership privileges suspended. 'They are sinning through questioning,' Driscoll preached."

Source: The New York Times

Gene S said...

All this discussion is going round and round with people whose minds are already made up!

The SEBTS invite to Driscoll may have some detractors there, but the very invite of one side of the issue without an equal invite to the other side is nothing more than tacit agreement with the side invited.

Example: I was a Senior at Emory when Thomas J.J. Altizer hit the cover of Time Magazine in 1967 over the "God Is Dead" stuff. That one is still circulating as prechers yell from the pulpit, "MY GOD IS NOT DEAD!"

I was President of the BSU that year and in the middle of the issue. Emory--wisely--called an immediate coloquium at which Altizer presented his stuff and the Methodist Chaplain presented the other side of faith.

Altizer was so inebriated that night that, like tricky Dickie Nixon, when he said, "Let me make it perfectly clear," he rambled and stumbled and said virtually nothing.

The Methodist Chaplain explained the Nietche concept he was using and reminded us the argument was about Transcendence and Emminance. What was being attempted to be said was "God totally emptied Himself (died) into Christ as his earthly Messiah."

You see, the whole tempest in a teacup dealt with a pagan understanding of death as "the end." A person of faith sees it merely as a transition from the life here to another eternal life above.

It sold a lot of magazines and created a lot of rhetoric---most of which was totally uninformed and emotional only.

The split over the respect of women and allowing them to participate in religious activities is just the same mess generated by the Pharisees and Jews who viewed women as nothing but another possession of men having all the legal rights denied to women.

Jesus acted and talked a different story. He allowed women a place among his band of followers. He even praised Mary for her anointing of his feet with precious and expensive perfumes.

It was Paul in all his Jewish zelot mind who wrote words used today to dismiss and demean women. Those concepts are part of the BF&M 2000 statement on women. The disciples objected on the night of anointing as well. They were Jews also!

NUTS!!!!

The most outstanding President's column Paige Patterson wrote at the time was about his beloved hound dog and Magnolia Hill. He told of how he loved to invite the dog in and onto the couch. Miss Dorothy took exception and guess what happened----the dog was invited out!!!!

So who ruled that household in that circumstance? Big talk. All of it was taken back in his obedience to his wife!

Let's face it---women rule more than we want to admit. So hug their precious bodies and enjoy their company---they ignore the commands of men to "do as I say."

AND they should!!!!

Jon L. Estes said...

Wade you state:

"I usually remain silent when it comes to other ministries and their desires to reach the culture for Christ. Two things caught my attention about the Elephant Room

(1). The slams coming from some participants over bloggers and issues they raise"

What about slams that are coming from bloggers over participants and others over things they do?

You have had controversial speakers in your pulpit and I don't think you thought the criticism was fair, charitable or Christ honoring.

I know we have freedom of speech as Americans but we do not as Christians.

Dee Parsons said...

John Wylie

I believe that you may be mistaken about Driscoll's acceptance by the comp crowd. Not only did he speak at SEBTS during that trip but was invited into the pulpits of local churches (some bigwigs in the Reformed Baptist movement) in which he was introduced as one of the leading "authorities" on the sexual mores of our youth oriented culture. (That is an understatement if I ever heard one!)

My fellow blogger and I live in Raleigh and were inundated with the glowing intros making the rounds.Funny thing happened. We had just started our blog and were doing a series on Driscoll, totally unaware that he was about to be the Big Man on Campus.

We had posted some of his videos and transcripts from his talks. A member of one of the church in which he was invited to speak downloaded our posts and started passing them around to other church members. Suddenly, Driscoll had some conflicts and couldn't appear at that church.

I adamently contend that, if Driscoll was not a hardline comp, he would have been sent packing to Seattle, never to be heard from again. Nothing else makes sense about the acceptance of this "pastor." I believe that he will continue to be an embarrassment and his supporters will be in for a major surprise one of these days.

a Treasurer said...

Let's not forget that talk about "salary" doesn't tell you anything. You need to know the "package" if you want to know the compensation. For tax purposes your "salary" might be $20k yet your total "package" could be $60k. So unless you ask about the total compensation or "package" you haven't really found out anything.

wadeburleson.org said...

Jon,

I'm not sure you followed my logic completely. I am criticized often. I am accustomed to it. What drew my attention to the Elephant Room was the way in which bloggers were being denigrated. A similar thing happened at NAMB and the President (who made the slam against SBC bloggers) later apologized. Its the idea that people should be silent that I was arguing against. This comment section should show you the consistency in my approach.

Southwestern Discomfort said...

Complementarian theology is doing a fabulous job of driving men and women out of the church because we don't fit in the cookie cutter positions defined for us by those theologians. I'm much happier now that I realize there is nothing wrong with me for being female, well-educated, single, never-married, no kids and supporting myself. And no thanks to the church either for making me feel like I was less than dirt because I failed to fulfill the female prime directive to marry and multiply.

But don't let me rain on the Elephant Room parade into a well-deserved irrelevance to normal people.

Jon L. Estes said...

Wade -

I am not saying that those who run blogs to expose what they disagree with are not being verbally slapped. They are. What I am saying is that the bloggers and those who post comments on the anti-whatever blogs (which I think the blog owner has a liability for letting things go through, when they can prevent it) are just as vile, if not more so, than most blogging criticizers.

The slams (your term) are not coming from only one direction. That fact being addressed seems to get left out of the bloggers comments.

wadeburleson.org said...

Jon,

I see. Thanks for explaining.

I also agree.

However, I have no interest in moderating comments. I pay no attention to anonmyous praise or complaints, and any critic with the courage to sign his/her name to a comment should, in my opinion, be listened to by those who receive it. There may be no agreement, but at least the comment should be heard.

Anonymous said...

Admittedly, excess time during the Christmas season, and utter amusement in this ongoing diatribe gave birth to my remarks.

Wade ... the self aggrandizing comparison that "The Internet is the modern Gutenberg press. Bloggers [particularly yours and your accompanying flea bag], are the modern press," is quite absurd. The propagation of the Bible, as the Good News, printed in the language of the people is categorically distinct from your malevolent harangue inflicted upon men chosen of God.

Worse still is the ongoing attack upon His church. First Baptist Church of Jacksonville, where I was a member for many years, stands symbolically as a modern-day legacy of God's faithfulness in North America.

These are kingdom issues ... far beyond the scope of the local pastor sentenced to living within the dismal and oppressive red-clay district of Enid, OK.

This kingdom under your attack is composed of God's people. It is a spiritual kingdom. Author Gene Edwards, in Tale of Three Kings argues, " ... no rebellion in the kingdom of God is proper, nor can it ever be fully blessed." He rightfully states, "...those who lead rebellions have already proven, no matter how grandiose their words or angelic their ways, that they have a critical nature, an unprincipled character, and hidden motives in their hearts." Ultimately, God never honors division in His realm."

Christ died for the church (visible and invisible)that you are seeking to divide. As a fellow-pastor, I remind you that we are called to unity (Eph. 4:1-16). This passage exhorts us to "gentleness" and "humility", showing forbearance of one another.

Shepherd the flock among you. Maybe the "watchdog" can assist you in the task of gathering sheep, instead of scattering them with destructive measures.

Mike Kelly (in the event the name is not captured within the blog)

Together, in His service,