In Apprising Ministries articles such as Emerging Ecumenical Evanphelephants And The Word Faith Movement I reminded you that the Elephant Room 2 conference was like a nuclear explosion in the spirit world. As we look at subsequent events, I wonder, could there be some sort of new ecumenical evangelical magisterium trying to form?

Some of this appears to have begun when New Calvinist mentor John Piper made the curious decision to invite Purpose Driven pragmatist Rick Warren to be keynote speaker for his Desiring God 2010 conference. At the time Phil Johnson of Pyromaniacs pointed out in his On The Piper-Warren Connection:

Of course I think it’s a bad turn of events, and I didn’t find Dr. Piper’s rationale for handing his platform over to Warren satisfying at all. I was surprised when I heard about it, but on second thought, I have to admit that it is consistent with Dr. Piper’s modus operandi.Last year some people were appalled, others delighted,when Doug Wilson spoke at the conference.

The year before that, the blogosphere was all abuzz with strong passions for months because Mark Driscoll would be the featured speaker. (source)

I do find it interesting how many of these same names keep showing up together in various places since James MacDonald, curator of the ER, held the first one. Here’s a few, in my opinion, lowlights as an example of this consortium. There was the Code Orange De-vival of ER 1 participant prophet-pastor Steven Furtick.

This ended just days before ER2 would convene. At Furtick’s COD we found other ER 1 vets like Perry Noble, Matt Chandler, and James MacDonald along with the most controversial ER 2 participant, Word Faith mogul and reputed modalist T.D. Jakes. Jakes has long been rather shrouded on his personal view of the Trinity.

Many eyes of Christendom were upon ER2 where, with the help of Mark Driscoll—now co-host of ER2—T.D. Jakes was given an ecumenical ER2 pass into contemporary evangelicalism. Almost as if by some magisterial decree, these then seemed to instruct us that they (alone?) demonstrated the proper way of Christian dialogue.

Now let me bring to your attention that James MacDonald would like us to know about a couple of upcoming conferences he’ll be speaking at; and wouldn’t you know it, they feature many of the now familiar names. The first is NewSpring Leadership Conference of ER1 vet Perry Noble:


With the names on that roster fresh in your mind, let me take you back to my article Rick Warren Brings Love On Record from September of 2010. Mark Driscoll and Perry Noble had spoken for Rick Warren at his first Яadicalis conference in February 2010 along with contemplative guru Peter Scazzero.1

Seeker Driven Rick Warren was inserted into the New Calvinist camp thru DG 2010; and then in September of that year he would tweet:

(Online source)

Warren was bestowing his blessing upon the men who were to appear at Perry Noble’s Leadership Conference in September of 2010:

In fact, Rick Warren himself was originally scheduled for the Evening Session but had to bow out and was replaced by Andy Stanley. Now let’s skip ahead to Noble’s LC 2011 and note the same cast of characters, sub Craig Groechel for Francis Chan:

James MacDonald had yet to enter this inner circle until Christian Research Network Associate Editor Erin Benziger showed in July of 2011 that Steven Furtick to Preach at Harvest Bible Chapel. Then I brought out in Steven Furtick, James MacDonald, And Joel Osteen, MacDonald had already preached for Furtick in April.

Remember now, this appearance happened just a couple of weeks after MacDonald had Furtick in for ER 1, which also featured David Platt, Mark Driscoll, Matt Chandler, Perry Noble and Greg Laurie. MacDonald has since forged a close relationship with Mark Driscoll; in fact, Driscoll is now accountable to James MacDonald.

Consider the recently done How Mars Hill Church Is Governed document. Under the subheading What accountability structure is in place for Pastor Mark? we ‘re told that “Pastor Mark serves as the most visible representative of Mars Hill Church.” So they now “have put in place an accountability structure” so:


Not surprising when you find out that in January of 20102 Mark Driscoll and James MacDonald co-founded something called Churches Helping Churches:


Let me now take you to the second conference that James MacDonald wants us to be aware of; notice we see more of the same names once again. In what just might be an ecumenical evangelical magisterium in utero, MacDonald lets us know, “The Resurgence Conference will be held Tuesday, October 9-Wednesday, October 10.”

There’ll also be” a one-day Acts 29 church-planting event on Thursday, October 11, 2012.” MacDonald’s piece then informs us:

The Resurgence conference is not going to be another tribal gathering but a gathering of tribes, united by grace as one body in Christ. We want to bring together different voices, traditions, and backgrounds to show that the most significant, life-changing, can’t-miss, unifying theme of first importance for the church across all time, all countries, and all peoples is Jesus Christ.

The conference will be an invitation to pastors, church leaders, and Christians everywhere to make it all about Jesus in life and in ministry. (source)

Over at the Resurgence website, which is associated with its founder Mark Driscoll and the Acts 29 Network of the Emerging Church,3 we get more detail and find out who’ll be speaking at this upcoming event:

In 1 Corinthians, the Apostle Paul says to “do all to the glory of God” so that many “may be saved.” Undergirding this conviction is his belief that the resurrected Jesus is alive and ruler over all of life.

The resurrection changes everything. Jesus is alive today, ruler of all, and actively advancing his kingdom. As Abraham Kuyper famously said, “In the total expanse of human life there is not a single square inch of which the Christ, who alone is sovereign, does not declare, ‘That is mine!'”

So, what do we do with this? Do we continue on, acting as if there is no connection between our everyday actions and decisions—what we do—and the eternal purposes of Jesus? Do we continue living the lie that some things are “sacred” while others are “secular”?

The 2012 Resurgence Conference is an invitation to start thinking differently. It will be a call to every Christian to live all of life to the glory of Jesus and for the benefit of his kingdom, to say, by God’s grace…

Because Jesus lives, we live for Jesus. (source)

Notice the phrase concerning “the lie that some things are ‘sacred’ while others are ‘secular’.” It sounds a lot like the Everything is Spiritual DVD by Rob Bell, the former icon of the Emerging Church. I don’t have space to cover this further other than to point you to what Christian apologist Bob DeWaay has written concerning this matter.

Despite its popularity with our postmodern culture, which fancies itself so spiritual, DeWaay brings out the flaw in this line of reasoning:

Bell’s DVD dealing with creation and its human implications has a glaring lack: there is no mention of the Fall or human sin. It also leaves out another important category: spiritual evil and evil spirits. Bell calls all humans “spiritual” without exception. But this is contrary to Biblical usage. Paul calls those who have been born again “spiritual” and all others “carnal.”

The “natural man” cannot understand the things of God because they are “spiritually” discerned by those who are “spiritual” (i.e., those who believe, as in 1Corinthians 2:14, 15).In Romans 8:4-8 Paul teaches the same idea. Unbelievers are not called “spiritual” in the Bible. Bell says, “He’s [Jesus] teaching them that all of life is drenched in the divine. The issue is whether our eyes are open enough to see it.”4

This was Bell’s misinterpretation of Jesus’ saying about doing something for “the least of these.” He forgets that Jesus was speaking of “brothers”, which is not a universal category. Even if applied to people in general (which is doubtful) it does not prove that everything is “drenched in the divine,” a phrase which ignores the categories of good and evil (and of creation and Creator for that matter).5

In closing this, for now, let’s return to that list of speakers above. We see that Seeker Driven superstar Craig Groeschel, the man Steven Furtick calls “my pastor,” now joins the council alongside self-described “Kuyper-Calvinist” Rick Warren. In addition, we also see that ER1 veteran Greg Laurie makes his return to the mix as well.

Keep in mind that Matt Chandler has taken over the presidency of Acts 29 Network from Mark Driscoll, so it would appear these gentlemen must really be getting to know each other quite well by now. However, one question that comes to mind is: Why is it that these same guys are lately always teaching their same audiences together?

After-all, it is written:

“Do two walk together, unless they have agreed to meet?” (Amos 3:3)

We see among the mentors and elder statesmen of New Calvinism John Piper6 and Tim Keller.7 You watch, quite likely in the not so distant future we’ll see T.D. Jakes added to more events within this growing coalition of these quasi-Reformed/Seeker Driven pastors. Perhaps we’re witnessing the development of the main magisterium:

Further reading


  2. http://marshill.com/2010/01/21/haiti-churches-helping-churches, accessed 5/31/12.
  4. Rob Bell, Everything is Spiritual, DVD, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2007
  5. DeWaay, Bob (2009-12-01). The Emergent Church: Undefining Christianity (Kindle Locations 3029-3038). Bob DeWaay. Kindle Edition
  6. http://ti.me/qhU5V, accessed 5/31/12
  7. http://theresurgence.com/authors/tim-keller