I have been downright encouraged to note the response that has appeared to the amazing statements of James McDonald of “Vertical Church” herewherein he basically throws Nicene orthodoxy under the proverbial bus. Here is the paragraph that drew the attention of many:
2: I do not agree that T.D. Jakes is a Modalist.
I affirm the doctrine of the Trinity as I find it in Scripture. I believe it is clearly presented but not detailed or nuanced. I believe God is very happy with His Word as given to us and does not wish to update or clarify anything that He has purposefully left opaque. Somethings are stark and immensely clear, such as the deity of Jesus Christ; others are taught but shrouded in mystery, such as the Trinity. I do not trace my beliefs to credal statements that seek clarity on things the Bible clouds with mystery. I do not require T.D. Jakes or anyone else to define the details of Trinitarianism the way that I might. His website states clearly that he believes God has existed eternally in three manifestations. I am looking forward to hearing him explain what he means by that. I am also excited to hear him state his views on money, which may be closer to Scripture than the monasticism currently touring reformed world. I believe T.D. Jakes shows immense humility by being willing to step outside his own circles to interact with brothers in Christ who may see certain things differently. Getting brothers together who believe in salvation by grace alone through faith alone but normally don’t interact, is what the Elephant Room is all about. Talking about issues that separate with grace and truth is what the Elephant Room is all about. We are greatly honored that T.D. Jakes has agreed to participate.
Now I know that “emergent” folks have an odd relationship with history—they love to drag stuff out of history, without its attendant context, as if it is “new,” but when it comes to accepting that stand on the shoulders of giants and that there are things that have simply been settled in the past, they rebel and want to put everything “back on the table.” Evidently, the very definition of modalism, and the meaning of Nicea, is “up for grabs” as well, at least for these folks.
Briefly, there is no question that the language of Jakes is modalistic, as anyone who has been listening to our review of the teachings of Oneness teacher Roger Perkins can attest. For McDonald, it seems that the history of Oneness teachings and creedal statements over the past century or so can be disregarded for a “fresh discussion.” How any progress could ever be made in defining truth (or exposing error) in the light of the never-ending, never-concluding “discussion,” I do not know. As with many other groups, it is simply absurd to think that given the definition of the Trinity (which has sort of been around for a very long time now) that specific rejection of that terminology coupled with a substitution of something else is anything other than a rejection of the Trinity itself. The idea that we get to “tweak” the definition today just because we are “modern” and (implicit assumption) so much more with it than those old fogies back then is a glorious example of modernistic hubris, one that sadly shows no understanding of what took place before, during, and after Nicea.