I don’t want my minor role on the Council to hinder their work as a whole or to give the impression they agree with all God has called me to do.
I draw your attention to the words: "all that God has called me to do." That's what I want to focus on. MacDonald would continue the Elephant Room with Jakes, despite any protestation of The Gospel Coalition, because it was what God called him to do.
The Gospel Coalition (D. A. Carson and Tim Keller) wrote in response:
We acknowledge that James feels called of God into these spheres, and we wish him well in his far-reaching endeavors, and many years of ministry both faithful and fruitful.
And here, again, I ask you to focus on the verbiage: "James feels called of God into these spheres." The wording leaves room for deniability, because they "wish him well in his far-reaching endeavors," but not necessarily in the Elephant Room, even though that was the, well, elephant in the room. They have since written a plain repudiation of the work of MacDonald with Jakes that is an interesting read. Driscoll remains in the coalition and we still hear no instruction on separation in lieu of the pointing out of false teachers. The question arises, "If you have someone teaching false doctrine and a false gospel, besides pointing him out, what else does Scripture tell us to do with him?" They don't say. Shepherds are to be concerned, but then what?
But I digress. I wanted to consider the statements that involved "called of God." What is this "call of God" that results in an Elephant Room or anything possible that is like it? It seems to justify all sorts of activity with the name of God. It isn't unusual in many different circles. I was recently talking to another pastor by phone and asked him what he thought about a particular activity and he said something like: "It depends if it is the will of God or not." He said it two or three times. I've heard these kinds of statements much through the years. So you've got "called of God" and "the will of God," and I believe these are very closely related concepts in what some today would call "soft-continuationism" or more often "soft-cessationism." I have also heard this type of soft-continuationism associated with a "leaky canon," speaking of extra-scriptural revelation and God saying more than He has already in the Bible. One continuationist describes it thus:
Continuationists believe God is still speaking today, not only through His overall leading and direction via Scripture and other such means, but even through actual direct and revelatory words. These revelations can come in various manners – prophecy, words of knowledge, words of wisdom, visions, dreams, etc. – but God is still communicating and speaking directly today. He never desired anything less.
The Gospel Coalition has affinity for continuationism with their relationships with John Piper, Wayne Grudem, and Mark Driscoll, to name a few. Without being continuationists themselves, the language of Carson and Keller hints at continuationism. This leaves room for some subjectivity as to what God is actually saying. He finished speaking with the closing of the canon, but if He can still tell you things that He wants you to do, it's easy to play the "God called me," "God spoke to me," or "the will of God" card when something you are doing might be unbiblical.
God is done telling us anything. He is done revealing any more of His will. What God tells us and His moral will and what He calls us to do are all in His Word. The Word of God is also how God leads us. But what about those areas that the Bible says nothing about? We still follow the principles of the Word of God and we use them to make the decision. The Holy Spirit will help you to do that. That is how He leads us in this age in which we live. Once the canon of Scripture was completed, God went silent, like He did between Malachi and Matthew. And His Word is complete or sufficient, so we depend on it to know what the will of God is.
If we are not depending on the Word of God, we are not living by faith and, therefore, we are not pleasing God (Rom 10:17; Heb 11:6). God doesn't call us or tell us to do things He hasn't already said in His Word. Even when you pray, you should pray according to what He said in His Word. You might think of something to pray for, and later find out that the inclination paralleled with an event happening at that very moment. What happened then? God's providence was working. You can trust His providence. For those who love God, God works all things together for their good (Rom 8:28).
To start, God already said everything to us that He is going to say, until we see Him face to face. However, if the Elephant Room clashed with Scripture, God didn't call or tell James MacDonald to do it. When someone like MacDonald or Driscoll or Hyles or anyone else say that they're doing something because God told them to do it, if it's not biblical, then it's also not true in any way that they could mean that. If God really were still telling people things, then no one should question it. If God is still speaking, then what He's saying is inerrant and authoritative. God is not still doing that. He is not still adding anything to the Word of God that is once and for all delivered (Rev 22:18-19).
We want to see careful exegesis and exposition of Scripture and then accurate application of that to our lives. The Holy Spirit will help us with that, but not the same as telling us something that He has not already said. Dismiss men's claims that God has told them anything other than what God already said.