T.D. Jakes At The ER2March 31, 2012
Brief thoughts on the ER2 and T.D. Jakes
Yes, as Christians it is good that we give people the benefit of the doubt. However, the ER2 did not really do its job and press T.D. Jakes on if he retracts any of his oneness teachings in the past, which should have been done, and Jakes would have done if he really did change his view. Also, Jakes affirming Driscoll’s quick list of points doesn’t do anything when Jakes also just got done saying he prefers to NOT say “persons” but “manifestations” in regard to the Trinity. That issue should have been specifically addressed. Should it not have?
Jakes’ core verse to back this, and to assume that the idea of manifestations “is Pauline”, comes from 1 Tim 3:16. However, if you look into it you’ll find that the original manuscripts actually say “he (Jesus) was manifest in the flesh”, not “God was manifest in the flesh”. It is now known that someone fudged with one manuscript and changed the Greek word “he” into “God” (the abbreviation for God). This is very easy to do by just adding 2 line strokes. Thus, Jakes’ main support verse doesn’t really support his view at all, hence it clearly not being original.
Driscoll may have assumed that by Jakes affirming his list of doctrinal points that all was well, but after the applause was quieted, sad to say the waters were only muddier. Jakes has not clarified that he rejects the oneness position since he holds to the view that the persons of the Trinity are more correctly “manifestations”. Not only this but he hasn’t retracted many of his other false teachings, such as his prosperity gospel teaching which is extremely prevalent in his ministry – regardless of what he says on Larry King.
It is inconsistent for Driscoll, and many others, to be poised to correct and rebuke other false teachings coming from other prominent evangelicals, yet be quick to give Jakes an easy pass on the doctrine of the Trinity of all things! Why did they? I don’t know, but it is dangerous to the body of Christ for Jakes to appear as being welcomed with arms wide open into orthodoxy after his statements at the ER2. Many things still need to be clarified, rebuked, and corrected.
“We all would agree that in the nature of God there is mystery. But within that, for you, Bishop Jakes, the issue is one God manifesting Himself successively in three ways? Or one God existing eternally in three persons? What is your understanding now? Which one?”
“I believe the latter one is where I stand today. One God – Three Persons. I am not crazy about the word persons though. You describe “manifestations” as modalist, but I describe it as Pauline. For God was manifest in the flesh”
Again, Jakes bases his interpretation off of the King James Version of the Bible which says “God was manifest”, whereas the NU-text (Nestle-Aland, UBS text) says “he (Jesus) was manifest in the flesh”. I believe this to be a newer and more critical text. It says “he”, rather than “God”. I doubt if Jakes even considers this. Reply on here you if know differently. Further, the context of 1 Tim 3:16 is talking about the person of Christ. It’s very clear that Jesus is the context, hence being the one whom was also:
“…vindicated by the Spirit,
seen by angels,
proclaimed among the nations,
believed on in the world,
taken up in glory.”
After this, nothing was really said to challenge Jakes’ position. At the end of the day, Jakes is straddling a view of God somewhere between orthodox Trinitarianism and Oneness theology. It is safe to say that the doctrine of the Trinity deals with orthodoxy, hence it being the very first heresy the church ever dealt with. The Council of Necea in the 4th century defined the Biblical doctrine as God being one being and three persons. Jakes is not rejecting the orthodox position out of ignorance. In fact, it should be hard for people to do this considering that it was the first heresy ever dealt with and that the Church’s clarifications of this doctrine have been on the books for so long. Nevertheless, Jakes is “not crazy about the word ‘person'”.
More still needs to be clarified. Is Jakes willing to embrace the doctrine of the Trinity as defined by major creeds? Further, as James White rightly points out, it would be especially insightful to ask Jakes if he believes that the Son eternally existed as a person prior to the incarnation. Modalists believe that God merely took on the identity of the “Son” after the incarnation, thus only existed as the “Son” as a mere “idea” or “plan” in eternity past. This would really be a defining question.
The Potter’s House website still shows that they believe God to exist as three “manifestations”. Many are being lead astray, especially in the black community, by Jakes’ false teachings. False teachings have great ramifications. As the saying goes, “ideas have consequences”. Are there really consequences to false ideas of the nature of God? Yes! We need to make sure we know the right God, and worship him for whom he really is. It is not too much to ask for greater clarifications from Jakes.
MacDonald’s tweet just after the encounter:
“He (elders) must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.” Titus 1:9
As much as I wish it wasn’t the case, isn’t celebration for unity of doctrine still a bit early?
A public stage such as ER2 has proven to not be the best setting for that to happen. I believe it was intended to be a place where that could happen, yet has rather only become a place where people give their opinions, and hold to their opinions, regardless of public pastoral correction. I have not heard of one person humbly accepting correction at the ER, and if I’m mistaken then please point out to me where this happened. These un-orthodox pastors whom attend the ER will need to have their un-orthodox issues taken care of personally and not in the public eye. Some of these long held false beliefs will take time to undo. If anything, it is good to publicly show to the rest of the local churches whom are watching that heresies by these men are not tolerated for the health and protection of the body. Nevertheless, keep MacDonald and Driscoll in prayer. They are great men of God. Realize that the kingdom will not be halted due to repentance. In fact, it will be furthered by repentance. Pray for repentance to take place where it is due.
Here is a link to the Gospel Coalition’s thoughts on it.