18 December 2011

"Code Orange" Speaker "Bishop" T.D. Jakes

Well, it's almost here. The Code Orange Revival, hosted by young, Seeker-Driven pastor Steven Furtick, is less than one month away. With this event, Furtick aspires to gather a group of leaders together in order to cause an "eruption" of God's power and movement. The speaker lineup for this volcanic event is quite extensive, so over the past weeks, we have been examining them one by one. In previous posts, we've looked at LifeChurch.tv visionary Craig Groeschel, prosperity preacher Jentezen Franklin, Hillsong darling Christine Caine, Joel Osteen's worship leader, Israel Houghton, and seeming Word-Faith proponent Stovall Weems, lead pastor at Celebration Church in Jacksonville, FL. Our last post examined pastor Ed Young, Jr., who is perhaps best known for such relevant sermon series as the 7-Day Sex Challenge, and "Swagger Jacker" wherein Young taught his church how to pursue "Godfidence." Young has also committed the now-common Scripture-twist of preaching passages such as Malachi 3 as a means of threatening the curses of God upon those who do not give a mandatory tithe. His latest headliner is a new book that he has co-authored with his wife entitled The Sexpirament. That's right, Ed Young, Jr. seems to have his mind focused on two of the world's most favorable lusts: sex and money.


Today we turn to a rather well-known entity, "Bishop" T.D. Jakes. Jakes is the senior pastor of The Potter's House in Dallas, Texas. With the announcement of Jakes' upcoming appearance at the Elephant Room 2, the animated preacher has certainly had more than his fair share of press in recent months. Considering this fact, this article will be brief, as there is already an abundance of information available to the reader concerning Bishop Jakes. Nevertheless, a high-level overview of some of Jakes' antics is still necessary in order to understand why he is not a man who should be included in the speaker line-up of a so-called Christian conference. Perhaps one may defend his appearance in the upcoming Elephant Room 2 with the argument that his invitation was based upon the fact that his ministry is so flamboyantly different than most of the other invitees. Code Orange Revival, however, is not merely conversations among influential pastors. It is, rather, an attempt to cause a revival in the coming year by "seeking God and asking what He wants to do in and through us all" (Online Source). So, it seems safe to assume that Steven Furtick, the organizer of this event, believes all of his scheduled speakers to be Christians who believe in the same God, the God of the Bible. 

This leads us, then, to the most frequently discussed (of late, anyway) deviant doctrine purported to be held by T.D. Jakes: Modalism. What exactly is modalism? Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry (CARM) defines it thusly:

Modalism is probably the most common theological error concerning the nature of God. It is a denial of the Trinity which states that God is a single person who, throughout biblical history, has revealed Himself in three modes, or forms.  Thus, God is a single person who first manifested himself in the mode of the Father in Old Testament times. At the incarnation, the mode was the Son.  After Jesus’ ascension, the mode is the Holy Spirit. These modes are consecutive and never simultaneous. In other words, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit never all exist at the same time, only one after another. Modalism denies the distinctiveness of the three persons in the Trinity even though it retains the divinity of Christ. 

Present day groups that hold to forms of this error are the United Pentecostal and United Apostolic Churches. They deny the Trinity, teach that the name of God is Jesus, and require baptism for salvation. These Modalist churches often accuse Trinitarians of teaching three gods. This is not what the Trinity is. The correct teaching of the Trinity is one God in three eternal coexistent persons:  The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. (Online Source)
James MacDonald, pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel, has boldly asserted that he does not believe that T.D. Jakes is a modalist. Let me say with all sincerity that I hope that MacDonald is right. However, if Jakes is not a modalist, then due to his well-documented past of associating with this doctrine, it is imperative that he speak up now - not later - and affirm his denial of this heresy. As of the writing of this post, however, the language of modalism is still abundantly clear on the website of Jakes' church, The Potter's House.


(Online Source. Screen shot taken 17 December 2011)
In his well-written and well-documented article, T.D. Jakes and the Trinity, Pastor-Teacher Ken Silva explains,

The use of the term manifestations is the language of classic Oneness Pentecostalism, not orthodox Christianity. Here’s what we do know, Jakes is Higher Ground Always Abounding Assemblies, Inc. (HGAAA) where he is Vice Prelate:
You can see here (click to enlarge) from an earlier T.D. Jakes Ministries website that he’s been with HGAAA from the beginning of his ministry:

In an op-ed article My Views on the Godhead, from the February 1, 2000 edition of Christianity Today, Jakes informs us:
I was raised Baptist and became Pentecostal 26 years ago at a Greater Emmanuel Apostolic Church, where I was later ordained a Bishop. I resigned from that denomination 11 years ago, and have continued to fellowship with Higher Ground Always Abounding Assemblies. This small fellowship of churches is not a denomination, and differs in many ways from traditional Apostolic churches.
Both chapters of my early spiritual journey contributed volumes to my faith and walk with God, helping to hone my character. I was shaped by and appreciate both denominations, but am controlled by neither. My association with Oneness people does not constitute assimilation into their ranks any more than my association with the homeless in our city makes me one of them. (Online source)
There’s actually quite a bit of information there. I can tell you from my many years of personal reasearch and study that almost invariably when we see the word Apostolic in the name of a church it is Oneness Pentecostal. It should also be noted there are more than a few of such within HGAAA as well. 
Here Jakes does tell us of his “association with Oneness,” which is heretical in and of itself. He also says HGAAA “differs in many ways from traditional Apostolic,” i.e. Oneness aka Jesus Only, churches. This is essentially an admission on Jakes’ part of his acceptance of the Oneness Pentecostal position. 
Of course, as with any perversion of biblical truth, there are those today who would argue that to deny the Trinity is not equivalent to denying Biblical Christianity. Consider, then, the following from John MacArthur's article What Doctrines are Fundamental?

a doctrine must be regarded as fundamental if eternal life depends on it. Scripture is full of statements that identify the terms of salvation and the marks of genuine faith.
“Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6). That verse makes faith itself essential to a right relationship with God. It also expressly identifies both the existence and the veracity of God as fundamental articles of the Christian faith.
Elsewhere we are told that eternal life is obtained through the knowledge of the true God and Jesus Christ (John 17:3; 14:6; Acts 4:12). Since Jesus Himself is the true God incarnate (1 John 5:20; John 8:58; 10:30), the fact of His deity (and by implication the whole doctrine of the Trinity) is a fundamental article of faith (see 1 John 2:23). Our Lord Himself confirmed this when He said all must honor Him as they honor the Father (John 5:23). (Online source, emphasis mine. HT: Apprising Ministries)
To deny the whole doctrine of the Trinity is to deny the very nature of our God. Period.


For the sake of argument, then, let us assume that T.D. Jakes is, as James MacDonald believes, not a modalist. Are there any additional reasons for us to be concerned about this charismatic, influential pastor? Well, for one, it appears as though Jakes teaches a rather unbiblical, even abhorrent, interpretation of what we know as the Lord's Supper. The Lord Jesus Himself taught His disciples and, in turn, taught us, the meaning behind this practice. Yet T.D. Jakes seems to adhere to a different understanding. In discussing the meaning and importance behind the ordinance of Communion, Pastor Larry DeBruyn notes some interesting and disturbing facts about Jakes' approach to this memorial:

Now in a recent message, “Communion,” Bishop T.D. Jakes eroticizes the ordinance. [6] On a DVD presentation, he begins his remarks about the Lord’s Table as follows:
One of the most personal, intimate things you can do is to have communion. It shows who you are to Him. It expresses that you are one with the Groom, that the Bride is connected to the Groom through the blood; they have fused together and become one; that they have the same DNA; that they’ve been devined [sic] by God; that the covenant has been ratified in the blood much like intercourse signified the ratification of blood in a wedding ceremony. [7]
Then he continues:
When the man and the woman come together, the Bible says, ‘They shall cleave together and become one flesh.’ His body and her body, her body and his body, they become one entity which is what they were at first when God made Adam. He made one person, male and female He created them and called his name Adam. And when He got ready, He pulled her out of him. And so that’s why we have the right to come back together because we were together in the first place. (The audience stands, shouts, claps, and raises their hands.) [8]
Then Jakes drives home the point:
When Jesus says, ‘Take, eat. This is my body that was broken for you,’ He says, I want my body in you. (Pause . . . shouts and claps) I want my blood in you. And every time you celebrate this rite, it is a reminder that you belong to me, and I belong to you. And he said, ‘I will drink no more wine until I drink it new with you and the kingdom of God. Communion is the most romantic ordinance. Eh, Eh, Eh. (He laughs. Pause . . . the audience shouts and claps.) It is the most romantic ordinance between two lovers. [9]
In the observation of communion, the Bishop’s remarks are grossly inappropriate for a number of reasons. (Online SourceTo view end notes, read the article Eroticizing the Eucharist in its entirety.)
DeBruyn then goes on to detail multiple reasons why one ought to be disturbed and mindful of Bishop Jakes' approach to the practice of communion. In the interest of time and space, we will only quote a few of them here.

[W]hy associate the ordinance with sex? Jakes heaps up sexually suggestive words, phrases and sentences—intimate; Groom; Bride; fused together and become one; intercourse; wedding ceremony; shall cleave together and become one flesh; her body and his body; (Jesus says) I want my body in you; Communion is the most romantic ordinance . . . Eh, Eh, Eh; It is the most romantic ordinance between two lovers.
The Apostle Peter warns against false teachers who, “when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure [deceive] through the lusts of the flesh” (2 Peter 2:18, KJV). 
[O]ne must wonder what the preacher means when he asserts that communicants become devined [sic] by ingesting the elements (the bread-body and wine-blood) of the ordinance. By asserting that divine DNA infuses them, is Jakes advocating that magically transubstantiated elements possess the power to divinize communicants? [11] His words suggest this to be the case. According to his scheme of spirituality, the communion elements become a magical-mechanical-means whereby Christians become “gods.” By ingesting divinity, they become divinity. In the ancient church and the Eastern Orthodox Church, this process is known as deification (Greek, theosis or theopoiesis). Jakes’ bold language seems to “deliberately [evoke] the pagan language of apotheosis (humans, especially emperors, being advanced to the rank of deity) . . .” [12]
[F]or believers, the attraction of the Lord’s Table is the work He already accomplished for us. The ordinance’s focus is upon Jesus’ past death. It’s all about remembrance, not romance. 
(To view end notes, read the article Eroticizing the Eucharist in its entirety). 
How very sad that a supposed pastor, an under-shepherd of the Lord Jesus Christ who has purportedly been called to lead and teach the sheep of His flock, would so grossly distort such a remembrance as the Lord's Supper! It seems to this writer that such a detestable thing would by itself warrant a strong and loud warning against the man T.D. Jakes. And yet many still follow as the goats continue to seek to have their itching ears scratched.

Aside from the aforementioned gravely disturbing truths, the fact remains that there is one over-arching theme that dominates the ministry of T.D. Jakes. Even if he were to renounce modalism and affirm and teach the biblical doctrine of the Trinity; even if he were to repent of his gross perversion of Communion; if Jakes were not 
to repent of this final teaching he would still be a heretic. That teaching is that of the Word-Faith doctrine, the false prosperity "gospel," and "Bishop" T.D. Jakes is a master:


The teaching of T.D. Jakes reveals what he truly believes about the Lord Jesus Christ. Jakes has even asserted that he finds Jesus to be "the product" that he is selling. How unfortunate that Jakes views his ministry as nothing more than one big sales pitch. Even more unfortunate, and gravely sad, is that the Jesus Christ marketed by T.D. Jakes is a false Jesus, and those who (literally) purchase this product likely will find themselves on the last day still unknown by the true Jesus Christ.

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ (Matthew 7:15-23)
Steven Furtick only announced confirmation of Jakes' inclusion in the Code Orange lineup earlier this month, but the attendance of the charismatic preacher at this event, which ends only a few short days before ER2, is most interesting. It's almost as if a bizarre, Word-Faith-esque coffee klatch is forming among some of these preachers. And, rather unfortunately, it seems as though there is quite an abominable theme being perpetrated among this fraternity of preachers. That theme is the propagation of the heretical Word-Faith doctrine, and it ought to cause one to begin to question seriously just what kind of "eruption" is going to occur next month at the Code Orange RevivalReader, it is time that we acknowledge that this deviant teaching has effectively infiltrated America's "evangelical" church. 

The reader also would do well to remember that among Furtick's list of scheduled speakers are the "young, restless and reformed" Acts 29 pastor and Gospel Coalition council member Matt Chandler as well as fellow Gospel Coalition council member James MacDonald of Walk in the Word and Harvest Bible Chapel fame. Both of these men will also be speaking at Perry Noble's Newspring Leadership Conference in 2012. Once again we must ask, especially of MacDonald and Chandler, two supposedly conservative and reformed pastors: Why? Why would you agree time and again to share a stage and a platform with men and women who preach not just a weak gospel, but a false one? One must begin to wonder about the motivation behind your consistent appearance with the same group of dangerous, even shameful, teachers. The members of your local and extended flocks deserve an explanation from the men they no doubt trust and respect.
But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:8-9)
SEE ALSO:
Steven Furtick's 12 Days of Revival
"Code Orange" Speaker Craig Groeschel
"Code Orange" Speaker Christine Caine
"Code Orange" Speaker Jentezen Franklin
"Code Orange" Speaker Israel Houghton
"Code Orange" Speaker Stovall Weems
"Code Orange" Speaker Ed Young, Jr.

4 comments:

  1. Nice work, thank you. A wonderful use of Bible, historical material and video to present a very tight case. One wonders when most of the names in your post call on God, which god they are calling on. It doesn't appear to be the God who gas revealed himself in scripture.

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  2. You bring up a very valid point when mentioning James MacDonald and his involvement with unbiblical teachers that are falsely leading the crowds.
    I have lost respect to James as the motive seems purely to exalt himself.

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  3. For a while everyone was blogging on James MacDonald and The Elephant Room but the hubbub seems to have died down. Has the event been canceled?

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  4. Hi Anonymous,

    No, The Elephant Room has most certainly not been canceled! I suspect that everyone said what they had to say, and now it is just a matter of waiting for the actual event. We've seen the reaction of James MacDonald toward his critics, so it will be most interesting to see how the event is handled, especially as regards T.D. Jakes. Stay tuned...

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