In September 2011, when it was the mere invitation of T.D. Jakes to participate in the Elephant Room 2 (ER2) that was causing controversy, James MacDonald of Harvest Bible Chapel emphatically stated on his blog, "I do not agree that T.D. Jakes is a Modalist." Two days later, he explained further,
I believe modalism is unbiblical and clearly outside confessionalism, but I do not believe it represents Bishop T.D. Jakes’ current thinking. Whether I am right or wrong is something that will be discovered in the Elephant Room. (Source)The outcome of this debate was discovered in ER2, however it amounted to T.D. Jakes essentially stating that he is a Trinitarian Modalist, and James MacDonald and Mark Driscoll allowed such obfuscation to pass.
Following ER2, MacDonald would take to the airwaves to continue to defend T.D. Jakes. In an episode of The Morning Ride with Mark Elfstrand on Moody Radio, MacDonald would authoritatively state, "I don't believe he's [Jakes] a modalist." This conclusion, according to MacDonald, is based upon Jakes' answers to Driscoll's questions in the Elephant Room 2. MacDonald says, "[Jakes] didn't get an A+ on the exam, but he didn't get a B either."
With this acceptance of a known prosperity preacher and alleged modalist into the mainstream, Driscoll and MacDonald gave the visible church a gigantic shove down the slippery slope of compromise. Even Southern Baptist pastor Jack Graham of Prestonwood Baptist Church affirmed Jakes' alleged orthodoxy, as he stated at ER2:
You know, I’ve been friends with Bishop Jakes for the last ten years. We started praying together in a public forum to unite our church. We’re gonna talk a little bit more about that when we get to the race question. But, I’ve found in him all these years consistency in what he has said and who he is and what he believes. And, that’s why it’s been amazing to me that these questions keep coming up. So I hope that, for anyone who wants to listen, that this puts to rest a lot of this jive that’s going on about this Trinitarian issue. (Source)The effects of ER2 still are being felt today and likely will continue to be felt for quite some time.
In the case of T.D. Jakes, it is important to note that, prior to his invitation to ER2, and thus prior to James MacDonald's statements in September 2011, Jakes held the esteemed position of Vice-Prelate of Higher Ground Always Abounding Assemblies (HGAAA), which is a network of Oneness Pentecostal churches. Based upon this screen capture from the website of T.D. Jakes Ministries in the year 2000, Jakes has been involved with HGAAA from the early years of his ministry.
In light of this evidence, one has to wonder if James MacDonald still would assert that he does not believe Jakes is a modalist.
Interestingly, also speaking at the HGAAA 2012 Holy Convocation was Sheryl Brady, who is the pastrix at Jakes' church affiliate, The Potter's House North Dallas. Jakes has nothing but the highest praise for this woman, whom he refers to as "one of [his] daughters."
Apparently the fact that Brady is in direct violation of the Word of God by exercising the authority of a pastor does not matter to T.D. Jakes. But then, T.D. Jakes has a history of affirming pastrixes. Paula White even considers Jakes to be her spiritual father.
As we began this post with questions, let us end with a few more.
For T.D. Jakes: Why do you continue to hold office in a Oneness Pentecostal organization if you actually affirm the biblical doctrine of the Trinity? Why do you support and promote female pastors when Scripture clearly teaches against such a thing? Why do continue to preach a heretical prosperity gospel?
For James MacDonald, Mark Driscoll and even Jack Graham: Do you continue to embrace as orthodox T.D. Jakes and his ministry, even though he has shown no repentance of the Modalism that he supposedly has rejected? Do you have any concerns regarding his close involvement with HGAAA? Does it disturb you that Jakes has not yet repented of nor ceased preaching the heretical prosperity gospel? Is it acceptable to you that this man, whom you have celebrated, supports and affirms female pastors who are in direct violation of the Word of God?
And, just for good measure, one might like also to ask of MacDonald and Driscoll: Do you believe that your acceptance of T.D. Jakes in ER2, and your praise of his ministry, has been fruitful for the body of Christ? If so, what kind of fruit do you believe this has yielded?
“For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, for each tree is known by its own fruit. (Luke 6:43-44a)