Exposing False Teachers (No 2): T.D. Jakes
Thomas Dexter Jakes or better known as T.D. Jakes is probably one of the most well-known pastors in the world. He has his own show, (T.D. Jakes Show), he has written numerous books and movie scripts. He has produced films and shows and has appeared on talk shows such as Oprah (who called him "America's treasure). He has been recognized by Time Magazine as "One of the Nations most mesmerizing and influential preachers" and in 1996 founded the 30,000 member church called The Potter's House. I tell you this so that you know, Jakes' influence is far-reaching. He is not a 'fringe' pastor. He is a 'mainstream' pastor/teacher.
In this article, I'd like to hone in on one particular aspect of T.D. Jakes' teaching/theology that lands him in the category of false teacher. Again, this series isn't meant to demonize anyone, but rather highlight theology cheerfully embraced by these visible and influential teachers. My hope is that those of you who read this will grow in your discernment and begin to ask important questions as you listen or read those who say they subscribe to the Christian faith.
Probably the biggest test of orthodoxy in the Christian faith is the doctrine of the Trinity. Allow me to summarize what biblically faithful Christians believe about the Trinity and then I will highlight what T.D. Jakes believes and teaches about the Trinity.
What Christians Believe About The Trinity
Chapter 2.3 of The Baptist Confession of Faith says,
3. This divine and infinite Being consists of three real persons,c the Father, the Word or Son, and the Holy Spirit.27 These three have the same substance, power, and eternity, each having the whole divine essence without this essence being divided.28 The Father is not derived from anyone, neither begotten nor proceeding. The Son is eternally begotten of the Father.29 The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son.30 All three are infinite and without beginning and are therefore only one God, who is not to be divided in nature and being. Yet these three are distinguished by several distinctive characteristics and personal relations. This truth of the Trinity is the foundation of all of our fellowship with God and of our comforting dependence on him. (bolded by me)
csubsistences, or individual instances of a given essence
271 John 5:7; Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14. 28Exodus 3:14; John 14:11; 1 Corinthians 8:6. 29John 1:14,18. 30John 15:26; Galatians 4:6.
What one believes about the Trinity is the test of both orthodoxy and fellowship. Christians believe in one God eternally existing in three equally divine Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. These three equally divine Persons know, love, and glorify one another- this is our One true and living God. One God in three Persons.
T.D. Jakes Subscribes to Modalism
First, read the Potter's House's (the church Jakes pastors) statement of faith regarding God:
Manifestations is a very troubling word used in that statement and I've heard Jakes tease this out in detail over the course of his ministry. Jakes subscribes to what is called Modalism or Sabellianism. Modalism is the belief that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three different modes or aspects of God. In this view the Persons of the Trinity are not distinct, nor are the co-existent. In other words, God sometimes manifests Himself as Father. Sometimes God manifests Himself as Jesus and sometimes God manifests Himself as the Holy Spirit. But these are just three different 'roles' of God. Jakes wrongly believes that adherents to the Trinity believe in 3 gods and he, therefore, rejects the belief.
Modalism is a heresy that has been condemned by the Christian church since at least the 5th century (see, for instance, the Athanasian Creed). Jakes believes that God cannot be three Person simultaneously. When He acts as Father, the Son and Spirit do not exist. When He acts as the Son, the Father and Spirit do not exist. When He acts as the Spirit, the Father and Son do not exist. Three modes- one at a time.
Over the years in different formats, Jakes has attempted to distance himself from the label of modalism. However, he continues to use the langauge manifestations of God, he continues to platform modalist teachers, and he continues to speak about Trinitarianism in a way that indicates he believes Trinitarianism is pluralistic.
If you'd like to learn more about Modalism, look through what is called 'Oneness Pentecostalism" this will give you more background information on this particular subject and the link I am providing you will show you what organizations subscribe to its teaching and how to minister to them respectfully and truthfully.