The (maybe) bigger issue with TD Jakes ministry & invitation to ER2
About a two weeks ago, I published a post on TD Jakes & modalism vs. Trinitarianism. I am thankful that he has apparently affirmed Trinitarianism, but there are other things that are problematic with his ministry.
I admitted at the time that I knew very little about Jakes, but in the aftermath of the Elephant Room 2 (ER2), I’m becoming more familiar with his ministry. So, while it was a problem that Jakes had not apparently publicly affirmed Trinitarianism until ER2, it seems that the bigger problem, practically speaking anyway, is that he preaches a prosperity “gospel” or health & wealth “gospel” or name it & claim it “gospel” or, well, you get the idea. This view is inherently unbiblical, & if you read the New Testament closely, you’ll see that the opposite is often true–we can expect to commonly have a relatively tough life if we live for Christ (see 1 Peter 4:12-14, John 15:18-21, Philippians 1:29, etc.).
The prosperity movement is dangerous because it can lead to destruction (see here); it also stands to reason that if you are under the teaching of a prosperity preacher & you are NOT receiving health & wealth, that you would have no hope, no assurance. It seems that you would see yourself as a failure, as having no real faith. But increases in wealth & freedom from illness are not what our hope is in. Our hope is in Christ, in His resurrection from the dead, in the knowledge that one day we will be raised up with him, in future glory (Romans 5: 1-5, Romans 8:22-25, 1 Corinthians 15:17-20, Titus 3:4-7, 1 Peter 1:3-5, etc.)
In light of Jakes’ preaching on prosperity, I think it may have been unwise to invite him to ER2 more so than because of his previous unwillingness to affirm the Trinity & especially because the topic was not broached. Inviting him to ER2 & not having all of the hard discussions with him gives him the appearance of credibility which does not seem to be deserved.
I should point out that I have been getting a lot of hits on my previous post via searches with the terms “james macdonald heretic”, & this saddens me because I do not believe him to be a heretic. I personally believe that inviting Jakes to ER2 was unwise, but that does not mean that it actually was. And just because someone does something unwise does not make him a heretic. Look at the total body of work of his ministry. Look at the consistency in his Christian life. Do not condemn a man for one act that appears to many to have been a mistake. Remember that none of us are yet perfected; we are still being sanctified & will continue in that until we die or Christ returns.
Finally, John Piper had a series of excellent blog posts nearly 2 years ago that were a call to prosperity preachers to forsake that unbiblical teaching. These posts do a very good job of showing just why the prosperity message is wrong. There are 12 posts, but don’t let that stop you from reading them; most of them are only 2-3 paragraphs & all a well worth the read. I commend them to you:
To Prosperity Preachers:
- Don’t Make Heaven Harder
- Save People from Suicide
- Warn Against Weak Investments
- Grow Lavish Givers
- Foster Faith in God
- Eliminate Choking Hazards
- Preserve the Salt and Light
- Don’t Conceal the Cost
- Uphold the Value of Suffering
- Teach Them to Go
- Separate from the Peddlers
- Commend Christ as Gain