Well, I actually sat and listened to the entire T.D. Jakes sermon at Code Orange.
Steven Furtick claims that T. D. Jakes is “The Greatest Preacher of our time”, so I had to find out for myself.
“Bishop” T.D. Jakes is a oneness pentecostal. A modalist. This means that he believes that there is one God who manifests himself as Father, Son, or Holy Spirit. Christians believe that there is one God who exists in three persons at the same time, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The three persons can be seen together at Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan.
“Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.” Luke 3:21-22
I am so glad that Mr. Jakes uses the King James bible, but ultimately, it is proof that you can twist any bible to make it say things it doesn’t say. Jakes has a kind, charismatic, manner, that brings to mind a kindly grandfather. For his sermon he uses Matthew 9:20-22, and Hebrews 4:15
“And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment: 21 For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole. 22 But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.” (Matt. 9:20-22)
“For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15)
Jakes point is that God wants to touch you. The problem is that in the entire message he does not mention sin, or our need for forgiveness. He invites the audience to touch the Lord, but can God even use a message that does not address our need for a saviour?
“God wants to increase you”, says Jakes. What does he mean by this? As you go through the sermon it becomes apparent that Jakes’ point is that God wants to make your life better now, on this earth.
“Christians love principles more than people” says Jakes, in a veiled rebuke of fundamentalists. The truth is that Jesus Christ Himself refused to compromise His principles. Jesus’ emphasis was always on doctrine. (John 7:16-17) Jakes here is sliding into the ecumenical camp that says “we need to sacrifice doctrine for the sake of unity”.
“Don’t let any devil in Hell let you think you’re not valuable”. “I’ve got to be valuable, because Jesus died for me”, “Jesus paid a price to recognize my worth”.
I have heard fundamentalist, and evangelical Christians repeat these same ideas, long before I heard T.D. Jakes say them. The problem is that it does not say anything about my worth, that Jesus died for me. It says something about the love of God, that he would die for a bunch of worthless sinners! God is the one who says that Israel is the “apple of my eye”, yet this same God says of Israel:
“Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I will help thee, saith the LORD, and thy redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.” Isaiah 41:14
Make no mistake, if God views Israel as no better than a worm, then He also views you and me in the same light. If he picks us up, and saves, us and makes us His children, it is to His glory, and not because we have any worth in ourselves. We gain value when we receive Christ, but the value comes from Him, not us.
You were created for God’s glory, but you can glorify Him as His child in Heaven, or as His enemy in the lake of fire, but you will glorify Him! There is a place in the lake of fire, with your name on it, as there was for me, but God has made a way for you to avoid it. Christ took my place.
“Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain.” Psalms 76:10
Jake’s story about his sick daughter is touching, and his illustration that he finally understood his mother’s love for him, because of his experience with his daughter, is a good illustration. This does not mean that everything he is saying is correct. It is a way of manipulating the crowd with emotion.
He is correct that we don’t pray for things we can handle ourselves. It’s true, we don’t. He is correct that God allows evil to come into our lives to bring us to Jesus. There is no argument here.
In his illustration of the woman with the issue of blood, for twelve years, while based on a biblical story, the idea that it was the garment that healed her is incorrect. It was her faith that saved her, and it wasn’t faith itself, but rather the object of that faith. It was the power of God, through Jesus Christ, that saved her, because of her faith. If your faith is in the wrong God, or the wrong Jesus, it can’t save you. That piece of cloth could not have saved her without the power of God in Christ Jesus. The virtue left Him, not the cloth!
If you make a Jesus from your own mind, from your own ideas, this is idolatry, and he can’t save you.
“For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.” (II Corinthians 11:4)
Jakes speaks of the Holy Spirit in the context of God’s statement regarding Adam, “it is not good for a man to be alone”. We need the Holy Spirit the way a man needs a woman? God is my girlfriend? This statement actually borders on blasphemy. No! It is blasphemous! God does not exist to help you!
“God says, ‘I’m still touching. Whatever you want. Whatever you need.” according to Jakes. Is this true? Is this demonstrated in the last two thousand years of Christianity? Does it fit with the teaching of the bible?
“Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” (II Timothy 3:12)
“I feel the Spirit of God sweeping up and down these aisles. The glory of the Lord is moving from pew to pew. Hallelujah. His presence is in this place right now. You don’t have an issue that he cannot fix. Every situation, every circumstance, every problem is within His grasp. You are to allow the Holy Spirit to do a new thing in your life right now. To heal you, to minister to you, and set you free. The glory of the Lord is here. Touch causes growth. You can’t grow in God if you won’t touch Him and allow Him to touch you.” T.D. Jakes says.
These statements attract the gullible. It is very true that God can heal every sickness, and every situation, but is it His will to do so? No. Of the twelve apostles, only one died a natural death, and all were persecuted. Millions of Christians have suffered persecution, and have been misunderstood, throughout the last two millinnia. I have heard even fundamentalist pastors preach the same thing, that all will be rosy if you just come to Christ!
How many of their converts walk away from Christianity the moment that things go wrong? I have met several who did. Just as a vaccine is a weakened, or dead, virus, and inoculates the recipient from the real disease, so a weakened, or dead, Christianity, inoculates the recipient from the real thing!
34 “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. 35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. 36 And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. 37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.” (Matthew 10:34-38) (Note: the Romans crucified over 2,000 people every year in Jerusalem at that time. The disciples certainly knew what it meant to take up your cross!)
Hard times are coming to North America, and the rest of the world. I’m afraid this version of Christianity will not protect its recipients from the troubles ahead. When hard times come, many will say “I gave Christianity a try, and it didn’t deliver”.
At the end Mr. Jakes makes an altar call. He asks “who wants to be saved?”, but as I reflect on his sermon I cannot find a place where he explained why we need to be saved. He never said that someone without Jesus is lost, and in danger of the wrath of God! His Jesus exists to make your life better in the here and now, to solve your problems in this life. That’s not the Jesus of the bible!
T.D. Jakes’ sermon is charismatic, and engaging, but it misses the mark. This is almost exactly the opposite of one of the opening sermons of Code Orange, where Matt Chandler gave a plain, compelling presentation of the true gospel of Jesus Christ.
Jakes is slick. You really have to know your bible to understand where he went wrong. In these days of Christianity-Lite, there are not many who know the truth. I fear for this generation.
Here are some verses that Jakes missed:
“As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:” (Romans 3:10)
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” (Romans 3:23)
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)
“And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.(of sin)” (Hebrews 9:22)
“Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;” (Romans 3:25) (propitiation = satisfaction)
“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6)
“Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” (John 6:29)
“And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? 31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” (Acts 16:30-31)
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” (Romans 10:9)
“And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Acts 2:21)
Remember, calling on the wrong Lord cannot save you. The name “Baal”, one of the false gods of the Old Testament, also means “lord”, but he cannot save. The god of this world cannot save you, only Jesus Christ can do that.
Dan Knezacek is the author of The Spirit of Prophecy, a groundbreaking new analysis of the bible’s End Times prophecies.