Written by my husband Joe in response to something someone wrote about Bishop T.D. Jakes and his (Jakes) view on the Trinity. My intent in posting this is to hear others' opinions on what they think about this issue — not for the argument or to make people angry, but genuinely because we want to know what others think and believe
. I believe it is possible to have discussions with our brothers and sisters in Christ, and we should be comfortable asking questions of this nature. What are your thoughts?
I think it is great that you are checking this stuff out. Certainly today we have so many teachers out there who have all kinds of interpretations, opinions, agendas etc. Jesus said “If you abide (or continue) in My word then you are truly My disciples and you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free”. I actually love this kind of stuff. When I read or hear someone telling their theological views it always drives me to the Bible to see if what they say lines up with scripture. It is never my intention to try to pick a fight with anyone but since –as Jesus foretold- there are many false teachers and teachings out there we should be so acquainted with the Truth that when we hear a lie we will know it instantly. (Matt. 7:15, Matt. 24:11, Matt. 24:24, 2 Cor. 11:12-15, I Tim. 6:3-5, 1 John 4:1)
There’s an old saying “ in essentials unity, in non essentials liberty and in all things charity”. What that means to me is that there are teachings that are essential for us as Christians to hold to, such as when Jesus said in John 3:3 “You ‘MUST’ be born again” and John 8:34 “You ‘MUST’ believe that I AM He or you will die in your sins”.
Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection, salvation by grace through faith and not by works, just to name a few. These are essential doctrines of our Christian Faith and distinguishes the Kingdom of Jesus Christ and the kingdom of the cults.
Non essential teachings such as eating meat or abstaining, once saved always saved or not, spiritual gifts, charismatic, Pentecostal, long pants or shorts, and oh my doesn’t the list go on and on. These are issues that we can honestly debate vigorously with each other, but afterward go arm in arm as brothers and sisters as servants of our Lord and Savior… and let us never forget in all things charity.
All this brings me to a point I’d like to make about the doctrine of the Trinity. T D Jakes is correct the word Trinity is not in the Bible, but the concept and teaching of the Trinity is definitely there (see Mathew 3:16-17; 28:18-20; 2 Corinthians 13: 14). The doctrine of the Trinity is based on two basic biblical teachings:
1. There is one and only one God.
2. There are three eternally distinct persons who are called God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
The term ‘Trinity’ was coined by the early church to codify this teaching.
When T D Jakes and others say “the term Trinity is not a biblical term to begin with”, red flags should go up and buzzers go off. To deny the Trinity is to deny the revelation that God has given us of Himself in His Word.
I definitely hear you – “do we have to have the full Trinitarian download and go through seminary before we can be saved”? No. I believe that when we hear the Gospel the Holy Spirit convicts us of our need for God to save us, and we give our hearts and lives to Jesus just as we are and become His disciples. Disciple means “continual learner”. John 8:31-32 Jesus said “If you continue in My Word you are truly my disciples and you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free”.
Twenty years ago I believed in God, but had no idea who this Jesus is. When I came to Jesus all I knew was that I was guilty and lost. By faith I gave my life to Him, and through His Word and His people He has revealed Himself and the Father to me. Do I, or will I, completely comprehend how there can be three eternally distinct persons in one nature? No, but I can embrace the concept.
Sadly, the Trinity is denied by many religions and by various sects that even call the Bible theirs or one of their holy books. The Jehovah’s Witnesses say Jesus is not God but Michael the Archangel, the first creation of Almighty Jehovah. The Mormans say Jesus is the spirit brother of Lucifer, and one day I could become a god. The Unitarians say Jesus is one of many ways to God, but that there are also many gods.
The Biblical doctrine of the Trinity exposes these teachings as heretical. I can certainly understand why many Trinitarians are concerned about the doctrinal statement of T D Jakes referring to the Godhead as ‘manifestations’. This definition (of manifestations) is used by Oneness Pentacostals (modalism), of which T D Jakes by his own admission was raised and ordained as a “Bishop”.
Modalism (Oneness) says that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are modes of manifestations and not persons. T D Jakes interestingly enough defends this definition by saying “The Apostle Paul himself used this term referring to the Godhead in 1 Tim3:15, 1Cor.12:7,and 1John3:5-8.Peter also used the term in 1Peter1:20. Can this word now be heresy when it is a direct quote from the Pauline epistles and used elsewhere in the new testament?”. Why is this troublesome?
Lets read those scriptures that he says refer to the Godhead 1 Timothy 3:16 “By common confession, great is the mystery of godliness:
He who was manifested in the flesh, Was vindicated in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Proclaimed among the nations, Believed on in the world, Taken up in glory.
1 Cor 12:7 “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man for the profit of all.”
1 John 3:8 “He that commits sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.”
1 Peter 1:20 “He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you”
None of these passages is talking about God manifesting Himself as Father, Son or Holy Spirit. Three of the scriptures speak of the Son becoming manifest (revealed) in the flesh, and one talks about the Holy Spirit manifesting as gifts in the believers life. These verses do NOT support the use of the word "manifestation" to describe the persons of the Godhead. T D Jakes asked "How can it be heresy if it is a direct quote?" The answer is that it is not a direct quote, it is a complete misunderstanding of what is being said in those passages. A misunderstanding that denies the eternal nature of the Son of God.
To clarify that last point. If Jesus Christ is only a manifestation of God, and He only became manifest "in these last times" that would mean that Jesus Christ wasn't with God in the beginning as John 1:1 says He is! Jesus has always been Jesus; from eternity past Micah 5:2 to eternity future Rev 5:13.
It is truly, it is not my intention to bash or label T D Jakes as a heretic. I am not capable of, nor is my job to judge his heart. (Mathew7:1) I am though very concerned by his insistence in using modalistic definitions to define the Godhead. By all the content of your two posts on the Bishop, clearly I’m not alone. We are to test all words and teachings that we hear. John 7:24, 1John4:1
The doctrine of the Trinity is essential to our faith. Our Pastor said that ‘Jesus is who He says He is and He said ‘ I am the Way the Truth and the Life and no one comes to the Father except by Me’. John14:6. The TRUE Jesus! Not the jesus of Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormans, Modalists etc….
2Corinthiains 11:4 warns us of those who would come and preach a ‘different Jesus’. John 17:3 “And this is eternal life that they may know You, the only true God AND Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” To know the persons of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is THE most precious gift.
I know this was long and If you got this far thank you for staying with me.
This subject ‘The Trinity’ is near and dear to my heart.
May the Lord bless you.