After reading a portion of T.D. Jakes’ responses to questions regarding his views on the Trinity on the Elephant Room 2, I’m not so convinced we Trinitarians are on the same page with him as so many are readily assuming. He says he assents to, “One God, Three Persons,” as a good definition for his beliefs of the nature of the Godhead. This settles it for many since they take him at his word. However, something else should be pointed out. He then immediately qualifies this to say, “I am not crazy about the word person … My doctrinal statement is no different from yours except the word…Manifest instead of persons.”
Based upon this, I have a question for the Bishop. The Athanasian Creed: was this even necessary to hash out based upon your view that this is a non-issue or not worthy of dispute between “believers”? (If any of you are not familiar with this statement of faith or others, they are well worth your time, I would even say necessary for every believer to absorb since this is the foundation of what we believe).
This issue of manifestation versus person, terms hashed out to define precisely what we mean when talking about the very nature of God as revealed in Scripture is the exact thing being discussed by Jakes as non-essential (or at least not worthy of dispute). This was a major issue that was fought over between the unorthodox and the orthodox in the early church. The views of Athanasius, the Cappadocian fathers and others were not formed in a vacuum apart from hard work and persecution over a long period of time. Was all of that necessary if we can just flippantly say, “Well, we mean the same thing, just different words?” The reason it was even an issue that had to be contended for was precisely because heresy had arisen in contradistinction from Scripture. And those very heresies led people away from The Gospel, which brings us to Jesus for eternity. In other words, heresy murders for eternity. This is not unimportant.
Theology matters. The instincts of many to just set aside major differences with Jakes as big as the Trinity of all things (let alone the Health and Wealth heresy of TBN Jakes’ subscribes to that has been so utterly destructive to so many) is unwise. I desire for Jakes to embrace truth and of course I care about him and desire for him to turn from falsehood. This issue is as much about him as a person as the untruth he is teaching.