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Reformed. Christianity. Evangelism. Modern Culture.
Bishop Jakes, who was spiritually nurtured in the Oneness Pentecostal tradition, had never given a clear affirmation of Trinitarian orthodoxy, even though he had been pressed on this from Christian apologists (most notably 12 years ago in the year 2000). Elephant Room 2 was to take him to task about his slippery antics but he seemed to have wiggled out again. Some conservative (especially Reformed) Christians thought Jakes had an easy ride and was’t even quizzed on his other aberrant beliefs like Word of faith and prosperity theology. Kaboom! Out came the race card!!
Argh! Surely aren’t Christians supposed to “be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage–with great patience and careful instruction.” How come some of us are just too thin skinned to take correction, rebuke and can’t even stomach careful instruction? Now this is absurd! Or rather am I (as a young black reformed Christian) supposed to be learning an easy trick? If I get rebuked or run out of bible verses to back my aberrant beliefs in ANY debate or discussion there seems to always be a “get out of jail” sympathy card for some. Phil Johnson makes an interesting observation :
If you’re an old white guy with any hint of Reformed theology in your confessional statement and you don’t think T. D. Jakes’s equivocations at Elephant Room 2 were sufficient to erase decades of concern about his Oneness leanings and his relentless proclamation of a false Prosperity Gospel—then you must be a racist. And even if you don’t think you’re a racist, you should shut up anyway. Because in the black community relationships are more important than any doctrine, including the gospel and the Trinity. We all should strive to subjugate doctrine to relationships anyway.
If on the other hand you are a young black man with Reformed convictions—or any black person who just has a keen interest in doctrinal and biblical accuracy—you are a sellout and a reproach to your own community. The only possible explanation is that you are guilty of “White Idolatry.” You secretly wish to earn favor with Whitey. You should not only shut up, you should be ashamed. As far as the importance of relationships is concerned, we don’t really care to have one with you.
End of discussion [?]
How does years of Christian consensus on the doctrine of the Godhead get sent to the back of the bus so blithely in the name of unity and racial reconciliation? Furthermore Carl Trueman makes a very pertinent point in that:
Historically, one might add that this would seem to indicate that modalism is not the only early church heresy which is enjoying something of a comeback in evangelical circles. The methodological attributes outlined above were also hallmarks of Gnosticism whose basic strategy was `I have secret knowledge that you do not have but which allows me to understand the world – and even you – in ways that you cannot comprehend. So you need to shut up and listen to me.’
Still, let us go back to the fourth century and see how the `middle aged white guy’ critique measures up. Well, at the Council of Nicea in 325, many of the participants were no doubt middle aged — which Paul in the Pastorals would actually seem to think is quite a good thing in a church leader. But white? I suspect they were ethnically more akin to modern day Turks or south eastern Europeans, not that racial categories really meant anything then. The key category in the fourth century was that of Roman citizenship, not skin colour.
More significantly, of course, had you been there yourself and looked around the council, you would have seen that many of the delegates had body parts missing – an arm here, a leg there, an occasional eye – because they were survivors of the terrible persecutions under Diocletian and Galerius. Indeed, many had probably lost close friends and family members too. Thus, the foundations for the creedal doctrine of the Trinity were laid by men who thought doctrine was something for which it was actually worth suffering and dying.
Disregarding sound doctrine, rebuke and correction just because we are too arrogant to listen is neither Christian or virtuous. It’s high time Evangelical Christians contended ernestly for major tennents of orthodoxy and sound doctrine relentlessly. Christianity is often called a book-religion. It would be more exact to say that it is a religion which has a book. Its foundations are laid in apostles and prophets, upon which its courses are built up in the sanctified lives of men; but Christ Jesus alone is its chief corner-stone. He is its only basis; he, its only head; and He alone has authority in his Church.
Sola scriptura (by scripture alone) is the doctrine that the Bible contains all knowledge necessary for salvation and holiness. Consequently, sola scriptura demands that only those doctrines are to be admitted or confessed that are found directly within or indirectly by using valid logical deduction or valid deductive reasoning from scripture.
So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples…”
Unless of course some people want to be placed above the authority of scripture. Modalism is heresy. Since Jakes has never recanted and has (of late) categorically made it known that he will not renounce it nor break fellowship with his Oneness roots he has decided which side of the line to remain on. My prayer is that he comes to realise his error.
Till then…bye bye Jakes!
End of discussion!