T.D. Jakes Embraces Doctrine of the Trinity, Moves Away from ‘Oneness’ View
Michael Foust, Baptist Press | January 27, 2012 8:40PM
AURORA, Ill. (BP) — Bishop T.D. Jakes says he has moved away from a “Oneness” view of the Godhead to embrace an orthodox definition of the Trinity — and that some in the Oneness Pentecostal movement now consider him a heretic.
Jakes — long a controversial figure among evangelicals because of his past unwillingness to affirm the Trinity — stated his belief Wednesday (Jan. 27) at the second-annual Elephant Room (theelephantroom.com), an event that brings together Christian figures from different backgrounds for what organizers call “conversations you never thought you’d hear.” This year’s Elephant Room was held at Harvest Bible Chapel in Illinois and was simulcast to other locations nationwide.
Jakes, founder and senior pastor of The Potter’s House in Dallas, was the focus of a motion at Southern Baptist Convention annual meetings in 2009 and 2010 by a messenger who wanted LifeWay Christian Stores to stop selling his books. One was ruled out of order by the SBC president, the other referred to LifeWay for study.
Jakes — who once made the cover of Time magazine, which asked if he might be the next Billy Graham — said he was saved in a Oneness Pentecostal church. Oneness Pentecostalism denies the Trinity and claims that instead of God being three persons, He is one person. In Oneness Pentecostalism, there is no distinction between the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. It is also called “modalism,” and it is embraced by the United Pentecostal Church International.
“I began to realize that there are some things that could be said about the Father that could not be said about the Son,” Jakes said. “There are distinctives between the working of the Holy Spirit and the moving of the Holy Spirit, and the working of the redemptive work of Christ. I’m very comfortable with that.” [See the transcript of Jakes' comments at the end of this story.]
The doctrine of the Trinity — embraced by all three historical branches of Christianity — holds that God is three persons, each person is distinct, each person is fully God, and that there is one God.
Several key Bible passages, Jakes said, impacted his transition.