Elephant Room II and TD Jakes’ Oneness Association

Elephant Room II is only 20 days away. T.D. Jakes is still on the schedule.1 Several of us disagreed with Jakes being a participant2, including Mark Dever who withdrew3, but I did suggest some questions for Jakes.4 Although I am still not very excited about Jakes participation, I am interested in what he will have to say, especially, in his session with Mark Driscoll where the following issues are supposed to be addressed.

What are the ‘majors’ of Christian doctrine that cannot be diluted or denied for a person to be a Christian? How can we help one another move beyond the bare minimum of accepted belief, to a pursuit of robust, soul-satisfying, biblical substance? How should we relate to those who do not yet embrace the benefit and priority of sound biblical doctrine? Is there a difference between a person in error and a wolf in sheep’s clothing? What benefits derive from keeping the majors on a separate list and not letting the ‘minors’ divide us? Is it possible to love the truth without compromise and still work passionately for unity?5

In light of the answers I received to recent questions, an additional question of ministry associations would be interesting. T.D. Jakes has long been affiliated with the organization Higher Ground Always Abounding Assemblies (HGAAA). On their Facebook page I asked (screenshot below), “Is T.D. Jakes still the Vice-Prelate of Higher Ground? Also, is Higher Ground still Oneness in their theology of the Godhead?”6

The answer from Timothy Starkey was “Yes and yes.” Yet who is Mr. Starkey? The West Virginia & East Tennessee Council of Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, Inc. lists Mr. Starkey as “Minister Timothy Starkey” of the “United Apostolic Faith Church.”7 This Council is a Oneness organization as evidenced by their statement of faith which states, “There is but one GOD in essence and in person” who is the triune manifestation, the divine three-fold manifestation and relationship.”8

Little did I know that all I had to do was check out the flyer for the “2012 Higher Ground Always Abounding Assemblies, Inc. National Convention.” The flyer has Jakes’ picture with his title of “Vice Prelate” under it.9

So what’s the big deal?

The big deal is that even if T.D. Jakes proclaims a clear, unequivocal belief in the Trinity10, the question remains of why Jakes continues to serve in ministry with Oneness folks. (Other doctrinal concerns remain as well.11)

Would an alleged former Mormon or Jehovah’s Witness get a pass in the same situation? If Jakes’ claimed to be raised in a Mormon or JW congregation, later alleged that he has moved beyond those communities, yet was still a officer serving with a Mormon or JW organization, would the Elephant Room organizers ignore the obvious? I hope the answer is that the ER folks would address such affiliations, but if they were consistent, it seems that the invitation would still have been issued.

Will the question of associations go unasked and unanswered? I have no idea though I hope both with be asked and answered. Let’s hope there is truth in advertisement since the ad on the ER website states:

“You know the rules…No wavering. No sidestepping. No Excuses.”


tagged as , , , in apologetics,Church Issues,Culture,theology

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jared Moore January 5, 2012 at 8:31 pm

Mark, theology is like a brick wall. If you take out one doctrine, such as the Trinity, the wall still stands. In other words, “It’s just the doctrine of the Trinity Mark. Don’t have a hissy fit.” One soul saved or blessed through Jakes’s ministry validates all his actions and beliefs.

Now, on a serious note, I vote we ski mask ministry Jakes. He looks like a big dude though. I heard thru the grapvine though that you’re a ninja.

2 Bruce H January 5, 2012 at 10:44 pm

I think the oneness doctrine has to be believed in order for salvation to occur, per United Pentecostals. If so, both sides would be at fault here; Elephant Room asking him to be on the ticket and him accepting. It says more about Elephant Room than anything else.

3 Nick Kennicott January 6, 2012 at 8:40 am

Good reporting, Mark. This whole thing is so troubling. Jakes aside, I don’t really think Furtick or Noble are much better. But… They’re all untouchable, so will continue without accountability.

4 Jonathan Pearson January 13, 2012 at 5:19 pm

It is a bit troublesome for that so many “leaders” are banding together with individuals who do not share the same theological beliefs. I have no issue with Dever and Duncan and Mahaney getting together because, when it all comes down to it, they espouse the same beliefs. However, to continually be partnering with Jakes is troublesome. Forgive me that I cannot remember the source, but I read this morning that Furtick is planning to have an “old-school Holy Spirit” revival and one of the invited speakers is T.D. Jakes. I’m not sure that I would allow someone who does not have the same view of the Trinity share my pulpit.

5 *Rykel™ Lim* (@rykellim) September 6, 2012 at 1:04 pm

Dear brothers/sisters-in-Christ, JESUS IS LORD. (Christian greeting) I read that W. A. Criswell (Trinitarian Baptist pastor) said this, “We are not going to see three Gods in heaven… There is one great Lord God. We know Him as our Father; we know Him as our Saviour; we know Him as the Holy Spirit in our hearts. There is one God and this is the great God, called in the Old Testament, Jehovah, and, incarnate, called in the New Testament JESUS.” (W. A. Criswell, “Expository Sermons On Revelation” 5:42, 1:145-146, quoted by pastor David K. Bernard) It is a statement that is FULLY in line with the Oneness view of Jesus Christ. Therefore, it is possible that – Oneness and Trinitarians – we are all saying the same thing and will see each other in Heaven. God bless, Rykel


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