What Would You Ask TD Jakes at Elephant Room 2?

The announcement T.D. Jakes participation at Elephant Room 2 (ER2) has generated much digital ink in the last week. I’ve shared some of the trouble I have with Jakes participation.1 Other Christians have provided more thorough responses than I explaining their concern over James MacDonald inviting T.D. Jakes.2 Note that no one is disputing that MacDonald can host whoever he wants at ER2 even while disagreeing with him.

It is, however, too soon to know for sure whether or not ER2 will take place as scheduled. Anything can happen, right? Outside of Jakes withdrawing or having his invitation withdrawn the event will most likely happen though. I wonder if someone like Mark Dever were to withdraw if that would shake things up? Personally, I lean toward Dever withdrawing, but I would also love for Dever to ask pointed, biblical questions of Jakes about the Trinity. This brings me to the question at hand.

What would you ask T.D. Jakes at Elephant Room 2?

While I think the most loving thing to do would be to not have Jakes participate in ER2 maybe some of us on this side of the issue can offer some constructive questions.  Contrary to possible opinion, I don’t dislike T.D. Jakes, but I do care about him enough to want him to embrace the second Person of the Trinity, the true Jesus of the Bible.

As I see it, pointed doctrinal questions may ultimately have three effects on Mr. Jakes.

  1. He continues his unclear, uncommitted position on the Trinity.
  2. He clearly shows that he does not embrace the Trinity.
  3. He repents of Modalism and embraces the true biblical God as He has revealed Himself inthe Trinity.

Maybe pointed doctrinal questions can help minimize any negative impact on the Body of Christ, and those outside of the Body, that Jakes appearance might have. Of course, there is no guarantee that any suggested questions would be used by MacDonald, Driscoll or the other participants, but it may give them and the potential ER2 viewers a few things to think about.

In no particular order, here are a few suggestions to which I hope some readers will add their own questions.

  • What is the gospel?
  • What is justification?
  • What is sanctification?
  • Do you believe in the doctrine of the Trinity summarized as: (1) There is only one God. (2) The Father is God. (3) The Son is God. (4) The Holy Spirit is God. (5) The Father is not the Son. (6) The Son is the not the Holy Spirit?3
  • Why does the Potter’s House belief statement state that God exists in three manifestations?
  • In a 2010 interview you stated that you “adamantly” defended Oneness doctrine as a teenager, so should it be understood that you clearly understand the doctrinal differences between Oneness and Trinitarian beliefs?
  • Why have you seemingly been so unwilling to answer directly about your beliefs on the Trinity in the past?
  • How important is one’s understanding of the Godhead as it relates to Scripture and the gospel?
  • Given the significant theological differences, why do you consider both Oneness and Trinitarian doctrine as valid Christian beliefs?
  • You stated that your views of the Godhead are evolving, would it be prudent to think that one who holds the title “Bishop” should have a more solid position on the Trinity?
  • Why have you continued to use the title “Bishop” since your views of the Godhead are evolving and the title was given to you by a Oneness group?
  • You have stated that you don’t want to attack doctrine. Would you consider Paul publicly correcting Peter’s doctrine in the book of Galatians to be an attack?
  • You have stated that you don’t want to attack doctrine. But aren’t pastors, bishops and elders charged with teaching sound doctrine while rebuking and correcting false doctrine and teachers?
  • Is the doctrine of the Trinity any more or less important today than it was in the early church?
  • Do you believe the Jesus was materially wealthy while He walked the earth?

What would you ask T.D. Jakes?


Let's connect!

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

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

1 BDW October 4, 2011 at 1:05 pm

Let me ask: If Jakes was uninvited, how do you think that plays with the portion of the Black Church that supports Jakes?

Race matters (generally more to minorities than those in majority). The Reformed community is a predominantly Anglo one.

Dump Jakes and how will that be perceived by the larger Black Church (including Jakes’ African-American critics)? Reformed theology has long been targeted by many influential African-American theologians. Jakes obviously should not have been invited in the first-place. But now, withdrawing the invite seems like a dumb move.

My problem is not with his views on the Trinity. I don’t think anyone really knows for certain what T.D. Jakes currently believes about the Trinity. Of course, the evidence indicates there are some serious issues. However, clearly Jakes is not out and about preaching on the Trinity – otherwise these questions wouldn’t be necessary.

What he has been out and about preaching is the Prosperity Gospel. That’s a false gospel that actually harms people in the here and now. I’m curious as to why these theologically-astute Reformed leaders would care to share a stage with a guy who delivers a message of prosperity that the major African-American denominations are trying to defeat.

2 Barbara October 4, 2011 at 8:46 pm

“Personally I lean toward Dever withdrawing…”

It would appear that perhaps he has. Bio is missing from the Elephant Room site.

3 Mark October 4, 2011 at 9:15 pm


I agree that if Jakes is uninvited that some may cry racism. I get that and it is a good point. How about if Jakes is replaced with another black pastor like Thabiti Anyabwile, for example? That type of replacement may curb charges of racism.

Should the prosperity teachings be primarily dealth with over issues of the Trinity? You make a good point and maybe they should be. It is certainly the prosperity teachings that are most prominent in Jakes’ teaching. It is just so hard to ignore the Trinity problems given they explain the very nature of God.

I agree with your last paragraph also. I would add that given the number of theological-cultural issues Driscoll has tackled over the years it is hard for me to understand why he did not look into the prosperity teachings of Jakes.

Thanks for the thoughtful comments.

4 Mark October 4, 2011 at 9:17 pm


Thanks for pointing that out. I check the linked and get a “page not found” message. http://www.theelephantroom.com/2011/09/14/speaker-3-mark-dever/

5 D.R. Randle October 5, 2011 at 10:05 am

I think BDW makes a good point (might be the first time I’ve ever said that) regarding the perception of the African American community should Jakes be uninvited. I think that’s sad that anyone would jump to conclusions based on his race, but in our day and age (especially in light of many trying to tie racism to various political issues in a soon-to-be election year) it is logical to assume this.

But Mark is correct in saying that this charge could be easily overcome simply by inviting another influential African American pastor. I don’t know that Thabiti would be influential enough, but perhaps Tony Evans or someone like him would be. So it’s not an insurmountable obstacle to uninvite, but it should be done carefully.

Oh, and yes, the prosperity gospel stuff to me is almost just as disturbing as his views on the Trinity, and much better documented and supported. Both are heresies – prosperity teaching just seems to be more pervasive these days.

6 Anymouse October 8, 2011 at 2:58 am

“What Would You Ask TD Jakes at Elephant Room 2?”

When are you gonna introduce us to Pastor Paula?

7 Steve October 14, 2011 at 10:05 pm

Carle Trueman of Reformation 21 Quotes James McDonald on T.D. Jakes


2: I do not agree that T.D. Jakes is a Modalist.

I affirm the doctrine of the Trinity as I find it in Scripture. I believe it is clearly presented but not detailed or nuanced. I believe God is very happy with His Word as given to us and does not wish to update or clarify anything that He has purposefully left opaque. Somethings are stark and immensely clear, such as the deity of Jesus Christ; others are taught but shrouded in mystery, such as the Trinity. I do not trace my beliefs to credal statements that seek clarity on things the Bible clouds with mystery. I do not require T.D. Jakes or anyone else to define the details of Trinitarianism the way that I might. His [Jakes’] website states clearly that he believes God has existed eternally in three manifestations.

Here is James McDonald’s Revised Statement. Probably done after he removed the shoe leather from his mouth.


“2: I do not agree that T.D. Jakes is a Modalist. (Based on input I have gotten I have re-written this section for clarity)
I affirm the doctrine of the Trinity as I find it in Scripture. I believe this doctrine is revealed in the Bible and accurately expressed in historic confessionalism. T.D. Jakes website states that he believes God has existed eternally in three manifestations which is modalist language. I am looking forward to hearing him explain his position currently and how that may have changed from things he has said historically. I am also excited to hear him state his views on money, which may be closer to Scripture than the monasticism currently touring reformed world. I believe T.D. Jakes shows immense humility by being willing to step outside his own circles to interact with christian leaders and discuss his theology. Getting people together within the broadest spectrum of Christianity who don’t normally interact, is what the Elephant Room is all about. Talking about issues that separate with grace and truth is what the Elephant Room is all about. We are greatly honored that T.D. Jakes has agreed to participate.”

Seems James McDonald is confused about the trinity and what he believes? He does not trace his beliefs to creedal statements, II believe this doctrine is revealed in the Bible and accurately expressed in historic confessionalism

Whats with the back and forth? So what does James McDonald believe? Sounds strange coming from someone who is part of the Gospel Coalition. What’s up with the Gospel Coalition? Is T.D. Jakes going to join soon?

8 Mark October 14, 2011 at 10:23 pm


I really don’t know why MacDonald seems to move back and forth on these questions of the Trinity. It does sounds strange coming from a Gospel Coalition member, but I don’t think anything is up with the GC in general as this is a personal situation with MacDonald. I highly doubt Jakes has even the slightest chance of being a GC member.

9 Steve October 15, 2011 at 3:50 pm


I was being a bit sarcastic. I also doubt T.D. Jakes would make the list, but my sarcasm was just to show how sad it is that a GC member would actually do the things McDonald is doing. Not just with this but with Perry Noble and Steve Furtick.

Mark if I started cursing on your blog and using language that is not becoming of the Gospel I am sure you and your audience would respond and correct me. But Perry Noble continually uses questionable language and yet a GC member supports him? smh. Where does it end? Is it hip now to use foul language as a pastor? Is that were the church is heading?

10 yumi February 24, 2012 at 1:03 pm

I would like to ask td jakes or a pastor who is suppose to know a question. If Jesus walked the earth like me, died like me and knew me before i was born why does he place people in unpleasant places..?….Why doesnt he stop the genicide…..Why doesnt he stop the false prophet that get money from those less fortunate who are seeking for spiritual freedom. Not to be confused. Why doent he stop these preachers from giving people false hope. Using the bible to deceive. If jesus walked like me on earth and died like me why hasnt he come back if can see all the suffering….children being sold as sex slaves….innocent ones that is……just curious

11 Mark February 24, 2012 at 2:31 pm

yumi, why do you want to ask those questions? What do you believe they help you gain?

12 Yumi February 24, 2012 at 2:46 pm

Cause there is alot of deceivement in the world and people use the bible to give people false hope ….I just want to talk to a preacher that says they are holy…..i will be attending theology shchool and then will i ask my question……I want to gain knowledge or insight about the spirit…..have you ever had a supernatural or spiritual occurrance that can not be explained …….if there was no books would one believe in something they cant see…….once again…..just curious……you learn by asking question and i have talked to the wind so i guess i will get my answer there………curiousity

13 Steve February 24, 2012 at 3:12 pm


Let me ask you a question. What have you done to help people in unpleasant places? What have you done to stop genocide? What have you done for those who are less fortunate and have been robbed by false prophets? What have you done to give people true hope? What have you done to use the bible to preach truth? What have you done to stop child sex trafficking?

How much of your life, time, money and energy are spent in stopping all these things?

Jesus did come back. And he gave his very life to save and seek his lost sheep. He called the church to go and preach the gospel that those committing these wicked deeds might believe and repent.

Here is another question. Why did God kill his only perfect sinless Son Jesus Christ for the gross and wilfull and blatant sins that you committed against God? Why did Jesus have to suffer for your sins?

14 Steve February 24, 2012 at 3:19 pm

Yumi, I will give you a great answer for your question. “beause your heart is wicked”. That is why. Because my heart is wicked. As Voddie Buacham said best. “You think the problem is out there, the wickedness and evil, but the problem is not out there but in here (in your heart). Yumi here is a question you should ask yoursefl “why didn’t a holy God kill you in your sleep last night for the wickedness in your own heart”? Or kill you for all the pain you caused others in life?

15 Kirt R. Morgan August 17, 2014 at 4:21 pm

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