Wretched Radio – Is TD Jakes orthodox or another evasive Modalist? By Todd Friel

Wretched Radio (Transcript of Show)

Evangelephantism: Unity over clarity?                                                                                                                                         

Is TD Jakes orthodox or another evasive Modalist?

By Todd Friel

[promo clip The Elephant Room 2]

“It’s about truth, the gospel of Jesus Christ is about truth. But is that all it is about?”

Todd Friel, “Is that a trick question? This is Wretched Radio. That is the promo for The Elephant Room 2 conference. Asking the gospel of Jesus is about truth, but is there more to it than that? And that is a tricky little question isn’t it? Because if you say, “well no it is just about truth.” Then they could jump it and say, “well it is also about love and how we demonstrate truth and how it is applied,” and you go, “okay I see what you mean.” But if you say that there is more to truth. That truth can be truthie or there can be a wide range of truth and the answer to that question is no. So if you want to ask the question, “is there more to the gospel than truth?” I don’t even know that technically I would say yes but okay truth, is there more to truth than truth? No there is not and that is why I have to confess to you this promo from The Elephant Room conference is honestly perplexing to me. It is a little bit confusing to me this it seems to me there is a desire to have cake and eat it too, to say, “we are all about truth but we really are not going to emphasize it very much.”

[promo clip for The Elephant Room 2]

“Is that all Jesus Christ was about. Was He just a truth guy?”

 Todd Friel, “Yes I mean just a truth, I mean – what do you mean just? What does that mean? I see sometimes we try to answer the question when the question itself is so loaded that you can’t respond right. Was Jesus just a truth guy? Well if I am going to answer that the answer to that is yes. Does He do more things? Yes does He have more attributes? Yes. But is He if you want to phrase it that way just a truth guy? Well then yes. But you see that just word gets a little tricky doesn’t it? Jesus the way, the truth, the life, truth is found in the Word and anytime that Jesus said that,  “we are supposed to love one another.” Which by the way is a truthful statement based on theology. It should be truth in love. “If you continue in My Word,” and so sure we can have differences of opinion on secondary issues, but the watering down of essentials or major theology or just truth and redefining it for the sake of getting along. I am sorry that is not what Jesus intended and honestly I believe this is kind of a straw man and I believe this is kind of a poke at people well at least like me who are rather conservative.”

[promo clip for The Elephant Room 2]

“Running around pounding people with a Bible? Thumping sinners upside the head with a two by four of truth.”

Todd Friel, “Well if I had to answer that question about Jesus I would say yes. I just wouldn’t phrase it like that. Jesus are you kidding me did he thump? Did you read The Beatitudes? That is a thumping. Read through the entire Beatitude, all of it just past The Beatitudes rather when you get into the commandments. “You have heard it said if you look with lust or that if you commit adultery, I say that if you commit adultery in your heart you have committed adultery. If you call your brother a fool you are in danger of the judgement. Cut off your hand.” That is Bible thumping. Did Jesus do that? Yes is that all He did? No but He did do it. Why? Because He is about truth and it was about saving sinners from false theology. Why did He rail against the Pharisees? Was it because they are so religious? No it is because they are so wrong.”

[promo clip for The Elephant Room 2]

“John tells us that the glory of Jesus was not His truth in isolation but His truth in tandem with grace.”

Todd Friel, “Okay I just don’t know what verse that is.”

[promo clip for The Elephant Room 2]

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld His glory.” 

 Todd Friel, “Glory is of the Father that got cut off.”

[promo clip for The Elephant Room 2]

 “Full of grace and truth.”

Todd Friel, “Right grace and truth, that means when we are together debating theological issues we are nice to each other. Come on we can do that, we can do that! But to say, “hey you have got a different view I think it is really bad, I think it is terrible. Oh well no big,” that is not truth. That is a not a pursuit of being truthful and being precise and theological the way that Jesus was and so it is as we have been discussing here at Wretched Radio. We have seen a crystallisation of a new camp inside of the evangelical communion if you will and that is The Evangelephants. The modern day Contemporary Evangelicals, they are orthodox it is just not that important. “We are orthodox we are just not going to thump it. We are orthodox but we are not going to preach about it all the time. We are orthodox but we are not really going to insist on it.” And that to me is the big take away from The Elephant Room 2 conference. It wasn’t yeah the TD Jakes stuff is in there and we are going to hear it in a moment. But the biggie is theology come on, let’s just chill.”

Person 1, “You be the judge.”

Person 2, “You want answers.”

Person 3, “I want the truth.”

Person 2, “You can’t handle the truth.

Judge, “Order in the courts.”

Todd Friel, “It is time now for you to be the judge we are going to ease drop into The Elephant Room 2 Conference and we are going to be nice about this. Our hope is that TD Jakes is actually a Trinitarian. Now don’t forget that doesn’t deal with his Word of Faith, his gospel lack of proclamation, his associations with way whacky preachers. None of that was even hinted at The Elephant Room conference. There was only one issue and I think it is simply because a bunch of people brought it up after it was announced that he was going to be there. But he was questioned at this conference by Mark Driscoll, James McDonald. Basically they were the two that led this. There were a couple of other guys on the platform. But basically they were the two that led this. As I said earlier this, there are going to be some people who think, “yes this was enough, good enough. It was there.” Other some people are going to say, “muddy, muddy not so sure about that need more.” And other people are going to go, “no way, nothing has changed.” Well you be the judge.”

TD Jakes, “When my father died, I had a real experience with Christ – I had a real conversion in Christ, and I had it in a Oneness church. But Christians… Christians believe in Jesus Christ, that he died and rose from the dead, comes back.”

Todd Friel, “Wait, wait I want to this is hard to hear. Sorry for that. But this is important that we hear this. I will play it again.”

TD Jakes, “When my father died, I had a real experience with Christ – I had a real conversion in Christ, and I had it in a Oneness church.”

Todd Friel, “He had a conversion experience in a Oneness church.”

TD Jakes, “But Christians… Christians believe in Jesus Christ, that he died and rose from the dead, comes back again – all the same things that you do.”

Todd Friel, “Okay and in Oneness Pentecostal, United Pentecostal church they believe Jesus He rose from the dead. That is not the issue. The issue is three distinct persons yet one. Okay.”

TD Jakes, “Pentecostal Christians by its virtue. But then how they describe and explain the Godhead in a traditional oneness sense is very very different from how traditional Trinitarians describe the gospel.”

Todd Friel, “Now that was honest I you have got to appreciate that. There is a difference.”

TD Jakes, “And I was in that church and raised in that church for a number of years and my problem with it as I began to go on is that and as I began to develop my ministry and I started preaching from that church and from that pulpit and that sort of thing. But I’m also informed by the infiltration from my Baptist experience and my Methodist experience. So I ended up like Metho-Bapti-Costal in a way.”

Todd Friel, “Okay so he is Metho-Bapti-Costal. Sorry for the sound but this is all we have got. He said I began to develop problems with Oneness theology. Now that had to have gone back probably twenty years, now we need to remember as recently as a decade ago, he made it clear “this is not a big deal.” Okay.

TD Jakes, “And what I begin to find out: It is easy to throw rocks at people.”

Todd Friel, “Okay now this is the part that we do need to be judging I think because this is the big issue. He seems to be inferring that he came out of The United Pentecostal church, which is Modalism, which is heretical and now he says. He hasn’t said it clearly yet, “but I don’t want to be throwing rocks at people.” Okay straw men have got to go. Nobody is talking about throwing rocks. We are talking about being precise, being clear on very crucial theology.”

TD Jakes, “It is easy to throw rocks at people that you don’t know, but the more you really get to know them and see Christ work in their lives, regardless of their belief system you begin to try to be a bridge builder.”

Todd Friel, “Okay so he wants to be a bridge builder. Now this I think we can judge. What this demonstrates at least from this because we never heard any sort of denunciation that Oneness theology about the Trinity will condemn you. It will condemn you is what it will do. You will be anathema. Now what he is saying is, “I don’t want to throw rocks at those people when you get to know them they really love Jesus and come on let’s not be judging those people. So I would simply ask you the question does TD Jakes if he is embracing Trinitarianism does he ever state, “I denounce and I call all my Oneness friends out of it?” I am afraid you are not going to hear that part.”

TD Jakes, “And the reason I’d say that I am similar with you only in this aspect: when you try to build bridges between people who’ve been fighting for hundreds of years – hundreds of years before you ever even got in the discussion – there’s an old adage that says he who stands in the middle of the road gets hit by both sides.”

Todd Friel, “Okay so he is trying to be a bridge builder because he doesn’t want to fight with anybody. Nobody is talking about fighting. You see this mischaracterisation. Nobody is talking about fighting. TD I don’t want to fight with you. I want your theology to be right and I want you to go and repent of your bad theology and call everybody toward the light and the truth. That is what we want. I don’t want, nobody wants to fight with anybody. Nobody is wanting to fight. We want truth.”

TD Jakes, “So as I began to progress, I began to understand that some of the dogma that I was taught within the Oneness movement was very dogmatic and very narrow and really not the best description of how I now understand the Godhead.”

Todd Friel, “Okay not the best description for how I understand the Godhead. Remember people condemned Oneness Pentecostalism as heresy, The Sabellian heresy. They said people go to hell because of it. I am sorry to say it is not the best way to describe the Godhead, at the very least that is a statement that doesn’t demonstrate a deep understanding of the importance of this issue.”

TD Jakes, “I still did not want to switch teams and start throwing rocks back across the street.”

Todd Friel, “Right I will tell you I got that characterisation but I didn’t want to switch teams and start throwing rocks across the street. People go to hell over this.

TD Jakes, “Because much of what we do today is teach people to take sides. But I believe we are called as the Body of Christ to reconcile wherever possible.”

Todd Friel, “Well I agree with that, but in order to reconcile you have to be on a side. You see that has to go together and we do want to call people into the truth but they have got to change. They have got to repent. They have got to confess. They have got to leave. Otherwise you can be getting along swell and you can sing the worship songs together but there is, it is a chasm it is a divide. Now what is telling from this is that nobody on the panel brought that up and tagged on him on that. Now I am not talking about whether or not he is a Trinitarian or not, I am talking about the downgrading on the issue. Woah TD wouldn’t you agree that if somebody has Oneness theology about The Trinity that they are going to hell? Now we can get into the distinction between a formal and a material heretic. Somebody who is just confused, they have no idea but then you share with them. Okay no problem. But those who are persisting, the leaders of the denomination who have studied the issue who know better, don’t you think that we need to call them to repentance? You don’t hear any of those critiques or questions.”

TD Jakes, “My struggle after I was ordained and consecrated in the Oneness church was in several passages, sometimes the doctrine fits; sometimes it doesn’t. And….”

Todd Friel, “Okay what he is saying is sometimes in some passages. I want to sorry again for the sound quality of this.”

 TD Jakes, “My struggle after I was ordained and consecrated in the Oneness church.”

Todd Friel, “Okay he was consecrated and ordained in the Oneness church. Okay that would be somebody who formally accepts the doctrine of Oneness Pentecostal, Modalist theology about the Trinity. Ordained in it.”

TD Jakes, “was in several passages, sometimes the doctrine fits; sometimes it doesn’t, and….”

Todd Friel, “Okay now he said sometimes the doctrine of Modalism fits and sometimes it doesn’t. No it never does. It can’t be both. It is one or the other.”

TD Jakes, “And when the doctrine becomes the primary thing you force it into fitting places where it doesn’t fit. I really at this point in my…”

Todd Friel, “That is not true, that is just not. That is not to approach, forcing? Wait what is he setting up here? I am sorry what is he setting up here? Hey sometimes Modalism is the best, sometimes Trinitarianism works and I am not going to go about smashing and crashing. In fact he tweeted this from The Elephant Room Conference.”

(Twitter) @BishopJakes, “I don’t want to force my theology to fit my denomination.”

Todd Friel, “Okay I am not sure which way that he is talking about there. He hasn’t left the Oneness Pentecostal denomination. Okay so I am not sure what he is talking about. But he is setting up I think a false choice for us and by stating that sometimes Modalism works, sometimes Trinitarianism works indicates that the Bible is confusing on the issue. It is not. It is consistent.”

TD Jakes, “I really at this point in my life don’t want to force my theology to fit with my denomination. I am open to hear whatever God is saying. Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River, for example,”

Todd Friel, “Now this is good. This is where people got excited. Okay he is going to describe the different roles and activities of different persons on the Trinity.”

TD Jakes, “Coming up out of the water the Holy Spirit descends like a dove,”

Todd Friel, “Excellent!”

TD Jakes, “The Father speaks from heaven

Todd Friel, “That is good.”

TD Jakes, “And we see all three of them on one occasion, or in Genesis “let us make man in our own likeness” or Elohim – He is one God who manifests Himself in a plurality of ways.”

Todd Friel, “Okay now hey take that right there, that is good. That absolutely bends toward Trinitarianism. You have got to give it to him on that.”

TD Jakes, “Or when Jesus says, “I am in the Father, and the Father is in me” and understanding – or attempting to understand – and that began to make me rethink some of my ideas and some of the things that I was taught. I got kind of quiet about it for a while.”

Todd Friel, “Alright so did you hear that those things the verses that he cited – the let us, the plural, Elohim. The plural, the baptism of Jesus Christ, he could have mentioned Matthew 28:19. Baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. That was Trinitarian. That was very good. So you be the judge. Is it enough? Is it muddy? Do we need a whole lot more? You be the judge next on Wretched Radio.

Two major questions for you to answer as you tip toe into The Elephant Room. This is Wretched Radio. We are listening to TD Jakes give his confession of what many people think is a Trinitarian articulation of the faith, other people are saying, “not so sure.” Another group of people are going “no way not even close.” So there are two things that I think we need to go about the business of considering as listen to this. Number one his confession. Is it clear enough to say he has clearly made a break from Oneness Pentecostalism? Now I have to confess to you I am listening to this. Some of the things were kind of iffy, the last statement that we heard was pretty good. Was it not? There is another question however to consider. Do we ever hear a condemnation of Oneness Pentecostal Modalist theology? Because if we do not I have to tell you something that would, he now is kind of it is “Trinitarianism seems better now. But that one isn’t wrong.” I have to tell you that is a denial of Trinitarianism – is what that is. So you listen. I am very grateful Josh thanks for sending this to idea@wretchedradio.com. Josh sent this to me and he said,

Josh, “I want to believe that TD Jakes is a believer for his own sake and I want to give his Trinitarian confession the benefit of the doubt. But it appears that what he said at The Elephant Room 2 was no different than what he said over a decade ago and he goes to www.equip.org. That is Hank Hanegraaff’s ministry. They were onto this issue a long time ago.”

Todd Friel, “Let me share with you some of the things that TD Jakes said when he was being accused of being a heretic. Now hopefully you heard clearly the last comments that he made. Remember this is TD Jakes eleven, twelve years ago.

TD Jakes, “Both Baptists and Oneness Pentecostal chapters of my early spiritual journey contributed volumes to my faith and walk with God, helping to hone my character. I was shaped by and appreciate both denominations. But am controlled by neither, my association with Oneness people does not constitute assimilation into their ranks, anymore than my association with the homeless in our city makes me one of them. I believe in one God who is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”

Todd Friel, “By the way that is not clear enough. When the issue at stake is Trinitarianism that isn’t clear enough, now I didn’t condemn the statement, I am just saying in the context it should be, “I believe in one God who is three distinct persons. The Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, that is clear Trinitarian language.

TD Jakes, “I believe these three,”

Todd Friel, “He didn’t use the word persons,”

TD Jakes, “Have distinct and separate functions. So separate each has individual attributes, yet are one. I do not believe in three gods.”

Todd Friel, “Well this isn’t talking about three gods. That is a straw man about Trinitarianism. But that statement a Oneness Pentecostal I have to say could make. Okay, he can make that. Now does that mean he believes it? The answer is without further questioning you don’t know, and then he goes on to say,”

TD Jakes, “Many things can be said about the Son, that cannot be said about the Father, the Son was born of a virgin.”

Todd Friel, “He basically quotes exactly what he quoted before.”

TD Jakes, “In spite of all the distinctive God is one in His essence though no human illustration perfectly fits the divine. It is similar to ice, water, and steam.”

Todd Friel, “Wrong that is wrong. But a lot of evangelicals make that mistake too. So you can’t condemn him on that. But that is a wrong Trinitarian illustration. It doesn’t work. Why? Because ice and water and steam typically don’t exist together at the same time,”

TD Jakes, “Three separate forms yet all h2o.” said TD Jakes, “each element can co-exist, each has distinguishing characteristics and functions. But all have sameness.”

Todd Friel, “That illustration is not Trinitarian. But basically what he said about ten, twelve years ago is the same thing that he was saying at The Elephant Room conference and I have to tell you just so you know as you make a decision on this. James White and Hank Hanegraaff ministries both said, “thumbs down it is a fail.” Okay, now that was ten years ago. Let’s be fair and let’s continue listening at The Elephant Room conference.

TD Jakes, “I began to realize that there are some things that could be said about the Father that cannot be said about the Son. There are distinctive between the working of the Holy Spirit – the moving of the Holy Spirit – and the redemptive work of Christ. I’m very comfortable with that. You and I have talked; Graham and I have talked; there is very little difference between what I believe and what you believe.”

Todd Friel, “Okay he said there is very little difference between what I believe and what you believe. I would have stopped and said, “can you tell us exactly what that means?” Now I am just trying to break it down. Okay, I am just trying to break this down critically because we can do that. We are commanded to do that. Judge with righteous judgement – John 7, “There is very little difference,” if he doesn’t think there is a big difference between Oneness Pentecostal and Trinitarianism well then it indicates he has got a big problem. Okay, and it is kind of misrepresenting. If he stating you know, “Oneness is okay, comes to the Trinity.” That is just as bad quite honestly as holding onto it.”

TD Jakes, “But here is where I have a problem: I don’t think anything that any of us believes fully describes who God is.”

Todd Friel, “Now this is I am sorry, but this is a tricky one, of course we do not have full knowledge of God, of course we cannot understand everything about God. But the things that He has revealed we can, let’s not confuse our categories.”

TD Jakes, “And if we would ever humble down to admit that we in our finite minds cannot fully describe an infinite God…”

James MacDonald, “No, no, I can, I have it perfectly figured out, I understand God from a…I have it all down…”

Mark Driscoll, “Would you…”

Todd Friel, “Okay this isn’t jokey time. You should know that historically Oneness Pentecostals just so you know have labelled Trinitarianism a pagan doctrine and considered us as lost. Okay so this street is running two ways.”

Mark Driscoll, “Would you say its One God manifesting Himself in three ways,”

Todd Friel, “This is important by the way. This is Mark Driscoll and he is asking a very right question here.”

Mark Driscoll, “One God manifesting Himself in three ways,”

Todd Friel, “Okay that is Oneness Pentecostalism. One God manifesting Himself successively in three ways”

Driscoll, “Or one God in three persons?”

TD Jakes, “I believe that neither one of them totally did it for me, but I think the latter one…”

Todd Friel, “Okay you are going to have to make the call on it. I don’t think either totally does it for me. Let me see if this analogy works it might not. But let’s say that you and I had a conversation and you said, “Hey Todd now this might seem a little harsh.” I am trying to make a point and you can decide if this works or not, “Todd I hear you used to be in the KKK but I am not anymore. But I don’t want to throw rocks at people at The KKK.” No let’s do this how’s about Jehovah Witness okay, “Hey I used to be in the Jehovah’s Witness but I don’t want to throw rocks at people in the Jehovah’s Witness. Their understanding Jesus as Michael the Archangel, okay Jesus fully God, fully man, that is the way I am leaning now. But hey I don’t think either one really grasps it.” You would go, “woah time out what is going on here?”

Let me try the KKK analogy again because I we need to understand and I am not saying that he is doing this we need to understand the starkness of the difference between persons and manifestations. Jesus manifest in the flesh does not mean he is a manifestation especially in the context of Oneness Pentecostalism. Manifested in the flesh, Jesus manifest in the flesh not God manifest, Jesus manifest in the flesh that is Trinitarianism. When you talk about Him being a manifestation that has typically been Sabellian Oneness Pentecostalism Modalism – heresy. Let’s try this see if this works. So you say, “Todd I hear you used to be in the KKK.” “Yeah I did but I am not anymore but I don’t want to throw rocks at the KKK.” Okay this is how important this issue is. “And so I just don’t want to, I want to try and build a bridge.” “Ah ha okay so do you believe in racial harmony? You know it doesn’t quite capture it but yeah. Yeah I prefer the word racism is what I prefer,” and you said, “well wait a second you said racial harmony.” “Yeah I like racial harmony but I prefer racism.” You would go, “wait a second here, then you are racist. That is what you are.” And I think that helps to bring out the issue, the importance of the difference between manifestation and person. When somebody says, “I prefer manifestation but okay call me a Trinitarian.” You go, “ahh you can’t say you are not a member of the KKK and be racist and say that you are for races. You know they, it is a collision. Now what is going on in his mind? And the answer is I don’t know. I really don’t and I can understand how some people would go, “this was an acceptable bare minimum presentation of a Trinitarian defence.” I can understand that. But without clarification I don’t know what the guy is thinking in his brain. But remember the setup by Mark Driscoll was, “one God successive manifestations or one God three persons.” Now I wish Mark had said, “successive manifestations and co-existing at the same time, in the same place.”

TD Jakes, “I think the latter one is where I stand today.” 

Mark Driscoll,  “One God three persons?”

TD Jakes, “One God – Three Persons. One God – Three Persons, and here is why…I am there… I am not crazy about the word persons.”

Todd Friel, “Okay now this has got to be the highlight of the reel right here. Okay and I think suddenly my KKK analogy is working. Alright, Mark was trying to press him. Do you believe in three distinct persons?”

Mark Driscoll,  “One God three persons?”

TD Jakes, “One God – Three Persons. One God – Three Persons, and here is why…I am there… I am not crazy about the word persons. This is…most people who follow me know that that is really. My doctrinal statement is no different from yours except the word…”

Mark Driscoll, “The word manifestations.”

TD Jakes, “Manifest instead of persons. Which you describe as Modalist, and I describe as Pauline.”

Todd Friel, “That wasn’t good. That wasn’t good right there. He said it is Pauline to use the term manifestations. That is not right. Jesus manifest in the flesh does not make Him a manifestation. It makes Him a person. Okay that is what it makes Him – a person. That is a person, not a manifestation, not an emanation, not the modern representation. So that wasn’t good. So can I summarise thus far. You heard clear and good and you heard muddy messy bordering on flat out Oneness. That is what I think we have heard so far. Now the issue of manifestations gets opened up a little bit more.”

TD Jakes, “When I read I Timothy 3:16.”

Todd Friel, “Okay he is going to go to 1 Timothy 3:16. This is important. That Jesus was manifest in the flesh. It doesn’t say that Jesus was a manifestation okay.”

TD Jakes, “When I read I Timothy 3:16 – I didn’t create this Modalist, and without controversy which I think we have…we have bickered about something which Paul describes as a mystery, and I don’t think we should do that.”

Todd Friel, “Okay now again this is clear. This is too mysterious, this is too hard we shouldn’t be bickering. I am sorry over this we bicker. This is why we experienced a downgrade controversy not just from TD Jakes but from everybody who was on the panel at the time.”

TD Jakes, “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness.”

Todd Friel, “Okay great is the mystery, in grasping it but not defining it.”

TD Jakes, “So God was manifest in the flesh.”

Todd Friel, “Okay Jesus was manifest okay. Big distinction.”

TD Jakes, “Now Paul is not a Modalist, but he does not think it is robbery to the divinity of God to think God was manifest in the flesh.”

Todd Friel, “Okay he is right about it. Now that was a good statement. He said, “Paul is not Modalist.” That was a good statement but he is not afraid to say that God, Jesus was manifest in the flesh. Okay, this is just it is kind of sloppy.”

TD Jakes, “And I think maybe it’s semantics, because it

could be this way or that way,”

Todd Friel, “He is saying it is semantics, it could be this way or that way. That is not what church theology teaches. Read your theology book from your denomination and they won’t say this is just a little scribble, this is just a little semantical debate.”

TD Jakes, “But Paul says this before this fight was started. But He also goes on “manifested in the flesh, justified in the spirit, seen by angels, preached up to the gentiles, believed on in the world, and received up into glory.” Now, when we start talking about that sort of thing, I think that it is important that we realize that there are distinctives between the Father and the working of the Son.”

Todd Friel, “Okay now that again, a Oneness person could say that. There are distinctives.”

TD Jakes, “The Father didn’t bleed, the Father didn’t die, only in the person of Jesus Christ… coming back for us in the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ has been with us, but only indwells us through the person of the Holy Spirit; we are baptized into the body of Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Todd Friel, “Okay now that again you are going great. But again I need to remind you, not to say that this is what is happening, but a Oneness person could say that there is distinctions in the way that they are portrayed. But that doesn’t mean that it is not Modalism. How are you feeling about it? We will continue next on Wretched Radio.

Let me take you back to 2001. This is from www.equip.org. The ministry of Hank Hanegraaff talking about TD Jakes inside of this article is a statement from TD Jakes about his beliefs about the Trinity.

He says this –

TD Jakes, “the language in the doctrinal statement of our ministry that refers to the Trinity of the Godhead as manifestations does not derive from Modalism.”

Todd Friel, “Huh, okay.”

TD Jakes, “The apostle Paul himself used this term.”

Todd Friel, “No he didn’t. He used manifest in the flesh in 1 Timothy 3:15.

TD Jakes, “But he also used the term. Can this word now be heresy when it is a quote from the Pauline epistles and used elsewhere in the New Testament?”

Todd Friel, “Answer yes it can, depending on what you mean and that is the trick and that is the challenge and I am asking you to listen very carefully to what TD Jakes said now in 2012 at The Elephant Room because this is exactly what www.equip.org had to say and this is basically everything that you are hearing from TD Jakes plus, but we are hearing it just a little bit more. We are hearing it jus a little bit more after his presentation and what he wrote.

This is what www.equip.org.

Hank Hanegraaff ultimately said,Some Christians assume that because Oneness believers confess that Jesus is God, there error is less lethal than the Jehovah’s Witness or other pseudo Christian cults that deny His deity. The opposite can be true. Modalism is no less false than Arianism but not so obviously false.”

Todd Friel, “You see this is tricky. This is very very tricky is what this is. This needs to be clearly defined and I am afraid we didn’t get the probing questions that were needed for this and so it is TD Jakes then went on to say this and this part is good.”

TD Jakes, “I am with you. I have been with you. I teach/preach that all the time. There are many people within and outside of quote unquote denominations that are labelled “Oneness” that would describe that the same way. There are some that would not. But when we get to know people by their labels, then comes all the baggage of how we define that label. And we miss…man it’s almost like the stereotypical ideologies we have about races. We have ideas about denominations and movements.”

Todd Friel, “Well one hand on the other again. What is his attitude now toward that heresy? Again from http://www.equip.org,

Hank Hanegraaff, “Christians should understand there are two ways heretics can deny the Trinity. The first is to outright deny it like Jehovah’s Witnesses, Muslims and classic Oneness Pentecostals. The second is to claim that one believes n the Trinity while redefining it to mean something entirely different than that what the church has historically believed as do Mormons, Christian Scientists, and the new breed of Oneness Pentecostals that TD Jakes has been a part of. It also needs to be pointed out that nothing Jakes said.” This is going back to 2001, “contradicts Modalism or commits him to the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity.”

Todd Friel, “That is a pretty straightforward condemnation.”

Hank Hanegraaff, “Theologians recognize two distinct conceptions of the Trinity. This is very important. The Ontological Trinity, the existence within the Godhead. That has nothing to do with creation or the universe. Just His existence, what He has made up, and The Economic Trinity which talks about their roles of the three persons in relation to the creation. In other words one does the redeeming work, one does the creating, one does the sanctifying – that is The Economic Trinity. Modalism essentially teaches that The Economic Trinity is the only Trinity there is. Their god who ontologically is not Triune assumes three distinct modes or roles in relation to creation. They are convinced that to confess God in three persons is to confess the existence of three gods. Even though that is not what the doctrine of the Trinity states. In his rebuttal (Jakes 2001) never affirms an ontological Trinity but only an economic one.”

Todd Friel, “Now ask yourself the question were those questions asked at The Elephant Room conference? TD you understand the difference between ontological and economic portions of the Trinity, explanations of the nature of the Trinity. Their nature and their work. Let’s separate these for a moment. Did you hear anything precise like that? You didn’t, you need to consider that as we listen to this. He never affirms the ontological Trinity.

Hank Hanegraaff, “He speaks of different functions of the Father, the Son, and the spirit. But then he clarifies that he does not believe in three gods. By which it is fairly clear he means persons. Even the illustration of water taking the form of ice, water, and steam says nothing about three persons only three manifestations and in fact is a common illustration by Modalists to explain their view.”

Todd Friel, “That was 2001. This is 2012.”

TD Jakes, “I still have fellowship, associations, relationship, and positions.”

Todd Friel, “Did you hear? I am sorry if you couldn’t hear that. “I still have relationships.” What does that mean with Oneness Pentecostals.”

TD Jakes, “I still have fellowship, associations, relationship, and positions…”

Todd Friel, “Wait a second did he say fellowship? Now can there be people by the way who are Oneness Pentecostal and saved? Yes despite this because they are not formal, they are educated. They don’t understand.”

TD Jakes, “I still have fellowship, associations, relationship, and positions within and without Oneness and Trinitarian movements.”

Todd Friel, “Now that should have been a stop right there. Okay TD Jakes what do you mean by that? When you say fellowship, what kind of type of Oneness Pentecostal? Those who hold onto a Modalist position? Because you can’t have fellowship with heretics, you can’t have it. None of that was probed. None of that was asked. In my estimation major failure.”

TD Jakes, “Because I believe that until we bridge the gap between our thinking…”

Todd Friel, “The way to bridge the gap is for one side to confess they are wrong and repent. You don’t bridge. Hey bridge the gap means you are okay, I am okay. Why didn’t somebody ask him about this?”

TD Jakes, “And humble both sides and say, “We are both attempting to describe a God we love, that we serve, and that we have not seen.”

Todd Friel, “No that is not true, you are either worshipping the true God or an idol. I get his point but we are being strict here.”

TD Jakes, “And that we are viewing Him through the context of the scriptures, but that with a glass darkly.”

Todd Friel, “Again not through a glass darkly. That oh boy everything is just hewed. Now granted our knowledge and understanding is going to increase but He gives so much. That is like saying, “you know Jesus dying on a cross. We just see that through a glass darkly.” We go, “no we get that. Ditto Trinity.”

TD Jakes, “Why should I fall out and hate and throw names at you

Todd Friel, “Straw man.”

TD Jakes, “When all that I know and understand,

be it very orthodox, is still through a glass darkly?”

Todd Friel, “Okay that is just a straw man nobody

is saying hate or kill or whatever he said.”

TD Jakes, “I think it’s so important that we realize that our God is beyond our intellect. And if you can define…”

Todd Friel, Again well he is beyond our intellect. But what he reveals we can intelligently grasp, confusion of categories here.”

TD Jakes, “If you can define Him and completely describe Him and say you are the end-all definition of who God is, then He ceases to be God. Because the reason Paul says it is a mystery, is that we deify the fact that God does things that don’t fit our formulas. And because people’s formulas and understandings of a description of an invisible God differ, doesn’t make them demonic.”

Todd Friel, “Okay I have got to tell you something that is flat out wrong. It most certainly does. If you have got it wrong enough you are wrong to the point of condemnation. Now where was the response to this? I am asking you to listen to all of this and to determine. I can understand how some people would go, “he said enough.” I think we have heard enough to say, “woah muddy,” and I can understand how some people would go, “he has not moved an inch.” Since 2001 when Dr. James White who studied this issue beyond anything you or I will ever do. Hank Hanegraaff and Equip Ministries studied this in explicit detail and they determined at that time, “no his language while prancing and dancing was not sufficient.” Has anything changed?”

Mark Driscoll, “Do you believe this is the

perfect, inspired, final authority Word of God?” 

TD Jakes, “Absolutely.”

Mark Driscoll, “So you believe there’s one God, Three Persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit, you believe Jesus was fully God, fully Man? 

TD Jakes, “Absolutely.”

Mark Driscoll, “You believe he died…”

Todd Friel, “Yeah okay. I will just play it.”

Mark Driscoll, “You believe he died…on the cross in our place for our sins?” 

TD Jakes, “Absolutely.”

Mark Driscoll, “You believe he bodily rose from death?”

TD Jakes, “Absolutely.”

Mark Driscoll, “You believe that He is the judge of the living and the dead?”

TD Jakes, “Yes.”

Mark Driscoll, “And you believe that Apart from Jesus is no salvation?”

TD Jakes, “Absolutely.”

Todd Friel, “Okay there was only one Trinitarian question in there really. Okay just one. Do you believe three persons? It was coupled with another question and he answered yes. What was going on in his brain? We will give the benefit of the doubt. But does persons mean manifestations? Is there no distinction? Does it make no difference? We have never heard yet three distinct persons co-existing at the same time. Are you satisfied? Please keep in mind there are going to be Christians that you love who are going to come up with a different answer than you. Alright we are not going to fight with one another on this one. I have got my opinion, you form yours and let’s not clobber each other over this.”

James MacDonald, “God is both Three and One.”

Todd Friel, “Okay this is James MacDonald now he is jumping to try and get clarification. Now I would like to remind you also there is two ways of asking a question affirmation and denial. Do you affirm? These are all affirmation questions. I don’t think we hear any denial. Do you deny?”

James MacDonald, “God is both Three and One. I believe the Scripture is clear when we get to heaven, we are gonna see Jesus. The Only Begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father is declared…Jesus is the only God we will ever see. When I was studying Revelation last year I was struck by the number of times that I saw in the book of Revelation that it almost seems in the text that the Father and the Son are on the same throne, and when I start to think about this: I believe in God eternally existing in three persons. But, the more I think about it, the more I think my head is going to explode,”

Todd Friel, “Now you know that part is actually right because if your theology is clear, again the articulation is easy, the grasping of it he is right it can make your head explode. But not the defining of it.”

James MacDonald, “And I get a little weary of people who feel that they need to erase mystery and replace it with certainty as a test of orthodoxy.”

Todd Friel, “That is what orthodoxy is, okay that is what orthodoxy is. When we feel to make the distinction though between articulation and the grasping, the pondering of the Godhead, we will do that for all of eternity, are you kidding? It will take that long to figure out the love of God. But I think the categories have been jumped here. You get a little weary of people who articulate that you have got to say it perfectly? I hate to say it but that is what a postmodern says and in response we go, “are you perfectly clear about your position?”

James MacDonald, “And I get a little weary of people who feel that they need to erase mystery and replace it with certainty as a test of orthodoxy. If what we have heard today doesn’t satisfy, then the person is unsatiable… I am ready to move onto a new subject.”

Todd Friel, “Okay there are, James there are a lot of people who could say no there is a lot more questions that need to be asked. Is it to just grill the guy, to be mean? No of course not. This is that big, that is that important. And again the clear take away from this is I think we could, I hope we agree on this. The Contemporary Evangelicals says, “hey that is enough. If you have got this unsatiable appetite,” Guess what I have? I have got unsatiable appetite for clarity. I think we are supposed to because I think that is biblical and I think that is right and I think that is best and it keeps us from error and it keeps us from danger and it keeps us from hell!!!”

James MacDonald, “I believe that very strongly.” 

TD Jakes, “You know, you know, let me just make one little comment: one of the things that you said, down at the end. There is going to be one throne and there’s going to be one God that we can see.”

Todd Friel, “Actually he said Jesus, but he always changes Jesus to God I don’t know why.”

TD Jakes, “And I thought the more I hear everybody arguing about this… we’re all saying the same thing. And we like fight about it to the death,”

Todd Friel, “Yes we do because otherwise people go to hell.”

TD Jakes, “But when I hear you say that there’s gonna be one throne and one God on that throne, My soul leaps in celebration, and I hear both of us stumbling trying to explain….”

Todd Friel, “No nobody is trying to explain it. Nobody is stumbling trying to explain it. There is no stumbling there. Grasping it yeah we stumble, its woo this is big. But there is a difference.”

TD Jakes, “How God does what He does like He does. I think that stumbling is worship. I think that stumbling is worship. I think the fact that we would humble ourselves and say, “Your thoughts and ways are beyond human comprehension” is what makes worship fill the room.” 

Todd Friel, “Go to equip.org you can find it there. In 2001 he got a thumbs down. He did not get a pass on Trinitarianism. The year now is 2012. You have heard pretty much everything that was talked about. Didn’t take long for that to happen. Was that enough? Let’s remember there are different Christians who are going to have a different take away from that okay? On the same team right. Here is the take away though that I think we need to be onto and after. “The stumbling is worship? Quit arguing and fighting over Trinitarian theology?” That is the big take away from The Elephant Room conference. That theology is not all that important anymore. Yeah truth gets a hap tip, but fighting for it we are not going to do that anymore. That is the new battle with the new evangelicalism. Until tomorrow go serve your king.”


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