Wretched Radio With Todd Friel & Roger Skepple – Has TD Jakes brought the Word of Faith into orthodoxy?


This Wretched Radio Show was aired on                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

Friday February 3rd 2012                                                                                                                                                                  

[The following is a transcript of a Wretched Radio Show]

[You can watch the video on youtube – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eBTKXu8wo3M&feature=youtu.be]

[You might want to check out these videos as well

Post Elephant Room Interview, Part 1

http://jamesmacdonald.com/blog/post-elephant-room-interview-part-1/

Post Elephant Room Interview, Part 2

http://jamesmacdonald.com/blog/post-elephant-room-interview-part-2/]

Todd Friel, “Now let’s go back to The Elephant Room for a moment because you rightly said hey really the big issue here is TD Jakes. That is the big issue here.”

Roger Skepple, “Yes.”

Todd Friel, “Let’s talk about TD Jakes just for a moment. Alright at the conference The Elephant Room conference, I think you and I would agree although we haven’t talked about this the grilling that he received on his Trinitarian theology let’s just say it wasn’t counsel level.”

Roger Skepple, “It was lightweight.”

Todd Friel, “It was lightweight. Okay but they gave him a pass. What was shocking to all of us is wait a second, we think you whiffed on the Trinitarian issue.”

Roger Skepple, “Big time.”

Todd Friel, “But what about the Word of Faith issue?”

Roger Skepple, “It didn’t even come up.”

Todd Friel, “What about the gospel issue?”

Roger Skepple, “It didn’t come up.”

Todd Friel, “The associations with all of the ding dongs that he hangs around with.”

Roger Skepple, “People in our city who I don’t know any conservative evangelical black or white that would look at the prosperity churches in our city that are nationally known. That TD Jakes attends and preaches to and considers to be his brothers in Christ. I don’t know any conservative evangelical in this town that would say that those men are within the pale of the gospel.”

Todd Friel, “I was just talking about Eddie Long. He got put into a chair and hoisted up as King while the congregation sang prepare you the way of the LORD because he was crowned King. I mean that is bonkers and a fellow like TD Jakes would embrace Eddie Long.”

Roger Skepple, “Absolutely and a Creflo Dollar.”

Todd Friel, “And yet guys at The Elephant Room I don’t think would embrace Eddie Long or Creflo Dollar.”

Roger Skepple, “I would hope not.”

Todd Friel, “Well we haven’t seen the day as yet for Elephant Room 3.”

Roger Skepple, “But again you are right, So much of the problem. You see here is the issue Todd. TD Jakes sub Christian Trinitarianism. It is not Christian it is sub Christian at best is a issue that does not affect most Christians who listen to him. The biggest public problem with TD Jakes is his prosperity Word of Faith dogma. That is the big problem. That is the problem that impacts most people. So I am not saying that the Trinitarian issue isn’t important. It is critical to me. I am a Trinitarian and I am a historical Trinitarian. So I believe in the affirmation of the Trinity coming down to us from the fourth century. That is what I affirm. So it is a critical issue Todd. It is a critical issue. But the issue that is impacting people the most and causing the most problems and the most damage in Christians lives is the Word of Faith at its essence. That is the problem.”

Todd Friel, “Okay there is two angles that I want to go at but you just, let’s tackle this one first because we are here. Describe as best your perspective would inform us the price that people pay and you say Christians and in this case predominantly black Christians pay. What has been the affect of the Word of Faith teaching from a fellow like TD Jakes on that community?”

Roger Skepple, “It has gutted it. It is the majority movement in the modern black Christian community today.”

Todd Friel, “Right it is undeniable.”

Roger Skepple, “You look at our city. The biggest churches with the most people in them – predominantly black.”

Todd Friel, “Well it is all over the place you know coming down from heaven and seven eleven.”

Roger Skepple, “And that is just the mainline ones. There is a hundred more wannabes that are not as big but are touting the same message. So the Word of Faith message now I have to admit maybe tainted living in Atlanta where this is the epicenter of it. But so I might be tainted. But as I see things and you could just leave this at my table. This is how I see it.”

Todd Friel, “Yep.”

Roger Skepple, “I think that it has gutted the church movement in the African American community.”

Todd Friel, “Okay you see now I was thinking about it from the actual physical just you know how has affected. Because here is what I see and it just perplexes me. You see people that appear to love Jesus and they are wearing their Sunday best, when they go because you know you see the stuff on TV and they are poor and I was thinking about it from the physical, when you said gutted I was thinking along the lines of physical. Has the Word of Faith teaching caused in the community there to be a lack of growth in just social economic progression?”

Roger Skepple, “Well I believe that as you look at how these pastors manipulate the congregation financially which the Bible explicitly talks about in 1 Timothy 6 in the book of Jude. I mean over and over again. 1 Peter talk about sorry 2 Peter talk about people like this that it hurts the community in several ways Todd. First of all….”

Todd Friel, “Wait hold the thought. We have got to take a break. Okay when we come back with Roger Skepple how the prosperity Word of Faith teaching has hurt people and by bringing TD Jakes in I want to explore this with you also the cost that people who have been trying to teach good Christian theology in the black community perhaps took at least a step backward based on the comments unfortunately that were made after The Elephant Room conference. We will do that with Roger Skepple next on Wretched Radio.”

[Commercial Break]

Bryan Lorritts, “You have some African Americans who so idolize that. It is what some people would call white idolization that they then feel as if they have got to be the voice for black culture to speak against people like TD Jakes. My concern is African Americans a small minority speaking against Jakes and then leveraging that in the white theological world for some of these older white theologians.”

James MacDonald, “What would they be leveraging it for?”

Bryan Lorritts, “To fit into their circles.”

Todd Friel, “Wow broadcasting from a box that was just built around us. This is Wretched Radio. Sitting here with Pastor Roger Skepple and the carpet hangers inside the studio. Those comments came from Bryan Crawford Lorritts. He is a pastor in Memphis he is orthodox. He sat down with James MacDonald, couple of other orthodox Christians to discuss some of the racial issues that happened because TD Jakes was a part of The Elephant Room conference and needless to say those comments have caused the conversation to go down an entirely different path and we are going down that path today despite the fact that, he basically put up a do not trespass sign because if you go down this road apparently we are all basically racist if we even talk to one another which I think is exceedingly unfortunate because as we heard Roger Skepple say earlier there has been a lot of excellent progress that has been made on this issue and I attribute it, okay a lot of guys are working toward it. But it is the gospel that fixes this problem…”

Roger Skepple, “Amen.”

Todd Friel, “And so for a lot of us it was like guys you are kidding, what do you that is so far back down the road. Why are you bringing this up? They brought it up and so we are going to keep talking about it and I am getting an education in this sir because I was not aware that these dynamics were going on in inside of certain circles. So I am glad we are talking about it and then ultimately we can discover what the cure for this issue is

Roger Skepple, “Yeah.”

Todd Friel, “And I think we all know exactly what that is.”

Roger Skepple, “Sure.”

Todd Friel, “Alright so sir we left off our conversation talking about really the man who should be at the centre of all of these conversations and that is TD Jakes. I want to ask you several questions but first you were saying that the Word of Faith prosperity teaching has hurt the black community spiritually and I was asking physically social economically. Let’s tackle those separately. How has the Word of Faith theology hurt the black Christian community?”

Roger Skepple, “Well it has hurt the black Christian community as you said on several levels. First off it has brought disunity to the church because the church now is no longer made up of a group of people adhering to similar dogma. But now you have a false doctrine that is being brought in and advocated so it disunifies….”

Todd Friel, “Okay so rather than orthodox or

Athanasian Creed it is prosperity preaching.”

Roger Skepple, “Yeah and it is Word of Faith. It is the whole idea of God wants you healthy, wealthy and wise and that these spiritual truths that we would adhere to in scripture are really mechanisms by which you can get financially prosperous.”

Todd Friel, “Yeah and so disunity.”

Roger Skepple, “And so Christianity doesn’t become the end game. You see it is not come to Christ because you have Christ. It is come to Christ because you will get the goodies.”

Todd Friel, “Yeah I know it is, I actually thought Mark Driscoll said it in as powerful and a pithy way as possible. We put together a little video to show how these guys were so opposed to prosperity preaching and yet perhaps TD Jakes is the spokesperson for it.”

[Here is the video that Todd Friel is referring to

Wretched: Driscoll, Jakes, MacDonald and an Elephant http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zcLga26xH8U&playnext=1&list=PL0CBC5C796612CB27&feature=results_video]

Roger Skepple, “Absolutely.”

Todd Friel, “That is it using the true God to get your real God which is money.”

Roger Skepple, “Absolutely.”

Todd Friel, “Okay so the division that it has caused alright what else?”

Roger Skepple, “It has also brought questions asked to the integrity of the church from unbelievers.”

Todd Friel, “Sure.”

Roger Skepple, “When you look at what people in this city, I mean you have heard the stories. You have heard about the houses and the airplanes and it begins to make people want to wonder in the unsaved community what the church is all about. So it masks our message to the unsaved world around us. So the gospel becomes not come to Christ for Christ. The gospel becomes get yours.”

Todd Friel, “And it doesn’t match the message of the gospel.”

Roger Skepple, “And in fact if I was watching the news a few years ago they had a interview on the news with Creflo Dollar and he basically said I got mine and what I try to get people to do is realize that they can get theirs and so that is what Christianity becomes. It hurts the gospel witness in the city and the country where this predominates. It also hurts the economics of the people in those churches. Because they begin to feel that they need to give a certain amount or they need to give in order to get and they end up really liquidating their life earnings…”

Todd Friel, “They give what they don’t have to give.”

Roger Skepple, “Exactly.”

Todd Friel, “And I don’t think that is biblical at all.”

Roger Skepple, “That is not even close to being biblical.”

Todd Friel, “I think it was Creflo Dollar. Somebody captured this I want to put you know like at the airport you have got scanners if you have got a bomb or a knife or whatever to, scanners in front of his church that will determine if you have tithed or not and if you haven’t you don’t get to go in. That is wicked.”

Roger Skepple, “It is crazy.”

Todd Friel, “Okay so people giving money that they don’t have not being able to provide and put food on the table sometimes.”

Roger Skepple, “Yes.”

Todd Friel, “Okay now as far as the spiritual damage to the individual. What have you seen from Word of Faith?”

Roger Skepple, “Well what I have seen is that people end up becoming dissatisfied with the Word of Faith movement. But because they don’t, because they are unable to distinguish Word of Faith from Christianity they end up being dissatisfied with Christianity. That is what they say.”

Todd Friel, “And then they leave.”

Roger Skepple, “And they leave and it is not that they leave and go to a good church.”

Todd Friel, “They leave bitter.”

Roger Skepple, “They abandon the Christian faith.”

Todd Friel, “The latter is worse than the first – typical! 2 Peter 1. So that because it after so many years you kind of wake up and go, “hey when am I going to get mine?”

Roger Skepple, “Absolutely.”

Todd Friel, “And I don’t blame them for being bitter.”

Roger Skepple, “Absolutely.”

Todd Friel, “They tried to bribe God, he didn’t deliver and you get a little torched, any other spiritual let’s call it abuse that you have seen?”

Roger Skepple, “Well we have had people from these churches come and often times they are labouring under misconceptions of the Word of God that they come to us wanting to get answers and so people end up if they don’t go to good churches where they can get answers. They end up floundering spiritually. Now I am talking about somebody who is actively saved. I am not talking about an unsaved person who would be going there. I am talking about a true Christian who has been attending those churches, becomes spiritually weakened – spiritually speaking.”

Todd Friel, “Sure.”

Roger Skepple, “Because they are not being edified the way that they need to be and so they end up weak as fathers, weak as mothers, weak as employees.”

Todd Friel, “Weak in every way.”

Roger Skepple, “Weak in every spiritually way and so those who don’t go to good churches and become strengthened end up becoming a hindrance to other people.”

Todd Friel, “And I will tell you that is really wicked is what it is…”

Roger Skepple, “That is horrific.”

Todd Friel, “You know I think one of the obvious ones also, “oh you don’t have yours, you don’t have enough faith.” Now that is just cruel. Sir I don’t know if this is an important question or not. But frequently we all ponder okay you think about a church that has gone astray. There are some saved people there despite what is going on. Would you say though the majority are not?”

Roger Skepple, “I would say that in my opinion. I don’t see how a true Christian could linger there….”

Todd Friel, “Linger is important word.”

Roger Skepple, “Over years.”

Todd Friel, “Yep okay fair enough. Very well answered okay.”

Roger Skepple, “Eventually the Holy Spirit is going to cause them to realize this is in error.”

Todd Friel, “Something is wrong. When you see the guy lifted up in a chair and hailed as King.

Roger Skepple, “As King…”

Todd Friel, “Might be a sign….”

Roger Skepple, “That is a problem.”

Todd Friel, “….That is time to go. Alright Roger Skepple if people were looking for a good church in Atlanta, what website might they go to, to find one?”

Roger Skepple, “www.bereanbible.org the best one in Atlanta.

[Laughter]

Todd Friel, “Now watch it with that divisive language. Alright Roger I want to talk though about TD Jakes and what happened at The Elephant Room conference and how some people are going no, no you have just blown years of work. There are some people who are trying to lead their black relatives out of that. You know this is let me show you a better way. Let me show you a true way. Along comes James MacDonald.”

Roger Skepple, “Out of the Word of Faith.”

Todd Friel, “Mark Driscoll and says hey big happy hug here.”

Roger Skepple, “It is good to go.”

Todd Friel, “Now what has that done to undermine the efforts of many people?”

Roger Skepple, “Well what it has done is it settles those efforts back years because TD Jakes now has a stamp of orthodoxy that he hasn’t affirmed. I mean when you read the transcripts it is clear that he hasn’t left the language of Modalism and so what has happened is that people who have been trying to work with their aunts and their uncles and their mums and their dads and their sisters and their brothers, can now be told basically that TD Jakes is actually completely in the faith. He preaches a pure gospel….”

Todd Friel, “Yeah.”

Roger Skepple, “….And his message is like The Apostles.”

Todd Friel, “So get off my back.”

Roger Skepple, “Basically.”

Todd Friel, “Yeah.”

Roger Skepple, “Absolutely and again anybody who would listen to what TD Jakes is teaching cannot affirm that this man is teaching what the scripture affirms. It can’t be done.”

Todd Friel, “I can pull up his sermon from last week and you listen to it and you go it is even close to the gospel.”

Roger Skepple, “And it is not that he is misinterpreting passages of scripture. You see this is where the debate goes wrong I think about him and many people like him. People say, “well he is just misinterpreting some passages.” No he is manipulating the text of scripture to say what it doesn’t say. Manipulation of scripture is different than misinterpreting a passage. Everybody, every preacher will misinterpret a passage. Welcome to reality. That happens. But the conscious manipulation and piecing together of verses to say what they would never say on their own is not to be equated with expository preaching.”

Todd Friel, “Now some of the fellows that were at the, now this happens to be the post, we will use this to address the issue. I can’t remember which one of the fellows this was, was asked about TD Jakes. Now these were the three I think it is still fair to call them conservative bending fellows that Bryan Lorritts and Pastor Mason and the third fellow I just didn’t know him who sat with James MacDonald. They basically said Charles Jenkins. They basically said, “well what happened at the conference it is just really about semantics.”

Charles Jenkins, “And Bishop Jakes explained coming from faith heritage that he came from and arriving at the place that he articulated. In my mind I think it is a matter of semantics for him.”

Eric Mason, “Absolutely.”

Charles Jenkins,

“And it is not a matter of theological dogma. I think it is semantics.”

Todd Friel, “Is it semantics?”

Roger Skepple, “Absolutely not. I came from a different faith family than the one I am in now. I was not raised as a Reformed Baptist. I just wasn’t.”

Todd Friel, “Good point.”

Roger Skepple, “I was raised as an Arminian and that is what we affirmed and I used to call our family intelligent Arminians. We were consistent in our Arminianism. So the whole idea that coming from a certain faith family makes you unable to clearly articulate where you are theologically now. I just don’t buy that because of my own personal experience. So it is not semantics because what is going on here is TD Jakes is unwilling to leave his faith heritage and no longer use words like manifestation. If you read the transcript he is given opportunity to abandon manifestation.”

Todd Friel, “He didn’t do it, made it clear.”

Roger Skepple, “He refuses to abandon manifestation and then wants to tell me that manifestation and person is the same thing. Sorry too many people throughout church history for the last 1,600 years have clearly debated and worked through this language and person wasn’t grabbed out of the air, it was chosen for a particular reason and there are Greek Latin and then English terms that have a certain meaning to them that were chosen because of what they communicated and simply lumping manifestation and saying mix it up in a bowl, it is all the same thing. That is not working for me.”

Todd Friel, “You know I am not sure that any of us appreciated until you have studied how it was laboured over, not just, “hey we put some questions together on the airplane. Our city affirmed it.” Lots of affirmations, no denials.”

Roger Skepple, “Look I mean 1,600 years was swept away by simply asking this man yes no questions. If you read the transcripts, some of his answers are simply “yes,” “no.” He is not having to affirm anything. Just say yes or no to a question, well what does the yes or no mean?”

Todd Friel, “Right.”

Roger Skepple, “These issues again were laboured over for a reason because Christians thought that we need to be able to clearly articulate what we believe about God. Because what we believe about God has direct implications on what we believe about salvation.”

Todd Friel, “Yeah and whether we will be saved. So these issues are….”

Roger Skepple, “Salvation is tied to the Trinity and therefore that is why the church felt it important enough to stop church and figure it out.”

Todd Friel, “And by the way not because they were racist or because they were trying to curry favour. But because they love people and they were concerned about their eternity.”

Roger Skepple, “Look Africans were involved in the church councils. So blacks have been engaged in theological discussion and debate and wanting to get it right from the very start of the church.”

Todd Friel, “Alright sir thrilled to pieces. We will meet again next time it won’t be about any of this stuff.”

Roger Skepple, “Okay.”

Todd Friel, “Alright.”

Roger Skepple, “Alright.”

Todd Friel, “Roger Skepple www.bereanbaptist.org is that correct sir?”

Roger Skepple,www.bereanbible.org.

Todd Friel, “Oops.”

Roger Skepple, “Don’t worry about it.”

Todd Friel, “Until tomorrow go serve your King.”

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