Press-Republican

On Religion

February 6, 2012

Superstar T.D. Jakes makes a confession

For more than a decade, Pentecostal Bishop T.D. Jakes has lived in the shadow of a Time magazine cover that asked, "Is this man the next Billy Graham?"

That was a loaded question, because of tensions behind the scenes between the multimedia Dallas superstar and many mainstream Christian leaders.

Now, this legendary preacher -- often listed as one of America's most powerful evangelicals -- has taken a big step toward convincing his critics that he is, in fact, an evangelical. Jakes has, after years of rumors about private assurances, publicly affirmed that he believes in the Christian doctrine of the Trinity.

The Rev. Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church in Seattle asked the question directly, during an interview at the recent Elephant Room conference at the First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla. This annual event brings together Christian leaders from a variety of backgrounds to discuss tough subjects. The interview transcript has been published by Baptist Press.

"So you believe," said Driscoll, that "there's one God, three Persons -- Father, Son and Holy Spirit? You believe Jesus was fully God, fully Man?"

Jakes didn't flinch: "Absolutely."

That one word represents a significant change for Jakes, the leader of The Potter's House, a 30,000-member megachurch that serves as the base for his thriving work in books, Gospel music, social-justice causes and a host of other ministries. While the church is nondenominational, the preacher has long been associated with an unorthodox stream of faith known as "Oneness" Pentecostalism.

The ancient doctrine of the Trinity teaches that there is one God, yet this God has been revealed in history as three distinct persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This is a core doctrine that unites Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant Christians worldwide -- including most who embrace Pentecostal and "charismatic" Christianity, the world's fastest growing Christian movement.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
On Religion
  • Terry_Mattingly.jpg A monastery in the Hebrides, after 1,000 years

    Before Father Seraphim Aldea can build a monastery on Scotland's Mull Island, he needs to have a working septic system, writes religion columnist Terry Mattingly.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Terry_Mattingly.jpg World Vision wars 2014, and the future

    It's getting harder to work with broad coalitions when culture wars keep rocking churches, writes religion columnist, Terry Mattingly.

    April 4, 2014 1 Photo

  • Terry_Mattingly.jpg Death of an orthodox missionary -- in America

    Metropolitan Philip, leader of the Antiochian Orthodox Christians in North America, was a fierce advocate of Orthodox unity in the U.S., writes religion columnist Terry Mattingly.

    March 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Terry_Mattingly.jpg Praying for better journalism at the New York Times

    Bringing fair, informed religious viewpoints into the New York Times newsroom environment can be a challenge, writes religion columnist Terry Mattingly.

    March 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Terry_Mattingly.jpg Yet another online rant about Lent

    Small sacrifices add up, and they can help believers focus on bigger questions says a former nun, writes religion columnist, Terry Mattingly.

    March 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Terry_Mattingly.jpg The evolving state of Mormon heaven

    Mormon leaders attempt to reframe the faith's longheld doctrine of "exaltation," the belief that truly devout Mormons can rise to godhood and even create new worlds, writes religion columnist Terry Mattingly..

    March 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • Terry_Mattingly.jpg The pope and the Pentecostal smartphone

    In a call for Christian unity, Pope Francis addressed a crowd of Pentecostal Protestants with a surprising request ... and received a surprising response, writes religion columnist Terry Mattingly.

    February 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Terry_Mattingly.jpg God and millenials: it's complicated

    Nomad faith is now the American way, writes religion columnist Terry Mattingly.

    February 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Terry_Mattingly.jpg Obama on religious freedom -- overseas

    The president's defense of religious freedom doesn't square with his administration's policies on mandating health-insurance coverage of sterilizations and all FDA-approved contraceptives, writes religion columnist Terry Mattingly.

    February 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Terry_Mattingly.jpg Dark secrets in modern pews

    Survey results indicate 69 percent of American pastors agree that pornography has "adversely affected the lives of our church members," writes religion columnist, Terry Mattingly.

    February 7, 2014 1 Photo