Let us suppose that T.D. Jakes has actually repented on his Modalism and actually adopted the biblical teaching on the trinity. Now, I do not think this is actually the case, just so you know. However, let us assume this actually happened or if it makes you happy, suppose it does happen. If, after examination Mr. Jakes passes the test of orthodoxy on the doctrine of the trinity. How is the church to respond to Mr. Jakes? Is she to open her arms, invite him in and all is forgiven? That is the next “elephant” in the room. If Jakes does his part and satisfies the church that his repentance is genuine, then the church has a responsibility and duty to respond positively, does she not? Well, if this were the only issue with Jakes, the answer would be “of course.”
The problem here is that Modalism is not the only heresy T.D. Jakes has embraced, historically. You see, Jakes embraces another vile and pernicious heresy. T.D. Jakes is one of the most outspoken advocates for the prosperity gospel. This gospel actually teaches that Jesus will make accelerate your life to the top of the charts from a material and temporal perspective if only you have faith. Jesus is viewed as the cure for poverty, sickness, broken marriages, career, or whatever else your heart desires. This gospel teaches that all believers have a right to full health and prosperity in God. If you don’t experience a life of luxury and plenty, the devil or sin must be getting in the way. I suppose unbelief could also be one of the reasons for this lack.
The prosperity gospel is one of the most pernicious forms of Christianity ever to emerge in the history of the Christian church. Many unwitting souls have been duped repeatedly by cavalier preachers who are, at bottom, self-proclaimed prophets, bishops, and pastors. They see themselves as “God’s anointed and their congregations are warned not to question God’s servants! They repeated command their followers not to touch God’s anointed. They manipulate and bully people into going along with everything they want. They are God’s leader and they have an open line with the heavenly Father. God talks to them on a regular basis, after all. Extra-biblical revelation is a weekly occurrence with these heretics. They claim to hear God speak, receive dreams, visions and any number of extravagant supernatural experiences that no one else has.
In order for the Christian community to receive T.D. Jakes, he has to do two things. He must stand up openly and confess that his past views on the godhead were heresy, unacceptable, and sinful. It should explain why he thinks this to be the case. Next, Jakes should explain what has led to his change of heart on the issue of the trinity. Finally, Jakes should provide an explicit statement on how he now understands the nature of the triune God. In so doing, it would be wise for Jakes to cite the church creeds and councils that now reflect his convictions on the doctrine of God.
Finally, Jakes must also repent of the heresy known as the prosperity gospel. Mr. Jakes must follow the very same pattern. He should stand up and leave no room for ambiguity regarding how sorry he is for propagating such a false view of the gospel, of Christ, and of Scripture. He should apologize to the millions who have been deceived into thinking this way as a direct result of his influence in their lives. He should outline what led to his change of heart regarding the prosperity gospel. He should the outline what he thinks about such teaching, why it is wrong, and urge fellow ministers in that camp to follow him in his repentance.
These actions would leave little doubt that T.D. Jakes has been given light and granted repentance. At a minimum, the church would be able to come along side Mr. Jakes and love him and provide him with strength and counseling as he repositions himself in the Christian community. In so doing, the church would be wise to assign mentors to watch over Mr. Jakes and ensure that he continues to progress and grow in the faith, less he find the path too difficult and succumb to pressures from the enemy and old acquaintances. Unless these path is followed, we are left wondering what really happened and where Jakes really stands, and if it is really such a big deal after all. This process highlights the importance of truth and guards against any tendency toward indifference regarding doctrine and praxis in the Christian community.
Now, once we get through the heresies of Modalism and the prosperity gospel, we can begin a conversation around the egregious error of extra-biblical revelation predominant in Pentecostal theology. Mr. Jakes will have to make the necessary adjustments here as well. But that is another conversation for another time.