Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Big Boy Article: Learn about Oneness Pentecostalism

T. D. Jakes
T. D. Jakes is perhaps the most famous representative of the United Pentecostal Church, a denomination that is represented in my own city by the large Abundant Life Tabernacle.  But the UPC is not Christian; it is heretical, for it holds to its own brand of the old error of modalism.

Modalism denies the Trinity by teaching that the one God manifests himself as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, but not in the orthodox teaching of traditional Christianity, which says that the persons of the Godhead exist eternally and immutably. 

Modalism moves in the opposite direction of the more familiar error of subordinationism.  Subordinationism (held, for instance, by the Jehovah's Witnesses), teaches that Christ is not divine, or at least not divine in the same sense as God/Jehovah.  Modalism holds to Christ's divinity, and to such a vigorous form of Christ's divinity that Christ is all of God that there is.  The Father and Spirit and Son are simply projections of Christ's deity.  As Fred Sanders notes, "while we can easily see how this doctrine [of the deity of Christ] could be under-emphasized, it is hard for us to imagine how it would be possible to over-emphasize it."

Big Boy Article: To understand this heresy better, I highly recommend Fred Sanders' article, Oneness Pentecostalism: An Analysis.

Perhaps the occasion of this article is the controversial invitation of T. D. Jakes by Pastor James MacDonald to attend his next "Elephant Room" conference.  MacDonald has come under attack for thus seeming to endorse T. D. Jakes and his apparently heretical (anti-Trinitarian) view of God.

MacDonald denies that inviting Jakes is endorsement, nor does he believe Jakes to be a modalist, though as I understand it, Jakes has been notoriously reluctant to clarify his theology at this point.

Carl Trueman takes issue with MacDonald's claim that creedal Christianity's conclusions on connecting the divinity of Christ with the monotheism of the Old Testament is overly precise, because the Bible meant to leave such conclusion somewhat cloudy. 

Thabiti Anyabwile deals with questions of separation and association raised by MacDonald's invitation to Jakes.

A. J. Carter (I think that's his name) believes that only T. D. Jakes wins in The Elephant Room.

No comments: