Consider this recent affair; to the relief of many evangelicals, this prominent leader has turned from the brink of damnable heresy. That is, he’s turned from Oneness Pentecostal theology (which is, in my experience, as clear as mud) to “Orthodoxy.” Christianity Today trumpets: “T.D. Jakes Embraces Doctrine of the Trinity, Moves Away from ‘Oneness’ View“.
“I began to realize that there are some things that could be said about the Father that could not be said about the Son,” Jakes said. “There are distinctives between the working of the Holy Spirit and the moving of the Holy Spirit, and the working of the redemptive work of Christ. I’m very comfortable with that.”
This is the indiscernibility of identicals (also here) in action. This is a valid inference : x and y have differed, so x and y are not numerically identical. So in his view, the Father is not the Son.
So far so good. But what sorts of things does he think the Father and Son are?
It seems: “manifestations.” Of what? God. So they are two manifestations of God.
So of course he asserts that he (the new trinitarian) and the Oneness folk “are saying the same thing.”
At this event Pastor Marc Driscoll grilled Jakes on catholic formulas, and Jakes said yes to them all, only qualifying – like a number of catholic theologians – that he doesn’t much like the term “person.” So as far as Driscoll and many viewers are concerned, he’s “orthodox.”
But Jakes’ misreading of 1 Tim 3:16 is revealing – he thinks that the one God – conceived as a self (I’m interpreting here) manifested in the life of Jesus – so that the self operative there in that life is simply God. “Jesus” is the mode of God’s manifesting in this way, including, presumably, a real human being. Of course, Jesus, aka the Son isn’t the Father; they are two different modes of God, ways God is. (He says “manifests” but since he agrees that the Trinity is eternal, he must have in mind something intrinsic to God rather than a relation to creatures.)
Just as Jakes has said before:
I believe in one God who is the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. I believe these three have distinct and separate functions — so separate each has individual attributes, yet are one. I do not believe in three Gods. …Though no human illustration perfectly fits the Divine, it is similar to ice, water and steam: three separate forms, yet all H20. Each element can co-exist, each has distinguishing characteristics and functions, but all have sameness…. (link and emphasis added)
For Jakes, God just is a certain great self, who eternally lives in three ways. It seems he is a noumenal, eternally concurrent FSH modalist.
But my point is not to throw rocks at Jakes. Rather, my point is Continue reading »