If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. (John 15:19)

Friends With The World

That is why the world hates you. Unless that is…They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them (1 John 4:5). I’d like to thank Jim Bublitz of Old for his post on Slice of Laodicea which brought the following comments from “Bishop” T.D. Jakes to my attention. During the night I had felt led to write concerning the issue of “interfaith dialogue,” specifically as it relates to Islam and contemplative spirituality. The following from Robert Hunter’s blog provides a nice opening because T.D Jakes is a prominent leader in the Word Faith section of what I call The Ecumenical Church Of Deceit (ECoD) of new evangelicalism. The ECoD just happens to be the catalyst of so-called “Christian” mysticism. As Hunter correctly points out Jakes is a Oneness Pentecostal and denies the Trinity, which means he literally denies the very nature of God Himself. Yet so low is the level of discernment, and so timid is evangelical leadership, that Jakes is considered a “brother” in Christ, even though sabellianism has already been condemned as heresy by the historic orthodox Christian Church.

Some of you following Apprising Ministries may recall that a while back I addressed this critical issue concerning T.D. Jakes and others who deny Christ’s atonement on the Cross in an article called Can You Be An Evangelical Christian And Deny God? Sadly the answer is: Sure, of course you can; we all have our differences. And in the case of Jakes himself, not only does he deny Who God actually is but he also blatantly teaches the heresies of what my teacher Dr. Walter Martin himself labeled “The Health And Wealth Cult.” This cancer in the Body of Christ is probably better known now as the Word Faith movement. I have taken criticism for writing about these issues but Dr. Martin, who was the foremost authority on cults having their origin in the United States, often said, “If you have gotten into the ministry as a popularity contest you have made the wrong choice.” Yet today within the evangelical community it would appear just the opposite. And so I echo what Leonard Ravenhill once asked in his classic little book Why Revival Tarries: “Where Are The Elijah’s of God?”

We turn now specifically to the issue of the non-committal sappy sentimental “Christianity” within the ECoD, with its Gnostic mysticism, and how this plays out in the increase of “interfaith dialogue.” A major reason that ECoD leaders can’t handle the truth is the growing practice of contemplative spirituality–which is in actuality transcendental meditation for the Christian. The rapid spread of so-called “Christian” mysticism within new evangelicalism has now slithered its way into the evangelical community through their embracing the neo-liberal cult of the Emergent Church. While this mystic meditation is probably not a factor with Jakes himself (yet) it certainly is with Tony Campolo and Brennan Manning, and it always leads to a false sense of the love of man. We will get to Campolo and Manning in part two, but first Hunter informs us that on “May 2, 2006” T.D. Jakes was a guest on “National Public Radio.” I will provide a couple of short excerpts below from Hunter’s transcription.

Speaking The Truth In Love

According to Hunter, while on the program Jakes receives the following phone call from a listener:

Annette: I’m a Muslim here in Portland. I’m part of a Shiite community. And we had a wonderful interfaith dialogue last weekend with a local Unitarian church. And I’d like to ask you please to speak about concrete experiences you’ve had as far as interfaith dialogue goes. And also would like to ask you, do you feel that only Christians could hope to enter Heaven?

Men and women, you need to understand that this “interfaith” dialogue is not about leading these unbelievers to Christ; interfaith (sometimes called interspiritual) dialogue is about discovering how those in other “faith traditions” are currently “experiencing” God in their worship so we might in turn learn from one another. I’m not going to wrestle with the serpent here, so I just point out that no one is arguing that we should always treat people of other religions with respect and even “befriend” people of other faiths. I have done so myself, but I don’t lose track of the fact God the Holy Spirit tells me in dialogue with them I am His ambassador for Christ (see–2 Corinthians 5:18-20). The same as every Christian, I must never lose sight of the fact that as the Lord’s bond-slave (doulos) He has called me to adhere to the following admonition whether people end up liking me or not:

Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.

For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said: “Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil (Ephesians 5:6-16)

The first argument that becomes Emergent is: “Yes, but Ephesians 4:15 tells us that we must speak the truth in love.” Since this isn’t the focus of this particular missive let me just say that exposing the fruitless deeds of darkness is to be speaking the truth in love. The view of love currently preached in the churches of Satan’s ECoD is, to quote Emergent pastor Rob Bell, “warped and toxic.” We can speak the Truth in love to another person without watering it down, it’s all in how you share it with someone. Before we return to Bishop Jakes so-called “witness” on NPR I share a brief example. I’ve had much interfaith discussion with Mormon Missionaries throughout the years. One in particular comes to mind in illustrating my point here. Over a period of a month or so these two young men were studying the innerrancy and infallibility of the Bible with me. One day during our discussion the “lead” MM began to become visibly upset. So I paused and asked him if something was bothering him. He said, “It sounds like you are telling me that I’m going to Hell.”

I explained to him, “No, I’m not saying you are definitely going to go to Hell because I don’t know what the future holds. However, I do want you to be clear on what I am saying. What I am telling you from the Bible is that the current road you are on will lead you to Hell and I am trying to get you off of it. But now let me ask you a question, since I am making a decided and conscious effort to reject what you are teaching me about Mormonism, doesn’t your faith say that I am on my way to Hell? You personally believe that too, don’t you?” He slowly nodded his head. You see, what I explained to him was that if I were him, and I believed as he did, then I would also be doing the very same thing. I told him that I respected him for his frankness and that I could live with that. Then I made sure he understood that this was all I was doing in return. He smiled, sat back and relaxed. The Lord honored my obedience to His Word and it led to another month of study together. Whatever ultimately comes of that time is in God’s Hands and not mine, but I will say that even “bill” of the website Faith Commons is finding out I’m really not such a bad guy after all.

God Will Sort It All Out

Now that we have the proper background for our discussion we can zero in on yet another example of a professing Christian, in this case a leader within the ECoD, who in a public forum demonstrates that they can’t handle the Truth. Oneness Pentecostal Bishop T. D. Jakes is asked two direct questions, and in actuality they really are rather simple ones at that:

I’d like to ask you please to speak about concrete experiences you’ve had as far as interfaith dialogue goes. And also would like to ask you, do you feel that only Christians could hope to enter Heaven?

Here is Jake’s response, or more accurately put, here is Jakes’ non-response to the first question as recorded by Hunter:

JAKES: Very great question. When it comes to interfaith experiences, I’m currently serving by the appointment of former President Bush and President Clinton, as co-chair of an interfaith advisory committee to help people get back up on their feet.

And we do have on the board Muslims, Catholics, a Jewish Rabbi, Baptists, Methodists, Pentecostals across the board. And we’re working together very effectively because we all care about common goals. We have our distinct theologies and our own ideologies but there are common grounds that we can work together very effectively in many, many cases.

Apparently the reasoning skills of more and more people have dipped low enough, and with that the corresponding moral character, that this kind of non-answer is enough to placate them. However, if I was asked for a “concrete” example of “interfaith dialogue” I would have shared the above experience with the Mormon Missionary as my example. Of course it’s quite likely that I would never be invited back onto that program again, but this also would be for the Lord to decide. And while I don’t advocate a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ becoming involved in the type of political interfaith dialogue that Jakes speaks of above, I would not oppose someone who did on that basis alone. But I will tell you this, I sure would caution them to take a good long look at the extremely tarnished example set by Billy Graham. As the years have gone on it has come to light how many “corners” were rounded off in his ascension to religious icon. Do you seriously think that he was preaching the Gospel all those times he was visiting the Vatican? You see to be effective in the kind of interfaith discussion Jakes is talking about above these “distinctive theologies” he speaks of will not remain distinctive long.

There Is Only One Name Given

This brings us to his nauseating (see–Revelation 3:16) anti-answer to the other question asked by this Muslim lady. Let me remind people of something Dr. Francis Schaeffer once said that I agree with wholeheartedly: “Honest questions deserve honest answers.” Again the ECoD Bishop is asked: “do you feel that only Christians could hope to enter Heaven?” Here is Jakes’ insipid reply:

When it comes to Heaven, I try to leave that up to God. I certainly believe that Christianity is right, but when it comes down to the final test–who goes and who doesn’t go–Jesus said, Other sheep have I who are not of this fold. Them also must I bring. I’ll let Him identify who those sheep are and I stay out of the conversation.

O how many ways we could wrestle with the serpent here! The other sheep are Gentiles like you T.D. Jakes. And as a Bishop you have to leave answering a simple question about the exclusive message of Jesus Christ “up to God”? Then friend what exactly do you feel your “mission” as an alleged minister of His Gospel is? To keep telling people exactly what they want to hear: God wants us all to be happy, healthy and properous? What persecution you must have to bear with that message “brother” Jakes. If only Jesus had thought of that one. Can we seriously be asked to believe that such a message would have led to His crucifixion? Yet this is exactly the central issue with this cult of popularity driving new evangelicalism. Take your pick; Warren, Schuller, Osteen, and Jakes. Time after time popular leaders of the ECoD appear in public venues and just cannot handle the Truth that they have taken ordination vows as ministers of the Gospel to proclaim. When on earth will these horrid examples of the Christian faith be called to account for embarrassing the Body of Christ in Jesus’ Name? Or don’t those of you God has blessed with prominent ministries in the evangelical church remember James 3:1? I tell you in the Lord that God has not forgotten.

Let’s see if we can help T.D. Jakes, who as a “Bishop” (episkopos, overseer) is in charge of overseeing other “evangelical” Oneness Pentecostal churches, with an answer to what appears to me to be an honest and sincere question from this Muslim woman: “Do you feel that only Christians could hope to enter heaven?” We might say something along the lines of: This is the most important question anyone can ask, and I as a minister of Jesus Christ I will be happy to answer this for you. The short answer is that according to the Bible no one has any hope of going to Heaven, whether they claim to be Christian, Muslim, Jew, or any other faith tradition, unless they are in Christ. Unless someone of any race, religion or culture has placed their faith in Jesus Christ and His dying on the Cross in their place for their sins, they cannot hope to enter Heaven. The Bible teaches that Jesus’ death on the Cross satisfied the justice of God, and His Resurrection from the dead is God’s assurance that all who place their faith alone, in Christ alone, will be granted eternal life with God in Heaven.

Next time I’ll begin by continuing this into a longer answer I have found to be effective as I share the Gospel with people who ask the above question, and we’ll look at what Contemplatives Tony Campolo and Brennan Manning say about the false religion of Islam. Of course by continuing the above answer I then run the risk of people overly scrutinizing as to the validity of apologetics, and then again if we grant that apologetics can be useful; well then, what kind of apologetic is best. Or maybe we should just literally only speak Bible verses to those who don’t believe and not “reason” with them at all. Now before you run for the tar and feathers, I’m only semi-jesting, but for my detractors in the Emergent crowd and the Contemplative crowd, being in the camp I’m in is no piece of cake either. Seems there’s not much willingness to hold up those of us who do have the guts to speak boldly for Christ as I do publicly. Before someone is so quick to be overly critical concerning men like myself you might ask yourself a question: Am I putting my own name on, and then having to stand by, these written works that can literally be read world-wide? If one can’t see how Satan is now even dividing the remnant Christ is attempting to call to Himself I’m afraid that you simply do not have eyes that see.