He grew up in Charleston, West Virginia, and was raised Baptist but switched to Pentecostal after “speaking in tongues” at a storefront Apostolic church. He married in 1980 and has twin sons. His far-flung itinerant preaching ministry was based for many years in West Virginia, but in 1996 he moved to Texas and founded the Potter’s House, purchasing property formerly belong to W.V. Grant’s Eagle’s Nest Family Church for $3.2 million.
For the 25th anniversary of Jake’s ministry in 2001, Time magazine featured him on its cover and called him “America’s Best Preacher.” The Time article absolutely resonated in praise for Jakes: “He is a virtuoso, a prodigy. The only thing more exhilarating than the style of T.D. Jakes’ sermons is their rigor and compassion ... It’s Oprah-in-a-pulpit.” The article observed that Jake’s “enthusiasts can adopt an awed tone not unlike acolytes of bebop jazz in the ‘50s or grunge in the early 1990s.”
Such praise from a worldly magazine that regularly challenges the authority of the Bible and mocks the things of Christ sends up strong warning signals for Bible believers, because the Lord Jesus Christ said, “Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets” (Luke 6:26). When this wicked world loves a preacher, something is wrong!
In Jakes’ case, it is not too difficult to understand his popularity. He preaches a positive, self-esteem, “it’s all about you” message.
Jakes supports women pastors. His daughter, Sarah Jakes Roberts, co-pastors two branches of the Potter’s House chuch (Los Angeles and Denver) with her husband Touré Roberts. She had an out-of-wedlock pregnancy at age 13, and her first marriage at age 19 ended in divorce (“T.D. Jakes’ Daughter,” Church Leaders, Sept. 26, 2022).
Jakes appears with and supports the most radical of today’s charismatics, including Paul and Jan Crouch and Trinity Broadcasting Network. This is the network that has helped popularize such unscriptural practices and doctrines as hysterical laughing, spirit slaying, Christian rock & roll, healing in the atonement, and evangelical Catholicism.
Jakes himself practices the unscriptural and dangerous “spirit slaying,” whereby people are knocked to the floor, allegedly by the Holy Spirit.
In August 1995, Jakes appeared at Oral Roberts University with a lineup of some of the biggest names in the Word-faith movement, including R.W. Schambach, Lester Sumrall, and T.L. Osborn. One of Jakes’ fellow speakers at that conference was Rodney Howard-Browne, who blasphemously calls himself the “Holy Ghost bartender” because of the strange drunken spirit that has manifested during his meetings.
Jakes preaches the prosperity gospel. He falsely claims that Jesus was rich and that God wants us to be rich, too. He lives in a $1.7 million mansion. When raising funds for the Trinity Broadcasting Network, Jakes uses the prosperity gospel message that has worked so well for many of the Pentecostals. He told the TBN audience that if they give to TBN, God will give them prosperity in everything: money, marriage, romance, etc.
I saw Jakes preaching on the television in 2001, and right in the midst of his preaching he began babbling away in unintelligible mutterings he called “tongues.” In direct disobedience to the Bible, there was not even an attempt to interpret the “tongues.”
Jakes admits that he formerly preached “Jesus Only” or “Oneness” theology, which rejects the doctrine of the Trinity. But he still faces two ways on this important issue. In a conversation in the Elephant Room at First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida, January 2012, Jakes said on one hand that he has moved away from a Oneness view to embrace the Trinity as “one God, three Persons.” But he hastened to say that he still “prefers” the term “manifestations,” believes that men on both sides of the issue are “saying the same thing,” and fellowships with those on all sides. He is still at least sympathetic to Oneness theology, still defends its unscriptural terminology, still falsely claims that this doctrine is an issue of “seeing through a glass darkly” and thus no one has the issue right, and refuses to obey the Bible by separating from heretics.
In fact, he’s not sure there are any heretics, and he’s far too busy promoting unity to worry much about them, even if they exist.
In a 2015 interview with the Huntington Post, Jakes not only fudged about the issue of homosexuality, he also questioned the divine inspiration of Paul’s epistles, which is a fundamental error. Instead of plainly stating what the Bible teaches about homosexuality, Jakes described his views as “evolved and evolving.” To justify evolution in doctrinal and moral thinking, he used the example of the apostle Paul’s teaching in 1 Corinthians 11, saying, “Paul spends a lot of time wrestling back and forth, trying to understand should a woman wear a head covering, should you cut your hair. I mean, they grappled back then and we’re grappling now because we’re humans and we are flawed and we’re not God” (“T.D. Jakes Comes Out for ‘Gay Rights’ and ‘LGBT Churches,” Christian News Network, Aug. 7, 2015). This is a frightful and terrible error on the part of a supposed Bible-believing pastor. Paul was not “grappling” with anything that he wrote in 1 Corinthians 11. He was writing under divine inspiration, which is why he prefaced the chapter by commending the church for keeping his teaching (1 Cor. 11:1-2). Yes, the preacher is human and not God, but the preacher has the infallible Word of God in the canon of Scripture, and he has the Spirit of God as his Interpreter, and he is solemnly commissioned to preach God’s Word without question and compromise (2 Tim. 4:1-2). God has spoken on the issue of homosexuality. There is no more for a preacher to say than what God has already said.
The preachers are America’s fundamental problem. America doesn’t fear God today because America’s preachers don’t preach the fear of God.
On September 24, 2022, Jakes (age 65) anointed his daughter, Sarah Jakes Roberts, with oil to “empower” her to take the reins of the Woman, Thou Art Loosed ministry. She was “slain in the Spirit” and lay on the stage while Jakes proclaimed blessing on her. Jakes remains the senior pastor of the main Potter’s House church in Dallas.
“Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts concerning the prophets; Behold, I will feed them with wormwood, and make them drink the water of gall: for from the prophets of Jerusalem is profaneness gone forth into all the land. ... But if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings” (Jeremiah 23:15, 22).
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