By Apprising Ministries special correspondent Rob Willmann of Shepherd’s Heart Bible Study
This is a repost of an original article on Shepherd’s Heart Bible Study
Recently at the Elephant Room 2, Bishop TD Jakes was interviewed by Mark Driscoll and James MacDonald. These two men supposedly questioned Jakes’ position on the Holy Trinity to such a point that supposedly he (Jakes) made a profession of doctrinal truth to such a level that these two other men declared Jakes to no longer be outside of Christian orthodoxy, but in fact Jakes is now orthodox.
They did so based on what Jakes said in the interview. Yet Jakes in his statements said he was more comfortable using the word ‘manifestation’ rather than ‘persons’.
Now, it may sound like I am splitting hairs here, but orthodox Christianity has dealt with the issue of the Trinity for HUNDREDS of years, and core Christian doctrine declares God to be ONE GOD, yet 3 distinct Persons, NOT three Gods, and certainly not three manifestations.
This isn’t some minor doctrinal difference that we can sweep under the rug for the sake of Christian unity. If we get this one wrong, then it’s heresy. And unfortunately, as much as I would like to be very charitable to Bishop TD Jakes concerning the Trinity, words MEAN THINGS.
In order to help bring some clarity to this understanding of the Trinity, I transcribed a video from YouTube that is from Dr. Walter Martin.
The video is embedded below, or you can click this link (opens a new browser window) and listen to Dr. Martin’s wonderful explanation of the Trinity.
“What is the Trinity Doctrine” by Dr. Walter Martin
Unfortunately, this video isn’t the ENTIRE audio of Dr. Walter Martin’s sermon on the Trinity. There are a couple of skips. But what IS in the video is incredibly clear, and should help to dispell the idea that the Trinity can be expressed as ‘manifestations’.
NOTE: Comments by me, or edits for missing words are in brackets [ ].
Nature of the one God
There are three Persons – Father, Son, Holy Spirit, and these three share the same attributes. In effect, the three Persons are the One God.
All we are saying very simply is – that within God’s Unity or Nature, we can discern 3 distinct Persons, so far as you and I are able to understand Persons.
And, these three Persons are in effect the One God. That’s the Christian Doctrine of the Trinity – what that revelation is.
Now one of the cardinal rules of interpreting the Bible is this: You always interpret the Old Testament in the light of the New Testament – NEVER the reverse.
The New Testament completes the Old Testament, and you go backwards from the completion to the beginning to interpret, for the Scriptures are complete in the New Testament revelation.
Now if we can demonstrate from the New Testament that there are really three Persons, and if we can demonstrate that the three Persons are all called God, and if we can demonstrate that there is only ONE God, then we are driven to only one possible conclusion:
Things equal to the same thing, are equal to each other, and the three Persons are the one God.
You don’t have to be a great logician. You don’t have to be a great theologian. You don’t have to go to college. You don’t have to even graduate from high school to think that one through.
Think about it for a moment.
If you can show that there are three Persons in the New Testament, and if you can show that these three Persons are called God (or Jehovah to accomodate the Witnesses), and if we can show there is only One God, then the three Persons ARE the one God. And the argument ends at that point.
If the New Testament says that there are three Persons, and if the New Testaments says that these three Persons are all called Jehovah, and if there is only one Jehovah, then the three Persons are the One God, and the doctrine of the Trinity is true.
Let us begin scientifically, inductively, simply to see whether or not it can be proved.
First of all: Is there a Person called the Father in the New Testament and is He called God?
A legitimate question to which we ought to have a legitimate answer.
2nd Peter Chapter 1 verse 17 – It should be marked in your Bibles, and I think it should be clearly indicated why you are marking it there – you are identifying someone.
2nd Peter Chapter 1 verse 17: “For He The Lord Jesus received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to Him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
Now we have proven two specific things from this text:
One – There is a Person called the Father and
[TWO] – He is identified as God. Verse 17 “He received from God the Father.”
Identification – The Father is Jehovah. No possible way out. The Jehovah’s Witnesses will agree with you right down the line.
Secondly, there is a Person called the son. They will agree with that.
Now the question is: Is the Son identified as Jehovah?
[Note: This video is 10:44 long, and it’s apparent that it was made from a longer video by Dr. Walter Martin. There is a gap here where Dr. Martin would have told his listeners that he was using these verses:
(John 8:57-58) Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. ]
… And he used the divine name and applied it to himself.
“I tell you before Abraham was,” I am the eternal God. And used it.
Now you might mark those verses down in your Bible. There is a Person called the Son and He declares himself to be Jehovah. He even uses the divine name.
[Another skip in the audio]
Revelation 1 is a very clear example.
Verse 8: “I am Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the Ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.”
Now Jehovah’s Witnesses admit in their own translation that this is Jehovah God, and they translate it this way: “I am Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the Ending, says Jehovah God, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.”
They have established the premise.
Revelation 1:8 – Alpha and Omega IS Jehovah God.
Revelation Chapter 22 – The person speaking says “Behold, I come quickly!” Verse 7.
And as you go on reading Revelation 22 there’s a repetition – Verse 12 “Behold, I come quickly; my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” Verse 13: “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.”
I think that’s pretty clear. The Alpha and the Omega is speaking again. And the Alpha and the Omega is by Jehovah’s Witnesses own definition – Jehovah God.
So Revelation 22:13 can be cross-referenced with Revelation 1:8 and you have a perfect identification of Jehovah God in both places.
Now get to Verse 17 and 18. “When I saw Him, I fell at his feet as dead. And He laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the First and the Last.”
So Jesus Christ the son of Man identifies Himself as Alpha and Omega, identifies Himself as First and Last, and now He even goes further:
“…I am he that lives, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive forevermore.”
Literally the Greek reads “I am He that lives and BECAME dead and behold I live for all eternity. Amen. I have the keys of Hell and of Death.”
Now the identification is irrefutable. Christ calls Himself First and Last, and Jehovah’s Witnesses admit He’s Alpha and Omega.
It’s a terrible problem for them to solve, and they don’t solve it at all.
[Skip Again – Isaiah 44:6 is the reference here]
It reads…. and if you look at it in Isaiah I think you’ll see why:
Thus says Jehovah, the King of Israel, and his redeemer the Lord of hosts; “I am the First, and I am the Last, and beside Me there is no God.”
So Jehovah identifies Himself as the First and the Last.
Now either there are two first and two lasts – which is linguistic suicide and logical redundancy, and there are two Alphas and two Omegas which is Greek suicide…
OR – the same Person is talking.
[Another skip… Acts Ch. 5 is referenced here]
Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, And kept back part of the price, his wife being (literally in cahoots with him. The word privy means in Old English she was actually working with him in the deal. She knew what was going on.) and they laid that part of it they intended to give at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, Ananias, why has Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Spirit (Verse 3) and keep back part of the price of the land? While it remained, was it not your own? and after it was sold, was it not your own power? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart?”
Now underline the next sentence: “You have not lied unto men, but unto God.”
Now go back a verse: [Acts 5:3] “Peter said unto Ananias, ‘why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie”… to who? “the Holy Spirit.’”
Now who IS this Holy Spirit in verse 4? … You have not lied to men. You have lied to God.
The same man who identified God the Father identifies God the Holy Spirit. And if there’s only one Jehovah, then the three Persons are the One God, and the doctrine of the Trinity is true.
I hope that in some way, this post will help the truth of the Triune nature of God will go forth. God is NOT three manifestations. God has revealed Himself to us in 3 Persons, yet ONE God.
Ultimately, this transcript shows the folly of what happened in the recent Elephant Room 2. I pray that the men involved would repent, and call TD Jakes to task for making a half-hearted attempt at professing orthodoxy in regards to the Trinity.
Other articles of interest re: The Trinity, TD Jakes, Orthodoxy, and James MacDonald:
Elephant Room 2: may we now regard T.D. Jakes as Trinitarian and orthodox?
T. D. Jakes (and the like) Part One: isn’t “unclear leader” an oxymoron?
Elephant Room 2: James White on T.D. Jakes and elephants in the room
A Mega-Friday DL on TD Jakes and Elephants in the Room
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