An Inconvenient Truth: How the “Evolution” of T.D. Jakes Shines an Unflattering Light on (Some) Black Christians

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“Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”
Matthew 7:3-5 (NASB)

Comments from a recent Huffington Post interview with megachurch pastor T.D. Jakes, that his position on same-sex marriage is “evolving“, continues to reverberate throughout social media and in various news outlets.

As a result of this expanding firestorm, Jakes has since issued a clarification of his original remarks as many, particularly those within evangelical Christian circles, were somewhat taken aback (to put it mildly) by his use of the term “evolve” as, apparently, that word still retains a decidedly negative connotation from when President Obama used it to describe his own ideological progression on the issue of same-sex marriage.

It is interesting to observe that whenever a “hot button” social or political issue arises which the media perceives as being contrary to what black Christians have traditionally believed, they will not hesitate to seek out someone who, in their view, appears qualified to represent the voice of black Christians under the presumption that we are a collective of believers who somehow need to be spoken for by someone else.

In this case, that person is Jakes, which is perfectly understandable given that the media’s primary qualifier for being, well, “qualified”, is how popular a person is with the masses.

And, if nothing else, T.D. Jakes is popular – extremely popular.

Jakes’ Twitter page, for example, boasts of nearly two million followers (not to mention the millions of adherents who connect with him globally through his Dallas, TX-based Potter’s House ministry.)

But, notwithstanding Jakes’ clarification about his “evolution” on same-sex marriage, or how he believes the Black Church should relate to and minister to LGBTs, the question I have is this: why should it matter to black Christians even if Jakes was a supporter of same-sex marriage?

Think about it.

Why all of a sudden does what T.D. Jakes thinks about same-sex marriage matter at all to black Christians when the vast majority of them overwhelmingly support a man, namely President Barack Obama, who is himself a staunch, unrelenting advocate of same-sex marriage and the LGBT lifestyle?

In fact, President Obama is so pro-LGBT, he had the White House illuminated in rainbow-colored lights in celebration of the recent Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage.

So, again, my question is, why the hypocrisy?

If what the Word of God says about homosexuality doesn’t factor into the politics of most black Christians (and it doesn’t), why, then, should it factor into our theology so that we go bananas when someone like Jakes says his position is “evolving”?

Why should the remarks of a black pastor about same-sex marriage draw the ire of the evangelical community, when the well-documented stance on homosexuality of our black president barely registers a blip on the spiritual radar of millions of blacks who profess to be followers of Christ?

These are pertinent questions because they speak to the fact that the Word of God is not truly authoritative in the lives of many black Christians, so that it helps us formulate a worldview in which the Bible encompasses every aspect of our life, not just selected areas.

“Thinking Christianly is thinking by Christians about anything and everything in a consistently Christian way – in a manner that is shaped, directed, and restrained by the truth of God’s Word and God’s Spirit.” – Os Guinness as quoted in A Mind for God by James Emery White, pp. 20-21

When you consider, for example, that no small number of black Christians appear to have no problem whatsoever segregating their politics from their theology, as in the case of their unwavering support of President Obama, that T.D. Jakes, or any other black pastor, would support same-sex marriage should be of no consequence whatsoever to them because they already compromised God’s Word a long time ago.

If President Obama’s “evolution” on same-sex marriage wasn’t a deterrent to black Christians voting for him – twice – why should Jakes’ relativism bring about such consternation? If I can simply apply my own subjective form of “Christianity” to one area of my life but not the other, what difference does it make what my pastor believes?

After all, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander, right?

Or, is it?

The theology of the Christian is not some a la carte paradigm that affords us the autonomy to pick and choose how God’s Word applies to our life.

To be a disciple of Jesus Christ is either an all-encompassing theology or it is not.

Try as you might, there is no in-between.

It is hypocritical to call out T.D. Jakes for “evolving” on same-sex marriage while turning a blind eye to the egregiously unbiblical worldview of someone like President Obama (and I say that as someone who has never agreed doctrinally with Jakes.)

What T.D. Jakes believes about same-sex marriage should be of concern only to the Christian who views God’s Word as comprehensively authoritative. If, on the other hand, that is not what you believe, then, what Jakes subscribes to about same-sex marriage should be of absolutely no concern to you, seeing as how the worldview you apply to your own life is probably just as relativistic as his.

Humbly in Christ,


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Author An Inconvenient Truth: How the “Evolution” of T.D. Jakes Shines an Unflattering Light on (Some) Black Christians

Darrell B. Harrison

Lead Host Just Thinking Podcast

Darrell is is a native of Atlanta, Georgia but currently resides in Valencia, California where he serves as Dean of Social Media at Grace To You, the Bible-teaching ministry of Dr. John MacArthur. Darrell is a 2013 Fellow of the Black Theology and Leadership Institute (BTLI) of Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, New Jersey, and is a 2015 graduate of the Theology and Ministry program at Princeton Theological Seminary. Darrell studied at the undergraduate level at Liberty University, where he majored in Psychology with a concentration in Christian Counseling. He was the first black man to be ordained as a Deacon in the 200-year history of First Baptist Church of Covington (Georgia) where he attended from 2009 to 2015. He is an ardent student of theology and apologetics, and enjoys reading theologians such as Thomas Watson, Charles Spurgeon, and John Calvin. Darrell is an advocate of expository teaching and preaching and has a particular passion for seeing expository preaching become the standard within the Black Church.