T.D. Jakes on demonic unity and curses
Now, last week during the hype of T.D. Jakes’ visit to Cape Town, there was a clip of him preaching that I stumbled upon on facebook. You might want to watch and listen to it as it will provide context for what I want to briefly address. From what I can tell, the sermon was preached in 2013 from Acts 8:1-13 with a title: “Spellbreaker”. He begins the message by telling his audience to look at each other and repeat after him “neighbor, the spell is broken”.
The clip that was shared on facebook captures the heart of the message. I want to briefly interact and examine what he says in that clip. Note, I’m writing this with the assumption you’ve watched the 6min clip
Learning from Demonic Unity?
There’s enough in this clip to help any discerning believer see that T.D. Jakes’ handling of the Scriptures and Christian theology is (to say the least) very dangerous! Take for example his assertion that we have a lot to learn about unity from the kingdom of Satan.
He explains that, never will you see a demon fighting against another demon, only church folk, and preachers and denominations fight among one another. He contends that demons are organized, are ordered and united. He then draws the conclusion that we do not understand order. And with warrant I would infer he means, we do not understand or display order as Satan and his demons do.
I accept that we do have a lot to learn about unity, but I’d strongly disagree that we ought to learn that from the satanic kingdom. Jakes reference’s the account where Jesus, responding to the charge that He was performing His works by the power of Satan said: “a kingdom dividing against itself cannot stand” (Mark 3:20-27).
I would be very interested to know what principles of biblical interpretation he used to make this passage speak to the issue of unity among demons that believers should be learning from. It is not that assertion alone that is problematic but that assertion is better seen as symptomatic of T.D. Jakes’ horrendous hermeneutic.
It is true that there are many times believers live in disunity but we do not remedy that by pointing to the ‘unity’ that exist among demons, we remedy that by pointing to the unity Christ earned for the church when He bought her with His blood (Acts 20:28) and the resulted benefit of being united to His body. Else, what are we teaching? “We ‘gotta’ be better than demons”, shouldn’t it be “I have to be more like Christ”? I think we shift the goalposts dangerously when we accept T.D.Jakes’ reasoning here!
We teach about unity by 1) affirm the existing, objective and Christ-earned unity (Eph. 4:1-3) and 2) impressing the implications of the gospel on cases where division is brewing (1 Cor. 1:11-17, 3:1-11, Phil. 2:1-10). I cannot imagine when it would be acceptable or seen as a faithful discharge of a preacher’s ministerial duty to set Satan up as a model to follow? But of course, the question may be asked, did Jesus not do that when he spoke about a house divided against itself?
Well, we are forced to ask “does the Bible encourage us to learn from Satan”? It’s interesting to note that the way Jakes expounds the unity among demons may even cause some to be envious of such demonic unity. Yet, I’m sure this is not the intent of biblical preaching i.e. to stir up holy envy for the things we see in Satan, notwithstanding the fact that Jesus never commends this unity.
The way Jakes speaks about the subject of unity and order betrays his misunderstanding of the subject, as it appears he seems to consider unity to be some monolithic virtue. This causes me to ask whether there is only one kind of unity and is all displays of unity equal?
To suggest that the point of that account is to teach (by observing the unity in the kingdom of Satan) what true unity looks like is of course to miss the point of the passage completely. Jesus was illustrating how ridiculous and blasphemous it is to attribute His work to Satan because Satan cannot work against Satan. He was demonstrating how diametrically opposed His work is from that of Satan. This is something T.D. Jakes is completely missing in his brief extemporaneous unpacking of this account.
Also the kind of unity Jakes proposes seems to preclude the possibility that there can be good and healthy cases and causes for division or separation among professing Christians. In cases of persistent unrepentant sin, separation from the unrepentant is an action deemed appropriate (1 Cor. 5:9), the same would count for false teachers (Rom. 16:17, 2 John 1:10-11).
Satan sends curses to our families?
What about the claim T.D. Jakes makes that Satan sends curses to our homes and those curses are ultimately responsible for the sin in the house or family? At one point he even says (speaking of adultery) “it’s not even that he had an affair, it’s a spirit”. Jakes attributes the ultimate cause of adultery to a spirit or demon. Clearly, Jakes’ harmatiology (doctrine of sin) is seriously deficient.
To make his case he cites (among other references) the account of King David and how the fall of David’s house and the immorality among David’s children are a result of a curse brought about by a demon or a spirit of lust David had. Now, that is just ridiculous. A simple reading of the passage in 2 Samuel 12:7-15 attribute the partial fall of David’s house to the working (judgment/discipline) of God!
Another danger with this idea that demons bring curses to our homes (apart from the fact that it is nowhere taught in the Bible) is that it encourages a false sense of assurance that our sin and the consequence thereof is not really our fault or our responsibility.
- What about taking responsibility for our sin? No a demon did it.
- What about taking responsibility for the ensuing consequence of our sin and the hurt it brought? It wasn’t me, a demon did it?
- What about making responsible godly decisions? Well, you know “demons”!
This is somewhat similar to the argument used among the Israelites in Ezekiel’s time. They were singing their false proverb that was intended to free them from the responsibility and consequence of their sin by suggesting God is punishing them in any case for their parents sins (Ezekiel 18:1-4). But note, not even in their case did the exiled children of Israel attribute their sin or their parent’s sin to a demon. T.D. Jakes just ascribes too much sovereignty and omnipotence to demons!
Through Ezekiel, God rebuked the nation and told them “All souls our mine, the soul who sins will surely die” (Ezk. 18:4). In other words, it is not your father, or mother, or a supposed demon that I will hold accountable for your sin but I will hold you accountable. I think that is a message T.D. Jakes needs to hear and a corrective that will do him and his hearers well.
All of this once again demonstrates (at least to me) the fundamental problem with TD Jakes and other word-faith and prosperity gospel preachers. It is their handling of the Scriptures and what they are able to get the Scriptures to say and affirm that troubles me greatly. I do pray we would all be good Bereans (Acts 17:11). I pray that when we hear someone preach, we would (know and) search the Scriptures to see whether the things the preacher is saying is what the Bible actually teaches.
Oh yes, I didn’t even get to the ‘tongues’and how about the level of servant-hood demonstrated by Bishop Eddie Long?