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(Written February, 2001)
But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, . . . (2 Timothy 3:1-2)
According to T. D. Jakes' book, The Great Investment,
Bishop T. D. Jakes is among the most exciting and respected ministers in the country today. Also a highly successful entrepreneur, he has pioneered three multimillion-dollar corporations and has traveled the world as an invited guest of foreign diplomats and presidents to discuss economic empowerment. He is the author of the bestsellers Maximize the Moment; The Lady, Her Lover and Her Lord; His Lady; Woman, Thou Art Loosed!; Daddy Loves His Girls; and Loose That Man and Let Him Go! In addition, he has released several chart-topping CDs, including Sacred Love Songs and Potter's House Live. His weekly television program, Potter's House, airs on Trinity Broadcasting Network and Black Entertainment Television in the United States, and in Europe and South Africa. Bishop Jakes is the founder and pastor of Potter's House, one of the fastest-growing churches in the nation, where he pastors an interracial congregation of more than twenty-six thousand members. He lives with his wife, Serita, and their five children in Dallas. (from the back inside dust jacket of The Great Investment, by T. D. Jakes, copyright 2000, published by G. P. Putman's Sons, New York)
In T. D. Jakes' book, The Lady, Her Lover, and Her Lord (copyright 1998, published by G. P. Putman's Sons, New York), Jakes does his part in exacerbating the present day "lovers of themselves" epidemic (2 Timothy 3:1-5). In the introduction, false teacher (2 Peter 2:1) Jakes writes,
The woman has three relationships that must be balanced in order to achieve some semblance of fulfillment. The first is her relationship with herself, for a strong relationship with oneself is a necessary precursor to every other relationship in life. (p. 2)
This is worldly wisdom (1 Corinthians 3:19) that is totally contrary to the doctrine of Christ (2 John 9). Christ teaches,
If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. (Luke 9:23)
Also in Jakes' introduction he writes,
She has made good use of her time alone and has spent much time researching herself to better know what type of man will harmonize with her lifestyle. (p. 3)
This book is written so that you might feel like a lady. If a woman feels like a lady and is able to celebrate herself, she will attract into her life people who reflect her own opinion of herself.(p. 4)
Chapter one of Jakes' book is entitled, Falling in Love with Yourself (p. 9), and on page fifteen he writes that there is nothing "more essential" than falling in love with yourself.
Nothing is more essential to spiritual and emotional well-being than that which we are considering now.
In other words, Jakes propagates that "Nothing is more essential" than being a "lover of themselves" (2 Timothy 3:1-2). In this same chapter Jakes also states,
There is no drug that can compare with the intense, passionate feelings that are aflame when the heart is in love. (p. 10)
There are many types of love. But the one that we must begin with is the tantalizing allurement of the impassioned heart that enables us to love others. It is that passion that must start at home before it goes abroad. For the greatest of human perceptions is when the heart can look into the mirror and smile at the image that is reflected therein. It is the grace that enables us to wink at ourselves and appreciate our own gifts. It is a healthy mind that can celebrate itself. (p. 11)
It is a demented mind that celebrates itself (Romans 1:28,30 "proud, boasters").
What exactly does Jakes mean by "celebrate itself"?
Light a candle, play a song, take a walk, and meditate on your own accomplishments. (p. 11)
Nebuchadnezzar took a walk and meditated on his "own accomplishments" and he lost his mind!
All this came upon King Nebuchadnezzar. At the end of the twelve months he was walking about the royal palace of Babylon. The king spoke, saying, "Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?"
While the word was still in the king's mouth, a voice fell from heaven: "King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: the kingdom has departed from you! And they shall drive you from men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. They shall make you eat grass like oxen; and seven times shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses." That very hour the word was fulfilled concerning Nebuchadnezzar; he was driven from men and ate grass like oxen; his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair had grown like eagles' feathers and his nails like birds' claws. (Daniel 4:28-33)
A few Proverbs are apropos:
When pride comes, then comes shame; but with the humble is wisdom. (Proverbs 11:2)
Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18)
A man's pride will bring him low, but the humble in spirit will retain honor. (Proverbs 29:23)
In the paragraph following Jakes' statement about there being "Nothing more essential . . . than that which we are considering now.", Jakes writes,
I will discuss in more detail later the significance of having a God-centered life. But for the moment, let's consider what can be achieved by a woman who knows and loves herself. So tonight, dear friend, set the table for one and sit in the presence of your own personhood. Drink the robust wine of your own thoughts and laugh hysterically at some humorous memory that you can share with no one but yourself. Could it be possible that before the night is over you might find yourself warmed by the fire of your own dreams, and perhaps ever so gently whisper the confession that by God's grace you have finally learned to enjoy your own company? (p. 15)
This chapter on "Falling in Love with Yourself" ends with this paragraph:
Your assignment at this point is quite simple. You have three P's that you are to start with. They are prayer, praise, and pamper. Pray for strength because you know that He gives might to those who have none. Praise God for your survival because you know that it is by His mercy that you are still here. Pamper for solace. It is through pampering yourself that you find renewal and comfort against the tragedies of life. You could do all of these practices at the same time. Light a candle in the bathroom, play some soft notes, and slip into a hot tub with scented bath beads. Lie in the water and raise your hands in the air and praise the God that blessed you to be alive. Pray about the things that would normally worry you. Refuse to spend the evening worrying about things over which you have no control. Instead, lather up and relax - this is your time of pampering! (p. 19)
2 Timothy 3 not only says "lover of themselves" but also, "lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness . . ." (2 Timothy 3:4-5). T. D. Jakes encourages people to be "lovers of pleasure."
In chapter two, Jakes promotes "lovers of themselves" with the pursuit of self-knowledge.
I have dedicated my life to knowing three things. If I can die knowing these three things I will be listed with the sages of all ages. Number one, I must know myself. How can I love what I do not know, or mend what I have not seen? I must know myself. (p. 24, italics in original)
Jakes comes with "empty deceit" that is not according to Christ (Colossians 2:8). Scripture does not teach us that we "must know" ourselves. On the contrary, Proverbs 9:10 says,
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. (see also Job 28:28; Psalm 111:10)
There is One we must know, and He is God.
And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. (John 17:3)
On page 183, in the chapter entitled, "Serving the Lord and Making the Money" Jakes writes,
Whatever you do, you must not allow anyone or anything to rob you of your faith in yourself.
Proverbs 28:26 says,
He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but whoever walks wisely will be delivered.
Jakes is teaching people how to make sure they stay fools, and cursed (see Jeremiah 17:5)! Moreover, Jakes himself is a "growing" fool ("my faith in me is growing", T. D. Jakes, The Great Investment, last paragraph of "There are several people I would like to dedicate this book to:").
Besides the above, Jakes' "God" is a false god.
And yet He is the God who is never referred to in the past tense. He is not the God that was; He is the God that is. He is the God that is called I Am. I Am what? you ask. He is whatever you need Him to be, whenever you need Him to be. I am sorry, and I apologize on behalf of all the men of the world because none of us can be whatever you want us to be whenever you want us to be. No one can be this but God. (The Lady, Her Lover, and Her Lord, p. 152)
Jakes says, "He is the God who is never referred to in the past tense. He is not the God that was." This describes a different "God" than the God of the Bible, because the God of the Bible is "referred to in the past tense" as "the God that was."
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1)
Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, (Revelation 1:4)
"I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End," says the Lord, "who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty." (Revelation 1:8)
The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying: "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!" (Revelation 4:8)
We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was and who is to come, . . . (Revelation 11:17)
And I heard the angel of the waters saying: You are righteous, O Lord, the One who is and who was and who is to be, because You have judged these things. (Revelation 16:5)
Jakes also says, "He is whatever you need Him to be, whenever you need Him to be." This is a god of his own making (or he borrowed it from some other deceiver). God is who He is, not who we need/want Him to be. God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM." (Exodus 3:14), not "I AM WHO YOU WANT ME TO BE."
May the Lord deliver you from the one who speaks perverse things, like T. D. Jakes (Proverbs 2:1-12).