Bishop T.D. Jakes has said his opposition to gay marriage remains "steadfast and rooted in Scripture" and slammed a "manipulated" HuffPost interview which led some viewers to believe his stance on the issue had shifted.
In the interview, which was conducted by HuffPost Live host Marc Lamont-Hill earlier this month, Jakes discussed his relationship with the LGBT community and how The Potter's House has evolved in its method of ministering to the group.
"LGBT's of different types and sorts have to find a place of worship that reflects what your views are and what you believe like anyone else," he said. "And the church should have it's own convictions and values."
He added, "Once you begin to understand that democracy, that a republic actually, is designed to be an overarching system to protect our unique nuances then we no longer look to public policy to reflect biblical ethics."
While many in the secular media praised Jakes for his "evolving" stance on the issue of homosexuality, alleging he had clearly "come out for gay rights and LGBT churches" in light of his comments, the prominent black pastor took to his Facebook account on Sunday to clarify his views.
"Do not take everything you read online or hear repeated as truth. When asked about the 'black church' and its role in ministering to gay people, I briefly mentioned (we were running out of time) the word 'evolved and evolving' regarding my approach over the 39 years of my ministry to gay people who choose to come to our services," Jakes said in his Facebook post. "I simply meant that my method is evolving - not my message. I was SHOCKED to read that this was manipulated in a subsequent article to say I endorsed same sex [sic] marriage! My position on the subject has been steadfast and rooted in scripture [sic]."
The 58 year-old Dallas, TX pastor continued, "For the record, I do not endorse same sex [sic] marriage but I respect the rights that this country affords those that disagree with me."
On Tuesday, Jakes posted a followup statement in which he reaffirmed his Biblical stance regarding sexuality and explained that the short time provided for the HuffPost interview was "inadequate to explain complex theological principles or to evaluate societal norms from a biblical perspective."
"The inference is that I am 'developing' in my approach to the LGBT community that I may share the Gospel most effectively so as to lead 'whosoever will' to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Granted, 'evolving' is a non-church word," Jakes writes.
The pastor then clarifies that "my beliefs about sexuality and marriage - as with all topics - is based on Scripture."
Citing 2 Timothy 3:16, Jakes emphasizes: "I firmly believe that marriage is ordained by God as a union between a man and a woman. (Ephesians 5:31) My stance on the topic has never wavered. It is fixed, steadfast and well documented.
He continues, "Nor am I ashamed of the gospel, for fear of appearing politically correct. It is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes. I believe that all sex outside of that sacred union is sin and that would include but is not limited to, homosexuality. I use Romans 1:24-29 and Hebrews 13:4 as the Scriptural basis for what I believe. I believe in transforming power of God's Word. It is the ultimate aim of Truth. I also believe in balancing that truth with grace, so that the word becomes the personification of Jesus Christ, his love, mercy and compassion. (John 1:14)."
The minister explains that while he opposes gay marriage, he also refuses to engage in the "the extra-biblical exercise of calling people names, ostracizing or humiliating them because our beliefs fall on opposite sides of the spiritual chasm."
"My hope is that the church will always be 'evolving' in how we address and minister to the LGBT community in ways that are in line with our biblically-based beliefs without losing sight of Christ like compassion," Jakes adds. "That way of communicating isn't lack of courage, but exhibits the grace and love and forgiveness that reflects God's divine nature!"
"I love all people - even those with whom I do not agree. I do not support same sex-marriage. But it is entirely possible to 'speak the truth in love' and I shall never stop trying to do just that," Jakes concludes.
According to a recent report conducted by the Pew Research Center, 54 percent of Americans currently say they favor allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally, with younger generations expressing higher levels of support for same-sex marriage.
In a separate report, the research group revealed that "among Catholics and white Mainline Protestants, roughly six-in-10 now express support for same-sex marriage," but "support for same-sex marriage among black Protestants (34 percent) and white Evangelical Protestants (24 percent) remains lower than among other religious groups."