You may be aware of the hell that broke lose just one week ago as Bishop T.D. Jakes stated in an interview with HuffPost Live's Marc Lamont Hill that "absolutely" the Black Church can coexist with the LGBQT community. Many of you also were aware of the clean up Bishop Jakes did in statements via Facebook and his blog upon being "shocked" at the alleged "manipulation" of his initial statement.
"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 stated. "It has come to my attention that for some, 'evolving' is reminiscent of the term used by the president when he shifted his position on marriage, signaling a flip-flop, six months ahead of the 2012 election. That was never the intent of my comment-nor is it representative of my convictions on this subject. "
Bishop Jakes went on to state, "my beliefs about sexuality and marriage-as with all topics-is based on Scripture (2 Tim. 3:16). I firmly believe that marriage is ordained by God as a union between a man and a woman (Eph. 5:31). My stance on the topic has never wavered. It is fixed, steadfast and well documented. "
My issue with this entire situation is the lack of clarity. When we make complicated what God's Word makes clear, we open the door to confusion and confusion is not of God (I Cor. 14:33). This isn't just about Bishop Jakes; it's about everyone who calls him- herself a true believer.
The Apostle Peter admonished us to "sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed" (I Peter 3:15-16).
When considering the media, more often than not, there is a pattern of front page scandals and back page apologies. Things are a bit more egalitarian with the internet and social media, but the concept still remains. With this in mind, many "mega ministers" such as Pastors Joel Osteen and Brian Houston have discovered the damage that unclear public statements can do.
We must use discernment.
Discernment will show us the difference between a man or woman of God who has made an honest verbal blunder and one who's deception is finally starting to pierce the surface for all to see--if they have eyes to see it and ears to hear it.
Now, Bishop Jakes has taken great pains to clarify his stance on the issues of homosexuality and same-sex marriage. It is up to the individual to decide for himself whether or not to believe it. But understand this: standing in the pulpit and preaching "any other gospel" "than what you have received," is not the start of deception, it is the end (Gal. 1:6-10).
Nobody, certainly not a minister with a long-standing track record of powerful, transformative ministry, just wakes up one day and decides to start preaching doctrines of devils. Deception starts with a thought, a thought that is entertained instead of cast down (II Cor. 10:5), and allowed to take root and grow. A thought that is draws together like-minded individuals who in the secret places, green room corners, closed off offices, and private phone conversations, share and expand these thoughts, creating false confirmations of false truths. And one day, years, maybe even decades down the line, these well protected, well watered, well nurtured thoughts are finally put on display for all the world to see. And then the world is forced to make a choice: do we remain loyal to the Word of God or to the personality?
Many will be caught in the valley of decision and many who even follow the minister willingly into deception, yet there is always a discerning remnant who will understand the proddings of the Holy Spirit regarding that personality over the years. They will now have fruit to align with their long-time, seemingly unnamable grief in the spirit over that person. After all, God never allows anything without first revealing it to His servants the prophets (Amos 3:7).
We must cover our leaders. And we must be prepared for tragedies to strike many ministers and ministries. And we must be able to discern between the successful attacks of the enemy and the righteous judgment of God. We cannot pray away what God has sent. We can pray for His grace and mercy beforehand, we can pray for true repentance to take place and for His judgment to be lessened or even eradicated. But we cannot undo His judgments.
You may yet be #TeamBishopJakes and #TeamPottersHouse. I am not here to dissuade you. I am, however, here to tell you to use your discernment for all of your leaders. If attacks don't come from within, they will certainly come from without. Our job as the Body of Christ is to pray and cover our leaders. Their judgment is harsher than most because they are more visible and more influential than most (James 3:1). Commit to pray for your leaders today!
Desiree M. Mondesir is an author, blogpreneur and freelancer who is called to challenge the toxic mindsets of individuals. She's the author of The Origin of Demons, Deborah: The Ultimate Jezebel-Preventative, and Faith and the Imagination Vol. II. Feel free to visit her website, "like" her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter @DesireeMondesir.