Monday, August 10, 2015

Trailblazing on the Broad Path

I had no intention of writing or hopefully even thinking about TD Jakes ever again. But then I saw this article in my twitter feed, and here we are.

Short version, he's OK with "gay marriage" (or at least the government backing off and allowing whatever), his views on homosexuality are "evolved and evolving", and he thinks at least some churches should openly embrace unrepentant homosexuals. In fairness, for now his Potter's House isn't yet openly gay-embracing, but these statements definitely open the possibility.

I'll let others dive into the more fun aspects here, such as his anti-inspiration description of Paul's letters and his postmodern "I'm not God, so I can't know what any of this means!" hermeneutic, and focus on why he's doing this now.

Above all else, remember that Jakes is a money-grubbing televangelist whose primary theological aim is prosperity - his personal enrichment at the expense of the gullible. This is almost certainly a trial balloon, just wanting to see what kind of reception they get from their victim/donors.

In the wake of Obergefell, it's only a matter of time until churches, even false-gospel outposts of hell like Potter's House, lose tax-exempt status if they continue to oppose homosexuality. Not only will they need to start paying taxes, their income is likely to fall, as people may not be willing/able to give as much without the accompanying write-off. It makes sense to compromise to keep that exemption.

Unless, of course, the outcry against the decision is strong enough. If a large percentage of existing donors are angry enough about the change and stop donating, it could be worse financially than losing tax exemption. In that case it would make financial sense to hold firm and suffer the consequences - and maybe even pick up new donors in the process.

We could add that a church might hold firm because of the clear teaching of God's Word, but, well, TD Jakes.

So I think this is a trial balloon. They no doubt have run numbers on what losing tax exemption will cost, and they're gathering data to project loss (or even potential gain!) from openly affirming homosexual sin. If the numbers are right, expect them to make the formal move soon enough.

And don't be na├»ve enough to think this stops here. How many megachurches with debts in the tens of millions and budgets that are already stretched too thin can afford to lose tax exempt status? Do you see Andy Stanley or Ed Young or your local Creek holding the line on clear biblical truth, at the potential cost of millions a year?

So give TD Jakes credit. He's nothing if not a shrewd businessman and a trailblazer. Many others will follow the path he's blazing, which is coincidentally broad and leads to destruction.