How is it possible, for a man to teach these words of his master, but not reflect them? Last night, I watched Bishop T.D. Jakes on ˜international TV' preaching before his large congregation. He was in prime style, strutting across the stage in his tailored suit and crisp shoes. Speaking with power and authority, his audience mesmerized, on the Prophet Elijah and how he resuscitated a child. Elijah puts each part of his body to the corresponding part of the dead child's body, after which the child's body "waxed warm".
If I remember correctly, Mr. Jakes was quite vivid in his description of the ˜putrefying' mouth that the Prophet had to put his mouth to, along with his legs, arms, and torso. Mr. Jakes began with the unshakable will of the mother who refused to be defeated, who ˜refused to let God take her child'. ˜He started it, He can fix it.', or very near those words. But our Prophet Elijah, apparently ignorant of the lady's selfish desire, prostrates himself over the dead child by command of His God, and thus obeying the will of *his* Master, and revives a despondent mother's son.
Bishop Jakes stands as a prominent example of everything Christianity has become in modern times. Mirriam-Webster defines ˜Bishop' as : "1 : one having spiritual or ecclesiastical supervision". On his website, the laudable praise of Jakes is pronounced: ˜In January, 1999, the New York Times named Bishop T.D. Jakes as "one of the top five evangelists most frequently cited by scholars, theologians, and evangelical leaders to step up the international pulpit behind the Rev. Billy Graham" while Time magazine featured Bishop Jakes on a September 2001 cover and named him "America's Best Preacher."
His congregation has over 28,000 members, and along with an extensive array of titles and duties from nonprofit CEO to singer/writer, to theater production; Bishop Jakes must be living the illustrious American Dream. On his website, and I quote "Often referred to as a "Shepherd to the Shattered," Bishop Jakes has made great strides in Dallas to help turn around the lives of the homeless, drug addicts, prostitutes, single mothers, and others in life-threatening circumstances."
How is it possible for a man to teach the poverty of Jesus, yet live the material existence against which he taught? A ˜Bishop' no less? Tasked with the ˜spiritual supervision' of his flock by guiding them in the words of Jesus, and serving as example of the great teacher himself. And be spoiled by the wealth of the world?
I began this post with a quote from the New Testament to put things into perspective, and Mr. Jakes website provided excellent information to support my conclusion. He calls his organization ˜The Potter's House', implying the poverty of his calling, but with an organization of its size, poverty is far from this House. And far, far from Bishop T. D. Jakes.
Mr. Jakes has made himself wealthy, teaching poverty to the rich and humility to the proud. He has made great strides to stand alone as the single most authoritative preacher ˜behind Billy Graham.' There is one greater than he? One more prominent and wealthy? Teaching ˜deny the world', yet completely wrapped up in it? What is more, Bishop Jakes' congregation represented the upper crust of the community, many dressed in the fashionable expense of their class. I didn't see a single homeless, drug addict, or otherwise ˜shattered' individual in the audience. Where were they? Behind the scenes?
I recognize the fact that Bishop Jakes is a community leader, his website says so, but I cannot fathom how a Christian leader of such magnitude can be the exact opposite of everything Christianity is reputed to be! A camel will in no wise be recognizable upon exiting a needle's eye; but wealth certainly marks the Bishop, how does he present himself as a member of the Kingdom of God? We cannot be talking about the ˜same' Kingdom Jesus taught. No rich man can enter it. Jesus himself was a pauper; having no place to lay his head, no possessions of his own, and explicitly taught those who would follow him to sell what they owned and give the money to the poor.
˜What does it profit a man, to gain the whole world, yet lose his only soul?' Bishop Jakes? You have gained the whole world. Against everything Jesus taught, against the notion that none of the wealthy would even come close to the Kingdom of God, and you teach that Kingdom, you represent the leaders of that Kingdom. But your wealth marks you as a wolf. A predator, devouring the very shattered individuals you claim to ˜Sheppard'.
What is your excuse? How do you manage to gain wealth and ignore the poverty around you? How do you find the time to manage your productive businesses and tend to the homeless? How do you stand to drive past the destitute daily in your expensive car? What will you do with it all when you die? The kingdom has eluded you. Jesus reveals you for what you are.
And your members, the millions of viewers on your satellite network, your colleagues; they aspire to be like you. But you are rich and renown. Wealthy and trendy, living lavishly, spending large sums of money without a second thought on yourself. Is this what Christianity has become? A song and dance for pay; the better your sing and dance the more money you make? When did the money become important?
How Mr. Jakes? How can you teach Jesus and miss the whole point of his message? How did you rise to such prominence in light of the sinful world's wealthy, in the exposed view of your Christian followers, and even *they* not take notice? There are copies, perfect examples, of you across the Christian religion. Wealthy men, teaching their poorer congregations, how Jesus made them rich, and will do the same thing for them.
Do you Christian believers read your bibles? Have you been blinded to the extravagance of wealthy Christians, and somehow become deaf to the teaching of Jesus?
Jesus taught against the very thing Christianity seems to have become. He taught against the Pharisees, against their false words and deeds in the public eye. He said ˜by their fruits you shall know them'.
Now they are identified. The wolves who have abused the sheep. The false prophets who have distorted the message of God for profit and pleasure; those who have taken advantage of the innocents, desiring the mercy of God, trusting in these leaders to tend to them honestly and faithfully. The Roman Church is identified, they are marked by their fruits. Their perverted lusts; teachers of the word, shepherds of the sheep. Liars and thieves. Workers of iniquity.
Who among the faithful will be cast away by the very God you worship on account of the leaders among you? You who have been blinded to the world, blind to the message of God you carry in your hand? Ignorant of the teachings of your faith, mislead by the very people you were taught to be wary of; will you claim innocence when God comes to judge the world for its sins? Will your material wealth, all that you should have long ago sold and gave away, defend you in the day of despair? Will it be Bishop Jakes' fault?
With the millions and millions of dollars the Christian wealthy possess, why do their sheep suffer? How are they gaining wealth, teaching the poverty of God? How can they beguile you into such complacency? How can you see the poverty and the suffering of those Jesus went to, and not see the contrast in those who claim to follow him and teach him?
The television has entire channels dedicated to these vampires, publicly preaching to their viewers for money. Men and Women obviously preaching their wealth and lavish lives, their cars and homes, teaching Jesus and his love for all of you, and draining your pockets of every dime they can get. Lying and stealing in the same breath, while their church members sit in ignorance.
God will not acquit the guilty. The world is corrupt and the world leaders are confessed believers. But they ignore the destitute; they walk upon the backs of those who must go without, while they carry too much for themselves. Preaching Jesus and his goodness, passing the injured along the way. They are too busy with the ˜message' to concern themselves. Too wealthy to pass his way.
The time for ignorance is over. You have believed in the prophecies of Israel all your lives, and now they are upon you. Jesus long ago condemned the wealth of the world, and God swore to destroy it long before Jesus spoke.
He also swore to gather the dispersed of Israel, and punish their enemies for their crimes against them. Who among you are Children of Israel, believers in the Law? Will you be redeemed by God? Or taken by the Jesus preachers? Will you gain the world or lose your soul, as they have?
"Hear, O heavens, and listen, O earth; for the LORD has spoken: I reared up children and brought them up, but they have rebelled agaist me. The ox knows its owner, and the donkey its master's crib; but Israel does not know, My people do not understand."