Emmitt and "Church"

Once again, the main news organization of my denomination is, like most evangelicals, trying so hard to find something worthy of praise in the sports world that discernment seems to go out the window.

Emmitt Smith, longtime running back of the Dallas Cowboys (with a career ending hiccup in Phoenix, probably for added yardage for records and such) has now retired.  He has had a remarkable career, though not very flashy.  And Smith seems eager to return to Dallas and his home church, and speaks openly of his faith in Christ and desire to point to Christ for the results of his career. 

So far, so good. 

But I'm frustrated with Baptist Press (BP) and this article because there is no concern about Smith's involvement in a church that doesn't believe in the God presented in Scripture.

Smith, along with other former Cowboys Deon Sanders and Michael Irvin, belong to The Potter's House, pastored by T.D. Jakes.  Jakes subscribes to the theological heresy called "modalism."  This is the belief that the Trinity doesn't consist of three co-equal and co-eternal persons, but rather that the one God (one person) manifests Himself in three different modes at different times.  This heresy has never been accepted as biblical and historical teaching, except among some fringe groups and Oneness Pentecostals. 

I know BP would probably rebut this by saying they are simply reporting the event, what was said by Smith, and how that would be of interest to Southern Baptists.  The problem is, they have made certain assumptions that less informed Southern Baptists will take for granted.  They assume that The Potter's House is a Christian church.  They assume we can speak of Smith's faith in the same breath as ours.  And they assume that because Smith points to Jesus that we should rejoice in that too.

I'm not on a witch hunt here.  I do believe it's all too common for true believers to be in a false movements and churches.  Smith may be deluded as to the truth of the Trinity.  But that doesn't mean that as he speaks of faith and church that he speaks of the same faith and "Church" that we speak of, especially when we can see the obvious false teaching of the particular church in question.

On top of this theological heresy, Jakes also teaches the "health and wealth gospel" and is considered a "faith teacher" which are both movements among some charismatics teaching that Jesus was a rich man and that believers should be rich and healthy, and that we can "name and claim" our desires and we will receive them if we truly believe.  It's no surprise that Jakes owns a 1.7 million dollar mansion in Dallas.

It's time for a little discernment Baptist Press.  You can read more about Jakes and his beliefs at the Christian Research Institute.