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27) at the second-annual Elephant Room (theelephantroom.com), an event that brings together Christian figures from different backgrounds for what organizers call "conversations you never thought you'd hear." This year's Elephant Room was held at Harvest Bible Chapel in Illinois and was simulcast to other locations nationwide. Jakes – long a controversial figure among evangelicals because of his past unwillingness to affirm the Trinity – stated his belief Wednesday (Jan.

Jakes, founder and senior pastor of The Potter's House in Dallas, was the focus of a motion at Southern Baptist Convention annual meetings in 20 by a messenger who wanted Life Way Christian Stores to stop selling his books.One was ruled out of order by the SBC president, the other referred to Life Way for study.Jakes – who once made the cover of Time magazine, which asked if he might be the next Billy Graham – said he was saved in a Oneness Pentecostal church.Oneness Pentecostalism denies the Trinity and claims that instead of God being three persons, He is one person.In Oneness Pentecostalism, there is no distinction between the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit.It is also called "modalism," and it is embraced by the United Pentecostal Church International.

"I began to realize that there are some things that could be said about the Father that could not be said about the Son," Jakes said.

"There are distinctives between the working of the Holy Spirit and the moving of the Holy Spirit, and the working of the redemptive work of Christ.

I'm very comfortable with that." [See the transcript of Jakes' comments at the end of this story.] The doctrine of the Trinity – embraced by all three historical branches of Christianity – holds that God is three persons, each person is distinct, each person is fully God, and that there is one God.

Several key Bible passages, Jakes said, impacted his transition.

"Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River, for example, coming up out of the water [and] the Holy Spirit descends like a dove, the Father speaks from heaven – and we see all three of them on one occasion," he said, "or in Genesis [where God said,] 'let us make man in our own likeness' or Elohim – He is the one God who manifests Himself in a plurality of ways.

Or what Jesus says, 'I am with the Father, and the Father is in me.'" Jakes added: "That began to make me rethink some of my ideas and some of the things that I was taught. Because when you are a leader and you are in a position of authority, sometimes you have to back up and ponder for a minute, and really think things through." James Mac Donald of Harvest Bible Chapel of Rolling Meadows, Ill., and Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church in Seattle interviewed Jakes.

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