Evangelist embraces sex in religion Love: T.D. Jakes makes no apologies for the sensual aspect of his message to readers and congregation.

August 24, 1998|By Jim Jones | Jim Jones,FORT WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM

Men and women don't speak the same language, says Bishop T.D. Jakes, a talented writer, nationally known evangelist and pastor of a megachurch between Fort Worth and Dallas.

In his latest book, "The Lady, Her Lover, and Her Lord," Jakes says men often don't use verbal communication to express their deepest emotions.

"Men seldom speak love with words," he asserts. "We speak love in glistening eyes. We speak it in heavy sighs and tender smiles."

But Jakes is not at a loss for words in discussing male-female relationships, in the bedroom, the church or the workplace.

"It takes sex, love and God to make a marriage last," writes the pastor of the 15,000-member Potter's House congregation in Dallas, who appears on national television each week.

His new book, released by G.P. Putnam's Sons and selling for $19.95, is already at the top of the Publisher's Weekly list of best-selling religious books.

Women, to be happy, must learn to love themselves. Then they must develop a close relationship with God, and then they are ready for a lover, or life partner, Jakes says. Unless they have an intimacy with God, he states, women tend to look to their husband as "a god," and inevitably will be disappointed.

Jakes, 40, moved from West Virginia to Texas in 1996 and started the Potter's House. His multiracial church is one of the country's fastest-growing congregations, and its members include Dallas Cowboys players Deion Sanders and Emmitt Smith.

The evangelist's rise to national prominence has been significantly fueled by his flair for speaking meaningfully to women.

His first best seller, "Woman, Thou Art Loosed!," declares that women can heal the verbal, physical and emotional abuse they receive from men. Every year, Jakes conducts "Woman, Thou Art Loosed!" conferences. The latest drew 20,000 women to the Ice Palace Arena in Tampa, Fla.

The new volume builds on his earlier writings about women. Jakes declares that men and women are not far apart in their needs, thoughts and desires, but that they have differing ways of expressing themselves.

In a chapter titled "Make Him Feel Safe Enough to Love You," he says men often fall silent when asked to express their emotions because they fear being rejected.

"It is far easier for him to give his money, his body, his advice; but when he gives his heart, then he is terrified," he says.

Although he doesn't say that women should submit to men, Jakes says women who make more money than their spouses should find a way to make their husbands feel that they have the primary role in providing for the family.

"It kills a man's spirit when he cannot take care of his family," he says. "He feels worthless, unmotivated and defeated."

Sometimes Jakes plunges into sensual language. He describes Eve in the Garden of Eden as a beautiful woman whose soft, satiny skin was covered only by the bright yellow rays of the sun: "In the night, the moonlight cradled her breast with tender hands and a radiant glow."

Jakes, who is happily married and has five children, defends his use of sensual imagery. He says that Christians are normal people who lead sexual lives.

"It is obvious, from the many children you see in the church, that we have relationships," he said. "It doesn't assassinate the integrity of my faith to admit I'm a sensual being who struggles with passion like anyone else."

Pub Date: 8/24/98

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