Bishop T.D. Jakes downplayed the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to end state bans on same-sex marriage during a worship service at his Texas megachurch on Sunday, saying that the issue was not his primary concern.
Jakes informed worshipers at The Potter's House in Dallas that he had been "bombarded" by various people wanting to know his thoughts on the Supreme Court's ruling last Friday that state bans on gay marriage are unconstitutional.
"I'm not really as concerned about this as a lot of people are," said Jakes during service on Sunday, according to a video excerpt of his remarks published online. "I'm really not as concerned about it. I think that we should not lose our mind about the world being the world and the Church being the Church. This is not a news flash. The world is gonna be the world and the Church is gonna be the Church, and you have to understand the difference."
The influential megachurch pastor, bestselling author and film producer went on to explain to his congregation that the Supreme Court, as a worldly institution, has one job: to uphold the rights of all Americans.
"The Supreme Court is there to make a decision based on constitutional rights and legalities that fit all Americans. They are not debating Scripture," he said, which led to applause from the congregation.
"They are just not debating Scripture," Jakes repeated. "I guarantee you that they were not in there looking at Romans 1 and First Corinthians this and weighing it against the policies."
"We have bought into all this rhetoric about America being a Christian nation," Jakes said.
He went on to suggest that indeed America has a lot of Christians in it, but the country is governed as a democracy and not by theocratic principles.
"But what we do need to watch is that our religious freedom is also respected and protected so that we don't have to get caught up in the winds of the world and go the way the world is going," Jakes added. "So we need to watch that as we grapple with an ever-changing society, and our society is becoming more and more pluralistic. "
"There's nothing to say that Christianity will be the dominant religion in this country. I hope it will. It's up to us," he added, going on to say that Christians have "stopped witnessing" and "stopped winning souls" and continue to isolate themselves from people who do not "believe like we believe."
That runs against what Jesus commanded His followers to do, he insisted, adding, "Jesus said go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every living creature."
"So we need to change as a Church too. We need to start reaching out to all types of people and preaching to them and ministering to them and sharing our faith with them. I don't mean on Sunday morning. I mean in the mall, I mean in the grocery store, I mean while you're getting your hair done. It's time for you to be a real Christian. I mean a real Christian, and win people to Jesus Christ. And you can start in your own house," Jakes admonished his flock and the countless others watching the service via livestream.
Jakes, 58, rounded up his remarks by informing worshippers that "God is still in control" and giving them a stern warning about God's judgement.
"The Supreme Court makes its decisions based on the Constitution, debating the constitutionality of any particular issue. But I must warn you, God does not judge you by the Constitution. He judges you by the Word of God. So while the Supreme Court is looking at the Constitution, you better search the Scriptures …," Jakes said.
Holding up his Bible, he added, "This blessed old book is still good, it's still right anyhow."
During his excerpted remarks to his congregation on Sunday about the Supreme Court legalizing same-sex marriage, Jakes did not state what he believes the Bible says about human sexuality or state his thoughts on the definition of marriage, which orthodox Christians hold as a monogamous heterosexual union.
The Potter's House pastor was asked a couple of years ago by Oprah Winfrey for his views on homosexuality during an OWN episode of "Oprah's Next Chapter."
"Would you say that everybody is embraced in your church?" Winfrey asked Jakes during the 2012 interview. "Cause you know you have been accused of saying that gay people would not be welcome."
"That's not true at all. The perception in our society today is that if you don't say you're for same-sex marriage or if you say homosexuality is a sin that you're homophobic and you're against gay people. And that's not true," Jakes responded.
"I'm not called to give my opinion. I'm called as a pastor to give the scriptural position on it," The Potter's House pastor continued. "Doesn't mean that I have to agree with you to love you. I don't dislike anybody. I love everybody."
Winfrey pressed a bit further, roundly asked Jakes if he thinks being gay is a sin.
"I think that sex between two people of the same sex is condemned in the Scriptures, and as long as it is condemned in the Scriptures, I don't get to say what I think. I get to say what the Bible says," Jakes said.
He went on to say that he was "not particularly political ... not particularly denominational ... not worried about any of that."
"I'm not anti-gay, I'm not anti-anything. I don't want to even be known by what I'm against," he said.
"I'm for people bettering themselves, no matter who they are and where they are, doing all they can to be all they can be," Jakes added.
Jakes, who has been in ministry since 1976, established The Potter's Church with about 50 families in 1996. Since then, the megachurch, which describes itself as "a nondenominational, multicultural church and humanitarian organization," has grown to about 30,000 members.