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History of Dake and His Heretical Teachings
This paper will discuss the history, some heretical teachings, and life of Finis Jennings Dake: the author of the Dake Reference Study Bible, God’s Plan for Man, and other books.
Finis Jennings Dake (often just referred to as ‘Dake’) may not be well known in Baptist denominations, but within Pentecostal and Charismatic groups his study bible and other books have been used for decades. This paper will look at the history of Finis Dake, his written materials and theology, and the past and continuing impact of Dake within the Pentecostal, Charismatic, and Word of Faith Movement.
Finis Dake and his teachings have been controversial for many years within some parts of Christianity, while other groups and teachers within Christianity have a very positive view of his publications and continue to regularly use them in their preaching and teaching. In the last two decades this writer has only found one Christian book store out of 16 visited that did not have Dake’s Study Bible or books for sale.
This writer believes that the impact of Dake on church history (and its continuing practice) has been severely underestimated. Many writers (such as McConnell and Hanegraaff) have focused heavily on the roots of the Faith Movement (most of the TV preachers on channels such as TBN) as coming almost strictly from E.W. Kenyon’s teachings. It is the contention of this writer that many (most?) of those within the Faith Movement have and continue to teach doctrines they have learned from Dake. The Faith Movement continues to experience significantly faster growth than many other parts of Christianity so Dake’s influence many continue to grow.
Below is a basic biographical outline of the major historical events of Dake’s life.
II. Life Before Ministry
III. Preparing For and Beginning Ministry
IV. Ministry Work
V. Ministry of Teaching
VI. Problems in Zion
VII. Church of God
VIII. Radio and Publishing Ministry
Finis Dake published many pamphlets, books, and his Study Bible. Here are some of his publications:
Finis Dake has had a significant influence on the Pentecostal and Charismatic branches of Christianity. Pastors and teachers in other denominations (such as Baptists) that this writer has talked with have very little if any knowledge of Dake.
Dake helped to start and lead a total of three Bible schools during his lifetime. He was well known for his intense desire to encourage fellow believers to take God’s Word in its literal sense. He also is a positive example of the importance of Christians (especially pastors and teachers) spending quality time reading and attempting to understand the Bible. Dake is said to have spent more than 75,000 hours before 1949, and 100,000 hours by 1963 in reading and studying the Bible. His emphasis on scholarly, in-depth study of the Bible was one that was often lacking within the Pentecostal movement of his day.
While his study of the Bible was admirable, there were two main areas where he had a negative impact upon American Christianity. The first, and lesser (?) of the two issues was the damage to Christ and his Christian witness by his sexual infidelity and “petting parties” with 16 year old Emma Barcelli and the resulting 6 month prison term. Dake was found to have stayed at motels in Waukegan, Bloomington, and East St. Louis with her. Each time he registered at “C. Anderson and Wife.” Dake failed to repent and continued both at the time and for many years to blame his indiscretion on the ‘Devil.’ For Dake, the Devil really did ‘make him do it.’ Emma Barcelli was ‘sentenced’ to the Wisconsin Industrial School for Girls till she turned 18 (almost triple the 6 months to which Dake was sentenced). While all Christians have and will commit sin, it is disturbing that Dake did not repent and accept responsibility for his actions.
Dake’s unorthodox theology though continues to have a much more negative impact upon Christianity. There are many, many beliefs that Christians have held since the early church that Dake discards in his effort to take the Bible (completely) literally. Here are some examples of some of his more important doctrinal distortions (though there are many, many more):
1. "The Trinity-18 Fallacies" (Dake classifies these as being false teachings):
“What we mean by Divine Trinity is that there are three separate and distinct persons in the Godhead, each one having his own personal spirit Body, personal soul, and personal spirit in the same sense each human being, angel, or any other being has his own body, soul, and spirit. We mean by body, whether a spirit body, or a flesh body, the house for the indwelling of the personal soul and spirit.”
In "God’s Plan for Man":
Dake’s denies the historic view of the Trinity, and instead teaches "Tri-Theism" which in reality would mean that there are three Gods, instead of One God.
Dake taught that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit all have a body, soul, and spirit. Each also eats, wears cloths, and has hair, eyes, lips, and all other bodily parts as we do. God is "confined" to this body, soul, and spirit meaning He can only be in one place at any one time. God goes from place to place in a body just as we do (see note on John 4:24). God (all three) is our size and all three wear clothing. Many scholars disagree with the concept that God the Father and God the Holy Spirit are confined to limited bodies.
Dake states as a fallacy that: "That God is invisible reality and cannot be seen by natural eyes." The insinuation is that if we had better telescopes we might actually be able to see heaven!
"When we use the word invisible we must not think of it altogether in the terms of substance, but mainly as distance-beyond eyesight, beyond natural visibility."
"No man, therefore, can say with Scriptural authority, that God consists of a kind of invisible substance which cannot be seen or touched by man."
"The reason we do not comprehend God more than we do by the senses is that He is bodily too far from us."
"There is no such thing as a world of creations made up of invisible substance. The so-called spirit-world must be understood simply as spirit beings inhabiting material worlds created by God. Heaven itself is a material planet . . . having cities, mansions, furniture, inhabitants, living conditions, etc." This material planet heaven is located in the north part of the universe.
"A spirit being can and does have real, material, and tangible spirit form, shape, and size, with bodily parts, soul passions, and spirit faculties."
". . . he cannot see God’s body due to the distance from earth to heaven where He dwells."
Dake believes that because each of the three persons who work together as one (unity) God each have their own body, soul, and spirit, God can only be in one place at one time. He cannot be everywhere. God’s presence can be felt everywhere, but Dake’s meaning for "presence" is different than what we would mean.
“God’s body is like that of a man, for man was created in His likeness. . . . God also has many other means of travel and goes from one place to another bodily as all other beings in existence."
"Spirit beings, including God, Himself, cannot be omnipresent in body, for their bodies are of ordinary size and must be at one place at a time, in the same way that bodies of men are always localized, being in one place at a time. God, angels, and other spirit beings go from place to place bodily as men do; . . . . Christ is a true example of what we mean by omnipresence. He said, "where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. . . In what sense is He in the midst of so many gatherings? This could
"In this same sense Paul was with the Corinthians in spirit when they delivered the fornicator to Satan for the destruction of the flesh. In this sense, Paul and other believers dwelled in each other regardless of personal bodily distance from each other. . . We know that the personal body of Christ, or those of believers, are not omnipresent when they are in the lives of others in spirit presence, so the same thing is true of the Father and the Holy Spirit."
God learns things in ‘real time.’ God according to Dake is not all-knowing, but comes to understand and comprehend events as they occur.
"God gets to know things concerning the free moral actions of men as others do. . . God sends messengers throughout the Earth who report to Him of all that they find in the Earth that goes on. . . God does not take care of every detail of His vast business in all the kingdoms of the universe. His agents help Him and they are found in every part of the universe on missions for God. . . God sends messengers throughout the whole of His vast creations to find out for Him what He wants to know, the same as the head of any other business would be likely to do, so that plans may be made and actions taken accordingly.
"We have no statement in the entire Bible saying that God knows or even would like to know all acts and particular events of all vast creations of free moral agents from all eternity past; or that He has fixed decrees choosing and predestinating all the thoughts, acts, and deeds of free wills from all eternity past to all eternity future. God’s eternal plan for man is known from the beginning to the end and what He plans to bring to pass on Earth He has power to do, but concerning the free actions of free moral agents He does not know from all eternity what they will do before they are in existence and are here to have a part in His plan. He does not know which ones will be saved and which ones will be lost."
This brief look at Finis Dake’s theology shows just a few of the many theological doctrines that he is unorthodox on. The problem with his false theology is that many pastors and teachers continue to spread his teachings to their congregations. The Dake Family has approached these teachings in three different ways. The first way is to say that Dake really did not say these things. This is easily disproven by anyone willing to take the time to examine Dake’s vast teachings. The second way is ‘leave out’ important quotes and Dake sources when attributing ‘orthodoxy’ to his views. The third method has been to delete or rewrite specific aspects of his teachings. One area this has been done in is in regards to charges of racism that many have leveled at Dake because of his teaching that the races should remain segregated (both now and in eternity). To deal with the issue Dake Bible Sales has changed the wording and teachings of Dake in some of his publications (though they continue to state there was no racism present).
It is also the contention of this writer that many of the most influential pastors in America (many that have huge audiences) have studied Dake and incorporated some of his teachings into their belief system. There are many examples. One is Jimmy Swaggart and his belief in each person in the divine Godhead having:
“. . . His own personal spirit body, personal soul, and personal spirit. . . . Many people conclude that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are all one and the same. Actually, they are not. . . . The word “one” in this passage means one in unity. . . You can think of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit as three different persons exactly as you would think of any three other people – their oneness pertaining strictly to their being one in purpose, design, and desire.”
Hank Hanegraaff believes that Kenneth Copeland and some other faith teachers may also have learned some of their teachings on healing from Dake. Especially those parts of their teachings that all sickness is caused by the demons (and the germs they control).
Other scholars have shown how many of the teachers in the Word of Faith movement have incorporated ideas from Dake on the issue of God wearing clothes, being six foot tall, and many others. While many culture watchers and others are able to see the errors in Dake’s teachings, some within the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements still do not. This writer recently read a 43 page thesis by Mark McLean (professor at Evangel University – a Pentecostal university) and was astonished to see his downplaying Dake’s teachings on a variety of issues. Some other quotes from Faith teachers (included on the back of the Dake published “Dake Reference Library” include:
The impact of Finis Dake’s life has grown over time as his teachings have impacted many of the teachers within the Word of Faith Movement (sometimes just called Faith Movement). Many (most) of the TV evangelists and teachers on TBN and many other satellite states are heavily involved in the teachings and beliefs of the Word of Faith Movement, and a portion of those teachings come from Dake. Because of his teachings, many hundreds of thousands across the United States weekly hear some of is distortions and unorthodox teachings.
Finis J. Dake had many attributes that we as Christians should emulate (such as his in-depth Bible study, and desire to share God’s Word). While there was much to his life that was positive, there are also many aspects (especially his unorthodox theology) that likely will continue to have a negative impact on Christianity in America.
This writer has attempted to fairly treat Finis Dake and his teachings. While there are some areas this writer agrees with Dake on, there is so much theological error with his publications that his works cannot be recommended.
It is also the contention of this writer that the impact of Dake’s teachings and publications have been absorbed by many teachers and pastors (some in Pentecostal and Charismatic denominations, others in the Word of Faith Movement) who are daily damaging the understanding and lives of believers by teaching them these false doctrines.
It is also the hope of this writer that more writers and individuals within the Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements will begin to speak out against the use of Dake’s publications and study bible.
Bible, Leon. Finis Jennings Dake: His Life and Ministry. Lawrenceville, Georgia: Dake Publishing, 2006.
Dake, Finis J. Another Time, Another Place, Another Man. Lawrenceville, Georgia: Dake Publishing, 1997.
———. Bible Truths Unmasked. Atlanta: Bible Research Foundation, 1950.
———. God’s Plan for Man. Lawrenceville, Georgia: Dake Bible Sales, Inc., 1949.
———. Heavenly Host. Lawrenceville, Georgia: Dake Bible Sales, Inc., 1995.
———. Help For Today. Lawrenceville, Georgia: Dake Bible Sales, Inc., 1984.
———. Revelation Expounded. Lawrenceville, Georgia: Dake Bible Sales, Inc., 1950.
———. The Dake Annotated Reference Bible Owner’s Manual. Lawrenceville, Georgia: Dake Bible Sales, Inc.
———. The Rapture and the Second Coming of Christ. Lawrenceville, Georgia: Dake Bible Sales, Inc., 1977.
Dake, Finis Jr. “Letters: Questions About Dake.” Christianity Today, April 4, 1994.
Ferraiuolo, Perucci. “Scholars Scrutinize Popular Dake’s Bible.” Christianity Today, January 10, 1994.
Finis, Dake. Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible. Lawrenceville, Georgia: Dake Bible Sales, Inc.
Hanegraaff, Hank. Christianity in Crisis: 21st Century. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2009.
Horton, Michael. The Agony of Deceit: What some TV Preachers are Really Teaching. Moody Press, 1990.
McLean, Mark D. “The Gap Theory, Heaven as a Planet, and Other Popular Doctrines: Examining the Influence of the Writings of Finis Jennings Dake on the Pentecostal and Charismatic Churches.”
Wordsearch. Dake Reference Library. Lawrenceville, Georgia: Dake Publishing, 2006.
Writer, Staff. “Flock Absolves Petting Parson, But Jail Waits.” Chicago Daily Tribune. Chicago, February 10, 1937.
———. “Zion Pastor Starts Term of 6 Months.” Zion City, IL Repository. Zion City, IL, February 16, 1937.
 Finis J. Dake, The Dake Annotated Reference Bible Owner’s Manual (Lawrenceville, Georgia: Dake Bible Sales, Inc.), 3-5. The ‘gift of scriptures’ was said to be the ability to quote scripture verses without ever having read or studied them
 The actual records from the Assemblies of God show he was ordained in 1927 (this writer has obtained official photocopies). Dake’s ‘official’ biography written by Leon Bible is in error by stating he was ordained in 1925.
 1926 according the Dake’s official biography. 1928 according to the actual AG records.
 Dake’s official biography states that Dake lived only a few miles from the state border. The attempt to downplay this incident falls flat though because he did not go to the state border in Wisconsin, but instead Missouri – 360 miles south west. The official biography also completely leaves out the fact that he stopped at three motels and used married names for both of them. The Official biography is published by Dake Bible Sales, Inc., and appears to be very biased in only presenting the positive aspects of Dake’s life.
 In an effort it appears to paint a ‘rosy’ picture, Dake’s biography does not mention this fact. The official AG records support it.
 Finis J. Dake, God’s Plan for Man (Lawrenceville, Georgia: Dake Bible Sales, Inc., 1949).
 Finis J. Dake, Revelation Expounded (Lawrenceville, Georgia: Dake Bible Sales, Inc., 1950).
 Finis J. Dake, Bible Truths Unmasked (Atlanta: Bible Research Foundation, 1950).
 Dake Finis, Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible (Lawrenceville, Georgia: Dake Bible Sales, Inc.).
 Finis J. Dake, The Rapture and the Second Coming of Christ (Lawrenceville, Georgia: Dake Bible Sales, Inc., 1977).
 Finis J. Dake, Help For Today (Lawrenceville, Georgia: Dake Bible Sales, Inc., 1984).
 Finis J. Dake, Heavenly Host (Lawrenceville, Georgia: Dake Bible Sales, Inc., 1995).
 Finis J. Dake, Another Time, Another Place, Another Man (Lawrenceville, Georgia: Dake Publishing, 1997).
 Dake, God’s Plan for Man, Forward.
 Finis, Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible, Preface.
 While it is possible these figures are correct, Dake would have had to spend at least 7 hours every day just reading his Bible. This may be an exaggeration on his part as he also spent significant time teaching, traveling, and completing other tasks. The motivation though to encourage others to spend significant time in Bible study is positive. This writer also finds it ‘interesting’ that he is said to have spent this many hours every day reading his Bible, yet supposedly had the “gift of scriptures” that allowed him to quote Bible verses he never memorized. If this “gift of scriptures” were real, he should have been able to spend more time in teaching and ministering to others and less time reading the Bible… since God would just impart the verses and knowledge he needed anyways!
 Staff Writer, “Flock Absolves Petting Parson, But Jail Waits,” Chicago Daily Tribune (Chicago, February 10, 1937), 1.
 Staff Writer, “Zion Pastor Starts Term of 6 Months,” Zion City, IL Repository (Zion City, IL, February 16, 1937), 1.
 Staff Writer, “Flock Absolves Petting Parson, But Jail Waits,” 1.
 Finis, Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible, N.T. 280.
 Ibid., NT. 280.
 Dake, God’s Plan for Man, 53.
 Ibid., 54.
 Ibid., 52.
 Ibid., 55.
 Finis, Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible, NT. 97.
 Perucci Ferraiuolo, “Scholars Scrutinize Popular Dake’s Bible,” Christianity Today, January 10, 1994, 50.
 Finis, Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible, 280.
 Dake, God’s Plan for Man, 51.
 Ibid., 52.
 Ibid., 58.
 Finis, Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible, 280, 562.
 Ibid., 120.
 Dake, God’s Plan for Man, 56.
 Finis, Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible, #R 613.
 Ibid., 807 #B.
 Dake, God’s Plan for Man, 60.
 Ibid., 62.
 Ibid., 63.
 Finis Jr. Dake, “Letters: Questions About Dake,” Christianity Today, April 4, 1994, 12.
 Leon Bible, Finis Jennings Dake: His Life and Ministry (Lawrenceville, Georgia: Dake Publishing, 2006), 399.
 Michael Horton, The Agony of Deceit: What some TV Preachers are Really Teaching (Moody Press, 1990), 278.
 Hank Hanegraaff, Christianity in Crisis: 21st Century (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2009), 261-262.
 Ferraiuolo, “Scholars Scrutinize Popular Dake’s Bible,” 50.
 Mark D. McLean, “The Gap Theory, Heaven as a Planet, and Other Popular Doctrines: Examining the Influence of the Writings of Finis Jennings Dake on the Pentecostal and Charismatic Churches.” Thesis was written after 1990, but no date is given. Thesis available from: http://ifphc.org
 Wordsearch, Dake Reference Library (Lawrenceville, Georgia: Dake Publishing, 2006), Back of the Box.
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