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Dake’s Dangerous Doctrine

By Jeff Spencer and Steve Bright

      This article first appeared in the Christian Research Journal, volume 27, number 5 (2004). For further information or to subscribe to the Christian Research Journal go to: http://www.equip.org   (Article used by permission of CRI).

SYNOPSIS

The teachings of Finis Jennings Dake, author of The Dake Annotated Reference Bible, have had a profound impact on conservative Pentecostalism and have been embraced by charismatic Word-Faith preachers such as Kenneth Copeland and Benny Hinn. Dake’s views range from orthodox to outlandish, to decidedly unorthodox. He rejected the theology of “denominationalism” and instead adopted a hyperliteral interpretation of Scripture that resulted in erroneous doctrines, such as the view that each person in the Trinity has a body, soul, and spirit, and that Jesus’ resurrected body was not physical. His aberrant teachings also include a salvation by grace plus works and a gospel of health and prosperity. Dake’s study materials emphasize the authority of the Bible, but they contain many unbiblical and dangerous doctrines that sometimes have as much in common with the cults as with historic Christian theology.

Each Christian denomination can point to certain preachers and teachers who have helped shape and propagate its theology and practice. One such prominent figure in Pentecostal and charismatic circles is Finis Jennings Dake (1902–87), author of The Dake Annotated Reference Bible. The Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements states, Dake’s “impact on conservative Pentecostalism cannot be overstated.”1

A BRIEF BIOGRAPHY

Following his conversion to Christianity at the age of 17 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Dake allegedly received a “special anointing” that enabled him to quote hundreds of Scripture verses without having previously memorized them, earning him the nickname “the Walking Bible.” He studied the Bible diligently and claimed to have spent nearly 100,000 hours over the course of his ministry digging into its teachings.2

Dake first preached in 1925 and was ordained by the Assemblies of God denomination two years later at the age of 24.3 After working as a pastor and evangelist in Texas and Oklahoma, he moved to Zion, Illinois, in order to become the pastor of the Christian Assembly Church, a union that lasted until 1937.4 In Zion, he also founded Shiloh Bible Institute, which ultimately merged with Central Bible Institute and which was located in the home formerly owned by controversial faith healer John Alexander Dowie.5

During Dake’s ministry in Zion, he was the center of a raging controversy. In 1937, he was convicted of violating the Mann Act by willfully transporting 16-year-old hitchhiker Emma Barelli across the Wisconsin state line “for the purpose of debauchery and other immoral practices.”6 Dake pleaded guilty and was sentenced to six months in a Milwaukee jail,7 where he “intended to pass most of his time…writing a book — a commentary on the Bible.”8

Dake returned to his family and the Christian Assembly Church, who stood by his side and maintained his innocence during the ordeal. His relationship with the Assemblies of God denomination, however, soon ended. He then moved to Cleveland, Tennessee, where first he became a minister in the Church of God denomination and then pastored an independent Pentecostal church.9 Dake remained a Pentecostal minister until his death in 1987 of Parkinson’s disease.10

DAKE’S WRITINGS

Dake’s long career culminated in two published works. God’s Plan for Man: The Key to the World’s Storehouse of Wisdom contains the very heart of Dake’s teaching. This 52-lesson course purports to be “a library of Bible knowledge in compact form…more than 10,000 subjects, sermon outlines, and questions fully answered — all supported and proved by 33,000 references to Scripture passages.”11 Dake’s most popular work is The Dake Annotated Reference Bible, which many Pentecostals consider to be the top study Bible.12 His copious notes and commentary accompany the King James Version text and are taken largely from God’s Plan for Man. The Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements states that it “became the ‘bread and butter’ of many prominent preachers and the ‘staple’ of Pentecostal congregations.”13 Dake Publishing Company, operated by the Dake family, sells nearly 40,000 copies of the Dake Bible each year.14 Finis Dake, Jr., asserts, “As far as I know it is the only study Bible with a full gospel or charismatic orientation still in print which has not changed something in order to appeal to a wider audience.”15

Many Pentecostal and charismatic teachers praise Dake’s work. Jimmy Swaggart once wrote, “Finis Dake was a scholar unparalleled. I owe my Bible education to this man.”16 Word-Faith preacher Larry Ollison, midwest regional director for International Convention of Faith Ministries, praises the Dake Bible as a good reference tool with “lists and useful information that cannot be found easily anywhere else.”17 David Roebuck, director of the Pentecostal Research Center at Lee University, declares, “The Dake study Bible has many helpful tools and charts.”18 Leading Word-Faith teachers such as Kenneth Copeland, Kenneth Hagin, and Benny Hinn also have embraced Dake’s study Bible and teachings.

THE BIBLE

Dake, to his credit, argues that the Bible is the inspired, inerrant, authoritative Word of God; therefore, it cannot contain contradictions. His effort to systematize biblical teachings on hundreds of topics appears to be sincere. He argues that the Bible was written in simple human language and should be interpreted at face value: “We shall let what God says mean what He says and reject any theory of men to the contrary.”19 Dake’s overriding rule of interpretation is, “Take every statement of the Bible as literal when it is at all possible and where it is clear that it is literal, otherwise, it is figurative.”20 Dake applies this often-repeated rule unwaveringly, and his simple, literal interpretations probably account for the popularity of his Bible commentary. His attention to the biblical text results in many correct observations and interpretations; however, his overly simplistic, hyperliteral approach results in many incorrect interpretations as well as unorthodox and problematic doctrines in his theology.

Numerous evangelical Bible scholars and apologists have expressed concern over Dake’s unorthodox teachings, but no major work has been published to expose and correct them. Dake’s popularity, however, demands an evaluation of his teachings in light of historic Christian orthodoxy. This article touches on only a few.

GOD’S NATURE

Many of Dake’s doctrinal errors begin with his misunderstanding of God’s nature. He states, “God has a spirit body with bodily parts like man.”21 The only difference between God’s body and man’s, according to Dake, is that God’s body is a spiritual substance while man’s body is a material substance. He offers several lines of faulty reasoning to support his view. First, he argues that since the natural body will be raised a spiritual body, this means that spirit beings have bodies:

Paul speaks of the human flesh-and-bone bodies in the resurrection as being “spiritual” (1 Cor. 15:42–44), and “like unto his glorious body” (Luke 24:39; Phil. 3:20–21); so if human bodies that become spiritualized are still material and tangible, then certainly God and other spirits can have bodies just as real and still be spirit beings. After all, John 4:24 is a mere statement of fact — that God is a Spirit
— but it does not define and analyze a spirit.22

First Corinthians 15:42–44, however, does not refer to the nature of God, but to the nature of the resurrected human body. “Spiritual body,” moreover, in this context, does not mean a body made of spiritual substance; rather, it means that the physical, material, flesh-and-bone body that will be resurrected and made immortal and imperishable will no longer be dominated by the flesh (i.e., the sinful nature) but by the Spirit.

Dake also argues that since humans were created in God’s image and have bodies, God must have a body as well: “If man was made in the image and likeness of God bodily, then God must have a body, and an outward form and shape.”23 Mormons make the same argument. It is false, however, to assume that because we are like God, God must be like us. Norman Geisler and Ron Rhodes explain, “Just because all horses have four legs does not mean that all four-legged things are horses. And just because God made male and female does not mean he is male and female. ‘God is Spirit’ (John 4:24), yet he made people with bodies (Gen. 2:7). Just because we have a physical body does not mean that God has one too.”24

Dake asserts that the Bible plainly speaks of God as having a face, hands, eyes, arms, legs, and other body parts just like any other person.25 He recognizes that the Bible sometimes uses language that obviously is figurative, such as when it says Jesus is “the door” (John 10:7); however, based on his rule to “take the Bible literally where at all possible,” he contends that the passages that attribute human body parts to God should be interpreted literally. In other words, he believes it is possible for God to have a body, and therefore interprets these passages literally.

There is a problem with this simplistic approach: whether it is possible for God to have a body is a philosophical question that must be answered before interpreting passages that speak of God’s body parts. It is similar to the question of whether God can lie: whether it is possible for God to lie (He cannot because of His nature) is a question that must be answered before interpreting the biblical statement, “God cannot lie.” It cannot be answered based on the biblical statement alone, because it is logically possible that God lied in that statement.

Many philosophical arguments prove that God cannot have a body; for example, if God has a body that is composed of parts, then He must have been composed (i.e., created, assembled) by another being greater than Himself, for He could not have composed Himself. In other words, if God has a body, He is not really God. Another argument is that bodies exist in space and time; but God created space and time; therefore, He must exist apart from space and time. God, therefore, cannot have a body.

The point of these arguments is that it is logically impossible for God to have a body because of His nature (i.e., what God is). A body is limited, temporal, changing, visible, material, composed of parts, and present in only one location at a time, whereas God is unlimited, eternal, unchanging, invisible, immaterial, not composed of parts, and always present everywhere; therefore, God cannot have a body. (This doesn’t mean that one of the persons of the Trinity could not take on, or add, a human nature that includes a material body, as is the case with Jesus who now has two natures: divine and human.)

If it is logically impossible for God to have a body, then those passages that speak of God’s body parts cannot be interpreted literally; they must be interpreted figuratively. When biblical authors attribute human characteristics to God, they are using a figure of speech called anthropomorphism. This means that they are referring to God in terms of human body parts or passions. Speaking figuratively of God’s hands, eyes, anger, or even love, helps finite humans comprehend truths about an infinite God and the way He acts. Theologian Lewis Sperry Chafer comments, “Where physical members are thus ascribed to God, it is not a direct assertion that God possesses these members, or a corporal [physical] body with its parts; but that He is capable of doing precisely those things which are the functions of the physical part of man.”26

If all the characteristics that are ascribed to God in the Bible were taken literally, one would end up with an absurd view of God as having wings and feathers (Ps. 17:8), being made of stone (Ps. 18:31), or having eyes that literally “run to and fro throughout the whole earth” (2 Chron. 16:9 KJV). Dake recognizes that ascribing literal birdlike or rocklike characteristics to God results in absurd conclusions; however, he does not recognize that ascribing literal humanlike characteristics to God results in absurd conclusions as well. By taking anthropomorphic passages literally, Dake has denied the historic Christian doctrine of God. He, instead, has “exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man” (Rom. 1:23 NASB).

THE TRINITY

Dake defines the Trinity as “the union of three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in one (unified) Godhead or divinity, so that all three persons are one in unity and eternal substance, but three separate and distinct persons as to individuality.”27 This statement is similar to historic Christian definitions of the Trinity, such as in the ancient creeds, but Dake’s view of the Trinity clearly is not the same as the historic Christian view.

The historic Christian view of the Trinity — that God is one being constituted by three persons — is “foolish and unscriptural, to say the least,” says Dake.28 He states, it is a fallacy “that there is only one person or one being called God.”29 Dake says that the Trinity is three separate and distinct persons in one God; however, he defines person as “a rational being with bodily presence, soul passions, and spirit faculties.”30 In his view, person and being mean the same thing. He concludes, therefore, that the Trinity is three separate and distinct beings, each with a body, soul, and spirit: “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 sense that each human being, angel, or any other being has his own body, soul and spirit.”31

This characterization of the Trinity as three separate beings is different than the historic Christian view that the Trinity is three separate persons who are united in one essence or substance — in other words, one being. When Dake says “all three persons are one in unity and eternal substance,” he means three separate beings who are one in unity or purpose. It is true that all three persons in the Trinity are one in purpose, but the historic Christian view is that “one in substance” means one in being (essence or nature). In other words, the Trinity is three persons (three whos) who are one being (one what).

The Athanasian Creed (c. AD 361) was written partly to defend the orthodox understanding of the Trinity against an error known as tritheism, which says that the Trinity is three separate Gods. It states, “We worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; neither confounding the Persons: nor dividing the Substance.”32 Trinitarians have historically understood substance here to mean essence or being, not purpose as Dake argues.

Trinitarians, moreover, have not understood being to mean the same thing a
s person, as Dake argues, otherwise the Trinity would be three infinite, perfect beings. Theologian Henry Thiessen points out, “There can be only one infinite and perfect being. To postulate two or more infinite beings is illogical and inconceivable.”33 One reason there cannot be two or more infinite, perfect beings is because they would have to differ from each other in some way, and to differ means each being must lack something that the others have; however, if they lack something, they are not infinite, perfect beings; therefore, there can be only one infinite, perfect being.

Many of Dake’s statements regarding the Trinity are similar to classic Trinitarian statements, but his view is not the same as the historic Christian view; if it were the same, he certainly would not have called the historic Christian view foolish and unscriptural.

JESUS CHRIST

Dake’s misunderstanding of God’s nature also results in a problematic view of Jesus’ nature. He teaches, for example, that Jesus became the Son of God at His incarnation34 (a view held by Jehovah’s Witnesses known as adoptionism) and that Jesus became the Messiah at His baptism35 (see, however, Luke 2:11 and Matt. 2:4). These views have been rejected by the majority of the church throughout history. His most troubling views, however, relate to Jesus’ incarnation and resurrection.

Dake argues, as noted above, that before the Incarnation, the Son (Jesus) had a spirit body as did the Father and the Spirit; however, he says that when Jesus came to earth, He exchanged His spirit body for a human body: “He laid aside His God body to take a human body, His immortality in body to become mortal.”36 Jesus’ resurrection, in Dake’s view, was a return to a spiritual body, the same kind of body that believers will receive at their resurrection. Dake claimed, “Even resurrected bodies of flesh-and-bone saints are called ‘spiritual’ (1Cor. 15:44), so spiritual bodies are of materialized, spiritualized substance — something we know nothing about, as far as experience is concerned, at the present time.”37 This type of spiritualized body, he argues, enabled Jesus (as it will us) to go through doors (John 20:26), appear and disappear at will (Luke 24:31), and change form (Mark 16:12).

There are several reasons to reject Dake’s view that man’s resurrected body will not be physical (i.e., material). First, Scripture teaches that Jesus’ resurrected body was the same physical body that went into the grave. Jesus declared to the Jews, for example, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (John 2:19 NASB, emphasis added). John explained, “He was speaking of the temple of His body” (v. 21). In other words, the body that came out of the grave was the same one that went in.

Second, according to Peter, David foresaw that Jesus’ body would not see decay in the grave (Acts 2:30–31; cf. Ps. 16:10). There would be no reason for God to preserve Jesus’ physical body if it was going to be exchanged for a different, spiritual body.

Third, many of Jesus’ postresurrection appearances in the Gospels emphasize the physical nature of His resurrected body: it had flesh and bones (Luke 24:39); it had the crucifixion wounds (John 20:27); it ate food (Luke 24:41–43), and it was physically recognized and touched by humans (Matt. 28:9; Luke 24:39; John 20:17, 27).38 The Gospels attest that Jesus’ body that arose and appeared to the disciples and other witnesses was the same physical body that was crucified.39

Dake recognizes the strong biblical support that Jesus’ resurrected body was (and is) physical flesh and bone. He vigorously argues, however, based on his view of the “spiritual body” in 1 Corinthians 15, that Jesus’ body was “materialized, spiritualized substance.” A “materialized, spiritualized substance,” however, is a contradiction in terms; moreover, the phrase “spirit body,” as defined by Dake, is the same as saying “immaterial material,” which also is a contradiction in terms. A thing is either material or immaterial — there is no middle ground.

JESUS’ NATURE WHILE ON EARTH

Paul says that Jesus “emptied himself, taking the form of a bond-servant…being made in the likeness of men” (Phil. 2:7 NASB). This is known as the kenosis passage, which comes from a Greek verb that means “to empty.” The question is, what does “emptied himself” mean, and of what did Jesus empty himself while on earth?

Rhodes explains, “Paul’s statement…involves three basic issues: the veiling of [Christ’s] preincarnate glory, a voluntary nonuse of some of his divine attributes, and the condescension involved in taking on the likeness of men.”40 Jesus “emptied himself” by voluntarily limiting the use of some of His divine attributes while on earth, but at no time did He cease to possess them.

Dake argues, however, that Jesus did not possess His divine attributes while on earth. He explains, “The limitations of Christ in knowledge and wisdom cannot be explained and harmonized with the fact that Christ had omniscience [unlimited knowledge]. His limitations in power and His powerlessness to act and do things in Himself cannot be harmonized with the fact that He had his original attribute of omnipotence [unlimited power]…. Christ’s emptying Himself in reality includes the laying aside of His attributes and powers or at least limitations of them in becoming man.”41 Dake says that Jesus “could not have retained immutability.”42 Finally, Dake states that Jesus became unequal with God: “If He had not laid aside His equality as God, then He could not have been unequal with God as manifested in the days of his flesh.”43

There are a number of problems with Dake’s view. First, the fact that Jesus did not know or do something does not mean that He could not know or do it. A person can choose not to open a door to see who is knocking, but that does not mean that person lacks the power to do so. In several statements, Dake seems to leave room for the view that Jesus merely chose not to use His divine attributes; but this view requires that Jesus possessed His divine attributes, which is inconsistent with Dake’s many arguments that He did not possess them.

Second, without His divine attributes, Jesus cannot be God. This is because God is a perfectly simple being, that is, He is not composed of parts, which means His attributes and His nature are one and the same. God doesn’t just have the attribute of omnipotence, for example, He is omnipotence. In other words, God minus even one of His attributes is not God. God’s nature, moreover, is immutable (unchangeable), which means He cannot change and become different than He is; for example, God cannot change from being unlimited in power to being limited in power. It is also illogical to say, as Dake does, that Jesus changed from being immutable (unchangeable) to being mutable (changeable).

Finally, to say that Jesus laid aside “His equality as God” goes against Jesus’ claims to be (equal with) God and instead agrees with the Pharisees who said that Jesus, being a man, was falsely making Himself to be God (John 10:30–33).

In the incarnation (when Christ “became” human), Christ’s nature did not change from divine to human; rather, the second person of the Trinity took on a human nature in addition to His divine nature. Jesus Christ, the God-Man, possesses two separate and distinct natures in His one person. This doctrine was spelled out at the Council of Chalcedon (AD 451). The incarnation, therefore, did not require Jesus to give up His divine nature or attributes. Any limitations He had can be ascribed either to His human nature (e.g., His physical body could not be present everywhere at once) or to His choice not to exercise certain attribute
s of His divine nature, which He fully possessed even while on earth.

Dake’s view that Jesus retained His divine nature, but gave up the very attributes that make that nature divine is contradictory. It reveals a misunderstanding of the divine nature and compromises the very divinity of Jesus, in which he claims to believe.

SALVATION AND WORKS

Dake’s view of salvation is another problematic area. On one hand, he states that salvation is by grace and not by works: “Eternal life is a free gift….Men merit hell, but not eternal life. Jesus Christ alone procured it and gives it freely to all who believe.”44 He also says it is by faith alone and not works: “The law of works cannot pardon….Faith alone in Christ will pardon and cancel the death penalty.”45

On the other hand, he flatly denies that grace alone is sufficient for salvation: “It is true that grace cannot be…mixed with the law of works, but this does not prove that there are no conditions men must meet in order to get the benefits of grace. Not one scripture teaches unconditional grace.”46 Dake asserts, “Grace cannot excuse and ignore the failure of saved man to meet the many conditions of salvation.”47 He lists, for example, “two things [that are] necessary for one to be saved from all sin and only two,”48 “3 things men must do and continue in to receive eternal life,”49 “7 conditions of eternal salvation,”50 and “23 conditions of eternal life.”51 In one comment, he says, “There are 1,050 commands in the N.T. for the Christian to obey….If obeyed, they will bring rich rewards here and forever; if disobeyed they will bring condemnation and eternal punishment.”52

In Dake’s view, grace can set aside condemnation only if one remains free from sin. In a section listing “30 things grace cannot do,” he asserts, “The modern fallacy that judicial forgiveness covers ALL sins, past, present, and future; that God does not impute sins of believers to them; and that God never condemns a saved man for any sins committed, but charges them to the Lord Jesus Christ, is one of the most unscriptural and demon-inspired theories in any church.”53

According to Dake, justification, the initial act of God by which He declares a believing sinner righteous, is maintained by obeying certain conditions and by not sinning: “every act of obedience is an act of faith and works combined to maintain justification before God.”54 He states elsewhere that a believer who sins can lose his salvation and again be condemned: “A man forgiven of past sins must quit sin. If he commits the same sins again after conversion he will be charged with them again. They must be properly confessed and forgiven again or he will pay the death penalty for the new crimes.”55

Dake fails to clearly and consistently teach that salvation (justification) is by grace alone through faith alone apart from works — two of the central doctrines of the Protestant Reformation. He states that salvation is by grace through faith, but he also teaches that obedience and confession of sin are necessary to receive and maintain justification. This is a confused gospel of grace plus works. Scripture, however, teaches that the only condition a person must meet to receive and keep eternal life (salvation) is to “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 16:31; cf. John 3:18; 20:31; Eph. 2:8). It also teaches that a believer does not lose eternal life and fall back into condemnation when he or she sins (John 3:18; 5:24; Rom. 8:1–4, 33–39).

GUARANTEED HEALTH

Dake’s literal interpretation of passages such as Isaiah 53:5, John 14:14, and 3 John 2 results in the view that Jesus bore our sickness as well as our sin in the atonement; therefore, physical healing can be appropriated now by faith the same as forgiveness. He states,

“Everyone can get healed now — right now by faith — as much as he can be forgiven of sins now. The reason all are not healed is because they do not believe this truth and accept it as they do forgiveness of sins.…Both forgiveness and healing were atoned for on the cross, but they are appropriated individually by faith when one meets the necessary conditions of repentance and faith in the atonement. All Hell cannot rob him of either blessing if one refuses to permit demon forces to defeat him.”56

The problem with equating physical sickness with sin in the atonement is that if a person does not have enough faith to be healed, then that person has no assurance that he or she has enough faith to be saved. Hank Hanegraaff points out, “If both healing and salvation are included in [the atonement], they must be accessed in the same way. And if one does not have enough faith to make oneself well, it follows that he cannot have enough faith to be saved. Therefore those who die physically due to lack of faith must also wind up in hell for the same reason.”57

In Dake’s view, the failure to be healed reflects willful unbelief and disobedience to the laws of God and nature.58 He even calls sickness sin: “It becomes sinful to bear in our bodies those things that Christ has already borne for us.”59 This view is not only unbiblical, it adds guilt to a person who is already suffering from an illness or disease. One wonders if Dake believed that his own inability to be healed from Parkinson’s disease, which eventually took his life, was a sin due to unbelief.

Dake argues that to deny his view results in the absurd conclusion that God wants us to be sick: “Shall we say that it is God’s will for us to live in sickly and diseased bodies in preference to clean and healthy ones?60 This is a false dilemma. It is not the case that either God heals sickness now or He prefers sickness to health; there is a third option: God will defeat sickness and disease in the future. Paul, in fact, stated that the whole world is waiting for the full and final redemption from the effects of the fall, which includes sickness and disease (Rom. 8:18–25).

Dake’s recurring theme of guaranteed health by positive confession of faith is paralleled by his theme of guaranteed prosperity.61 These are standard doctrines among Word-Faith teachers and can devastate a person’s health, finances, and faith if followed.

DANGER AHEAD

Dake’s view of essential Christian doctrines sometimes has more in common with the theology of the cults than with historic Christian theology. His works, while containing many biblical truths, include numerous other unbiblical and outlandish teachings, such as: God lives in a mansion on a material planet called Heaven and is invisible to us only because He is so far away that we cannot see Him,62 humans are miniatures of God in attributes and power,63 Adam replaced Lucifer as ruler of the earth,64 disease germs are related to demons,65 God wants the races to remain separate as they were originally and will be in eternity.66 It is unfortunate that Dake’s faulty works find such a welcome place in Christian churches and bookstores.

notes

1.        Stanley M. Burgess and Gary B. McGee, Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements (Grand Rapids: Regency Reference Library, 1988), s.v. “Dake, Finis Jennings.”

2.        Finis J. Dake, “A True Story of a Magnificent Gift,” Dake Publishing, http://www.dake.com/true.html.

3.        Burgess and McGee.

4.        “Rev. Dake to Preach until Term Starts,” Waukegan (Illinois) News-Sun, February 10, 1937, 1.

5.        Ibid.; see also Burgess and McGee.

6.        “Zion Minister Fails to Post Mann Act Bail,” Chicago Daily Tribune, May 28, 1936, 17.

7.   &
#160;    “Rev. Dake to Preach until Term Starts.”

8.        “Flock Absolves Petting Parson, but Jail Awaits,” Chicago Daily Tribune, February 10, 1937, 3. Some suggest that this commentary became the notes for The Dake Annotated Reference Bible.

9.        Burgess and McGee.

10.     Richard Love and Jennifer Bryon Owen, “The Pentecostal Study Bible,” Charisma and Christian Life, January 1988, 39.

11.     Finis Jennings Dake, foreword to God’s Plan for Man [hereafter GPFM] (Lawrenceville, GA: Dake Bible Sales, 1949).

12.     Finis Jennings Dake, The Dake Annotated Reference Bible [hereafter DARB] (Lawrenceville, GA: Dake Bible Sales, 1963).

13.     Burgess and McGee.

14.     Keel Germaine, “Dake Bible Fills Niche,” CBA Marketplace, January 1997, 12.

15.     Love and Owen, 39.

16.     Jimmy Swaggart, “In Memory: Finis Jennings Dake 1902–1987,” Evangelist, September 1987, 44.

17.     Larry Ollison, e-mail correspondence with author, July 25, 1997.

18.     David G. Roebuck, e-mail correspondence with author, July 23, 1997.

19.     GPFM, 37.

20.     Ibid., 47. See foreword to GPFM; preface to DARB.

21.     Ibid., 56.

22.     Ibid., 57.

23.     Ibid., 52.

24.     Norman Geisler and Ron Rhodes, When Cultists Ask (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1997), 23.

25.     GPFM, 56–57.

26.     Lewis Sperry Chafer, Systematic Theology, vol. 1 (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1993), 181–82.

27.     GPFM, 51

28.     Ibid., 53.

29.     DARB (New Testament), 280.

30.     GPFM, 50.

31.     DARB (New Testament), 280, emphasis added; GPFM, 65, 498.

32.     The Greek and Latin Creeds, vol. 2, The Creeds of Christendom, 6th ed., ed. Philip Schaff (1931; repr., Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1985), 66.

33.     Henry Thiessen, Lectures in Systematic Theology, rev. ed. (1949; repr., Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2001), 89.

34.     DARB (New Testament), 57 n. d, 93 n. r.

35.     Ibid., 1 n. a; GPFM, 377.

36.     GPFM, 496.

37.     Ibid., 60.

38.     Norman L. Geisler, In Defense of the Resurrection (Clayton, CA: Witness, 1993), 122–29.

39.     William Lane Craig, Knowing the Truth About the Resurrection (Ann Arbor, MI: Servant Books, 1981), 108.

40.     Ron Rhodes, Christ Before the Manger (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1992), 195.

41.     GPFM, 387.

42.     Ibid., 398.

43.     Ibid.

44.     DARB (New Testament), 165 n. h.

45.     Ibid., 163 n. e.

46.     Ibid., 226, emphasis in original.

47.     GPFM, 343.

48.     Ibid., 433.

49.     DARB (New Testament), 107.

50.     Ibid., 67.

51.     Ibid., 100.

52.     Ibid., 313.

53.     GPFM, 342, emphasis in original; cf. 610. See also, “Redemption Fallacies Refuted,” DARB (Old Testament), 625–26.

54.     DARB (New Testament), 261 n. m.

55.     DARB (Old Testament), 625–26.

56.     GPFM, 946.

57.     Hank Hanegraaff, Christianity in Crisis (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 1993), 250.

58.     GPFM, 262.

59.     Ibid., 944–45.

60.     Ibid., 946.

61.     Ibid., 217–22.

62.     GPFM, 57–58.

63.     DARB (Old Testament), 548.

64.     GPFM, 118.

65.     Ibid., 241.

66.     “30 Reasons for Segregation of Races,” DARB (New Testament), 159. For Dake Publishing’s account of their attempts to rectify a controversy with Frederick K. C. Price regarding this passage, see “Answering the Charge of Racism,” Dake Publishing, http://www.dake.com/ position.html.


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5 Responses

  1. evans says:

    i have read God’s plan for man. i don’t believe everything in it either… maybe a little more than you. there are numerous things that you’ve stated, in all of the things i’ve read on this website, that are debatable. does it really matter to you that much? i almost feel hate coming through the computer from you towards this man, whom i’m sure you’ve never met & probably never talked to. i am not going to go on about that, however. i do think you believe in once saved always saved. i believe that truths from the bible have to go from genisis to revalation! you can not take a verse out of context from one book. It has to be compared throughout & be proved! So, what do you do about Jesus telling the churches in revalation to beware or He will remove their candle or star or blot their names from the book of life? This is just a simple question. i don’t ask it out of vengence towards mr. dake. i have a young man at work that sounds similar to your views. he could not answer this & other questions that we’ve discussed. I would like to know what you think of the gifts of the spirit, & who the Sons of God were? i also think that it is funny that your math question adds up to 11!

    • admin says:

      Hi Evans:

      Thanks for the comment.

      Yes there are somethings I agree with in ‘God’s Plan for Man’ by Dake. I am afraid though that there is so much twisted and dangerous theology mixed in with some of these good teachings that it will lead Christians astray. This is how satan works though: like when he tempted Jesus to throw Himself down. He quoted a part of the Scripture, but distorted its meaning and application.

      I don’t ‘hate’ Dake. Since I am a Christian though, I am very concerned that his false teachings will lead others into error and distortion. I might for example strongly disagree with the teachings of the Jehovah Witnesses, but I would still try to reach them for Christ. The purpose of my articles on Dake are not to attack Dake, but to either help prevent Christians from becoming involved with his cultic theology, or help reach those who are involved and believe his message. Even if a person continues to agree and believe what Dake teaches, at least they may have a better understanding that Dake disagrees with every major and most minor teachings and beliefs the church has believed in for thousands of years. His theology is much more dangerous than Islam, Mormonism, and the Jehovah Witnesses since he is often accepted within charismatic/pentecostal churchs without really understanding what he believes.

      On a different note, to answer your other questions: I used to believe in the perseverance of the saints. I believe in conditional security. My theology could probably be classified as mostly Pentecostal (I graduated from the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary. I also graduated with an STM from Liberty Seminary – Liberty University). I strongly believe in the gifts of the spirit and that it is possible for a believer to reject Christ and return to a life of sin… resulting in their apostasy and eventually being sent to hell if they do not repent (God will draw and attempt to convict them, but they can still choose to reject and rebell against God).

      I’ve never like the term ‘lose their salvation.’ To say someone can ‘lose their salvation’ would seem to imply it could be gone/lost without their knowing it or choosing it (by accident). I prefer to say that it is possible for someone to ‘reject their salvation’ and to choose a life of sin over Christ.

      I believe that true Christians can differ on doctrines like eternal vs. conditional salvation and still be Christians. Christians differ over when the rapture will occur… but this is not a doctrine that I believe will impact anyone’s salvation (you can be saved whether you are pretrib, midtrib, prewrath, or postrib… or don’t even believe in the rapture!). Dake though distorts beliefs that are essential to salvation. We for example must believe on Jesus to be saved. Dake’s version of ‘Jesus’ is a distortion and false immitation … not the real God.

      Matthew

  2. Matthew, greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

    After reading the comment posted above by evans, I felt compelled to write. (Please feel free to not post this if it’s length is beyond what you allow and consider it simply personal correspondence).

    I have heard, over and over again, how the works of Finis Dake may contain some irregular statements, but we simply need to be discerning as we read anything other than Scripture itself as we attempt to study our faith. This sounds reasonable enough and, perhaps in other times, I might have believed it to be sufficient advise in warning of possible error. Unfortunately, the attitudes within the church have been steadily changing as to how they teach and communicate the faith once for all delivered to the saints and have left those who seek the truth of Scripture almost entirely on their own in the area of historic, doctrinal beliefs. Without this emphasis on a solid, biblical foundation of doctrines such as the Trinity, the nature of God, the nature of Christ, the person of the Holy Spirit, salvation by grace through faith (which remains true in my arminian position), individuals within the church are left to “discover” for themselves what our language in these matters fails to communicate simply.

    It is this failure of the church in matters of communicating correct doctrine that have raised entire generations in a confused theology and set them adrift in the sea of theological opinions to fend for themselves. It really would be like taking a child and placing before him different things to eat. You can tell him that some of the food is good and profitable and remind him that he needs to be careful to not select the poisonous bits. Without proper training, however, in what the good food consists of and how to differentiate it from the deadly parts, I fear we will return to a now lifeless child who mistook a bad mushroom for one that is good.

    Before any think I simply have little faith in the Holy Spirit to correct us and lead us into all truth, allow me to share a short story.

    My father and mother had come to visit me for a couple of months back in 1985. After several days with me, my father came to me and said, “You are different than before.” I asked what that might mean and he replied, “You are softer now – more gentle. What has changed you?” I went on to explain that I had simply been spending a lot of time with Jesus, my Savior. Any change for the better that might be evident was simply the work of the Holy Spirit in creating within me a new heart. My dad then said that he wanted what I had. I asked him if he would like to receive it right then, at that moment. Looking a bit surprised, he came and kneeled at my feet and, with tears in his eyes, said he wanted to receive Jesus as his Lord and Savior.

    At that moment, I knew my father had become “born again”, a new creation in Christ. I spent time with him before he left to go home and taught him as I could. Not long after, he began to surround himself with teachers that held to much of what is espoused from Finis Dake. I wish I had known then what I know now. In just a couple of years, my father began sending me Dake’s books: “God’s Plan for Man”, “Revelation, Expounded” and, of course, the “Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible.”

    As I began to look through the Dake material, almost immediately I found several major issues at odds with orthodox Christian doctrine. I searched further to confirm my findings and was forced to come to the conclusion that the errors contained within Dake’s teaching placed him squarely and firmly outside the Christian church. Of course, I tried to speak with my father as gently as I could of the errors found. He would simply become quiet and suggest that we should not dispute doctrines that “don’t matter.” When I inquired of his concept of the Trinity, he defended the Dake teaching that God is three separate persons (just like three separate angels or men), that live on a planet in the northern part of the universe and travel about as any one of us would and are only “One” in their “purpose” – not one in number.

    In the almost 17 years my father persisted in these teachings, not one pastor, minister, church member or elder ever pointed out the error of my father’s doctrine (and, yes, he made known what he believed, as well as the source of his theology being Dake). It’s true that we each are held accountable for what we believe individually and, knowing this, I cannot fully place the burdon of my father’s heretical beliefs entirely upon the church (or church’s) he attended. Ultimately, we must each stand before the Lord and give account. But, knowing this doesn’t really help me to understand how my father could attend churches with substantially orthodox statements of faith for all those years and never be corrected for believing things which are “another gospel.” My father passed away in 2002 and I live each day knowing I have no assurance that I will ever see him again.

    Did the Holy Spirit fail him? Of course not! My voice may have been the only one who spoke the truth in all those years, but I know it was sufficient to convey that truth. His choice to follow the teachings of Finis Dake, rather than sound, biblical and orthodox teachings, were a choice he made himself. None of us are forced to accept the gospel. No, God did not fail my father anymore than He fails in the lives of Mormons, Jehovah’s Witness’ or New Age adherents. We each are offered a choice and must take responsibility for it. I just wish there had been others who would have joined me in warning him.

    Rather than think that my father is simply an isolated instance and the exception to the rule, I ask you to indulge one more story.

    I have been attending my church for almost 3 years now. The pastor and I have developed what I can only call a deep appreciation for each other and a friendship as brothers in Christ. I have been privileged to be used as part of the teaching staff and have tried to bring more depth to the doctrinal understanding held by the members of the faith we share. During my time here, I have made quite a point of discussing the doctrines of Finis Dake with the pastor. He was really quite unaware of how depraved Dake’s teaching was, but assured me that he and his staff certainly would not teach such things.

    It was just late last year (Oct, 2010), after a Wednesday bible study, that I was approached by the worship leader and brought into a conversation about the Trinity. (I wish he had been present when I taught on this very subject months earlier, but God’s timing is not always ours). He explained that he believed that three persons, each with their own spirit body, soul and spirit, lived on a material planet called Heaven. (Alarm bells are now resounding within my head so loudly I can feel the blood throbbing in my veins!) He went on to explain that he felt that, “Dake’s teaching on the matter made the most sense” to him. I told him he really needed to share this thought with the pastor so that he might be provided a correct understanding of the nature of God. He rejected my suggestion.

    (Remember – this is the worship leader in my church! He is leading worship to the three “gods” on planet Heaven each week!)

    Of course, I spoke with the pastor about the issue and, while I really never was totally secure in the knowledge that all was set to rights, I was told it was and not to worry.

    Then, just 4 weeks ago, a woman in the church (who also happens to be the mother of the associate pastor), apparently went to the pastor with some concerns about me. What concerns might those have been? Well, I was told she really may not like my position on Finis Dake and she had held her opinion for quite some time, but now she could no longer remain silent. (For the record, I had not mentioned the teachings of Finis Dake for over a year in any bible study).

    Great – now it’s the associate pastor’s mother who would like to be offended that I called Dake a heretic to the Christian faith. If her son doesn’t subscribe to Dake’s teaching, then I certainly assume he would correct her. As he is apparently not providing that correction, I can only assume he is in agreement with Dake as well. I feel surrounded and surprised. How did all this get past the pastor?

    The pastor said we should all get together and discuss the issues (to which I agreed), but no meeting was ever set up. Two weeks ago, I withdrew from attending my church. Seems rather odd that I would loose my church fellowship, place of worship and bible study and the pastor I had learned to call my friend – all over the doctrines of a man who had been excommunicated from the denomination I attend. I still hope there might be reconciliation with the pastor, but I suppose time will tell.

    My point here is simply this – There is simply no acceptable amount of false teaching that can be tolerated within the church, because once it takes hold, it spreads like a weed in the garden. Am I naive enough to think that any church will be free from all error? Not really any more than I believe my garden will be weed free. But, that doesn’t mean we simply stop picking weeds and decide to make them a part of our garden as if they belonged. Can some error exist in the lives of truly committed Christians who are saved and love the Lord? Absolutely. However, when we stop instructing believers in the doctrinal imperatives of Christianity and, then, allow teachers in our midst who openly defy those same doctrines, then the church has stopped being “the church” – the called out ones, those separated to be holy, the bride of Christ.

    I certainly could have just said how dangerous even a little error can be and not to allow it. Somehow, I didn’t feel it would get the point across as well. Sorry for the length here and, as I mentioned, if you would rather not post long bits, I understand completely.

    Thanks for your ministry as I am encouraged by your work.

    May the grace of our Lord be with you always as you continue to fight the good fight and bring light into the dark places.

    Terry R. Wilson

    PS – Yes, I am the same Terry R Wilson whose article entitled, “Dake’s Dubious Doctrine”, you re-posted on your site. I hope it has been helpful to yourself and others.

    • admin says:

      Hi Terry:

      Thank you very much for posting. Your comment is awesome.

      I would like to add this comment also to your article on this site (sort of an extension/supplemental).

      I am planning on writing some extended articles dealing with Dake and focused on specific doctrines (such as the Trinity) but so far have not found the time (I have the quotes and research done, I just need to start writing). I had purchased a domain name to just focus on Dake (http://thedakebible.com) but having his articles here seems to get more traffic to the Dake articles than a separate site.

      I still cannot understand how ‘The Church’ takes a stand agains cults like the Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses, but allows theology that is just as bad (and more damaging I think) right into the church through Dakes Bible and other books. It’s very sad. I’m glad there are believers like you who have taken the time to research and understand the issues and write so that others can find the truth and reject unbiblical theology.

      Thanks again,

      In Christ,
      Matthew

  3. Matthew,

    Finis Dake is indeed the capstone of error in the pentecostal church. It’s no wonder the enemy has built fortified walls round and about the doctrines of Finis Dake. Should these walls ever fail, and the darkness within exposed, think of all who would be crushed by the stones! There are wolves in our midst and the sheep are being led astray by some of the largest and most powerful names in contemporary “Christianity.” Expose this one man for the heretic he is and all that defend or encourage his materials become exposed as well.

    Feel free to use the email I provided to contact me anytime. If I have anything that might prove useful to you in your efforts, you are welcome to it. I may have some correspondence of interest to you.

    Take good care,

    Terry

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