Confused Charismatic Theology & The "Dake’s Bible"
by Rev. Joseph R. Chambers, D.D.
"The Son of God did indeed empty Himself to become the Son of man. What is extremely important is that this emptying was not a forsaking of His eternal essence, but an emptying of manifesting that essence. He was never void of His divine essence, but He did limit Himself not to express it while depending wholly on His Father and the Holy Spirit." – Joseph R. Chambers, D.D.
Many years ago I became leery of the Dake’s Bible, but never really understood why. The only thing I could identify was
that those who became strong in their study of Dake also became arrogant and unteachable. If Dake said it, then it really did not matter what anybody else said or what the general difference was in other Scriptures. I basically quit using the Dake’s Bible about twenty years ago and simply put it on the shelf.
Finally, I am beginning to learn why the inspiration I experienced caused me to move away from Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible. I never saw the deceptive quotes that I have recently discovered, probably because to begin with I never used it much. As I have now learned, the Dake’s Bible was really the text of the Charismatics before there was a movement called "Charismatic." Let me give you one Scripture that is foundational to what Hagin, Copeland, Hinn, Crouch, etc. are now teaching around the world.
This quote from Dake’s Bible is the very first New Testament note in the edition that I have owned since the early seventies. The edition I am quoting from is the sixth printing, December 1971.
"Gr. Christos, ‘Anointed.’ – Used in N.T. 577 times. Like the name "Jesus" it has no reference to deity, but to the humanity of the Son of God, who became the Christ or the "Anointed One" 30 years after He was born of Mary. God "made" Him both Lord and Christ. The Heb. Is ‘Messiah’." (Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible, Finis Jennings Dake, published by Dake Bible Sales, Inc, Lawrenceville, Georgia, New Testament, p.1.)
No Biblically solid minister or Bible student would accept the quote above. It is rank heresy and must be totally rejected or our view of Jesus Christ as the eternal Son of God is compromised. To suggest that Jesus became the Christ or the "Anointed One" thirty years after Hs birth is to commit heresy. This is an ancient heresy that is called "adoptionism." Kenneth Scott Latourette stated in his book, History of Christianity, Volume 1, the following:
"Others, called the Ebionites, maintained that Jesus was merely a man, a prophet, a spokesman for God, as were the great Hebrew prophets of the past. Although some of them accepted the virgin birth of Jesus, others are said to have taught that Jesus was the son of Joseph and Mary, that at His baptism Christ descended upon him in the form of a dove, that he then proclaimed the unknown Father, but that Christ who could not suffer, departed from him at his crucifixion." (Latourette, page 121-122, Harper Collins).
This is a dividing of the natures of Jesus Christ, rather than the established truth of the unity of His Son of God and Son of Man natures. He was both Son of God and Son of Man at every point in His incarnation. Iraneaus spoke of this in his book, Against Heresies And Knowledge Falsely So Called. He stated,
"Certainly the Gnostics confess with their tongues the ONE Jesus Christ, but in their minds they divide Him." (Iraneaus; ADVERSUS Haeresies III. 16. 1).
His two natures cannot be divided. John R. Stott, in a commentary on the letters of John addressed this great truth.
"We need therefore to find an interpretation of the phrase which makes water and blood both historical experiences which he passed and witnesses in some sense to his divine/human person. The. . . most satisfactory interpretation, first given by Tertullion does this. It takes water as reference to Baptism of Jesus, at which he was declared the Son and commissioned and empowered for His work, and blood to His death, in which His work was finished. True, ‘water’ and ‘blood’ remain strange and surprising word symbols, and we can only guess that they were thus used in the theological controversy which had engulfed the Ephesian church. At least this meaning of the expression tallies with what Iraneaus disclosed of the heretical teaching of Cerinthus and his followers. They distinguished between ‘Jesus’ and ‘Christ’. They held that Jesus was a mere man, born of Joseph and Mary in natural wedlock, upon whom Christ descended at the baptism, and from which Christ departed at the cross. According to this theory of the false teachers, Jesus was united with the Christ at the baptism, but became separated again before the cross. It was to refute this fundamental error that John, knowing that Jesus was the Christ, before, and during the baptism and cross, described Him as ‘the one who came by water and blood’." (Tyndale NT Commentaries, LETTERS OF FIRST JOHN, J.R.W. Stott, pp. 180-181)
The words of the angel to Mary should settle this subject completely. The Scripture stated,
"And the angel answered and said unto her, The holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God." (Luke 1:35)
This is further emphasized in St. John’s question of the Lord Himself,
"Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God? If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not." (John 10:36-37).
He is, and was, eternally the Son of God, anointed of the Holy Ghost. The doctrines of Hagin, Copeland, Crouch, and Hinn, etc. are clearly associated with this heresy. Paul Crouch, in a statement to Benny Hinn on TBN, stated that Jesus re-ceived His divinity back when He ascended out of hell after being born again. (See our video, TBN- The Temple Of The Gods and Goddesses.)
As I write this article, I remember a horrible crisis that occurred about twenty years ago in the church where I now pastor. We had won a man to our church and he had made wonderful progress in the study of Scripture and his spiritual life. We elevated him to a very strong leadership position and made him a key teacher in our Sunday School. He then became involved in the Copeland doctrines and began to teach the doctrine of unbiblical prosperity. One day, he proudly began to argue to me that Jesus only became the anointed one at His baptism and was not the divine Son of God until this point. I immediately knew I had a serious problem.
When our church board met to solve the problem, we asked him to either renounce this idea or resign from his class. He refused and we dismissed him. Of course, he went up the road a short distance and started his own church. We lost a host of family members; all of which have never been stable in their Christian life since that time. I remember that the Dake’s Bible had become his primary study Bible and the arrogance that I now know was evident in Finis Dake had become evident in this individual. He has never returned to the stability and truth that he traded for the Charismatic deception.
Facts About The Late Finis Dake
My method in trying to protect the body of Christ from deception is to refrain from any personal attack on anyone, but to deal with doctrine and Biblical truth. It seems appropriate to note some matters that relate to Dake because they were certainly part of the shaping of his ministry . My concerns are documented with information on the web site owned by the Dake’s Ministry or from others, who have researched his personal life.
On the Dake web site there is an article dedicated to Finis Dake himself prior to his death, in which he stated some very remarkable things. Mr. Dake states,
"I was immediately able to quote hundreds of Scriptures without memorizing them. I also noticed a quickening of my mine to know what chapters and books various verses were found in. Before conversion, I had not read one full chapter of the Bible. This new knowledge of Scripture was a gift to me, for which I give God the praise. From the time of this special anointing until now, I have never had to memorize the thousands of Scriptures I use in teaching. I just quote a verse when I need it, by the anointing of the Spirit."
This is absolutely contrary to Scripture and puts Dake, at least in his mind, on the same level as the Lord Jesus Christ. Remember, the criticizers of Jesus Christ stated, "How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?" (John 7:15). This would certainly give rise to him having an exalted opinion of himself and may have been one of the reasons for his arrogance. No Bible writer, Old Testament prophet, or New Testament apostle ever claimed such incredible ability. There is no Scripture to support this kind of gift by the Holy Ghost.
Research into Dake’s background gives a picture of moral carelessness in his early ministry. Here is a lengthy quote by re-searcher, Les Brown.
"Finis Jennings Dake was born in 1902 and died in 1987. His son Finis, Jr. says it took Dake seven years of constant work to complete the 35,000 notes included in the 1,400-page Annotated Bible. It is a virtual systematic theology and a compilation of Dake’s views and doctrines. "Dake was ordained under the Assemblies of God in Texas. For a time he did evangelistic work in Oklahoma. He then moved to Zion, Illinois, where his fortunes declined, following a scandal involving a 16-year-old girl.
"The May 27, 1936, issue of the Chicago Daily Tribune reported that ‘An indictment, returned last February in Milwaukee, charges that on April 23, 1935, Dake took Emma Barelli, 16 years old, of Kenosha, from her home town to East St. Louis for immoral purposes.’ (pg. 1). The following day, the newspaper reported that Dake registered at hotels in Waukegan, Bloomington, and East St. Louis with the girl under the name Christian Anderson and wife.
"Dake, according to government investigators, said he picked the girl up as she was hitchhiking and she insisted he drive her to East St. Louis, where he was to deliver Bible lectures in nearby communities. Dake denied that any immoral action had taken place, claiming, ‘I did take her there but there was no immorality involved. I wanted to get her a job.’ (Chicago Daily tribune, May 28, 1936, pg. 17).
"When Dake came to trial in Feburuary 1937, he placed himself on the mercy of the court by entering a plea of guilty to the charge of violating the Mann Act. He was sentenced to a six-month stay in the House of Corrections in Milwaukee. Dake admitted to having ‘petting parties’ with the girl, but again denied any improper relations had occurred between him and the girl. The Waukegan News-Sun reported, ‘Had he been found guilty by a trial jury, Rev. Dake would have been subject to a maximum sentence of 10 years in a federal prison and a fine of $10,000.’ (Feb. 10, 1937). Dake called the jail sentence a ‘vacation’ and said he would use his incarceration as an opportunity to preach to the prisoners and devote time to writing a commentary on the Bible.
"The Assemblies of God severed its relationship with Dake, and he later joined the Church of God, Cleveland, Tennessee. It is not clear how his union with the Church of God ended, but Dake eventually became independent of any church."
Dake And Mormonism
There is an abundance of confusion in Dake’s Bible and his other writings. None can be worse than the quote we started this expose’ with, but other departures from truth certainly paint a picture of confusion. His teachings on God the Father that are found in his notes on the book of St. John are extremely revealing. Read these words carefully.
"He is a person with a personal spirit body, a personal soul, and a personal spirit, like that of angels, and like that of man except His body is out of spirit substance instead of flesh and bones.
"He has a personal spirit body; shape; form; image and likeness of a man. He has bodily parts such as, back parts, heart, hands and fingers, mouth, lips and tongue, feet, eyes, ears, hair, head, face, arms, loins, and other bodily parts.
"He has bodily presence and goes from place to place in a body like all other persons.
"He has a voice; breath; and countenance. He wears clothes; eats; rests; dwells in a mansion and in a city located on a material planet called Heaven; sits on a throne; walks; rides; engages in other activities.
"He has a personal soul with feel-ings of grief, anger; repentance; jealousy; hate; love; pity; fellowship; pleasure and delight; and other soul passions like other beings.
"He has a personal spirit with mind; intelligence; will; power; truth; faith and hope; righteousness; faithfulness; knowledge and wisdom; reason; discernment; immutability; and many other attributes." (Dakes Annotated reference Bible, Finis Jennings Dake, published by Dake Bible Sales, Inc., Lawrenceville, Georgia, New Testament, pp. 96-97)
I presume this is where Kenneth Copeland got his Mormon doctrine of God being about 6’2" tall and weighing about 220 pounds, with a hand span of nine inches. Also, Benny Hinn is reported to have applied his teaching on "Nine numbers in the Godhead" to Dake’s Bible. He later confessed that error and said he was joking with his congregation.
Such ideas about God have no rel-evance in the Scripture, although Dake gives multiple quotes to back up this doc-trinal commentary.
Dake Limits God’s Eternal Omnipotence
Here is an unbelievable commentary that is given within the story of Abraham and his visit by the preincarnate Christ. He suggests that God did not know what was happening in Sodom and Gomorrah and came to find out.
"Here we have another proof that God receives knowledge of true conditions and becomes acquainted with existing facts. This plainly teaches that God, as well as men and angels, is limited to one place as far as the body is concerned. The doctrine of omnipresence of God can be proved, but not His omnibody. In His body He goes from place to place like other persons. Abraham stood yet before the bodily presence of God, but not before the bodily presence of the 2 angels because they went to Sodom and were no longer bodily present." (Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible, Finis Jennings Dake, published by Dake Bible Sales, Inc, Lawrenceville, Georgia, Old Testament, p. 15.)
It is totally unacceptable to limit God, who is unlimited. He is omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent. Dake’s confusion arises from identifying this Divine visitor as God the Father, instead of a pre-Incarnate appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ. Our God has certainly manifested Himself to different servants, but not His Divine essence. The writer in the New Testament stated plainly,
"No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him." (John 1: 1 8).
Dake gets around this by saying,
"Our English ‘seen’ means to see with the eyes and also see with the mind. That it means here to comprehend fully or understand is clear from the fact that many men have seen God with the eyes. The verse could read, ‘No man has ever comprehended or experienced God at any time in all His fulness, save the only begotten SOn … He hath declared Him.’" (Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible, Finis Jennings Dake, published by Dake Bible Sales, Inc, Lawrenceville, Georgia, New Testament, p. 93.)
The False Concept Of "Little Gods"
Dake not only was confused about the omnipotence of God, but he also taught that man was a miniature of God. In conjunction with Dake’s commentary on the Book of Job, he wrote about the idea called anthropomorphism. Under that heading, he said some strange things.
"Anthropomorphism is the ascription of human bodily parts, attributes, and passions to God, and taking the substantiating statements of Scripture to be literal, and not figurative. In support of such teaching an appropriate question is: If God did not mean all He said about Himself in over 20,000 scriptures then why did He say such things? They certainly do not add to a true understanding of Him if the passages do not mean what they say. Furthermore, why would God, in hundreds of places, refer to Himself as having bodily parts, soul passions, and spirit faculties if He does not have them? Would it be necessary for Him to tell us He has such in order to reveal that He does not have them? Would He not be more likely to say in plain language that He does not have eyes, hands, mouth, ears, and other bodily members?" (Dake Annotated Reference Bible, Finis Jennings Dake, published by Dake Bible Sales, Inc, Lawrenceville, Georgia, Old Testament, p. 547.)
His entire statement above seems childlike and basically ignorant of the revelation of Holy Scripture. Why would someone reduce God down to the level of men just because God speaks of Himself with words on our level? That is God’s method throughout Scripture when He uses our language to convey His eternal truth. Because God said, "I saw you," does not mean His eyes are limited to human shape and size. The Bible said emphatically,
"God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." (John 4:24).
From this false concept, it is natural to move directly to the next step. If God is man-like, then man must be god-like. Under the same heading as above, Dake wrote about our god-like state.
"Truly He is not only all that man, angels, and other beings are in this respect, but infinitely greater in everything; and man, in reality, is simply a miniature of God in attributes and powers." (Dake Annotated Reference Bible, Finis Jennings Dake, published by Dake Bible Sales, Inc, Lawrenceville, Georgia, Old Testament, p. 548.)
This statement by Dake does not go as far as saying what is now being promoted by modem Charismatic leaders, but he does lay the foundation. His promoting of God as a man with all the human attributes, combined with the idea of us as miniature Gods, has been stretched to the present deception of men as "little gods."
Dake Carries The Idea Of Christ Emptying Himself To A Dangerous Extreme
The son of God did indeed empty Himself to become the Son of man. What is extremely important is that this emptying was not a forsaking of His eternal essence, bat an emptying of manifesting that essence. He was never void of His divine essence, but He did limit Himself not to express it while depending wholly on His Father and the Holy Spirit. Dake either did not understand that above or he willingly rejected it. Here are some of his statements on the subject:
"Christ emptied Himself of His authority in heaven and in earth, which was given back to Him after the resurrection.
"Christ emptied Himself of His divine attributes and outward powers that He had with the Father from eternity. He had no power to do miracles until He received the Holy Spirit in all fullness. He could do nothing of Himself in all His earthly life. He attributed all His works, doctrines, powers, etc. to the Father through the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
"Isaiah speaks of the Messiah being born with-out knowledge enough to know to refuse the evil and choose the good.
"Isaiah predicted that the Messiah would be born without the tongue of the learned, without knowing how to speak a word in season to help any soul, and that He would be wakened day by day to increase in knowledge and wisdom."
"He did not claim the attributes of God, but only the anointing of the Spirit to do His works." (Dake’s Annotated Reference Finis Jennings Dake, published by Dake Bible Sales, Inc, Lawrenceville, Georgia, New Testament, p. 218.)
I have tapes in my library with Crouch and Copeland on a TBN broadcast stating that Jesus never claimed to be God. Those quotes sound almost like a word for word expression right out of the Dake’s Bible. These men and women, from Dake to almost every key leader of the Charismatic world, talk about Jesus out of both sides of their mouths. One moment they seem to exalt Him properly, but then they say these careless things that are utterly confusing. This gives a perfect fulfillment of Jesus’ very words in St. Matthew. Read these words of the Lord Himself.
"For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many." (Matthew 24:5).
Finis Dake’s Bible is without question filled with questionable commentaries. It is not the reading material for young, immature Christians or undiscerning ministers. It has just enough truth to make his error seem plausible and convincing. He surely has convinced a host of modern day Pentecostals and Charismatics. No one would suggest that he is singularly responsible for the theological mess that floods these churches, but neither should he be excused for his part. Often when a figure such as Dake is dead, his teaching becomes even more powerful and accepted. Godly men and women must return to the simple Word of God and quit depending on popular figures to do their interpreting of truth. The Bible will interpret itself if you will:
"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." (II Timothy 2:15).