Finis Dake and the dangers of the Dake Bible
The Jesus Of The Dake Annotated Reference Bible
Finis Jennings Dake (1902-87) was a Pentecostal pastor, teacher, and author whose most influential work is the Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible. This study Bible, containing notes on the entire Old and New Testaments, was first published in 1963. The Dake Bible is considered the top "Pentecostal Study Bible" by many. In fact, the Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements says, "His ‘notes’ became the ‘bread and butter’ of many prominent preachers and the ‘staple’ of Pentecostal congregations." Dake is very important within Pentecostal/Charismatic circles.
Dake was a man devoted to the study of the Word of God. In fact, the back cover of one of his books says, "His supernatural ability to flawlessly quote Scripture earned him a reputation as the ‘Walking Bible.’" Dake himself claims a supernatural knowledge of the Bible that came soon after his conversion—even before he began to study the Word of God. Dake asserts:
I was immediately able to quote hundreds of Scriptures without memorizing them. I also noticed a quickening of my mind 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.
It has been said that he put more than 100,000 hours into Scripture study during his career. The commentary notes in the Dake Annotated Reference Bible are certainly the main fruit of his work. The preface to this extensive study Bible states, "The purpose of this work is to give in ONE volume the helps a student of the Bible needs from many books—Bible commentaries, Atlas, Dictionary, complete Concordance, Dispensational Truth, Topical Text Book, Bible Synthesis, Doctrines, Prophetic Studies, and others." This volume certainly follows through with its promise. It is a massive collection of facts, figures, and encyclopedic findings contained in "nearly 9,000 informative headings . . . , 500,000 cross references throughout 35,000 notes and comments . . . , 3,400 note-columns—over 8,000 outlines on a great variety of subjects, and 2,000 illustrations."
The fact is clearly seen that Mr. Dake put much work into this reference tool. However, there are severe problems with the theology contained in this work. For instance, heresies abound concerning subjects such as the nature and attributes of God, Soteriology, and Christology—just to name a few. Furthermore, many word-faith teachers, such as Benny Hinn and Kenneth Copeland, have verifiably used Dake as a source of their quizzical doctrines. The scope of this paper, however, is not a complete, systematic analysis of the Dake Annotated Reference Bible, but an analysis of what it says about Jesus.
It must be stated that Finis Jennings Dake and those who follow his teaching are not yet considered a cult. However, much of the teaching in Dake’s Bible is considered cultic because it falls far outside the walls of orthodox Christianity. To be sure, there are many heretical claims concerning Jesus found in this study Bible. And with about 30,000 Dake Bibles being sold each year, this is a subject that needs to be addressed. This exploration of Dake’s teaching on Jesus will be subsumed under two broad topics: Dake and the Trinity, which will exegete Dake’s teaching about the very nature of Jesus before He was Incarnated into a body of flesh, and Dake and the Incarnation, which will present Dake’s teaching about the Incarnation of the Second Person of the Trinity.
DAKE AND THE TRINITY
The trouble with the Jesus of the Dake Bible begins long before His birth in Bethlehem. Dake’s aberrant view of Jesus begins with an incorrect theology of the Trinity and the very nature of God. And since Jesus is the eternal Second Person of the Trinity who possesses the very nature and attributes of God, we are certainly concerned with what Dake teaches about this subject.
Finis Dake’s teachings on the Trinity are assuredly not considered orthodox. In fact, his dogma on the subject is positively cultic. His deviation from the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity stems from his perversion of the term "Person." In his book God’s Plan for Man, Dake tells us that a "person" is "a rational being with bodily presence, soul passions, and spirit faculties." In other words, a person is a being with a body. With this in mind, we turn to Dake’s definition of the Trinity:
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.
In view of Dake’s definition of "person," this quotation is claiming three "beings" in the Trinity which is undeniably Tritheism. Similarly, in his book God’s Plan for Man, Dake says:
There are over 500 plain scriptures that refer to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, as being THREE SEPARATE AND DISTINCT PERSONS, each with His own personal body, soul, and spirit in the sense that all other persons have them. . . . If two or three persons are referred to in all these passages and they are called God, then we must understand them as referring to this many divine persons, as we do when the same statements are made of two or three persons of the human race.
Dake’s Trinity is clearly three separate, distinct Beings, each called God. Dake states that it is a "fallacy" to believe "that there is only one person or one being called God." He also claims that it is a "fallacy" to believe "that there is a difference in meaning of three human persons and three divine persons." In other words, just as each human person is a separate and distinct being, each member of the Trinity is a separate and distinct Being unified only in purpose or goal. Allow me to depict Dake’s view in this way: According to Dake, if we were to go to heaven and see the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, there would be three different Beings bodily present on three different thrones, just like three kings would be seated on three distinct thrones on earth. The members of the Trinity are separate, distinct Beings. Dake argues from the analogy of man as created in God’s image:
Is God bodiless? If so we can conclude that man is also bodiless. Is God only one being made up of several persons or beings in the one being? If so, we can conclude that man is one person or being made up of many.
The obvious conclusion to which Dake is trying to lead his flock is that God is three separate beings—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—and each of these beings has His own personal body, soul, and spirit. What about the "oneness" of God? The Bible certainly claims that, in some sense, God is one (Deut. 6:4-6). Dake explains that the three separate Beings in the Trinity are one in unity or purpose:
The word one means one in unity as well as one in number. . . . There is one God the Father, one Lord Jesus Christ, and one Holy Ghost. Thus there are three separate persons in the divine individuality and divine plurality. . . . As individual persons each can be called God and collectively they can be spoken of as one God because of their perfect unity. The word God is used either as a singular or a plural word, like sheep.
Dake believes that the oneness of God is in the fact that "these three (beings) are in absolute unity and ‘are one’ as believers are supposed to be (John 17:11, 21-23)." Thus, the Godhead is three separate beings, a plurality like "sheep," who are one in unity, the same way that the body of Christ is one in unity—a collection of persons with the same goal or purpose. Therefore, the unity of the one God, according to Dake, is not ontological oneness shared by three persons, as orthodoxy claims, but a functional unity found in purpose or direction.
Moreover, Dake, expounding his theology to its logical conclusion, believes the Bible distinctly teaches God has a body. The "Walking Bible" claims:
He (God) has a personal spirit body, shape, form, image and likeness of a man, bodily parts such as, back parts, heart, hands and fingers, mouth, lips and tongue, feet, eyes, hair, head, face, arms, loins, and other bodily parts. He has bodily presence and goes place to place in a body like all other persons. He has a voice and countenance. He wears clothes, eats, dwells in a mansion and in a city located on a material planet called heaven.
It is not surprising that Dake, whose teaching implicitly denies the Trinity by redefining it, can also be found explicitly denying the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity. He claims that the writers who support the orthodox doctrines of the nature of God and the Trinity exhibit "the modern trend to make God too mystical to understand." He goes on to teach that the orthodox understanding of the spirit nature of God and the Trinity is "foolish and unscriptural, to say the least." Furthermore, Dake charges that the Trinitarians "make such ridiculous propositions about God that it is impossible to comprehend them." The problem that the Trinitarians have, claims Dake, is that they fail to take the Bible literally when it speaks of God having bodily parts. Dake asserts "The expressions which tell us that God has bodily parts are real and literal and not figurative."
In summary, the Jesus of the Dake Bible, before the Incarnation, was one of three divine Beings who composed the Trinity. Each of these separate, distinct Beings has His own body (legs, arms, head, lips, etc.), soul, and spirit and are unified only in purpose or direction. We now move our focus from Dake’s view of the Trinity onto the Incarnation of the Second Person of the Trinity—Jesus Christ. Dake’s unusual understanding of the Trinity and the nature of God lays the foundation for his deviant doctrine of the Incarnation.
DAKE AND THE INCARNATION
Finis Dake teaches several disputable doctrines concerning the Incarnation of Jesus. First, he denies the eternal Sonship of Jesus Christ by teaching that Jesus became the Son of God when He was born into flesh at Bethlehem. Second, Dake teaches that Jesus became the Christ at His baptism. To put it another way, Jesus was not the Christ from all eternity, but was appointed with the office of Christ at His baptism. Third, Dake denies the deity of Jesus by stating that He totally emptied Himself of the attributes of God when He came to earth.
The first doctrine to be examined in this section is Finis Dake’s position on Jesus as the eternal Son of God. In essence, Dake asserts that Jesus was not the Son of God from all eternity, but became the Son of God when He was incarnated.
Dake begins by defining the word "son." In his note on John 1:14 ("the Word was made flesh"), Dake alleges that, "This made Him God’s Son, for sonship in connection with Jesus Christ always refers to humanity, never to deity." To put it another way, Dake is saying that the title "Son of God" does not refer to Jesus as God, but Jesus as man. This definition of the term Son of God is found throughout Dake’s writings. In an extended footnote on Luke 1:35, Dake argues for his position in great detail:
Sonship with Christ always refers to humanity, not to deity. As God, He had no beginning; was not begotten or He would have had a beginning as God; and was not God’s Son. But as man, He had a beginning, was begotten, and was God’s Son. . . . Multiplied problems increase and become unanswerable with Scripture if we hold to the theory of eternal sonship, but all questions are clear when we accept the plain statements of Scripture that sonship refers to humanity and not to deity.
Dake believes that Jesus, the Second Person of the Trinity became the Son of God when he was conceived in Mary’s womb. The Pentecostal pastor contends that the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem "was when God had a Son through Mary. This happened on a certain day, ‘This day I have begotten thee,’ and therefore, we cannot say that God had a Son before this time." Dake concludes his argument against the Eternal Sonship of Jesus by stating:
As man and as God’s Son He was not eternal, He did have a beginning, He was begotten, this being the same time Mary had a Son. Therefore, the doctrine of eternal sonship of Jesus Christ is irreconcilable to reason, is unscriptural, and is contradictory to itself. . . . The word Son supposes time, generation, father, mother, beginning, and conception. . . . If sonship refers to deity, not to humanity, then this person of the Deity had a beginning in time and not in eternity.
In the same way that Dake denies the Eternal Sonship of Jesus, he also denies that Jesus was the Christ from all eternity. Dake teaches that, just as Jesus became the Son of God, He became the Christ. It was God who "anointed" Jesus to be the Christ at a certain point in Jesus’ earthly life.
In the very first note found in the New Testament of Dake’s Bible, Dake sets the stage for his teaching about the "Christ." Concerning the title "Christ," Dake contends, "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."
Dake’s book God’s Plan for Man contains the same teaching, but takes it a step further by telling us the exact point in Jesus’ thirtieth year that He was anointed "the Christ":
The word "Christ" literally means "anointed" and is a name applied to Jesus when He became the anointed of God. Jesus became the anointed of God or Christ 30 years after He was called Jesus. . . . History records that the time He became the "Anointed" was at His baptism.
Dake concludes his argumentation that Jesus became the Christ at His baptism with an explanation for all the passages that seem to say that Jesus was Christ from eternity. He comments:
Passages such as Luke 2:26; Gal. 3:17; 1 Pet. 1:11 should be understood in the same sense as we would say that President George Washington was a surveyor. He was not this when he was president, but since he became president we could speak of any event of his life before he became president as what President Washington did. So it is with Christ. Since He became God’s Christ we can now speak of Christ doing certain things even before He was anointed.
Therefore, according to Dake’s understanding of the term "Christ," there was a time when Jesus was not the Christ. Then, when Jesus was thirty He was baptized, and at that time, God anointed Him as the Christ. Also, Dake holds that any passages that seem to refer to Jesus as being the Christ before His baptism are merely using the term retroactively.
e Deity of Jesus
After reading the content above, it probably is not shocking that Finis Jennings Dake in some way denies the deity of Jesus Christ. He does this, however, not in an explicit, obvious way, but implicitly. Many times in his notes on the New Testament, Dake affirms that Jesus is God in the flesh. But, a close examination of some of his claims about Jesus reveals that Dake, in effect, denies the deity of Christ by some of the deductions he makes about certain passages.
For instance, in Dake’s notes on Philippians 2:5-11, the passage about Jesus making Himself "nothing" in the Incarnation, Dake denies that Jesus was God while He was here on earth. On the one hand, concerning the self-emptying of Jesus, or the kenosis of Christ, Dake correctly surmises, "Of what did Christ empty Himself? It could not have been His divine nature, for He was God not only from all eternity, but God manifest in flesh during His life on earth." But on the other hand, Dake contradicts his first statement by saying, "Christ emptied Himself of . . . His divine attributes and outward powers that He had with the Father from eternity." In other words, Jesus became man by becoming something less than God. His divine attributes were displaced by human attributes when He transformed Himself into, or was "limited to the status of a man." Thus, the Incarnation is a subtraction from His divine nature. Dake clearly expresses this in his book God’s Plan for Man:
The various doctrine books teach that Christ possessed all the glory, nature, and attributes of God during His earthly life just as much as when He was in the form of God. They give us proof for their conclusion that Christ had:
1. Omnipotence (Matt. 8:16, 26-27; Luke 4:35-41; 5:25; 7:14-15; 8:54-55; Eph. 1:20).
2. Omniscience (Mark 2:8; Luke 5:4-5, 22; 22:10-12; Jn. 1:48; 2:24-25; 4:15-19, etc.).
3. Omnipresence (Matt. 18:20; 28:20; Jn. 3:13; 14:20; 2 Cor. 13:5; Eph. 1:13).
4. Eternity (John 1:1; 17:5; 8:58; Mic. 5:2; Col. 1:17; Heb. 13:8; 1 Jn. 1:1).
5. Immutability (Heb. 1:12; 13:8).
Upon examination of these passages it can be seen that not one passage teaches that Christ had or used these attributes of Himself while on earth. . . . The true Biblical teaching of the kenosis of Christ is that in taking human form He divested Himself of His divine attributes. . . .
Dake assuredly believes Jesus was divested of His divine attributes, and thus, had no divine powers or characteristics. Therefore, Dake must necessarily conclude "He (Jesus) had no power to do miracles until He received the Holy Spirit in all fullness." Dake also argues that Jesus "did not claim the attributes of God, but only the anointing of the Holy Spirit to do His works." Furthermore, Dake says, "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." To put it another way, Dake believes that the only way Jesus, a mere man, could do miracles was by the anointing of the Holy Spirit who performed all the miracles through Him.
To support this premise, Dake states, "All scriptures related to His earthly life (the miracles, etc.) can be explained as referring to the exercise of the gifts of the Spirit and not natural attributes." The Holy Spirit was the miracle worker in the pages of the four Gospels, and Jesus was merely the instrumental agent, or willing accomplice. Dake emphasizes this point by this reasoning:
Is it necessary for God to be anointed with the Holy Spirit to do what He is naturally capable of doing? If it became necessary to anoint Jesus during His earthly life, then it proves He did not retain His former glory and attributes which He had from all eternity when He emptied Himself to become like men in all things.
It is not difficult to discern that Finis Dake on the subject of Jesus falls far outside the confines of Christianity. In this section, I will provide brief apologetic answers to the teachings of Dake, thereby proving that the Jesus of the Dake Annotated Reference Bible is not the Jesus of Christianity.
ANSWERING DAKE’S DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY
As stated above, Finis Dake’s view of the Trinity is actually an implicit denial of the Trinity by way of redefining the term "Trinity" into Tritheism. Dake’s Trinity is not composed of one Being, or nature, consisting of three Persons, but three separate and distinct Beings, each a separate and distinct God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, who are one only in purpose.
Monotheism vs. Tritheism
Dake, who claims that he gets all of his teachings from a plain, literal reading of the Bible, results with the decidedly unorthodox claim of three separate, distinct beings in the Godhead. This cannot be true. I will argue against Dake’s Tritheism from two different angles: reason and revelation, which both show that it is not possible for there to be more than one Being in the Godhead.
Philosophical Arguments for Monotheism. Three arguments for the existence of only one God were forwarded by Catholic philosopher and theologian Thomas Aquinas. The first of Aquinas’ arguments is from the simplicity of God. God’s simplicity is the attribute that states God is not composed of parts in His being, and is, thus, indivisible. To put it another way, God cannot be divided into parts. Aquinas argued that God must be one because to be more than one, there must be parts, and simple beings have no parts. Therefore, God is one.
St. Thomas also argued for monotheism from the position that God is infinite in His perfection. For if there were more than one God, there would have to be some difference between them. In other words, one would have what the other one lacks. But an absolutely perfect Being cannot be lacking in any perfection—a being that lacks is not a God. If Beings do not differ in any perfection, they would not differ at all. And to not differ in anything at all is to be the same. Therefore, there can be only one God. Tertullian, in his writings against Marcion, illustrates:
That which shall be valid as the highest greatness, that must stand unique and must have no equal, in order not to cease to be the highest essence. . . . But as God is the supreme essence our ecclesiastical truth has with justice declared: If God is not One then there is no God.
The third argument Aquinas advanced was from the unity of the world. He stated that there is a diversity of things in the world. But this diversity of things is "seen to be ordered to each other since some serve others." In other words, the diverse world has an ordered unity. Therefore, concludes Aquinas, there must be One who accomplished or created the order among diverse things. The philosophical argumentation of Aquinas combined with the biblical proof below provide powerful evidence for the existence of only one absolutely perfect Being, the God of the Bible.
A Theological Argument for Monotheism. In concert with philosophical argumentation, the Bible reveals God as one Being in distinction to Dake’s three. It is a foundational doctrine of both the Old and New Testaments that there is only one God. For instance, the first chapter of the Old Testament is an apologetic for the existence of one God. Some see the creation account in Genesis 1 as an early apologetic against all the polytheistic creation accounts. Further, Deuteronomy 6:4, the Jewish Shema, states, "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one!" In Isaiah 44:6 God says, "I am the First and I am the Last
; Besides Me there is no God." Moreover, Isaiah 43:10 declares that God is one in the claim, "Before Me there was no God formed, Nor shall there be after Me." It is undeniable that the Jews were strict monotheists. In fact, much of the Old Testament, especially the book of Isaiah, is a warning against abandoning the one true God to chase after false gods. To be sure, it was because of the Israelites stubborn determination to serve false gods that the one true God sent them into exile in Babylon as punishment.
The New Testament also affirms monotheism. The Apostle Paul, himself a strict monotheistic Jew, reacted strongly against Gentile polytheism with powerful declarations of the existence of only one God. In 1 Corinthians 8:4 Paul states, "We know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is no other God but one." Furthermore, in Ephesians 4:6 Paul states that there is "one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all." Finally, Paul declared in 1 Timothy 2:5, "For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus." There are many other Scriptures in the New Testament that teach that there is only one Being called God (cf. Mk. 12:32; Acts 7:35; Rom. 3:30; 1 Cor. 8:6; Jas. 2:19). These Scriptures combined with those from the Old Testament show beyond doubt that the teaching of the Bible, from cover to cover, is Monotheism. Therefore, Dake’s postulation that the Bible teaches three Beings that are each a God is absolutely false and foreign to reason and revelation. Dake’s error will be made more clear by examining the Christian doctrine of the Trinity.
The Orthodox Doctrine of the Trinity
The contention found in the writings of Finis Dake that God is three separate beings who are one only in purpose is heretical and certainly not compatible with Christianity. Dake denies the doctrine of the Trinity, which is one of the essential doctrines of the Christian Faith, by redefining it as Tritheism. However, a look at the Christian definition of the Trinity will expose Dake’s tritheistic teachings as cultic. In fact, Dake’s teaching on the Trinity is very close to the Mormon Trinity.
A concise definition of the Trinity can be stated as one God who eternally exists in three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. God is one in nature, or essence, and three in person. This is in distinction to Dake’s views that God is three Beings that are one in purpose only. To put it another way, God is one in one sense, His nature or essence, and He is three in another sense, His personage. These separate persons are equal, have the same attributes, and are equally worthy of worship, adoration, and faith. It is the distinction between essence, or being, and person that Dake fails to make. This distinction keeps the doctrine from violating the law of non-contradiction and, thus, being heretical.
The affirmation that God is one in essence and three in person is really an affirmation that God is one What and three Whos. His What (What He is) is His essence, nature, or being, while His Whos (Who He is) are the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Consider the following chart that illustrates the one Divine nature that is shared by three distinct and separate persons:
Notice that the three Whos (Persons) all share the same What (Essence). So God is a unity of essence with a plurality of persons. Each person is different, yet they share a common nature. We affirm one God who is three in person, one of whom is the Son, Jesus. It was only the Son who took on a human nature, and thus, has a body. Therefore Dake’s claim that each member of the Trinity has a body is false. For the Bible states that God is spirit (John 4:24), and a spirit does not have flesh and bones (Luke 24:39). Furthermore, if God has a body, that would necessarily mean that He is not omnipresent or eternal. A body would confine Him to one place at one time. Yet, the Bible declares that God is both omnipresent and eternal. Therefore, Dake is fatally mistaken in his teaching that God has a body.
What about those passages that seem to teach that God has a body or different body parts? Those passages contain a literary device called anthropomorphisms. An anthropomorphism is "a figure of speech whereby the deity is referred to in terms of human bodily parts or human passions. To speak of God’s hands, eyes, anger, or even love is to speak anthropomorphically." The biblical picture of God is an immutable, eternal, infinite Being. Yet, having a body would compromise all of these characteristics. Thus, the references in the Bible to God’s bodily parts and activities are clearly figures of speech. Dake’s denial of anthropomorphic references to God is the very heart of his theological misgivings and the source of much of his heresy.
The Christian understanding of the Trinity is certainly not "foolish" as Dake charges. Yet, as I have shown, Dake’s understanding of the Trinity as Tritheism is nowhere close to the Christian doctrine of the Trinity. In addition, Dake’s understanding of God as having a body is certainly theologically and philosophically flawed as well. Therefore, based on this doctrine alone, Dake and his disciples should be classified into the kingdom of the cults along with Mormons who teach the same thing about the Trinity—three separate and distinct gods who have bodily parts.
ANSWERING DAKE’S DOCTRINE OF THE INCARNATION
The doctrine of eternal Sonship "declares that the second person of the triune godhead has eternally existed as the Son." This is in opposition to the teaching of Dake, who denies the eternal Sonship of Jesus by saying that Jesus became the Son of God when He was placed into the womb of Mary. This is formally known as "Adoptionism," which was condemned by the Plenary Council of Frankfurt in 794 A. D. The eternal Sonship of Jesus will be proved by demonstrating the biblical meaning of the term "Son of . . ." and by showing clear scriptural evidence that Jesus was the Son before the Incarnation. Thus Dake’s position will be verified as false.
The Meaning of "Son of. . . ." Dake comes to erroneous conclusions about the eternal Sonship of Christ by beginning with the wrong definition of the term "Son of God." As we have seen, he holds that sonship refers to the humanity of Jesus Christ and not the deity. This is simply untrue. The term "son of . . ." as used in the Old Testament often refers to the exhibition of certain characteristics in a person. Thus, the terms "son of valor" (1 Sam. 14:52) or "son of wise ones" (Isa. 19:11) mean that the person exhibits valor or wisdom. Furthermore, the term "son of . . ." is used to show that the person possessed the same nature as his father. For instance, Numbers 23:19 tells us, "God is not a man, that he should lie: neither the son of man, that he should repent. . . ." The term "son of man" in that verse is used to show that God does not possess the nature of a man. Consequently, when Jesus is referred to as the "Son of God" it is a direct assertion that he exhibits the characteristics and nature of God. He is as fully divine as the Father.
The Sonship of Jesus, in contradistinction to the allegation of Dake, is a declaration of His deity. Jesus is the Son of God in that He is God—He possesses the nature and attributes of God. Jesus certainly claimed this by referring to Himself as the "Son of God." The Jews certainly understood that Jesus was making Himself ontologically equal with God when He did this. In John 19:7, the Jews told Pilate concerning Jesus, "We have a law, and according to our law He ought to die, because He made Himself the Son of God.&
quot; The reaction of the Jews was the desire to kill Jesus for making Himself "equal to God" (John 5:18; 10:28-36; 19:7) by claiming to be the Son of God. Therefore, the term "Son of God" when used of Jesus indicates His absolute deity. This was the finding of the Nicene Council, which, according to theologian Charles Hodge, declared that Jesus "is the Eternal Son of God, i.e., that He is from eternity the Son of God."
Scriptural Proof that Jesus was the Son before the Incarnation. By examining the Semitic meaning of the term "Son of . . .", it is clear that the Son of God is not something Jesus became, but something He is in His very nature or being. In opposition to Dake, the Scriptures teach that Jesus was the Son of God before His Incarnation. For example, Hebrews 1:2, Colossians 1:16, and John 1:3 tell us that "all things" were created by the Son. This implies that Jesus was the Son of God prior to Creation, which is long before His birth in Bethlehem. Furthermore, the New Testament shows Jesus was Son of God before Bethlehem by the language used when interacting with others. In the famous exchange between Martha and Jesus after the death of her brother Lazarus, Jesus asked, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?" To this Martha declared, "Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world." This statement by Martha "reflects a sense of movement of the Son of God—from the realm of heaven and eternity to the realm of earth and time." Likewise, in John 3:16-17, it is stated that God gave His Son and God sent His Son into the world. Apologist Ron Rhodes argues:
Recall the discussion with Nicodemus in John 3, for instance, when he (Jesus) said: "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him" (John 3:16-17, italics added). That Christ, as the Son of God, was sent into the world implies that he was the Son of God before the Incarnation.
The orthodox Christian position on Jesus’ Sonship is that He is the Son of God from all eternity. This is because the term "Son of God" is a reference to His deity, proving that Jesus is one in nature with the Father. It is also a clear teaching of the Scripture that Jesus was the Son before the Incarnation. Therefore, Dake’s position that Jesus became the Son when He was incarnated should be rejected. Professor and theologian John F. Walvoord sums up the doctrine of eternal Sonship:
The consensus of the great theologians of the church and the great church councils is to the effect that Christ has been a Son from eternity; and the theory that He became a Son by Incarnation is inadequate to account for the usage of the term. . . . The Scriptures represent Christ as eternally the Son of God by eternal generation. While it must be admitted that the nature of the generation is unique, being eternal, sonship has been used in the Bible to represent the relationship between the first Person and the second Person. . . . The scriptural view of the sonship of Christ, as recognized in many of the great creeds of the church, is that Christ was always the Son of God.
Not only does Dake assert that Jesus became the Son of God, he also teaches that Jesus became the Christ at His baptism. As with Dake’s view of Sonship, his view of Jesus as the Christ can be soundly refuted when examined in light of the biblical record. I will do this by first showing what it means for Jesus to be the Christ, and second, by showing that Jesus was the Christ before His baptism.
The Meaning of the "Christ." The term "Christ," meaning "anointed one," is the Greek equivalent to the Hebrew term "Messiah." "Messiah" and "Christ" refer to the same person—Jesus. Furthermore, the Old Testament is clear that the coming Messiah is to be none other than Jehovah Himself. Norman Geisler clearly demonstrates this point:
Jehovah is called "king" (Zech. 14:9) and it is the "angel of Jehovah" who will redeem them (Isa. 63:9). Jehovah is the "stone" and yet the Messiah is to be the rejected "stone" (Ps. 118:22). The Messiah is spoken of in the Old Testament as "Lord" when it is written, "Jehovah saith unto my Lord" (Ps. 110:1), a passage which the New Testament writers apply to Christ (Acts 2:34, 35). Isaiah provided a messianic challenge to the Jews, saying, "Behold your God!" (40:9). Indeed, there is no clearer messianic passage on the deity of Christ than Isaiah 9:6: "For unto us a child is born . . . and his name will be called ‘Wonderful, counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.’" With these predictions the New Testament writers concur, declaring Jesus to be "Emmanuel" (which means God with us) (Matt. 1:23, from Isa. 7:14). In brief, the Old Testament Messiah was Jehovah and the New Testament writers identify Jesus with the Old Testament Messiah.
It is a clear teaching of the Old Testament that the Messiah is God Himself and Jesus is the God-Man who is the Messiah/Christ. According to this information, the obvious conclusion one must draw is that Jesus, the Christ, has been the Christ from all eternity. Therefore, since He was forever the Christ, He could not have become the Christ at His baptism as Dake claims.
Jesus as the Christ before His Baptism. It is rather simple to show in the Bible that Jesus was the Christ before His baptism. The Bible is clear that Jesus did not become the Christ, but He was the Christ from the beginning. For instance, in Luke 2:11, when the angel announced the birth of Jesus to the shepherds in the field, he said to them, "Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord." This shows that Jesus was Christ long before He was immersed in the Jordan. Furthermore, Luke 2:26 records the instance when Mary and Joseph took Jesus to the temple soon after His birth. There a man named Simeon declared Jesus was the Christ. This was because God had promised Simeon that "he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ." Moreover, the Apostle Peter explains that we were all redeemed "with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world" (1 Pet. 1:19-20a). In this passage, Jesus is clearly portrayed as being Christ the Lamb before creation. Paul concurs with Peter in 2 Timothy 1:9-10, as he explains that we were saved "not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ." Again, Jesus is portrayed as being the Christ before time began. Furthermore, the Incarnation was a revealing or "appearing" of the Savior Jesus Christ. This implies He was the Savior and Christ before He was revealed or appeared in the Incarnation.
Since the biblical record is clear that the Christ was to be God in the flesh, and that Jesus was called the Christ long before His baptism—even before the beginning of time, it is reasonable to infer that Jesus was the Christ, from all eternity. Thus, Dake’s aberrant teaching should be rejected.
The Deity of Christ
Finis Dake undeniably denies the deity of Christ. In his teaching of the kenosis of Chris
t, Dake has stripped Jesus of every divine attribute He had before the Incarnation and created a mere man that was "anointed" by the Holy Spirit in order to do miracles. Dake’s assertions are blatantly false. What happened when Jesus, the Second Person of the Trinity, came to earth as a man? The orthodox Christian answer to this question will prove Dake to be a false teacher that has more in common with the kingdom of the cults than the Kingdom of God.
The Doctrine of the Incarnation. The teaching of the Christian Church about the Incarnation of Christ has been attacked by heresies throughout the centuries. Dake’s heretical view of the Incarnation is merely one among many. To answer Dake’s claim that Jesus gave up all of the attributes of God in order to become man, I will present the orthodox teaching concerning the Incarnation of the Second Person of the Trinity. This will expose Dake’s view of the Incarnation as flawed.
Jesus Christ is the eternal, immutable, infinite God—the Word who became flesh—two thousand years ago in Bethlehem. This is one of the deepest and most beautiful truths in Christian theology. The Incarnation has been defined as "the act whereby the eternal Son of God, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, without ceasing to be what He is, God the Son, took into union with Himself what He before the act did not possess, a human nature, and so He was and continues to be God and man in two distinct natures and one person, forever." The Council of Chalcedon (A. D. 451) stated that the one person of Jesus Christ possessed "two natures without confusion, without change, without division, without separation, the distinctiveness of the natures being by no means removed because of the union, but the properties of each nature being preserved." Consider the following chart that illustrates the two natures, the divine and the human, within one person, Jesus:
Orthodox Christian theologians have never claimed that God gave up His divine attributes and "became" a man as Dake suggests. God cannot "become" anything because He is pure actuality, with absolutely no potentiality for change. He is immutable, therefore, cannot change. The Incarnation is not an instance where God shed His attributes and changed into man. There was absolutely no change in the divine nature of the Son in the Incarnation. However, the Son of God did take on the nature of man in addition to his divine nature. Consequently, there are two natures, a divine nature and a human nature, present in one person, Jesus Christ, the God-Man. It can be said, therefore, that the Incarnation of God into human flesh is not a giving up of divinity or divine attributes, but the taking of an additional nature of man in union with divinity. In his book Knowing God, J. I. Packer explains that the Incarnation is not a subtraction of deity, but an addition of humanity:
The Word had become flesh: a real human baby. He had not ceased to be God; he was no less God then than before; but He had begun to be man. He was not now God minus some elements of His deity, but God plus all that He had made His own by taking manhood to Himself. He who made man was now learning what it felt like to be man.
The main problem with Dake’s theology of the Incarnation is his separation of the attributes of God from His divine nature. There is a major flaw in Dake’s premise that Jesus gave up all the attributes of God, yet held on to His divine nature. In short, this statement contradicts itself. This is because the divine attributes of God "are essential characteristics of His being. Without these qualities God would not be what He is—God." In other words, without the attributes that He possesses, God would not be God. God minus even one divine attribute equals non-God. Apologist and author Norman Geisler explains that, "God is by his very nature an absolutely perfect being. If there were any perfection that he lacked, then he would not be God." Theologian R. L. Reymond concurs by pointing out, "Divine attributes are not, however, characteristics separate and distinct from God’s essence that he can set aside when he desires." Since Dake’s Jesus gave up all His divine attributes, then Dake’s Jesus is not God. Dake’s problem stems from the fact that he is altogether mistaken when he asserts that God’s attributes can be divorced from His being and God still be God.
Philippians 2:5-11 and the Kenosis of Christ. If the Incarnation is the taking on of an additional nature of man by the divine Second Person of the Trinity, what can be made of Philippians 2:5-11, which teaches that Jesus "emptied" Himself in some way when He came to earth as man? Dake holds that the meaning of the passage is that Jesus emptied Himself of all of His divine attributes. This is patently false because, as we have seen above, if Jesus lost or gave up even one divine attribute, then He immediately ceased to be God. Therefore, in the Incarnation, Jesus, God in the flesh, kept each and every attribute of divinity. What was it, therefore, that Jesus "gave up" when He "made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men" (Phil. 2:7)?
Apologist and professor Ron Rhodes provides insight to this often debated issue. In his book Christ Before the Manger, Dr. Rhodes suggests three areas in which Jesus "emptied" Himself when He took on the additional nature of man. He explains:
Paul’s statement that Christ made himself "nothing" in the Incarnation (Phil. 2:7) involves three basic issues: the veiling of his preincarnate glory, a voluntary nonuse of some of his divine attributes, and the condescension involved in taking on the likeness of men.
Jesus Veiled His Preincarnate Glory. The first way in which Jesus made Himself "nothing" is that He veiled His preincarnate glory. This is the glory Jesus spoke of in John 17:5, "And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was." The glory is Christ’s divine power and majesty. He necessarily had to veil His glory because if He did not, He could not have interacted with man as He did. Dr. Rhodes comments on this point:
Had Christ not veiled his preincarnate glory, mankind would not have been able to behold him. It would have been the same as when the apostle John, over fifty years after Christ’s resurrection, beheld Christ in his glory and said: "I fell at his feet at though dead" (Rev. 1:17); or, as when Isaiah beheld the glory of Christ in his vision in the temple and said, "Woe to me! I am ruined!" (Isa. 6:5a; see John 12:41).
Though His glory was veiled, Jesus occasionally gave His followers a glimpse of it. Just before He raised Lazarus from the dead, Jesus said to Martha, "Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?" (Jn. 11:40). Here, as throughout the New Testament, Jesus exhibits the very power of God. Furthermore, on the Mount of Transfiguration, Jesus pulled back the veil and revealed His radiant glory to Peter, John, and James (Mt. 17:2-5). Additionally, when Jesus appeared to Saul on the road to Damascus in His glory, Saul fell to the ground and went blind (Acts 9:1-9). Thus, it was necessary that Jesus veil His glory most of the time so that He could dwell among His own. John the Apostle summed it up this way, "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth" (Jn. 1:14).
Jesus Submitted to a Voluntary Nonuse of His Divine Attributes. The second category suggested by Rhodes through which Christ made Himself "nothing" is a voluntary nonuse of His divine attributes. This is the heart of the disagreemen
t with Dake. He claims that the attributes were cast off, but this cannot be the case, because to cast off even one attribute would be a forfeiture of deity for Christ. Instead of relinquishing His divine attributes, Christ limited the use of them. However, Jesus did use His divine attributes from time to time. Rhodes explains:
Though Christ sometimes chose not to use his divine attributes, at other times he did use them. For example, on different occasions during his three-year ministry, Jesus exercised the divine attributes of omniscience (that is, all-knowingness—John 2:24; cf. 16:30), omnipresence (being everywhere-present—John 1:48), and omnipotence (being all-powerful, as evidenced by his many miracles—John 11).
Thus, it is clear that Jesus did not "give up" His deity, or divine attributes, in any form or fashion. The Incarnation is not a case of giving up anything, but the taking on of an additional nature—a human nature—by which Jesus can be said to be fully God and fully Man.
Jesus Condescended by Taking on the Likeness of Men. Finally, Jesus made Himself "nothing" by condescending to take on the likeness, or form, of man. By this, Jesus was truly human. Jesus spoke of Himself as a man (John 8:40), and the New Testament certainly recognizes His full humanity. For instance, Jesus claimed to possess typical human traits as a body and soul (Mt. 26:26, 38). It is also said of Him that He developed in mind and body as a normal human does (Lk. 2:40). Jesus also evidenced the limitations of humanity in that he became tired (Jn. 4:6), thirsty (Jn. 19:28), and hungry (Mt. 4:2). Thus, it can be truly said that "the Word became flesh." Jesus, the Son of God, took to Himself the nature of man. This is a remarkable and loving condescension for the eternal Second Person of the Trinity.
Though Jesus "made Himself nothing," in the Incarnation, this, in no way, involved the giving-up of His divine nature or divine attributes as Dake suggests. In opposition to Dake, reformed theologian Louis Berkhof writes concerning the fact that the "Word became flesh":
The verb egeneto in John 1:14 (the Word became flesh) certainly does not mean that the Logos changed into flesh, and thus altered His essential nature, but simply that He took on that particular character, that He acquired an additional form, without in any way changing His original nature. He remained the infinite and unchangeable Son of God.
The above research only scratches the surface of the heresy that is contained within the pages of the Dake Bible. Dake’s view of Jesus, from His teaching of the preincarnate nature of Christ to his teaching of Christ Incarnate, is filled with contradictions, confusion, and doctrinal chaos. The Jesus of the Dake Annotated Reference Bible is demonstrably not the Jesus of the Bible. What makes this so troubling is that Dake and his aberrant teachings are accepted within the confines of the orthodox Christian community. In fact, never have I seen so much heresy contained in the teaching of one man, and that man still be considered Christian. The reason for this is either ignorance of what Finis Jennings Dake actually taught or a church that is so biblically illiterate that it cannot tell Living Water from deadly poison. If more believers were informed about Dake’s heresies regarding such topics as the nature of God, the Trinity, the Incarnation, and the deity of Christ, then the Dake Annotated Reference Bible would quickly fall off of the best-seller chart and into a place where it belongs—the garbage bin, alongside other best-selling editions that promote principles that can be at home only in the kingdom of the cults. It is my desire to be a voice used by the Lord to help accomplish this feat.
1. Stanley M. Burgess and Gary B. McGee, Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements (Grand Rapids: Regency Reference Library, 1988), 235. An edition containing the entire New Testament, Psalms, Proverbs, and Daniel was published in 1961.
4. Finis Jennings Dake, Heavenly Hosts: A Biblical Study of Angels (Lawrenceville, GA: Dake Publishing, 1995).
5. Finish Jennings Dake, A True Story [article on-line]; available from http://www.dake.com; Internet; accessed 10 June 1997.
7. Finis Jennings Dake, The Dake Annotated Reference Bible (Lawrenceville, GA: Dake Publishing, 1961), preface. The Dake study Bible is divided into 3 sections: The Old Testament, the New Testament, and the Concordance. Each section is numbered separately (i.e., the New Testament page numbers do not begin where the Old Testament page numbers left off, but with the number 1). Therefore, any reference from the Dake Bible must include the page number as well as the section (Old Testament, New Testament, Concordance). Old Testament will be referred to as "OT," the New Testament will be referred to as "NT."
9. For example, Dake claims that God has a body and lives on heaven, which is a physical planet. He states "The Bible declares that God has a body, shape, image, likeness, bodily parts, a personal soul and spirit, and all other things that constitute a being or a person with a body, soul, and spirit. . . Heaven itself is a material planet having cities, mansions, furniture, inhabitants, living conditions, etc." (Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible: New Testament, 280; cf. Old Testament, 622).
Many Word-Faith teachers, such as Kenneth Copeland and Benny Hinn, teach the very same thing. For instance, Kenneth Copeland teaches that God is a "being that stands somewhere around 6′-2", 6′-3", that weighs somewhere in the neighborhood of a couple of hundred pounds, little better, has a [hand] span of nine inches across" ("Spirit, Soul, and Body I" Fort Worth, TX: Kenneth Copeland Ministries, 1985, audio-tape #01-0601, side 1). Copeland also states that "Heaven has a north and south, and an east and a west. Consequently, it must be a planet" (Ibid.). Dake’s teaching is demonstrably very influential among Word-Faith teachers with regards to this topic and many others.
10. For example, Dake clearly teaches a works-salvation. On numerous occasions throughout the voluminous notes of the text, Dake gives many conditions of receiving eternal life. For instance, on page 100 of the New Testament, the note for John 6:27 is entitled "23 Conditions of Eternal Life." The 23 conditions one must meet to get eternal life, according to Dake, are:
|Come to Christ||
Sow to the Spirit.
Eat His flesh-drink His blood.
Fight the good fight.
Be sober and hope to the end for it.
Reap – win souls.
Hate (love less) the life in this world.
|Let the promise of it remain in you/ continue in Christ|
Know God and Christ.
Enter right gate.
Keep yourself in the love of God.
Cause no offense.
Be faithful unto death.
Believe and obey the gospel.
Live free from sin.
Be born again, hear Christ, and follow Him.
Continue in well doing and seek eternal life
The only condition one must meet to obtain eternal life, according to the Bible, is "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ." The difference between Dake’s soteriology and biblical soteriology is that one must work to earn salvation in Dake’s theology. According to the Bible, however, all the work for salvation has been done on the cross by Jesus. When He said, "It is finished," in John 19:30, he was referring to this very thing. Subsequently, all one must do to receive the free gift of eternal life is to believe, or trust, in Jesus and the finished work on the cross. Needless to say, the Gospel according to Dake is not the Gospel according to Jesus and the Apostles (cf. Galatians 1:6-10).
11. Even a cursory study of the Dake Study Bible reveals that the theology in the study notes and the theology of the Word-Faith movement are almost identical. For instance, beliefs that are found in both Dake and the Word-Faith movement are: 1) God has a body and lives on a planet called heaven. 2) Each member of the Godhead has his own body, soul, and spirit. 3) Man is a little duplicate of God, having the same attributes and powers. 4) Health and wealth are provided in the atonement, thus, it is the will of God in every case that the Christian be healed of disease as it is the will of God that the Christian be wealthy. These are only a few of the similar doctrines that are shared by Dake and the Word-Faith theologians. Because of this, I believe that the Dake Bible should be renamed the "Word-Faith Study Bible."
12. A cult is a group that denies one or more of the essentials of the Christian Faith (The Trinity, the Virgin Birth, the Deity of Christ, the Physical Resurrection, Salvation by Faith Alone in Christ Alone, and the Second Coming). After completing the research for this paper, I am fully convinced that Dake and his disciples, namely the Word-Faith Movement, should be considered a cult. This is because Dake and company deny such essentials as the Trinity, the Deity of Christ, and Salvation by Faith Alone in Christ Alone. In fact, Dake’s view of the Nature of God (see footnote 9) is very close to the Mormon position on the Nature of God. It is my opinion that the Christian apologetic community either needs to classify Dake/Word-Faith as a full-blown cult, or we owe the Mormons an apology.
13. Dake, Dake Bible NT, 50.
14. Ibid., 280. An old saying is, "Whatever the parent does in moderation, the children will do in excess." This can be clearly seen in a sermon by Benny Hinn. He says:
I feel revelation knowledge already coming on me. . . . God the Father is a person, God the Son is a person, God the Holy Ghost is a person, but each of them is a triune being by himself. If I can shock you and maybe I should, there are nine of them. . . . God the Father is a person with his own personal spirit, with his own personal soul and his own personal spirit body. You say, ‘I never heard that.’ Well, do you think you’re in this church to hear things you’ve heard for the past 50 years? You can’t argue with the Word, can you? It’s all in the Word (Benny Hinn, quoted in G. Richard Fisher and M. Kurt Goedelman, The Confusing World of Benny Hinn [Kearney: Morris Publishing, 1995], 95).
Benny Hinn, in an interview with Charisma magazine admitted that he got this teaching from the writings of Finis Jennings Dake. Speaking of the very quote above, Hinn said, "In Finis Dake’s book God’s Plan for Man, he teaches that each member of the Trinity has his own spirit, soul, and body. One Sunday when I was speaking on the Trinity, I repeated that teaching. . . ." It should be noted that much of the book God’s Plan for Man was condensed and used as the notes in the Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible.
15. Finis Jennings Dake, God’s Plan for Man (Lawrenceville, GA: Dake Bible Sales, Inc., 1949), 498, emphasis in original. This massive work is described by Dake Publishers as "designed as a correspondence course, God’s Plan for Man is equivalent to a three-year Bible college program. . . . sane, scriptural teaching for intelligent people. . . . clear, well-arranged, and doctrinally sound" (Inside jacket cover of God’s Plan for Man). It is this volume that was condensed into the notes of the Dake Annotated Reference Bible. What may be alluded to in the reference Bible is often fully explained in God’s Plan for Man.
16. Dake, Dake Bible NT, 280. It is important to the understanding of Dake’s view of the Trinity to remember that he uses the terms "person" and "being" interchangeably. This statement militates against the monotheism of the Bible.
17. Ibid. As each human person is a separate and distinct being, each member of the Trinity is a separate and distinct being who are unified only in purpose or goal.
19. Ibid. Underlined words in original. Amazingly, Dake claims that the word God can be used as a singular referent to one Person of the Godhead, or a plural referent to all three, much like sheep or fish can be used as a singular or plural. While it is true that the word for God in the Old Testament, Elohim, is a plural word, it is not a reference to three separate, distinct beings. It is called a "plural of majesty," and denotes the absolute sovereignty, power, and majesty of God.
20. Dake, God’s Plan for Man, 500.
21. Ibid., 97, 96. It is interesting to note that he accepted his nickname, "The Walking Bible," as a figure of speech. Otherwise, he would be advertising himself as a being composed of many pieces of paper bound to
gether between two leather covers.
22. In short, the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity states that God is one in nature, being, or essence (one in WHAT He is), and three in person (three in WHO He is). Dake does not make a distinction between the terms "being" and "person" and therefore, uses the terms synonymously. A "person" is a "being." Thus, when Dake speaks of the Trinity as being three persons, he is making the claim that the Trinity is three separate and distinct beings, which is the heresy called Tritheism.
23. Dake, God’s Plan for Man, 53. This doctrine is certainly not a "modern trend." It has been formally expressed for almost 2,000 years!
24. Ibid. The exact statement that Dake calls foolish and unscriptural is "It is clearly revealed in Scripture that God is ONE BEING CONSTITUTED IN THREE PERSONS. . . . God as a spirit is incorporeal, invisible reality; has no body or parts like human beings; nothing of a material or bodily nature . . . God cannot be seen with the material eyes; nothing on earth to resemble Him; without parts, without body, without passions. . . . The image of God consists only in intellectual and moral likeness; when God is spoken of as having hands, feet, eyes, hair, and other bodily parts, these are figures of speech and mere human expressions trying to convey some idea of God." (God’s Plan for Man, 53, emphasis in original). These quotes were gathered by Dake from "books on the great doctrines of the Bible that are widely used," and speak of the orthodox understanding of the nature of God and the Trinity. Thus, Dake separates himself and his teachings from orthodox Christianity.
26. Ibid., 54.
27. Dake, Dake Bible NT, 93.
28. Ibid., 57.
29. Ibid., 139.
31. Ibid., 1.
32. Dake, God’s Plan for Man, 377.
34. In other words, Dake uses the term "Christ" much in the same way the term "doctor" is used in the claim that "Dr. Norman Geisler once worked in a factory in Michigan." He was not a doctor when he worked in the factory, but acquired the degree at a later date. But when referring to his life before he became a doctor, we still refer to him as Dr. Geisler. In the same way, Dake believes that any reference that refers to Jesus as being the Christ before He was anointed at His baptism is using the term in this way.
35. Dake, Dake Bible NT, 218.
38. Dake, God’s Plan for Man, 386.
39. Dake, Dake Bible NT, 218.
44. Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma (Rockford, IL: Tan Books and Publishers, 1960), 32.
45. Peter Kreeft, ed., Summa of the Summa (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1990), 112.
46. Lewis Sperry Chafer and John F. Walvoord, Major Bible Themes (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1974), 40.
47. The philosophical law of non-contradiction states that "A" cannot be "A" and "non-A" at the same time and the same sense. God is not one and three at the same time and the same sense. We do not claim that God is one Being in three Beings or one Person with three Persons. This is blatantly contradictory . We do claim that God is one in being and three in person. He is one Being revealed in three Persons. Therefore, the orthodox understanding of the Trinity is not a contradiction as Dake claims. It is ironic that Dake uses the same arguments against the Trinity as Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons do.
48. Norman Geisler and Abdul Saleeb, Answering Islam (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1993), 265-66.
49. Omnipresence is that attribute of God by which He is everywhere present. He is not localized on a planet called Heaven going to and fro in his body. He is an everywhere present spirit. This is clearly seen in the biblical record is the following Scriptures:
1 Kings 8:27: "But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You. How much less this temple which I have built!"
Psalm 139:7-8: "Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there."
Jeremiah 23:24: "Can anyone hide himself in secret places, So I shall not see him?" says the LORD; "Do I not fill heaven and earth?" says the LORD."
Furthermore, the claim that God is eternal is to say that He is not temporal. God is without beginning and without end, and without succession in a constant, undivided "now." There is no past, present, or future with God—only a constant "now." Time involves change—a before and an after—but God is changeless, and is therefore, eternal, or beyond time. This is seen in the following Scriptures:
Psalm 90:2: "Before the mountains were brought forth, Or ever You had formed the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God."
John 8:58: "Before Abraham was, I AM."
Hebrews 13:8: "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever."
Another classic attribute that Dake implicitly denies by claiming the God has a body is the Simplicity of God. This is the attribute that states that God is not composed of parts and is thus indivisible. But a body is composed of parts and is divisible. Anything that is composed of parts can be decomposed or divided. Therefore a composed God is a God which can be decomposed, or die. Furthermore, if God is composed of parts, this presupposes another composer. One cannot compose one’s self because one would have to exist prior to one’s self in order to compose one’s self. Therefore, Dake’s theology logically dictates that there is another being who composed God.
Furthermore, Dake’s God cannot be an Infinite God because a body is a finite thing. An infinite body is an oxymoron. A body, by nature, is confined to one place at one time. Therefore it cannot be infinite in any sense of the term. Dake’s contention that God has a body goes against reason and the entire revelation of God.
50. Merrill C. Tenney, ed., The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, Vol. 1 (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1976), 177.
51. George W. Zeller and Renald E. Showers, The Eternal Sonship of Christ (Neptune, NJ: Loizeaux Brothers, 1993), 26. The following chart is found on pages 10-11 in Zeller and Showers’ book and it emphasizes the contrast between the orthodox Christian view of the Sonship of Jesus and Dake’s view of the Sonship of Jesus:
INCARNATIONAL SONSHIP (Dake)
He was always the Son of God. He is the eternal Son.
Before the Incarnation, He was not the Son of God
"Son of God" is Who He Is
"Son of God" is What He Became
His Sonship is essential to his true identity and cannot be divorced from the person He is.
His Sonship is not essential to His inherent identity.
"Son of God" is who He is in His being of beings.
"Son of God" is merely a title and role that He assumed.
His Sonship directly relates to His deity.
His Sonship directly relates to His Incarnation.
"Son of God" means equal with God, indicating likeness or sameness of being.
"Son of God" means subservient to God, less than God.
God the Father has always been God the Father.
God the Father did not assume the title and role of Father until the Incarnation.
Before the Incarnation the Son was ever in the Father’s bosom.
Before the Incarnation God had no Son, nor was He the Father.
The Father/Son relationship has eternally existed in the godhead.
Before the Incarnation there was no Father/Son relationship in the godhead.
The Father sent His Own Son into this world (see John 3:16-17; Galatians 4:4; etc.).
The One who would become the Father sent the One who would become the Son into this world.
The triune God has eternally existed in three persons—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
The triune God has eternally existed in three persons, but not as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. These were roles that were assumed in time.
52. Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, 156.
53. Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology Volume 1 (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Co, 1995), 471.
54. Ron Rhodes, Christ Before the Manger (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1992), 32.
55. Ibid., 31.
56. John F. Walvoord, Jesus Christ Our Lord (Chicago: Moody Press, 1969), 39, 41-42.
57. Walter Elwell, ed. Evangelical Dictionary of Theology (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1994), 711.
58. Norman Geisler, Christian Apologetics (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1976), 336.
59. Elwell, Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, 555.
60. Ibid., 556.
61. J. I. Packer, Knowing God (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1973), 57
62. Elwell, Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, 451.
63. Norman Geisler, Creating God in the Image of Man? (Minneapolis: Betheny House Publishers, 1997), 28.
64. Elwell, Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, 556.
65. Rhodes, Christ Before the Manger, 195.
66. Ibid., 196.
67. Lois Berkhof, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1993), 334.
07/19/2010 @ 10:53 am
WOW WOW WOW!!!! Great article. Benny Hinn was at Rod Parsley church on July 4, 2010 teaching about the Holy trinity, angels, holy spirit and God parts 1-4. He gets under my skin in a bad way. He teaches just enough truth to hook people in and then talks out both sides of his mouth, twisting the scripture and giving extra-biblical revelation to distort the Word of God. I knew he and Kenneth uses the Dake bible and I knew Dake admitted to repeating his teaching. This teaching at Parsley’s church, talking about Tritheism.
Your article hit the nail on the head and will helped me to see that Hinn teaches the same thing as Dake. Two years ago God opened my eyes and heart to the truth of his word, I came out of this Word of Faith, New Apostolic Reformation, Dominionism, Kingdom Now teachings. Matter fact, at my old church in West Virginia anything goes. I have a call in to my friend Justin Peters to examine this you tube teaching, that he can use it. Great article and I will pass it on for others to read. Thank you so much. Goohttp://www.youtube.com/watchv=w82EhCqLcmY&feature=relatedgle Here is the link for you to watch and listen if you want to. Made me sick to my stomach. God bless you and I will frenquent your website more. See that you use Just Peter’s love him.
07/19/2010 @ 10:59 am
I meant to say that I know Hinn has admitted to repeating Dake’s teachings. One thing I wanted to share is that at my old church my friends would talk about the Dake bible and how awesome it was. I bought one and it gave me a headache, confused me, to much information. During my search for truth God impressed in my heart to throw it away and I am so glad that I did.
06/21/2011 @ 8:31 am
I find it odd that you are writing here discounting one mans view and telling the reader how wrong he was and then selling your version as the truth. Am I to assume that you are right and he was wrong? What makes you any smarter than he was, or more accurate? I guess I am different than most. See, what I read was that we were to “work out our own salvation with fear and tremblence”. I simply do not need someone like you telling me why someone else is wrong and you are right. I dont wonder around in the dark waiting for somebody to come along with a flashlight. God’s word provides the light for me to follow. If I understand correctly, you are telling me that if I read Gods word and my opinion differs from yours, I am wrong. I have 3 different Bibles that I read. One of which is a Dakes Bible. There are notes that he has included that I do not agree with. I have my beliefs and interpretation. I do not understand the need for a website dedicated to slandering a Man that I would venture to guess logged much more hours of study in the Bible than you ever have. It seems to me that what hours you have invested have been merely to discredit someone else. Try studying to truly help yourself and those around you, it will serve a much greater purpose.
06/21/2011 @ 9:49 am
Hi Shannon (or Jeff?):
Thank you for visiting the site and leaving a comment.
Your made some interesting comments.
There are literally thousands of different theology or biblical websites on the internet. It would seem from your argument that you don’t believe there is a reason to have any bible websites? Each of those websites likely has a little different take on different doctrines and teachings. I’ve never said on this site that I know ‘everything.’ What I have tried to do is get people to think through what they believe and why. Also it is not just ‘my view’ that is different from the beliefs of Finis Dake. The only ‘groups’ that are similar in many ways to Dakes teachings would be considered by many to be cults (such as Dake and the Mormon Churches teaching Polytheism – more than one God). Why do you think Dake is more accurate than 99% of Christian Bible teachers and pastors?
From reading your comment you would almost think I had held a gun to your head and forced you to visit this website! If you disagree with the traditional main teachings the church has held to for hundreds of years that is fine. No one is forcing you to visit here. If you are not interested in looking at others ‘arguments’ or points of view, why are you on this site? I believe that God has you here for a reason. I also pray for you Shannon that God will be able to open up your heart to the truth (not just my version but the Bibles and the orthodox teachings of the church over the last many centuries).
Ultimately we are responsible before God (individually) for believing, teaching and following the truth. I think it is arrogant though to think we cannot learn from the past struggles and teachings of the church (as well as current day teachers and pastors). I have often found that reading a theology book, sermon, or other other source of biblical studies will help me to see something that maybe I’ve missed in my own studies. I would assume you go to church and listen to your pastors sermons? Does he (or she) help you to understand the Bible better? Everything we read from other Christians must be compared with God’s Word to verify if it is true. At the same time, I am not arrogant enough to believe that I alone am the holder of truth. I believe that God also speaks through his followers, pastors, and bible teachers. Those pastors and teachers have been almost entirely in agreement on specific teachings such as the Trinity and God’s being all-knowing… these beliefs and many others having been rejected by Dake.
My opinion is not that significant. Ultimately as I said above we are responsible for accepting and following the truth. With Finis Dake, the Dake Bible and his other writings, the opinion he disagrees with is almost the whole of bible believing Christians as well as the historical teachings of the church for hundreds of years. Could Finis Dake be right and almost everyone else be wrong?… yes I guess its possible. Because he completely disagrees with such historical (and I believe essential) teachings of the Church such as the Trinity, as well as God’s nature (he does not believe God is all knowing, Omnipresent, Omnipotent, etc.) it should at least give you pause to thoroughly research his teachings before following them.
First we are not ‘slandering’ Dake (defaming him) but pointing out where he completely departs from orthodox Christianity and follows doctrines that are similar (but not exactly the same) as the Mormons and other cults. Our intention is to help point out the truth so that at least his followers have something to think about.
Your also right that while I have more bible degrees and education than Dake he very likely (over his lifetime) read his Bible more. For Dake though he had formed his beliefs fairly soon after becoming a Christian (within the first decade or so). Also the ‘amount’ of Bible study does not necessarily equal the same thing as correct theology or correctly understanding the Bible. There are many cults such as the Jehovah Witnesses that study the ‘bible’ but have incorrect interpretations of the Bible. Did Dake study the Bible more than (almost) the whole evangelical Church in our day or in the past combined? Dake has rejected every major belief and teaching of the Church.
Shannon (or Jeff?), I noticed in your diatribe against this website that you never once listed one teaching that you believe Dake was correct on but that the Church (or this site) has wrong. Do you believe in three god(s) like Dake? Do you believe God does NOT know our future actions or what will happen to us in the future like Dake? Do you believe you are not indwelt by the Holy Spirit as a Christian?
If you would like to discuss specific biblical doctrines/teachings that would be helpful for our readers. Unlike your comment, we have tried not to use Ad Hominem attacks (against the person) but have tried to point out areas where we believe Dake is heretical in his teachings.
Also, our goal is not to “merely discredit someone else” but to help those who are stuck in his false teachings to see the truth. I just want to provide an avenue for his followers to at least see the ‘other side.’
02/23/2014 @ 3:55 pm
I became a true Christian 3 months ago devoting much of my time to studying my Bible and was so excited about my new found relationship with our Father. I suffer from Graves Disease and am awaiting surgery to have my thyroid removed. I was given Dakes Bible as a gift. I wish I had done my homework on this man. I found myself disagreeing with him from day one but I thought I could handle it. As the months went by I slipped deeper into depression and blamed Graves Disease. Last night I talked to God and told him I couldn’t read my bible but instead was online searching Spiritual Warfare. By the Grace of God I was pointed towards my Bible and began to discuss what was bothering me in the book. I was lead to a website and God showed me how Satan was using Dake to attack me spiritually. This is serious, new Christians and even sick Christians like myself are getting ahold of this Bible and it’s no disagreement to be made. The things Dake says (some of them) go completely against scripture. I’m mentally weak but God pointed it out to me to get away from that Bible. I’m looking forward to a new Bible and putting Dakes teachings behind me.