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Finis Jennings Dake is a Twentieth century Pentecostal/Charismatic theologian, who was born in 1902 and died in 1987. All of his work took place in the United States. At 24 years of age Dake was ordained in the Assemblies of God, in 1927 while living in Amarillo Texas. In the mid 1920’s he attended Central Bible Institute while at the same time, pastoring several churches. From 1928 - 1931 he lived in Oklahoma and spent time evangelizing. Dake accepted the pastorate of Christian Assembly in Zion Illinois in 1932. While in Zion his church purchased the home place of John Alexander Dowie, and established Shiloh Bible Institute which eventually merged with Central Bible Institute. Dake ended his relationship with the Assembly of God in 1937, and joined the Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee). He stayed with the Church of God over 20 years and then became independent, remaining so until his death in 1987.
Dake’s main accomplishments are two fold, written and visual. He authored the following books: God’s Plan For Man,1 Revelation Expounded,2 Bible Truths Unmasked,3 The Rapture And The Second Coming Of Christ,4 Help For Today,5 Heavenly Host,6 and the study notes to the Dake Annotated Reference Bible.7 Secondly he designed and published The Plan Of The Ages Bible chart:8 which is a dispensational visual unfolding of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation.
Dake was a theologian who had thousands of verses of Scripture in memory. Dake says he received these Scriptures supernaturally at the age of 18, in the month of May, in the year 1920, at two o’clock in the morning while in prayer. In Dake’s own words he said: "Suddenly, and without warning there came over my being a cool and rushing wind. It seemed I could hear the fluttering of the wings of a dove settling down upon my body. Then instantly, there came from the very depths of my innermost being the rivers of living water that Jesus promised in (John 7:37-39). Torrents of praise and glory began to flow from my lips as I tried to give vent to the unutterable gushings of my soul. I thus received in a measure what the disciples received on the day of Pentecost. Immediately I was aware of an ability I did not previously possess. I could now quote Scriptures, hundreds of them and that without any effort to memorize them. I just quoted as the Spirit gave utterance, and also I noticed a quickening of the Spirit in my mind to know and tell what chapters and books, various verses were found in.
Thus Dake’s ability was a gift from God. The notes in his Bible show that he had a great command of the Scriptures. There are over 500,000 cross references contained therein: more than any other reference Bible in the world. It is an evidenced fact that during his later pulpit ministry he never carried a Bible.9
Dake’s way of doing theology was stated as follows: "Take the Bible literally wherein it is at all possible; if symbolic, figurative or typical language is used, then look for the literal truth it intends to convey. Statements of fact and historical accounts are accepted as such."10
Dake’s structure of theology is definitely dispensational. He recognized 9 distinct dispensations in Scripture.11
Dake recognized a Pre-Adamite creation. He believed that there was a gap of time between Genesis 1:1 and verse 2. In this period of time there existed the world that then was. (2 Peter 3:5-6) Adam, he says was to replenish the earth which had been previously filled and destroyed before his day. (Genesis 1:28)12
The doctrine of the providence of God is brought out as a Father who is responsible for his children. Dake included prosperity, health, healing, wants, needs and scores of other Gospel benefits as being God’s gifts to men.13
Dake sees man as God’s crowning creation. Man was created to dominate and rule God’s creation on the earth. Man in his un-fallen state acted exactly like God in the exercise of his faculties, only his attributes and powers were limited.14 The Fall, however caused man to loose his crown of glory. Christ was sent to redeem man and restore him to his place of authority. The full and complete restoration of man’s place of dominion will not be complete however until the last enemy death is destroyed.
Christ according to Dake existed equally with the Father throughout all eternity, and as God , Christ had no beginning (John 1:1).15 As man however, He had a beginning, was begotten, was the first born of God, was born, and therefore became the Son of God.16
The Atonement Dake understood was unlimited and complete. "Salvation is provided for all human beings alike, and on the same basis of faith (John 3:16)."17 Man is a free moral agent, and as such is responsible for acceptance of salvation through faith, which comes as a result of hearing the Word of God by the power of the Spirit. Healing is included in the atonement and is received by faith the same as salvation (1 Peter 2:24, Matthew 8:17, Psalms 103:2-3).18
Salvation according to Dake, is conditional upon man remaining faithful until the end. In response to unconditional eternal security, Dake says; "Eternal life is not an eternal possession until the end of a life of holiness, for one can make a failure before then and be lost just as Adam did in the beginning.19 1 John 2:24 Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father. 25 And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.
The Christian life is to be a life without being dominated by sin; a life of holiness. "If men today get the salvation of the New Testament they will be holy and Righteous."20 2 Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
Eschatology was a hallmark of the Dake studies. The rapture is a snatching up to heaven of all saved men of all past ages, whereas the second advent is a coming down from heaven to earth of the same people with Christ, at least seven years later, for the establishment of the Millennium, and eternal Kingdom.21
There seems to be little that Dake does not address in his theological works. The doctrine of the Trinity is understood as the union of three persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit in one (unified) Godhead or divinity, so that all three persons are one in unity and eternal substance, but three separate and distinct persons as to individuality.22 Each of these three persons has a soul, spirit, and spirit body. The Biblical descriptions of God with bodily presence and image are taken to be literally true.23
God’s attributes or described as being Omniscient, Omnipotent and Omnipresent.24 However, he does understand God to be limiting himself in his dealings with man where Omniscience is concerned.25 Jeremiah 19:5 They have built also the high places of Baal, to burn their sons with fire for burnt offerings unto Baal, which I commanded not, nor spake it, neither came it into my mind: Deuteronomy 8:2 And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no.
Anyone reading Dake will have many of their religious traditional concerning theology challenged. The helpful thing is that Dake always gives many scripture references for everything he writes. His rule has been to never preach or teach anything for doctrine that he could not support with at least three verses of Scripture. 2 Corinthians 13:1 This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.
In Dake’s brand of theology everything is clear as is revealed in scriptures. There are no gray areas. Scripture either says it or it doesn’t. What God says He will do, He will do. God has not changed. Every Christian has the right today to receive all the blessings and benefits promised in God’s Word. For Dake, no gifts have passed away. Jesus Christ is the same today as he was while here on this earth (Hebrews 13:8). Where men will exercise faith in the promises of God, men may receive those promises. The Holy Spirit and all of His gifts are as active today as they were in the pages of the New Testament. In essence God is not dead, and if He is alive, He stills manifest himself in the same ways, as He always has (Malachi 3:6). Not one Word of God is void of power. The believer has every right to have a living relationship with a living God.
Contemporary theologians will find a lifetime of research in the many thousands of scriptures Dake gives in support of his theology. In this search you will again and again be driven to the scriptures for understanding and wisdom. But after all is said and done, your conclusions will be based on God’s Word, not Dake’s word. And after all, I have a feeling that is what Dake wanted all along. And for that, we owe Finis Jennings Dake a debt of thanks.
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