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Timothy Jennings and God Does Destroy

The Teachings of Timothy Jennings

An Evaluation by Eugene Prewitt

 

Introduction

I first heard of Timothy Jennings in connection with the Good News Tour. This was not, in my mind, a positive association. But it was not until a friend of mine suggested that my students listen to a series of his lectures that I took a personal interest in his teachings.

I listened to six hour-long lectures by Dr. Jennings while taking copious notes. From these notes I wrote a brief paper for the administrative committee at Ouachita Hills College. This paper strongly recommended that we not assign our students to listen to Dr. Jennings’ lectures.

Several months later I had, in one week, two individuals call me and ask about Dr. Jennings’ teachings. After writing the second response (to the two individuals) I concluded that I should place my paper to the executive committee in the public domain. I posted it on my website.

About three weeks later I was surprised to receive a call from Dr. Jennings himself. He kindly informed me that I had misrepresented him in my paper and had not acted in harmony with Bible principles by placing that paper in the public domain without having first contacted him.

That phone call persuaded me that I had not in all respects well summarized his teachings. It did not, however, persuade me that Brother Jennings was safer than I had first indicated.

This paper will replace the original. I hope to improve on that paper by more accurately representing what Timothy Jennings really teaches, by giving him an opportunity to see the paper before it is in the public eye, and by clarifying statements that were ambiguous or easily misunderstood.

But first, let me address the reason that I do not believe I must confront false teachers before exposing them. A false teacher neither offends me nor sins against me. I do not pretend to know his character. He is not ashamed of his teachings (if indeed he places them in the public domain). I oppose his teachings, not his person. And for that reason Romans 16:17-18 rather than Matthew 18, applies to my situation.

Yet I will admit that it is generally a good thing to talk to someone about what they believe before telling someone else what they believe. Misunderstandings are common. In the case of Mr. Jennings I felt that I well understood his position before writing. And after talking with him, I feel that I was fundamentally correct regarding what he teaches.

Initial Summary

Dr. Jennings’ lectures are content rich and are profusely illustrated. And if I am correct, Dr. Jennings is in grave danger.

Like Dr. Kellogg of yesteryear, he has been used by God to uncover a great deal of truth in his professional studies. His teachings regarding the relation of the various faculties of the mind (will, appetites, passions, reason, conscience, emotions, imagination, etc.) are profound and incredibly consistent with EGW’s teaching on the same.

And like Dr. Kellogg of yesteryear, he has woven into his presentations a deadly net of falsehoods that destroy the most fundamental of Christian virtues – faith.[1] I do not mean that Dr. Jennings teaches any of the same errors taught by Dr. Kellogg. Rather, I mean that both doctors eventually became icons of a dangerous mixture of truth and error.

In short, Dr. Jennings believes that God takes no initiative in causing prolonged pain during the destruction of the wicked, and that to prolong or cause punitive suffering is torture and that such a view of God (that he would cause prolonged pain as part of punishment) destroys love and trust.

More than this view, which is explained thoroughly in two of the lectures given at the Forest Lake church in Florida, and is alluded to in two others, Dr. Jennings has espoused a theory of the atonement that mirrors in some fundamental ways the moral influence theory[2].

He does not, for example, believe in substitutionary atonement. He makes light of the idea that sins must be “paid” for.

Jenning’s epistemology is troubling. He argues, when defending the views above, that we must reject any doctrine that requires us not to reason. But he explains this in such a way that if we believe that God is loving, and that God burns people for rebelling, such a dichotomy is not reasonable and the some point of it must be rejected.

Thus he, in his recorded lectures, inadvertently sets individual reason above inspiration. When a man’s reason can not grasp the harmony of two ideas (as Satan could not perceive any harmony between justice and mercy, a similar perplexity to the one facing Jennings), the man concludes that at least one of the ideas must be flawed. This has always been the essence of unbelief.

Jennings also repudiates ideas associated with the investigative judgment. He thinks not that sins are blotted from a record in heaven during the judgment. He mocks the idea that the our personal sins will be forever forgotten.

These views, woven into such a collection of profound insights into human nature, make for an extremely cogent parallel to the book Living Temple with its incredible insights into physiology interwoven around a philosophy of life-is-God.

And like the book Living Temple, which was critically evaluated by Jones, Waggoner, and several other notable messengers of God, and was pronounced harmless by them all, the lectures of Dr. Jennings seem to have elicited no protest from the audience. (This I gather from the 30 minute question and answer period at the conclusion of the final lecture.)

I must conclude that it would be irresponsible to encourage anyone to listen to his lectures.

The Doctrine of Justice

I have written elsewhere regarding the doctrine of justice. See, for example, my article on the draft.

There are several Bible facts about justice that relate to this discussion.

First, the angels (who are in the know) believe God’s judgments are perfectly fair. These heavenly beings witness pain and suffering caused by the seven last plagues. These plagues are punitive rather than corrective. (That is, they occur after the close of human probation.) And the suffering is fair, it is just. God is “holy” who judges the wicked. That is obvious, “manifest”, according to the righteous ones in Rev 15.

. . . the rivers and fountains of waters . . .  became blood. 5  And I heard the angel of the waters say, “Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus. 6  For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy.” 7  And I heard another out of the altar say, “Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments.”

And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire. 9  And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory. 10  . . . and [some] gnawed their tongues for pain, 11  And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds. Re 16:4-11

And [the righteous] sing . . .  saying, “Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. 4  Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.” Re 15:3-4.

Second, when brethren study the Bible and despite their best efforts to harmonize yet can not see eye-to-eye, God has ordained the gifts of the Spirit to serve as a protection. They keep us from being blown around by winds of doctrine. And on the question of God’s executive judgment, the prophetic gift speaks plainly.

And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; . . . That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; Eph 4:11, 14.

In the Garden of Gethsemane Christ suffered in man’s stead, and the human nature of the Son of God staggered under the terrible horror of the guilt of sin, until from His pale and quivering lips was forced the agonizing cry, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me”; but if there is no other way by which the salvation of fallen man may be accomplished, then “not as I will, but as thou wilt” (Matthew 26:39).  {TMK 64.2}

The power that inflicted retributive justice upon man’s substitute and surety, was the power that sustained and upheld the suffering One under the tremendous weight of wrath that would have fallen upon a sinful world. Christ was suffering the death that was pronounced upon the transgressors of God’s law. It is a fearful thing for the unrepenting sinner to fall into the hands of the living God. This is proved by the history of the destruction of the old world by a flood, by the record of the fire which fell from heaven and destroyed the inhabitants of Sodom. But never was this proved to so great an extent as in the agony of Christ, . . . when He bore the wrath of God for a sinful world. . . .  {TMK 64.3}

Man has not been made a sin-bearer, and he will never know the horror of the curse of sin which the Saviour bore. No sorrow can bear any comparison with the sorrow of Him upon whom the wrath of God fell with overwhelming force. Human nature can endure but a limited amount of test and trial. The finite can only endure the finite measure, and human nature succumbs; but the nature of Christ had a greater capacity for suffering; for the human existed in the divine nature, and created a capacity for suffering to endure that which resulted from the sins of a lost world. The agony which Christ endured, broadens, deepens, and gives a more extended conception of the character of sin, and the character of the retribution which God will bring upon those who continue in sin. The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ.  {TMK 64.4}

Satan rushes into the midst of his followers and tries to stir up the multitude to action. But fire from God out of heaven is rained upon them, and the great men, and mighty men, the noble, the poor and miserable, are all consumed together. I saw that some were quickly destroyed, while others suffered longer. They were punished according to the deeds done in the body. Some were many days consuming, and just as long as there was a portion of them unconsumed, all the sense of suffering remained. Said the angel, “The worm of life shall not die; their fire shall not be quenched as long as there is the least particle for it to prey upon.”  {EW 294.1}

The wicked receive their recompense in the earth. Proverbs 11:31. They “shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts.” Malachi 4:1. Some are destroyed as in a moment, while others suffer many days. All are punished “according to their deeds.” The sins of the righteous having been transferred to Satan, he is made to suffer not only for his own rebellion, but for all the sins which he has caused God’s people to commit. His punishment is to be far greater than that of those whom he has deceived. After all have perished who fell by his deceptions, he is still to live and suffer on. In the cleansing flames the wicked are at last destroyed, root and branch–Satan the root, his followers the branches. The full penalty of the law has been visited; the demands of justice have been met; and heaven and earth, beholding, declare the righteousness of Jehovah.  {GC 673.1}

Third, the idea that men receive a reward that is “according to their works” is a theme of scripture. The reward of the wicked includes “tribulation” and “wrath” and punishment more sore than dying without mercy under the law of Moses.

2Co 5:10  . . . that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

1Pe 1:17  . . . without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work.

2Co 11:15  . . . whose end shall be according to their works.

Re 20:12  . . . the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

Re 20:13  . . . they were judged every man according to their works.

Re 2:23  . . . I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

2Ch 6:30  . . . and render unto every man according unto all his ways

Jer 17:10  . . . I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.

Ps 62:12  . . . for thou renderest to every man according to his work.

Isa 3:10  Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him: for they shall eat the fruit of their doings. Isa 3:11  Woe unto the wicked! it shall be ill with him: for the reward of his hands shall be given him.

Mt 16:27  . . .  and then he shall reward every man according to his works.

 

Ro 2:5  But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; Ro 2:6  Who will render to every man according to his deeds: Ro 2:7  To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: Ro 2:8  But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, Ro 2:9  Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, . . .  For there is no respect of persons with God.

He 10:29  Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? 30  For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. 31  It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Heb 10:28-31.

Fourth, Christ’s illustrations of the executive judgment harmonize well with the idea of a finite punishment that is painful and precisely just. And when Ezra prayed about God’s judgments on Israel (that included great suffering and horrible deaths inflicted by Babylon), he acknowledged that they had been punished “less” than they deserved.

Mt 18:34  And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.

Ezra 9:13  Seeing that thou our God hast punished us less than our iniquities deserve.

Fifth, the danger of experiencing the wrath of God is part of the third angel’s message.

Re 14:10  The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:

In short the doctrine of justice is present truth and it is no surprise that the devil would oppose it.

Dethroning Reason

Now when I talked to Dr. Jennings on the phone (April 17, 2009) he referred me to a statement where Ellen White talks about the idea of God torturing sinners as being a falsehood that overthrows reason.

From listening to his lectures it seems to me that Dr. Jennings believes that the purposeful painful punishment of sinners is irrational if one believes in a loving God. Now to me it seems perfectly rational that a loving God would nevertheless be willing to be fair even if being so was painful to himself. To inflict pain on the man that ordered torture for a humble servant of Jesus seems only just. In fact, it is when the persecutors are already dead that the blood of the martyrs calls out for God to avenge “our blood” in Revelation 6. So painful punishment seems rational to me and irrational to Jennings.

But whether it seems rational to Tim Jennings or myself is not a very important question. God is wiser than man. We must assume that his ideas are higher than ours even when we can not attain to them. Nevertheless, reason is one of the ruling powers in the Christian mind. It, rather than the appetites, is to guide the will. And when reason is “dethroned”, it is not because a man chooses to believe God’s Word. Rather, it is because he has become either a lunatic or a slave of his passions.

The following is the statement to which Tim was referring. I hope you can see that it does in no way excuse a man for exalting his reason over the plain statements of scripture. See the last sentence where teachers are bidden to check their sources of authority.

“I have since thought that many inmates of the lunatic asylums were brought there by experiences similar to my own. Their tender consciences have been stricken with a sense of sin, and their trembling faith dared not claim the promised pardon of God. They have listened to descriptions of the orthodox hell until it has seemed to curdle the very blood in their veins, and burnt an impression upon the tablets of their memory. Waking or sleeping, the frightful picture has ever been before them, until reality has become lost in imagination, and they see only the wreathing flames of a fabulous hell and hear only the shrieking of the damned. Reason has become dethroned and the brain is filled with the wild phantasy of a terrible dream. Those who teach the doctrine of an eternal hell, would do well to look more closely after their authority for so cruel a belief.  {LS80 153.3}

Ellen White does attack as contrary to our sense of justice the doctrine of eternal torment, or the doctrine that God enjoys punishing the wicked. But the very logic of the statements implies that a finite punishment would be a just yet unpleasant reality. See the second portion of the appendix.

The irony is that Satan, by teaching eternal torment, hoped to lead men to some of the very same conclusions that Tim Jennings has espoused. Men would conclude that God’s punishments must not be expected to be “literally” fulfilled.

Satan told his angels to make a special effort to spread the deception and lie first repeated to Eve in Eden, Thou shalt not surely die. And as the error was received by the people, and they believed that man was immortal, Satan led them still further to believe that the sinner would live in eternal misery. Then the way was prepared for Satan to work through his representatives, and hold up God before the people as a revengeful tyrant; that those who do not please him, he will plunge into hell, and cause them ever to feel his wrath; and that they will suffer unutterable anguish, while he will look down upon them with satisfaction, as they writhe in horrible sufferings and eternal flames. Satan knew that if this error should be received, God would be dreaded and hated by very many, instead of being loved and admired; and that many would be led to believe that the threatenings of God’s word would not be literally fulfilled; for it would be against his character of benevolence and love, to plunge beings whom he had created into eternal torments. {1SG 114.2}

Though Jennings has not gone as far down the road as the universalists (Ellen White mentions them in the context of the statement above), yet he has taken one key step in the same direction. The “threatenings,” some of them, have been explained as non-literal prophesies.

Still it is true that lost men, even while being consumed, will be bemoaning their sins. The thoughts of one such man are recorded by Solomon.

Pr 5:11  And thou mourn at the last, when thy flesh and thy body are consumed, 12  And say, How have I hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof; 13  And have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined mine ear to them that instructed me! 14  I was almost in all evil in the midst of the congregation and assembly.

While this essay is far from a thorough treatment of justice, and even further from a rounded treatment of atonement (see my article, “Atonement Cleansing”), yet it is sufficient I think to demonstrate why Jennings should not be followed as he travels down the road of being wise “above that which is written.”

Eze 33:20  Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. O ye house of Israel, I will judge you every one after his ways.

God’s ways are fair.

Appendix Part I – A Critique of the Six Lectures Given at Forest Lake Academy

Lecture One

In his first lecture Dr. Jennings sets the stage for what he will develop more thoroughly in lectures four and six. He begins to explain that “lies believed” destroy love and trust. Then he begins to hint that the audience may even believe lies. Then, to paraphrase (all statements in quotes are quotes from my notes, paraphrases only of Dr. Jennings) him from my notes,

“The most destructive lies we believe are lies about God himself. Some of you will be shocked by the evidence. I want you to look at the information and weigh it.”

This idea is important to him. He emphasizes repeatedly that:

“Trust broken makes fear and selfishness…as a natural consequence. This idea is known as survival of the fittest – the opposite of God’s principle of love.”

What comes clear later is that if one believes in the standard Adventist position on the executive judgment and the substitutionary atonement, one will not trust God, but will become selfish and self protecting from such a cruel Being.

The first lecture ends with six suggestions. Suggestion number two introduces an idea that will be repeated throughout the series,

“If you have seen me [Jesus], you have seen the Father.”

This Jennings develops into a hermeneutic such that if Jesus didn’t punish then the Father won’t, if Jesus could forgive men before dying, then the Father could forgive men without Jesus dying. But that comes in lectures 4 and 6, and the person listening doesn’t realize what the repetition of the “principle” is setting him up to experience.

Lecture 2

This is the lecture on the Law of Liberty. It is fascinating. The short of it is that if a husband, for example, threatens to beat his wife if she will not obey, the natural consequence of this will be that

“love is damaged, and eventually destroyed. A desire to rebel is instilled.”

“If the woman stays, she loses her individuality, she becomes a shadow person.”

The principle seems true and obvious as it relates to marriage. But Dr. Jennings has wider applications in mind, and he begins to make them in this lecture.  If you believe that God threatens disobedience with punishment, “love is damaged” and see above for the rest. This places the cause for rebellion squarely at the feet of whoever inspired a prophet to threaten. Dr. Jennings indicates that he is very aware of the implications (though there is no evidence he is thinking of the implication just mentioned).

On a light note in a serious article, he says that the “stimulus package of Bush is a example of the law of love.” I don’t think this represents his best judgment.

In this lecture Jennings introduces one of what he calls “lies”, namely that:

“One of the lies is that the law of God brings death.”

He is saying that the law does not condemn men in such a way as to require their death.

He says:

“Does God have to use his power to kill? To inflict penalties?”

The implied answer is “no.”

There is an illustration that Jennings uses four or five times in his lecture series. Imagine, he says, a happily married couple. Someone approaches the wife with digitally altered photographs that falsely prove that her faithful husband has been having an affair. How will she react. Each time he uses the illustration he concludes:

“Lies believed lead to fear and selfishness.”

The problem with this illustration and conclusion is that it is one-sided. If the only kind of lie that could be told about God is that He is cruel, Jennings’ illustration would be more sensible. But there is an opposite type of lie, that God accepts you as you are. What does this lie lead to? Not “fear and selfishness” but self-confidence and selfishness. There are many lies and they produce a plethora of evil effects.

Lecture Three

In this lecture, on the family, Jennings begins to really advertise for his future lectures on the issues. He begins by making the case that lies about God are commonly believed and are the reason that people have problems with their relation to God. He urges people to come to the fourth lecture.

Like much in the first two lectures, this lecture is full of useful material on human-human interaction. But he makes one questionable point by suggesting a different translation of the proverb. I have not checked into this, but my gut reaction is that this is the wrong solution to the problem of well-raised lost children:

“Raise a child according to his way and when he is old he will not depart from it.”

Ironically, and interestingly, Dr. Jennings makes a good point about the damage done by threatening consequences to children and then not following through. He says the children will learn not to trust their parent. If only he had thought the implications of this through in relation to his theology regarding the judgment….

Lecture Four

“Our weapons are not spiritual, the battlefield is the mind, a war over ideas about what God is like. What happened in [a patient’s] mind when the preacher said what he did? She was hardened.”

This is the introduction to the primary lecture on what God is like.

The lecture boils down to “seven basic strategies” Satan uses, and defenses that “demolish Satan’s strongholds in our minds.”

1.         “Lies about God.”

“That he is cruel, etc.”

Lies harden us, and we create schemes to be protected from God.

“God will examine our healthy brother Jesus in our place.”

This second of what Jennings calls “lies” about God examining Jesus, is very subtle. It is the first attack on the idea of substitutionary atonement in the lectures. It mocks, by illustration, the idea of the Father accepting the righteousness of Jesus in place of our life in the judgment.

And how do we escape the lies?

“Defense: Examine the facts about the Father through the lens of Jesus. Don’t read the Old Testament to see Jesus, but study Jesus to understand the Old Testament.”

He sets up this unreal dichotomy as a standard. Such a standard would allow one to reinterpret obvious OT examples of executive execution.

Satan’s next strategy:

“2.       Antithetical beliefs. These turn off our brains.” Examples

“God is love.”

“Burn you in hell forever.”

“love and hell” are antithetical

“god is love” and “burn in hell” these “CANNOT BE TRUE AT THE SAME TIME”

Jennings must sense that at this point some in the audience are feeling very uncomfortable. The last statement seemed to indicate that even a finite hell where God burns men can not be true if “God is love.”

“Someone says ‘I take God at faith, I just believe him.’ “you just turned off your brain.”

This is a direct exalting of human reason over inspiration. But he comes back and challenges:

“You think you have some verses, some inspired materials, that indicate that God will burn people? Bring them this afternoon, I would love to tell you what I believe about hell.”

He says that the idea that “God will inflict penalties” is antithetical to “God is love.”

He says “God does not use his power to inflict external penalties. All God has to do is let go and if he lets go, we will die.”

What is the defense against such so-called “lies” (that originate in Bible verses…)?

“Examine your beliefs in light of truth. Reject anything that requires you not to think.” And by this he seems to mean, anything that challenges your understanding, such as the harmony of justice and mercy.

Satan’s third strategy – to remove the meaning behind symbols.

He talks about how we sing about being cleansed “by the blood” as an example of an empty metaphor. He explains that “blood is life” and “the blood of Jesus is the life of Jesus.” “We are cleansed by the life of Jesus.”

But we are not cleansed, in the metaphor, by the blood in the lamb. We are cleansed by the blood spilled from the lamb. We are cleaned by the death, the shedding of the life, of Jesus. And this is an important point.

The fourth through seventh strategies are mostly well explained and harmless. But on the fifth… “Surrendering judgment to others.”

Here methinks that Dr. Jennings shows that he has read Graham Maxwell. He makes a point that we can not surrender our beliefs to the “28 beliefs” of the church and then launches into the “servants or friends” theme of Maxwell. But this is speculative on my part and he doesn’t make any applications here.

Lecture Five

Lecture 5 was on Depression. I didn’t take notes and was doing two things at once while listening to it.

Lecture Six

“Our Goal is to know God better, to develop trust and love and faith in God.”

Jennings begins with a list of myths about forgiveness.

One of these myths identified by Jennings is that “Forgiveness comes after the offender says ‘I’m sorry’”

His good point, that we should forgive before persons apologize, is extrapolated into a statement about forgiveness of sins: God has already forgiven us, even before we ask.

But while it is true that God loves us, gave all to save us, is not angry with us, yet the Bible places forgiveness as conditioned on confession and repentance.

“Myth three: Forgiveness requires payment.”

And this is the attack on substitutionary atonement.

“Anybody heard that forgiveness requires payment for our sins?”

“How many believe that Jesus died to pay our debt? That God forgives our debts as we forgive our debtors? If you collect the debt, can you forgive it? If you forgive it, can you collect it?”

Thus he confuses the issue of relationship and justice. I forgive my debtors as a response to God forgiving me. But I am not their Lawgiver. They sinned against God and hurt me. I forgive the hurt. The judgment deals with the sin. So God says “vengeance is mine, saith the Lord, and I will repay.”

He observes that in 1 Cor 13, “Love keeps no record of wrong” and uses this to belittle the idea of a record being kept of our sins in heaven.

He says that our view of atonement is a “split in the godhead” and thus false.

“Did Jesus need appeasement? Where did this distortion come from?”

Thus he seeks to equate what really expresses the idea of justice with what he calls appeasement. And that is a great fault.

He addresses this apparent objection to his views: “Without shedding of blood is no remission” He 9:22.

And his answer is a modern tweaking of the moral influence theory. Jesus died to show us love and thus change us. It is one truth pitted against another in such a way as to make the second look like a lie.

“ ‘[You say] the Father applies Christ’s record to our record and declares us innocent when we accept him.’ In what universe will it ever be true that Adam never sinned? If we say God declares us innocent, we make God out to be a liar.”

“The records will last through all eternity.”

You will find an attack on the doctrine of the blotting out of sins; you will find an attack on the use of records in the judgment of consecrated persons; You will find that sins are blotted “not from a book” but from our character. You will find that the punishment for sin is the damage the sinner experiences in sinning.

You will find him answer an objection or two about God’s OT threatenings by saying that God was desperate and risked being misunderstood by rebels by communicating in a way they might listen – in other words, (my extrapolation, not his:) God didn’t mean what He said.

You will find in the Q and A, after the lecture, that a lady asked him more about “hell.”

His summary is that God is a fire that burns sin, not material things, so the people won’t be burned, but will die naturally from the brightness of God and the sin in them will be naturally consumed by the fire of God’s presence, so God will not actually do anything to destroy them.

And this flies entirely in the face of both scripture and the Spirit of Prophecy.

You will find the strangest argument from the Greek word for sulfur in the third angel’s message.

Appendix Part II – Ellen White on an Eternally Burning Hell and the Sufferings of the Lost

How repugnant to every emotion of love and mercy, and even to our sense of justice, is the doctrine that the wicked dead are tormented with fire and brimstone in an eternally burning hell; that for the sins of a brief, earthly life they are to suffer torture as long as God shall live. Yet this doctrine has been widely taught, and is still embodied in many of the creeds of Christendom. Said a learned doctor of divinity: “The sight of hell-torments will exalt the happiness of the saints forever. When they see others who are of the same nature and born under the same circumstances, plunged in such misery, and they so distinguished, it will make them sensible of how happy they are.” Another used these words: “While the decree of reprobation is eternally executing on the vessels of wrath, the smoke of their torment will be eternally ascending in view of the vessels of mercy, who, instead of taking the part of these miserable objects, will say, Amen, Alleluia! praise ye the Lord!”  {GC88 535.1}

Where, in the pages of God’s Word, is such teaching to be found? Will the redeemed in Heaven be lost to all emotions of pity and compassion, and even to feelings of common humanity? Are these to be exchanged for the indifference of the stoic, or the cruelty of the savage?—No, no; such is not the teaching of the Book of God. Those who present the views expressed in the quotations given above may be learned and even honest men; but they are deluded by the sophistry of Satan. He leads them to misconstrue strong expressions of Scripture, giving to the language the coloring of bitterness and malignity which pertains to himself, but not to our Creator. “As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die?” [Ezekiel 33:11.]  {GC88 535.2}

What would be gained to God should we admit that he delights in witnessing unceasing tortures; that he is regaled with the groans and shrieks and imprecations of the suffering creatures whom he holds in the flames of hell? Can these horrid sounds be music in the ear of Infinite Love? It is urged that the infliction of endless misery upon the wicked would show God’s hatred of sin as an evil which is ruinous to the peace and order of the universe. Oh, dreadful blasphemy! As if God’s hatred of sin is the reason why he perpetuates sin. For, according to the teachings of these theologians, continued torture without hope of mercy maddens its wretched victims, and as they pour out their rage in curses and blasphemy, they are forever augmenting their load of guilt. God’s glory is not enhanced by thus perpetuating continually increasing sin through ceaseless ages.  {GC88 536.1}

It is beyond the power of the human mind to estimate the evil which has been wrought by the heresy of eternal torment. The religion of the Bible, full of love and goodness, and abounding in compassion, is darkened by superstition and clothed with terror. When we consider in what false colors Satan has painted the character of God, can we wonder that our merciful Creator is feared, dreaded, and even hated? The appalling views of God which have spread over the world from the teachings of the pulpit have made thousands, yes, millions, of skeptics and infidels.  {GC 536.2}

The theory of eternal torment is one of the false doctrines that constitute the wine of the abomination of Babylon, of which she makes all nations drink. Revelation 14:8; 17:2. That ministers of Christ should have accepted this heresy and proclaimed it from the sacred desk is indeed a mystery. They received it from Rome, as they received the false sabbath. True, it has been taught by great and good men; but the light on this subject had not come to them as it has come to us. They were responsible only for the light which shone in their time; we are accountable for that which shines in our day. If we turn from the testimony of God’s word, and accept false doctrines because our fathers taught them, we fall under the condemnation pronounced upon Babylon; we are drinking of the wine of her abomination.  {GC 536.3}

A large class to whom the doctrine of eternal torment is revolting are driven to the opposite error. They see that the Scriptures represent God as a being of love and compassion, and they cannot believe that He will consign His creatures to the fires of an eternally burning hell. But holding that the soul is naturally immortal, they see no alternative but to conclude that all mankind will finally be saved. Many regard the threatenings of the Bible as designed merely to frighten men into obedience, and not to be literally fulfilled. Thus the sinner can live in selfish pleasure, disregarding the requirements of God, and yet expect to be finally received into His favor. Such a doctrine, presuming upon God’s mercy, but ignoring His justice, pleases the carnal heart and emboldens the wicked in their iniquity.  {GC 537.1}

 



[1] Dr. Jennings does not acknowledge that he undermines faith by his teachings. He feels that I misrepresent him on this point. To this I counter that faith is simply living by and believing all that God says. Any one, then, who teaches that God’s plain statements cannot be understood literally, undermines faith. More on this later.

[2] Dr. Jennings distinguishes his belief from the moral influence theory on the basis that he believes Jesus did much more than simply make a demonstration. He accomplished, Jennings correctly teaches, a great deal that is essential to our salvation. He worked out a perfect character that is made available to us. Nevertheless, this sounds more like a refinement of the theory than a repudiation of it. Peter Abelard was seeking to get away from the very same ideas of penal justice that Dr. Jennings seeks to discredit.

For the Word Document, Click Here: Tomothy Jennings and God does Destroy

(51) Comments

  1. Dear Eugene,

    At one time I was looking into the connection between the Moral Influence Theory, Graham Maxwell, and the Good News Tour because one church member did not believe that unrepentant sinners were to be destroyed by fire–that warnings in the Bible were there to “scare us straight.” of course they also believe Christ did not die for our sins–a serious error.

    Thanks for exposing Jennings errors and that of others here.

    God Bless!
    Steve

    • Thank you, Steve. You will see that I edited your comment a bit to remove some things I wouldn’t want in a public forum. Thank you for caring about truth.

  2. Pastor Randy Brehms - Reply

    I have read through your objections. In many ways you seem to echo much of the legalistic and forensic arguments that Adventists were famous for in the forties through the fifties. A vindictive God who punished Jesus on the Cross for our sins. I do find Fr. Jennings conclusions accurate in that Jesus was not satisfying an offended God by placing Himself between the Father and sinners so that in effect Jesus deflected and absorbed the wrath of God. What a picture of God. While I can agree that Hell is real, and the destruction of the wicked is the ultimate outcome. It is my conviction with I believe biblical support that heaven and hell exist at the same time in the same place. Isaiah 33:14 The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings? [15] He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil;
    Ezekiel 28:14 and 16 Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. [16] By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.
    Ezekiel 28:18-20 Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee.[19] All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more.
    Ezekiel 20:47 & 48 And say to the forest of the south, Hear the word of the LORD; Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will kindle a fire in thee, and it shall devour every green tree in thee, and every dry tree: the flaming flame shall not be quenched, and all faces from the south to the north shall be burned therein. [48] And all flesh shall see that I the LORD have kindled it: it shall not be quenched.
    Daniel 7:9 & 10 I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: His throne was like the fiery flame, and His wheels as burning fire.[10] A fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him: thousand thousands ministered unto Him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.
    It appears to me that God exists in everlasting burnings. To the saints who have become clear channels this fire is a life sustaining, warmth. To the sinner who has developed resistance to the love of God through cherished sin it becomes a consuming fire. Much like power flowing through a carbon filament makes light, or creates heat. It is called resistance heating, and resistance lighting. This allows God to be God and the sinners to be destroyed, or self-destructed. Since sin cannot exist in the presence of a Holy God, then it stands to reason (I know you don’t care for that word reason) that Satan should have been instantly destroyed as he began fomenting rebellion. God must have placed a protective barrier between Himself and His sinning covering Cherub, or Lucifer would have been reduced to a little smoldering coal in the throne room of heaven. If you find this unbiblical, then I fear you serve a very different God than I do. One of us is right. If God is not like I understand Him to be, maybe it will be bst if I am eliminated for eternity rather than to exist in the presence of God who is always thinking “It’s a good thing My Son wanted you here because if it had been up to me, you wouldn’t have made it!”
    I actually find Dr. Jennings concepts supportive of the “investigative Judgment”.

    • Dear Pastor Randy,

      Thank you for caring about what is true. Let me comment on some things you wrote.

      You say you have read through my objections. OK, good. You say they remind you of the legalistic ideas of Adventists seventy years ago. Now that is interesting, especially since you gathered it from my article on Jennings. Part of what I do for a living is preach about 1888 and Righteousness by Faith. So if you see some evidence that I believe that my own righteous works have some sort of merit, I would like to see what I wrote that gave you that opinion.

      But I think you spelled out what you found: You believe that if God the Father and Jesus voluntarily agreed that Jesus would take the sins of the world, and their punishment, on Himself, that proves that God is vindictive.

      Randy, it is the love of God that moved Jesus to take the just punishment for our sins on Himself. There is nothing vindictive about that, either on the part of the Son or of the Father. Judges, ideally, are not vindictive when they sentence wrong-doers. Parents, ideally, are not vindictive when they punish children.
      Your conviction about heaven and hell existing together …. could confuse people. The righteous do, indeed, exist blissfully in the everlasting burnings of God’s presence. That is heaven. I’ll give you that. But hell isn’t there at any time.

      And when fire is rained on the impenitent, there is no heaven outside the city. When the fire comes out of Satan and consumes him in fulfillment of the prophecy you quote, that will be one thing that all flesh will see. They will know “that I the LORD have kindled it.”

      God is not out of control. Justice is not automatic. The idea that Satan should have been instantly destroyed by God’s presence is just so much speculation. Sin can stand there in God’s presence until such a time as God chooses to execute justice.
      Whether you are right or I can be easily settled by inspired sources, if we chose to believe all of them.

      And, Randy, I love reason. I just don’t think it is reasonable to exalt reason over revelation. That is an irrational thing to do. So when someone exalts reason as a source of truth that belittles revealed statements by prophets, they are exalting irrational arrogance under the moniker of “reason.” That, I don’t like.
      You seem, even as you close your note, to reiterate a strange idea. Do you really think, Randy, that Adventists like me, and Adventist pioneers like Andrews and Loughborough, do you really think that we view God as not loving mankind and pitying them? That is just bizarre.

      Finally, you say,

      “I actually find Dr. Jennings concepts supportive of the ‘investigative Judgment.’”

      OK, Pastor Randy. You either don’t understand Tim, or you don’t believe in the Investigative Judgment yourself. If you wonder what I mean by that, I have a Bible study under Daniel 7 on the Investigative Judgment.

      Be faithful,

      Eugene

  3. Dear Eugene

    Two friends if mine have refereed me to this article ( I have gone through it four times!!) and to your site I have not looked at everything here, I will do that over the next few sabbaths. My initial reaction has been absolute disbelief at your method of bible study and use of Ellen white. When I read maybe 10 or so different articles of yours I will see maybe I’ll warm up to your style. Patience and determination to understand and to love under the Spirit of God have great power I have seen it in my life. Praise Jesus.

    I had made a long response but I think it will only cause more back and forth.

    [I have truncated Antony’s note. He and I are, indeed, engaged now in some “back and forth.” But I will not make my site a platform for his position. He can make that on his own site somewhere else.]

    • Antony, I do take God at His Word. Just and Right is He. When someone has to use arguments to show why they don’t believe what a prophet has said, those arguments are fallacious. Indeed.

      –Eugene

  4. I find it curious that you reference Jones and Waggoner. Are you aware of their views on the Final Judgement of the Wicked?

    • Jeff, thank you for writing. I think I have read nearly everything written by these prolific men. And I know that their views on many things began to shift in the mid 1890’s. But, no, I do not know where they ended up on this question. But I have been reading how they used the term “lake of fire.” Fascinating.

  5. Eugene:
    Thanks for this article. It was truly a blessing.

    When I first began to view Dr. Jennings Videos “God and Your Brain” that someone had left in our church, I thought there was something wrong, mostly because of the location of the recording of the video, and the picture of the the person doing Yoga Meditation on the cover. Since I am an elder I decided to take one and view it before letting them be distributed. I was looking for Centering prayer and Meditation techniques, but did not find them there, so I was disarmed, and relieved about that. In the Q and A session he started to talk about the Eternal Fire / Consuming Fire. Which sparked my interest, which led me to find your page, and this article. While looking for the obvious deception of Centering Prayer, I missed many of the things you mentioned in this article. I think that is what is called a “Red Herring”? Looking for the obvious you miss the more subtle things.

    While there are many truths in his materials, You are right there should be a Red Flag out. We should not try to gather truth where error also exists.

    Best Regards,
    Fred

  6. Concerning the plagues:

    I was shown that the judgements of God would not come directly out from the Lord upon them, but in this way: They place themselves beyond His protection. He warns, corrects, reproves, and points out the only path of safety; then, if those who have been the objects of His special care will follow their own course, independent of the Spirit of God, after repeated warnings, if they choose their own way, then He does not commission His angels to prevent Satan’s decided attacks upon them.

    It is Satan’s power that is at work at sea and on land, bringing calamity and distress and sweeping off multitudes to make sure of his prey.–14MR 3 (1883).
    ….[I, Eugene Prewitt, removed much of this letter as I do not care to let a presentation in favor of error appear on my page. Nevertheless, I respond below to the points in the letter, albeit succinctly.]

    • Russell,
      I am glad you are trying to raise your young child to not play in the street. And there is no doubt that TJ does use parallels as a powerful teaching technique. But please do understand that if one is determined to take the inspired counsels as they were obviously intended to be taken, then the statement here from 14MR is a description of one large class of God’s judgments, but not of all. Another class of purely punitive judgments exist and God’s active agency in these is mentioned in the White-Estate’s notes that you cut out of the quote above. (I don’t fault you for cutting the comments out, only for not being educated by them.)

    • While it is true that some of God’s judgments are simply His work of removing protection, it is not true that all are of this nature. And the statement from 14MR above never was intended to be universal as it mentions “them” as a reference to persons under discussion who had done wrongly. I think a serious approach to the obvious meaning of Scripture is clear enough on this point for candid persons that live by every word of God.

  7. Pastor Prewitt:

    Thanks for your comment/evaluation of Dr. Jennings theology, which I saved and printed a copy for myself. A friend sent me your contribution.

    Nowhere in the email is your website identified. Would you consider sending your email address to me, so that we can communicate?

    Roland

  8. May this article inspire all readers to check out Dr. Timothy Jennings & Come and Reason’s message for themselves. ….. [I, Eugene Prewitt, deleted the remainder of David’s note which was written in favor of Tim Jennings. I deleted it rather than countering it because it offered no data not dealt with sufficiently by the article here.]

  9. Pastor Prewitt,
    Thank you for this article. It was a great help in clearing up some issues that I’ve been thinking about and discussing with others. I believe that we have a finite understanding of love, especially God’s love, and that we can never fully understand how much pain God will endure at the destruction of the wicked. Thank you again and may God bless you and uphold you to continue to serve Him.
    Dan

  10. A close relative gave me a copy of Jennings’ “The God-Shaped Brain”. Both my wife and I have read it. At first, I was amazed at what I was reading (in a good way). It made a lot of sense, and was a very interesting read. Then I hit the chapters about God’s judgement and Jennings’ theology of the final punishment of the wicked. At first, it made me very uncomfortable and I knew something wasn’t right here. The closer I looked at it, and compared with what the Bible actually says (along with the writings of EGW) I noticed glaring errors. Your article summarizes well most of my own conclusions after investigating his teachings.

    Some of my other relatives and friends have also read this book, and seem to embrace his theology to one degree or another. In fact, I’ve now been told “God does not physically punish the wicked in the flames, it is more just a mental suffering. The reason some burn longer than others is simply because they are resisting God’s love (“the consuming fire”) and finally they give in and cease to exist.” It’s a nice thought. God is just drawing close to the wicked because He loves them, but they burn up in His presence because they are full of sin and are resisting Him. But… it’s not true. I could find no evidence anywhere in the Bible or EGW to support this, or any of Jennings’ views on this topic. Furthermore, why would the wicked need to “surrender to God”? They already bow the knee and confess that He is right on the plains surrounding the New Jerusalem. I hardly think the flames of hellfire are meant for a “corrective” purpose for the wicked.

    In fact, I was shocked to discover EGW actually states who decides how long each individual will suffer – it’s a 3rd-party…

    At this time “the saints shall judge the world.” 1 Corinthians 6:2. In union with Christ they judge the wicked, deciding every case according to the deeds done in the body. Then the portion the wicked must suffer is meted out, according to their works, and it is recorded against their names in the book of death.” {HF 399.4}

    “Then the wicked saw what they had lost; and fire was breathed from God upon them, and consumed them. This was the Execution of the Judgement. The wicked then received according as the saints in unison with Jesus had meted out to them during the 1000 years. The same fire from God that consumed the wicked, purified the whole earth.” {ExV 35.1}

    Did you catch that?! THE SAINTS, along with Jesus, decide HOW LONG the wicked will suffer in the flames. The wicked have NO CHOICE in the matter. It is 3rd-party penal judgement based completely upon their works. But Jennings seems to argue that the recording angel is simply writing down things to justify God’s character (and His decisions about who is saved/lost) only. These statements completely contradict his teaching.

    That’s punitive justice. Penal punishment. Some may not like this thought. But truth is not dependent upon our warm fuzzy feelings, but upon the Word of God. Jennings’s teachings, in my opinion, minimize the horror of sin and its terrible consequences. God is love. But He is also just. We need to understand and study carefully both sides.

    Maybe God’s wrath towards sin is just as amazing as His grace towards sinners.

  11. How has Jennings undermined faith? He hasn’t undermined mine. Indeed, I’m more convinced by Jennings that God through Christ can and will prepare me for a sinless life here and for eternity. The traditional road you offer seems to make it less possible. And who determines which statements of God are plain and are literal and which are metaphor? Because the god you posit, the god who requires torture for the mere purpose of achieving some sort of balance in its emotional state is, it seems, pagan and not dissimilar enough to eastern mysticism.

    • Wow, Ms Ash. Let me reply briefly. First, Tim undermines faith by inviting you and others not to believe some of the plainest statements of the prophets. Taking God at His Word is the essence of faith. And who should decide what is literal and what is a metaphor? William Miller gave a good sensible reply to that: We should assume a passage is literal unless the literal reading of it doesn’t make sense (such as when a goat doesn’t touch the ground while flying, or when a beast has four heads, etc.) Angels have never referred to God’s judgments as torture. Neither have prophets. Neither is justice a balancing act. It is fair punishment (and the only two other options are unfair punishment, or no punishment.) And as one that lives in an eastern context (southeast Asia) your correlation of Adventist eschatology with eastern mysticism is baffling. The lake of fire is not karma. It is the wrath of God against guilty persons. You wrote this on January 10, 2016. I will be interested to see what you believe about the Three Angel’s Messages on January 10, 2021.

  12. I watched the Sabbath school lesson and I also came to your conclusion. The one thing that stood out for me was denying that God directly punishes/intervenes as He sees fit. There are accounts in the bible which then do not make sense or should be discarded if this were true. The story of the flood, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, and innumerable other accounts where God directly destroyed or killed. I now see in the Seventh Day Adventist Church a group of people who do not think the God of the bible, with all these stories of judgement , is not good enough and He needs a makeover. The makeover comes in the form of only presenting a loving God, a seducing doctrine to the itching ear as Paul says in the book of Timothy. This is postmodern theology that is now being pushed in our churches.

    2 Peter 3:5-7
    5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:
    6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:
    7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

  13. Thank you for your open response to Jennings presentations. He gave a series of lectures at my Village SDA Church in College Place, WA last Friday evening and Sabbath. I went to all lectures, but with reservations simply because he is a psychiatrist (I’m an RN and during training didn’t like psych because it didn’t follow EGW’s philosophy). After the first meeting, I remember feeling, “He’s a good lecturer and building up to something, but I don’t know what. At the end, I came away with the impression, “That’s not what I believe! Who invited him? Did he know Jennings theology? Am I going crazy?” What a relief to know that others questioned what he presented. On the other hand, after talking to many attendees, most said, “Wasn’t that wonderful! and free DVDs and book!” Sadly, it appears that most were gullible and soaked in everything he said without questioning or searching more into God’s Word. Jennings used many Bible verses and EGW writings but just to prove his point.
    Conclusion: When we let others study God’s Word for us, we can be caught unawares and trapped by false teachings.

    • I hope, Sister Beverly, that you have found like-minded persons there near you who can hold the truth high as a banner for those who love it.

      Be faithful,

      Eugene

  14. Eugene, you are a wise man, and I APPRECIATE and AGREE with EVERYTHING you have said her in regard to Dr. Timothy Jennings. Your replys to comments also are WELL WRITTEN and WELL SAID. Dr. Jennings recently finished a weekend series here in College Place, WA at the Village Church. I chose NOT to attend. From what I heard from those who attended, including some of my family, the place was packed after being well advertised.

    I personally believe that man’s wisdom is NOTHING compared to the WISDOM of GOD. Some attend worldy(Non-Christian) Colleges/Universities for higher Graduate Learning and Education and feel they have learned it all and know everything about their speciality of Study, but in reality know very little of TRUTH. Lots of Facts, Yes, TRUTH, NO.

    I Am not afraid to acknowledge that I know very little with my weak, sinful mind, but ONE THING I DO KNOW and that is that ALL I need to know about my human Brain, my mind, I can and am acquiring from GOD’S HOLY WORD, The, also INSPIRED, Spirit of Prophesy, and through COMMUNION with my Lord in MUCH, CONSISTENT, DAILY PRAYER.

    Mixing error with Truth is wrong and I am ONE of MAY who are saddened and disappointed by “the creeping compromise” that is flowing into our CHURCH and AMONG OUR PEOPLE, God’s Remnant, at an alarming rate of speed. satan REJOICES!!!

    • Blessings to you, Brother, from Malaysia where I am currently. I thank you for caring about what the prophets have risked so much to share. May we believe them.

      Be faithful,

      Eugene

  15. Eugene, Is it just me, or do you see it, also?? I find that many are obsessed with identifying anyone who does not agree with allowing error to be mixed with TRUTH classified as being LEGALISTIC. What seems just a little out of place to me is that those who through around their favorite word “LEGALISTIC” SO FREELY are JUDGING OTHERS, and from what little I have read and studied, that which involves others as Judging another is MORE LEGALISTIC THAN ANYTHING. iS NOT A jUDGE A BIG PART OF OUR lEGAL SYSTEM??? Is not Judging others in a Spiritual sense and act of SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS?? I COULD BE WRONG HERE in my observations and surmising. GOD BLESS YOU, BROTHER. If you go back and read the comments, you will, no doubt, UNDERSTAND TO WHOM i REFER.

  16. Hello Eugene
    I’m listening occasionally to Tim and notice that although he uses the Church SS Lesson he consistently and persistently transcribes into it his own very special salvation story. I wonder why he just doesn’t write his own lesson. Why pretend to be following the Church teaching?
    I also wonder why his class is called ‘Come and Reason’. I think that ‘Come and Listen’ would be more appropriate as Tim will tell you what to think if you just listen carefully. If there is a question, most in the class have now got to the place where they can parrot off the pet phrases and receive the affirming confirmation.
    I wonder if Tim has developed this Theology to lay to rest Richard Dawkins philosophy that there must be something wrong with God if the best saving plan He could come up with was to send His Son to die on a Cross. Is Tim trying to answer Dawkins? I have noticed that his Alma Mater encourages original thinking and the art of persuasion in presenting something new. This effort could therefore be his ‘pass with credit’?
    Finally, ‘Come and Reason’ actually presents no new picture to me on the loving character of God. Over the years there have been, from Ellen White on, multitudes of SDA writers who have presented this theme. The newness comes in the desire to present a new atonement theory that appears to be less substitutionary and less judgmental. It follows that Tim and his class are most likely, of a nature that have suffered from a harsh and loveless judgment picture of God. This sad scene has inspired in them fear with a subsequent loss of assurance. Tim has admitted this was the case for himself. Maybe a Church teaching that has, from some within, majored in a perfectionistic calling needs to take some responsibility for this? Regards Graham

  17. The first thing I read on this site about Eugene making public his views about Jennings without even talking to Jennings first…. I have seen this same exact scenario play itself over and over and over again in the Adventist realm. – – – One guy thinks he is absolutely right, period. Attacks the guy who is teaching,”Heresy” and dismisses himself from Matthew 18 because the guy he is speaking against isn’t a brother and is teaching the falsehoods of the evil one. – – -[This comment was heavily truncated for reasons that its author doesn’t appreciate.]

    • When a man puts his teachings in public, he is not ashamed of those teachings. To expose his teachings as error is not to expose his hidden sin. It is not an effort to correct hurt feelings or a wounded relationship. In short, what Paul says about Demitrius and Alexander and about several other men was not about a personal issue between him and them. Rather, it is about warning the church about the danger of dangerous teachings. Indeed, if Tim had come to me privately about his privately held ideas, then I should have kept the affair private while trying to help him. But public teachers of error are to be publicly exposed (Romans 16:17-18; etc) and Matthew 18 isn’t even related to the question.

      Finally, to assert that a man (like Jennings or Ford or Rea or Pippenger or Houteff or Ballenger or Kellogg or Canright) is teaching error is most certainly not to set one’s self up as the ultimate judge. Nor is it to claim some exalted level of knowledge. It is simply to say, “my reading of Scripture and my experience with this man’s teachings tells me that there is danger. This is why….”

      In other words, if my article condemned Tim’s teaching, but gave no reasons, it would say, “Trust the judgment of Eugene Prewitt on this issue.” But when the article presents the reasons, it says “look at the reasons and, by all means, use your own God-given judgment. Reason for yourself from the evidence presented and from whatever other inspired evidence you have at your command.”

  18. Thanks, Eugene and others, for confirming my extreme discomfort with Tim Jennings’ teachings. A friend enthusiastically shared one of Tim’s recorded discussions several years ago and I was shocked at the great pains being taken to seemingly re-write the most fundamental Bible accounts, disallowing anything that could possibly be construed as “negative” (like punishment or consequences!). Even more shocking to me was the number of acquaintances in the Collegedale area who were completely sold-out to Tim’s teachings, all in the name of “love.”

    Having encountered abusive behavior in my past (from within the church), I am forever grateful for the Biblical assurances of God’s discipline and justice. True love does NOT mean unconditional acceptance of bad behavior. In fact, if not for the balance of justice and love that God alone is so faithful and capable of administering, I would fail of seeing Him as a loving, protective heavenly Father.

  19. I would like to invite each of you in this discussion to read the first chapter of the little book “Steps to Christ” prayerfully really thinking about what it is saying and asking God to help you understand the message He wants you to understand every day for a month. Then if you want to continue to read it and add the second chapter at times. I did this myself and found it to bring tremendous clarity. I wish each of our members would do this because I think it would make us more grounded and prepare us for the outpouring of the latter rain.

  20. Jennings’ seminar on the brain is on our church board agenda next month, being advocated by a church member. Our pastor is trying to be neutral but did send my husband, an elder, an email, saying Jennings’ current church and elders support him. (That wasn’t the case at the Collegedale church.) Can anyone tell me what church Jennings’ currently attends. I understood that he has SS in the City Hall at Collegedale.

  21. Brother EP,
    I have (finally) gone to the trouble of reading all of your comments on TRJ presentations and also your replies to readers who are most probably strong supporters of either yourself or TRJ.
    Did you know that most of your comments, so critical of TRJ’s presentations, are not even true?
    Did you know that the theology you promote in your article is legalistic and not at all in favour of our God?
    Did you know that your comments strongly support pagan god construct?….[heavily truncated]….
    Did you know that your truncating inconvenient contents of letters is dishonest and manipulative,….
    Brother EP, All of the above I’ve said in love, hoping that you may review your attitude with a humble heart and in Christian love.
    MH, Aus

    Brother (or Sister) “MH”

    No, I do not know any of these things. I challenged you privately to provide some evidence for the strong statement that “most” of my comments “are not even true.” To date, you have provided no examples. I wait still, for false accusations are a violation of the ninth commandment, and I will correct them as soon as I know them.

    And, no, I do not think that there is anything legalistic about believing in justice. And no, I do not believe that the Bible teaching on justice and atonement supports and pagan “construct.” Pagan atonement is almost always appeasement and merit. Christian atonement is Justice and Mercy.

    And as I truncated your letter, no, I do not believe that it is dishonest to do so. I am under no moral obligation to give a forum for promoting views I view as dangerous.

    MH, I am glad you have said these things in “love.” And I do take to heart the admonition to review my attitude humbly. I do not, however, suppose that those imbibing heresy will ever think that teachers of the Word who expose them have a good attitude.

  22. Sadly, at this point Jennings’ errors are not limited to the destruction of the wicked. He has attacked the Sanctuary doctrine, stating that the sins of the penitent are not transferred to the sanctuary through the blood of the victim, and that the veil before the Ark represents the devil, as it “obscures” the glory of God. This then requires a re-interpretation or outright dismissal of the Investigative Judgment. And all of this proceeds from the seemingly innocuous question, “does God say love me or I’ll kill you?” Subtle, yet crass. God’s work of judgment is holy, and is treated as such by the Bible writers and EGW. It is heartbreaking to see so many thousands being swept away by this false theology.

    • Michael, I have not kept up with Tim. Am sorry to hear about the downward march. But such is a common pattern. Also, as I am not a witness of it (as you seem to be), I must treat it as a rumor. But as a witness, you are welcome to share what you have observed. Only faithfulness will preserve us from strong delusion.

  23. If my son jumped from a ten story building and fell to his death, do I need to go and shoot his dead body to destroy him? If being in Gods presence destroys the wicked, why does God need to destroy them?

    • Mary, vengeance isn’t yours. You won’t judge God’s people. You are not the judge. So, no, even if he lived you would have no obligation to finish him off. But as to your second question, being in God’s presence does not destroy the wicked except as God chooses for that to happen. God has perfect self control and even came as a man among men once. The fiery indignation that will devour the adversaries who deserve more sore punishment than did OT characters, will be an act of justice by the Judge and it will be equal to the evil it punishes.

  24. Eugene, thank you for continuing your work of upholding a “thus sayeth the Lord”. I am constantly amazed at all of these ‘wild goose chases’ that fellow believers go on simply because they do not or will not study AND believe the WHOLE of scripture. I have found that human nature(including my own) is prone to unbalance/imbalance when it comes to truth. We all are or have been guilty of becoming unbalanced in things we have taught or choose to believe. ONLY IN JESUS do we find balance. I enjoy presenting ALL Bible truth “as it is in Jesus”. This method has a powerful effect on its listeners. Thank you again for all you do for HIS cause.

    Sincerely,

    Frank

  25. What stands out as the key indication of error is Christ’s own words regarding the Golden Rule, which is part of God’s love. “Do unto others as you would have them do to you.”

    If God’s offer of repentance and mercy is rejected, is it fair then that the rejecters do not drink in proportion of the cup that they compelled others to drink? The bible makes it plain that they will try to refuse. But God says that they will indeed drink of this cup and His word is final. This in no way conflicts with His mercy. Now while probation lasts, He does not repay the evil according to their deeds. He treats us not as we deserve, but as though we were just.

  26. Bro. Eugene,

    I did not read all of your replies above.
    I read your last one which I find VERY troublesome, and pagan in its concept:
    “The fiery indignation that will devour the adversaries who deserve more sore punishment that did OT characters, will be an act of justice by the Judge and it will be equal to the evil it punishes.”

    It seemed that you did not address the meanings of the terminology that the Scriptures use, such as: justice, judgment(s), wrath, etc…

    ONLY when you have done THAT , THEN and only then, you may say that you have used the Scriptures to interpret the Scriptures.

    .

    • Oh, Attilio…you say did not read all I wrote, and then fault me for not addressing certain points. Think that through.

      But when I wrote that comment that troubled you, I was alluding to Hebrews 10:29,
      “29 How much worse punishment do you think will be deserved by the man who has spurned the Son of God, and profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and outraged the Spirit of grace?”

      When you say that this Scripture is pagan in its concept, who are you faulting? This is Scripture, and it most certainly does explain other scriptures when it says “worse punishment” and “will be deserved.”

  27. The positions espoused by “Come and Reason Ministries” with which you have taken issue, I think you should reconsider. In my 83 years being in the Adventist Church there have been, as long as I can remember, issues about God’s (the creator God) character that Christian, including Adventist, teachings have made me question. For example the eternal treatment of those who reject God’s offer of grace and eternal life. And there are others that the churches have and are teaching that make God out to be an arbitrary monster. For those who want to see Him that way I have pity. I believe it shows a lack of compassion and morality.

    [Truncated by Eugene Prewitt]

    I have considered the views of “Come and Reason Ministries” by Tim Jennings and others. And indeed some of these views that seem to differ with traditional “Adventist” teachings I find to be a ‘breath of fresh air’ because of how they express many of my own long-held views about God and His ways of dealing with His creation including us wayward human beings. On the other hand I believe we must not be swayed by every wind of doctrine that comes along but to see if it is consistent with God’s Word before embracing it or casting it away.

    Sincerely,

    Carl Bankes

    —-
    Dear Carl,

    Thank you for caring about the truth. While Ellen White did write some common things (like letters to her young boys about clothing and school supplies), her published books were intended to represent her inspired visions. Thus, the statements I quote are authoritative for those who believe her to be inspired.

    I need not reconsider believing ideas that so fundamentally counter the revealed will of God. It is God’s statements, not my commitment to tradition, that puts me in opposition to Tim Jennings’ teachings.

    –Eugene Prewitt

  28. “Truncating ” ?

    Since you people love “truth” so much why don’t you just call Eugene’s “truncating” what it really is – holy censorship.

    [Truncated by Eugene Prewitt]

    Dear Lou,

    Yes, censorship is what I do with such letters as yours. It is kind of you to call it holy. Tim does have his own site for promoting his views.

    One thing I do not truncate in these letters are actual Biblical arguments in favor of his views. These I include, and I respond to them. But sentences like yours (that I erased) that include phrases like yours, “liberal facists,” and the like, only inflame.

    –Eugene

  29. Dear Mr. Prewitt,

    In your letter above you state..

    “(as Satan could not perceive any harmony between justice and mercy, a similar perplexity to the one facing Jennings)”

    I must politely disagree with this conclusion of Satan’s understanding of Justice and Mercy. The inspired writings of Ellen White clearly state that Satan sought to distort the union of Justice and Mercy as one of his great deceptions. I would recommend carefully reading chapter 79 of Desire of Ages, but here is the specific quote that you may find helpful…

    “God’s love has been expressed in His justice no less than in His mercy. Justice is the foundation of His throne, and the fruit of His love. It had been Satan’s purpose to divorce mercy from truth and justice. He sought to prove that the righteousness of God’s law is an enemy to peace. But Christ shows that in God’s plan they are indissolubly joined together; the one cannot exist without the other. “Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” Psalm 85:10.DA 762.3”

    Further more, Sister White said that Satan rebelled in the full knowledge of the love of God. The way you stated it, one might be led to think that Satan didn’t really know that God’s Justice and Mercy can never be “divorced”.

    “The divine Son of God saw that no arm but his own could save fallen man. He determined to help man. He left the fallen angels to perish in their rebellion, but stretched forth his hand to rescue perishing man. The angels who were rebellious were dealt with according to the light and experience they had abundantly enjoyed in Heaven. Satan, the chief of the fallen angels, once had an exalted position in Heaven. He was next in honor to Christ. The knowledge which he, as well as the angels who fell with him, had of the character of God, of his goodness, his mercy, wisdom, and excellent glory, made their guilt unpardonable.RH February 24, 1874, par. 33

    There was no possible hope for those ever to be redeemed, who had witnessed and enjoyed the inexpressible glory of Heaven and had seen the terrible majesty of God, and, in presence of all this glory, had rebelled against him. There were no new and more wonderful exhibitions of God’s exalted power that could ever impress them as deeply as those they had already experienced. If they could rebel in the very presence of the weight of glory inexpressible, they could not be placed in any more favorable condition to be proved. There was no reserve force of power, nor were there any greater heights and depths of infinite glory to overpower their jealous doubts and rebellious murmuring. Their guilt and their punishment must be in proportion to their exalted privileges in the heavenly courts.RH February 24, 1874, par. 34”

    I also believe the Dr. Jennings view actually harmonizes God’s Justice and Mercy instead of causing conflict between the two as Satan would have it.

    Hope this helps in your endeavor to find Truth.

    • Brother, I would agree with you that initially Satan could see a union. The trouble with lying is that eventually you are deluded by your own lies. So I suppose the devil has a bit of sincerity now in some of his arguments. But nonetheless, I should have written, “as Satan claimed not to see any harmony….” Regarding Jennings, too bad you see things that way.

  30. Pastor Justis St. Hilaire - Reply

    Dear Eugene,

    Thank you for a clear, logical, biblical, response to the Moral Influence theology that is causing so many issues among us today. I have read through your article and then read a number of responses to it. A number of years ago when studying for the ministry one of my profs was adamant about the acceptance of a methodology of bible study called “Higher Criticism.” We argued for three weeks during class, as I protested against what I saw was a subtle subversion of the methodology of revelation, and in its place, human reason and judgement. My argument was simply the fact that I would rather have the inspiration of the Word and Holy Spirit guiding me rather then my own judgement in the understanding of Scripture.

    It seems to me that this might be one of the underlying issues that is the root cause for the confusion that exists in Adventism today. One person argues for good judgement, or reason, to conclude an understanding of the scriptures, and then you yourself, argue for revelation, and with out argument, the need for the Holy Spirit’s guidance in the process of revelation. Could this be one of the reasons for the real issue for the confusion and biblical misinformation going on today. How can we reasonably agree collectively if we are not studying the Bible using the proper methodology of revelation? We have digressed so terribly from biblical principles to safeguard the truth and the church. One such principle, safety in the multitude of counsellors. “Today it’s every man a law to himself.”

    Ellen White stated, “Let all who read these lines, take heed. Satan has made his boast of what he can do. He thinks to dissolve the unity which Christ prayed might exist in His church. He says, ‘I will go forth and be a lying spirit to deceive those that I can, to criticize, and condemn, and falsify.’ Let the son of deceit and false witness be entertained by a church that has had great light, great evidence, and that church will discard the message the Lord has sent, and receive the most unreasonable assertions and false suppositions and false theories. Satan laughs at their folly, for he knows what truth is. Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers (p. 409).

    Here is another statement that I find being ignored by so many and is a principle rarely practiced by individuals that think they know better than the church at large: “There are a thousand temptations in disguise prepared for those who have the light of truth; and the only safety for any of us is in receiving no new doctrine, no new interpretation of the Scriptures, without first submitting it to brethren of experience. Lay it before them in a humble, teachable spirit, with earnest prayer; and if they see no light in it, yield to their judgment; for ‘in the multitude of counselors there is safety.’” (Vol. 5, p. 293).

    Instead we are busy fighting among ourselves instead of fighting for the salvation of souls. Sharing what is the final and concluding message of the 3AM before the end of all things and the door of probation finally closes.

    I want to personally thank you for taking the time and energy to address your concerns about the Moral influence theology. Your article is in full compliance with the Bible, revelation, and the SOP. I want to affirm you and your courage for standing up to this heresy that is misleading so many today. It will eventually be shown for what it is….. a lie concerning God’s true Character. No amount of human reasoning, or scriptural distortion, can change that. In my humble opinion there is no need to rationalize God’s love and sense of justice by doing away with one or the other. This is not a dichotomy of His character but a Biblical disclosure of how He will deal in the ultimate sense with the problem of sin. Who else has the right and the authority to do so? Two years ago while studying I came across an amazing statement from EGW. I want to share this with you. It’s found in FLB 179: Death entered the world because of transgression. But Christ gave His life that man should have another trial. He did not die on the cross to abolish the law of God, but to secure for man a second probation. He did not die to make sin an immortal attribute; He died to secure the right to destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.
    The Faith I Live By (p. 179). Why did Jesus die to secure the right to destroy the Devil if He never intended to follow through with it?

    God has promised in Nahum 1:9. “What do ye imagine against the LORD? He will make an utter end: affliction shall not rise up the second time. 10 For while they be folden together as thorns, and while they are drunken as drunkards, they shall be devoured as stubble fully dry.” God and the saved will be filled with sorrow for the loss of the those who willfully chose not to accept his love and sacrifice. For this attitude they are fully personally, responsible. This sorrow will eventually be removed from the minds of the redeemed, but for God He will have to remember it through the endless ages of eternity.

    There are many more that are for you than against you.

    Sincerely,
    Pastor Justis St. Hilaire
    PS: For your followers I recommend they re-read GC 671-674 and do a word study on Isaiah 28:21-22. Pay special attention to the word consumption. It literally means “a decision to annihilate.” Only God is here mentioned as the One who makes that decision in the destruction of Satan. Jesus is the One who will manifest the final fulfillment of this prophecy.

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