Evaluating The Teachings of Tim Jennings

Some years ago I was barraged with questions about one Dr. Timothy Jennings.  The school where I was teaching was encouraged by someone to use the doctor’s lectures as part of their curriculum.  And other persons, apparently out of the blue, wrote me to ask what I thought of this man.

Long story short: I listened to six hours of his lectures from an online source.  And by the time I was done, I was motivated to write an article of warning about what I perceived to be dangerous teaching.

Since posting that article on my own site (bibledoc.org) it has risen to be the most read of over 100 articles.  And here, for Fulcrum, I will give you a shorter version less my information regarding my personal interaction with the Dr. Jennings.

Dr. Jennings’ lectures are content rich and are profusely illustrated.  I admit that he has taught much that is true and valuable.  I think many of his wisest ideas came directly from his sensible researches in the writings of Ellen White on topics related to the mind and its desires.  Yet, if I am correct, Dr. Jennings is in grave danger.

Many seem to see no danger in his books or lectures.  His books on healing the mind have been sold at ABCs and distributed gratis from his booth at the most recent General Conference session.

So why have I targeted him, among hundreds of dangerous teachers in the world field, for special attention?  Let me explain.

Suppose I ask you, “Why did Jesus have to die?”  Perhaps you would answer, “He took our guilt on Himself and died in our place to pay for our sins.”  And you would be correct. Jesus suffered the punishment that was due to us.  He ransomed us from doom.  He was the innocent Lamb of God that died so that the guilty sinner might go free.

But Tim does not believe in substitutionary atonement.  And in a similar way, Dr. Jennings believes that God takes no initiative in causing prolonged pain during the destruction of the wicked.  He believes 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.

Is there any part of our teachings more fundamental that the substitutionary atonement of Christ?  No, but perhaps there is an equal.  Our faith that God’s Word is wholly inspired and that its teachings are authoritative and accurate, is the basis on which God acknowledges us as being His.

But Jennings opposes such real faith.  He argues, when defending his views, that we must reject any doctrine that requires us not to reason.  Then he explains this in such a way that if we believe both that God is loving, and that God will execute the rebels with fire, we should recognize our own beliefs as irrational.

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 cannot now perceive any harmony between justice and mercy, a similar perplexity to the one facing Jennings), should the man conclude that at least one of the ideas must be flawed?  Tim says yes.  I say that his answer 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 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 (an 19th century book by J. H. Kellogg) 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 little protest from the audiences.

The Doctrine of Justice

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.  When they witness the punitive seven last plagues, they acknowledge the justice of that punishment.  (And before that punishment begins, the heavenly declaration has been made, “let him that is holy, be holy still.”) The plagues are not corrective measures for man’s benefit.

". . . the rivers and fountains of waters . . .  became blood.   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.   For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy.”   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” (Rev. 15:3-4).

Ellen White’s visions were given for the same purpose of other gifts 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).  And what do they say relevant to the teachings of Jennings on justice and atonement?

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} 
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.” {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} 

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 sorer than dying under the law of Moses.

 ". . . that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad (2 Cor. 5:10).
" . . . the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.13  . . . they were judged every man according to their works" (Rev. 20:12).
"Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him: for they shall eat the fruit of their doings. 11 Woe unto the wicked! it shall be ill with him: for the reward of his hands shall be given him" (Isaiah 3:10).
"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, . . . 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).

See also Romans 2:5-9; Mt. 18: 34; Mr. 16:27; Ps 62:12; Jer 17:10; Re 2:23; 1Pe 1:17; 2Co 11:15.

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

"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" (Revelation 14:10).

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

Now I could write more.  On my website I interact with a statement Jennings often quotes regarding how the doctrine of eternal judgment dethrones reason.  Suffice it here to say that the teachings of men (such as eternal torment) dangerously pervert the Word of God.  But should that be a pretext for Jennings to dethrone the Word of God?  Is one ignoring of Scripture to be made a basis for another ignoring of the same?

While this essay is far from a thorough treatment of justice, and even further from a rounded treatment of atonement, 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.”

"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" (Eze. 33:20).

God’s ways are fair.

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The Institute of East Asia Training, with Eugene and Heidi Prewitt, serves budding missionaries from the countries of Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Singapore and Malaysia. These young people are trained in the arts of winning hearts, selling books, teaching doctrines, planting congregations, and reaching unreached groups.  Extensions of the iEAT program that serve in Indonesia are listed as a separate project.