Charles G. Finney (1792-1875) was the father of “Revivalism” in America, the most prominent preacher of the Second Excellent Awakening, and in numerous methods the father of contemporary Evangelicalism in America. He is frequently thought of the predecessor of American Evangelists/Revivalists like D.L. Moody, Billy Sunday and Billy Graham. He was a thriving lawyer who became a Christian as a young man and decided to use his considerable powers of persuasion to commence preaching, in spite of obtaining tiny theological education.
If you have ever heard a preacher give an impassioned, emotionally manipulative sermon that ends with an irresistible plea to come forward and somehow make a selection to grow to be a Christian, you have witnessed the lasting effect of Charles Finney. If you have ever felt that the church was ineffective in creating God’s Kingdom and what we truly have to have is a significant ‘ole revival, you have been influenced by Finney.
In overly simplistic terms, Finney was guilty of a type of “Pelagianism,” which suggests he more than-emphasized man’s cost-free will so substantially that the sovereignty of God (and God’s potential to save) was practically ignored. Finney believed that Christians could achieve God’s operate by merely making use of their determination, so substantially so in reality, that he virtually left God out of the equation:
“A revival is not a miracle according to yet another definition of the term “miracle” — some thing above the powers of nature. There is absolutely nothing in religion beyond the ordinary powers of nature. It consists totally in the suitable physical exercise of the powers of nature. It is just that, and absolutely nothing else. When mankind grow to be religious, they are not enabled to place forth exertions which they had been unable prior to to place forth. They only exert powers which they had prior to, in a distinct way, and use them for the glory of God. A revival is not a miracle, nor dependent on a miracle, in any sense. It is a purely philosophical outcome of the suitable use of the constituted suggests — as substantially so as any other impact made by the application of suggests.” -Charles Finney, (Lectures on Revival, Lecture 1, 11)
Worse than that, was Finney’s unorthodox view of the atonement of Christ. Finney did not think in the substitutionary atonement, rather he believed that Christ’s death on the cross was merely demonstrating obedience to God. Because Jesus was obedient sufficient to go all the way to death on the cross, we must do likewise. Christ did not so substantially achieve some thing on the cross (spend for our sins) as He was setting a fantastic instance for us to adhere to. This alters the which means of the Gospel totally! This view of the atonement is typically named the “Moral Influence” theory. Not only did Finney think that the “moral influence” theory of the atonement was the chief way of understanding the cross he explicitly denied the substitutionary atonement, which he stated:
“assumes that the atonement was a literal payment of a debt, which we have noticed does not consist with the nature of the atonement … It is correct, that the atonement, of itself, does not safe the salvation of any a single” -Charles G. Finney (Systematic Theology p.217).
If you have ever felt worn out and frustrated by the “do additional, attempt tougher” version of Christianity, this shocking news about Finney’s beliefs could aid you to recognize what has gone incorrect in substantially of American Evangelicalism.
The following articles and videos are from many writers, theologians and pastors who all agree that Charles G. Finney had a quantity of extremely questionable beliefs, and it would do the church substantially fantastic to cautiously contemplate how Finney’s concepts contrast with Holy Scripture.
The Disturbing Legacy of Charles Finney by Michael Horton
Charles Finney’s Influence on American Evangelicalism-Exposing Charles Finney’s Heretical Teachings by Bob DeWaay
Charles Finney’s Influence on American Evangelicalism Radio Broadcast with Bob DeWaay
The Pelagian Controversy by R. C. Sproul
Charles G. Finney: Heretic or Man of God (Aspect a single) by Richard Belcher
Charles G. Finney: Heretic or Man of God (Aspect two) by Richard Belcher
Charles G. Finney: Heretic or Man of God (Aspect 3) by Richard Belcher
Finney: The Aftermath by Monte E. Wilson
A Wolf In Sheep’s Clothes: How Charles Finney’s Theology Ravaged the Evangelical Movement by Phil Johnson
Charles Finney The Father of American Evangelicalism lecture by Jeremy Rhode
Walther Versus Finney by Dr. Tom Baker
Charles G. Finney: How Theology Impacts Understanding of Revival by Iain H. Murray
The Heresies of Charles Finney (Aspect a single) by John Cereghin
The False Teachers: Pelagius by Tim Challies
Charles G. Finney: How Theology Impacts Understanding of Revival