A London publisher printed 80, copies and it was translated into French and Welsh. Right after its publication in Wales, a great revival occurred there. For Finney, conversion is not miraculous—a mysterious work of the Holy Spirit—but is merely a proper use of the power to believe that men and women have by nature been given by God. Belief is merely a rational choice. However, the book was extremely popular, and has had a great influence on subsequent ideas and practices concerning evangelism, especially in its appeal to methods, and by its insistence on the necessity of personal evangelism—lay witnessing—by all Christians. For Finney, revival is as much a work of awakening backslidden Christians as one of saving souls.
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The son of farmers who moved to the upstate frontier of Jefferson County, New York , after the American Revolutionary War , Finney never attended college. His leadership abilities, musical skill, six-foot three-inch stature, and piercing eyes gained him recognition in his community.
Both the Baptists and Methodists displayed fervor through the early nineteenth century. He was active in Anti-Masonic movements.
As did his teacher Gale, he "took a commission for six months of a Female Missionary Society, located in Oneida County. He had many misgivings about the fundamental doctrines taught in Presbyterianism.
In , he led a revival in Rochester, New York that has been noted as inspiring other revivals of the Second Great Awakening. Religion was the topic of conversation in the house, in the shop, in the office and on the street. The only theater in the city was converted into a livery stable; the only circus into a soap and candle factory.
Grog shops were closed; the Sabbath was honored; the sanctuaries were thronged with happy worshippers; a new impulse was given to every philanthropic enterprise; the fountains of benevolence were opened, and men lived to good. These included having women pray out loud in public meetings of mixed sexes; development of the "anxious seat", a place where those considering becoming Christians could sit to receive prayer; and public censure of individuals by name in sermons and prayers.
Finney "had a deep insight into the almost interminable intricacies of human depravity. He poured the floods of gospel love upon the audience. Antislavery work and Oberlin College presidency Edit In addition to becoming a popular Christian evangelist , Finney was involved with social reforms, particularly the abolitionist movement.
Finney frequently denounced slavery from the pulpit, calling it a "great national sin", and he refused Holy Communion to slaveholders.
After more than a decade, he was selected as its second president, serving from to He had already served as acting President in From its early years, its faculty and students were active in the abolitionist movement. They participated together with people of the town in biracial efforts to help fugitive slaves on the Underground Railroad , as well as to resist the Fugitive Slave Act. Personal life Edit Finney was twice a widower and married three times.
They had six children together. In he married Rebecca Allen Rayl — , also in Ohio. Finney departed from traditional Calvinist theology by teaching that people have free will to choose salvation. He argued that original sin was a "selfishness" that people can overcome if they made themselves a "new heart". He taught that "Sin and holiness are voluntary acts of mind.
It is a purely philosophical result of the right use of the constituted means. He also focused on the responsibilities that converts had to dedicate themselves to disinterested benevolence and work to build the kingdom of God on earth. Finney believed Christians could bring in the Millennium by ridding the world of "great and sore evils". Frances FitzGerald writes that "In his preaching the emphasis was always on the ability of men—and women—to choose their own salvation, to work for the general welfare, and to build a new society.
This was not a sinless perfection. For Finney, even sanctified Christians were susceptible to temptation and capable of sin. Finney believed it was possible for Christians to backslide and lose their salvation.
Charles Grandison Finney
Born in Connecticut, he was raised in various frontier towns in central New York, an area known as the "Burned-Over District" for the revivals that had swept through it. In Finney experienced a soul-wrenching conversion during which God told him "to plead his cause" to others, so he abandoned his legal career and became a celebrated converter of souls in upstate New York and New England. A man of imposing height, forceful appearance, and vibrant rhetoric, he mesmerized the thousands who flocked to hear him preach his appealing theology of conversion and redemption. Although initially ordained as a Presbyterian minister, Finney was not a Calvinist; indeed, he contributed to the breakdown of Calvinism in American religion. He insisted that sin was a voluntary act rather than a foreordained certainty, and therefore people could choose to be saved and elect to embrace a life of holiness. So too did his belief in progress.
Lectures on revivals of religion
IT is supposed that the prophet Habakkuk was contemporary with Jeremiah, and that this prophecy was uttered in anticipation of the Babylonish captivity. Looking at the judgments which were speedily to come upon his nation, the soul of the prophet was wrought up to an agony, and he cries out in his distress, "O Lord, revive thy work. In the midst of these awful years, let the judgments of God be made the means of reviving religion among us. In wrath remember mercy.
Lectures on Revivals of Religion
Length: 14 hrs and 32 mins Unabridged 0 out of 5 stars 0 Performance 0 out of 5 stars 0 Story 0 out of 5 stars 0 Charles Finney was a Presbyterian preacher known for his revival services and extemporaneous preaching. He also dealt with social issues and was an abolitionist. In , Finney was appointed as a professor of theology at Oberlin College; he became its president in Sermons on Gospel Themes is a collection of his sermons, including 24 delivered at Oberlin College between and