Friday, December 30, 2005


Today is the anniversary of the ordination to the ministry of the gospel of Charles Grandison Finney. His influence upon evangelicalism in the twentieth century is incalculable. According to William McLoughlin: "The difference between [Jonathan] Edwards and Finney is essentially the difference between the medieval and modern temper. One saw God as the centre of the universe, the other saw man. One believed that revivals were 'prayed down' and the other that they were 'worked up'. "

Born in New England in 1792 and raised in Adams, New York State, Finney was reared in a Presbyterian environment. He was converted in 1821 and ordained in 1824. Following a time when he seems to have been used as an instrument in what appear to be genuine revivals, Finney began to suggest that the Edwardsian/first Great Awakening understanding of revival was fundamentally flawed. Rather than seeing revivals (like the rain) as something God sends in his sovereignty in answer to prayer, they should be thought of something that lies within the power of man to accomplish.

Calvinism of the "old school" rightly rejected Finneyism as an age old heresy.

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