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ccchhhrrriiisss
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Joined: 2003/11/23
Posts: 4499


 Re:

Hi Mahoney...

I am surprised by the amount of hostility directed toward Charles Finney! I had heard some remarks that disagreed with some of his doctrinal views in the past, but some of these statements in this thread seem to be bordering on a witness of the man's true motives and ultimate doctrinal views. Yet none of us have ever spoken with Finney.

Are we so quick as to make such a harsh, final judgment based upon what we think he meant in books that were compiled by men who listened to a series of lectures? What if Finney [i]didn't[/i] entirely believe what so many are attributing to him? Are we in danger of becoming a false witness?

I agree with Robert. Some of the websites seem to convey the idea that Finney believed that we must work or earn our way into Heaven. This is just not true. While this whole debate may not be about Calvinism, it appears that those who are the most vocally opposed to Finney are upset at his opposition to the teachings of Calvinism.

For the most part, I am opposed to the teachings of Calvinism. Yet I understand many of the arguments put forth by our brethren who embrace such teachings. I do believe that we are saved by the grace of God -- and that none of our works could make us justified, righteous or entirely perfect in the sight of God. Yet I also realize that it is ridiculous to claim that God will accept a person who has walked away from him simply because they once believed. In my opinion, there is no such thing as "eternal security" in the sense that a believer can live in a constant, unrepentant state of sin.

After reading the oft-quoted chapter, I think that this is what Finney was trying to say. He certainly realizes that it is our faith in God that justifies. In fact, he went on to say in that chapter that it is only our "faith in God that justifies." However, he seemed to shy away from making that claim as a basis for "giving up" in regards to holy living. I don't believe for once that Finney thought that we could earn our way to Heaven -- or that we are justified on the basis of works or our efforts to be holy. Rather, it seems like Finney is trying to distinguish between those who claim to have faith (but are filled with dead works and unholy living) and those who have a lasting faith that causes them to have concern for the conditions of their souls and hunger deeply for God.

The Church in Finney's day was filled with false converts. Many thought that they were saved entirely based upon a concept that they had believed in God, realized that Christ was the only way to salvation, professed this belief publicly, were baptized, and continued to attend Church. In other words, the only difference between these men and the Catholics was in the doctrine! Catholics thought that they were saved due to their adherence to the false teachings of the "Church." Protestants in New England thought that they were saved because they had once believed, professed and were baptized! Much of New England was filled with this idea of dead religion! Yet inside, many of them were cold and callous to the things of God. They might have believed in their minds (or were convinced that this was the correct path), but they didn't have a "road to Damascus" born again experience like Finney in that grove of woods! I truly believe that this was the reasoning behind Finney's words. It is hypocritical to claim "justification" if the "justified" don't passionately live for God!

I know that there are many different views on the subject of justification. However, I really think that it is a disservice to point out Charles Finney as a "wolf" (as one preacher said) simply because of our limited understanding of what Charles Finney meant. Finney, if he were here, might actually be able to clarify his beliefs. But he is not here. He has been dead for over a century and a half! Yet we are willing to base our opinion about the man -- and all of the testimonies about the revival in New England known as the Second Great Awakening -- based solely upon our limited understanding of what we think Finney meant about "justification."

I believe that it would be difficult to find a brother or sister who is perfect in every word. We all make slips of the tongue when sharing our doctrinal views. This is evident on an almost daily basis here at SermonIndex. It is amazing that tempers flare so quickly when discussing some things. Since we know that Finney did believe in "justification by faith," can't we assume that he might have been saved? Do we really need to attack the man and his work? Can't we just clarify or correct the doctrine...and move on?

Personally, I don't really read much about Finney outside of his autobiography. I really don't even care about what doctrinal views he had. I am extremely glad that he was able to play a role in a move of God in New England during the 1800s. I am glad that he was able to confront and prompt "Churchy" individuals about the true eternal condition of their souls. Perhaps we can simply thank God for as much, while cautioning the brethren about what Biblical justification really means?

Just a thought.

:-(


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Christopher

 2008/8/31 22:09Profile
RobertW
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Joined: 2004/2/12
Posts: 4636
Independence, Missouri

 Re:

Quote:
What is compromise but denying the truth of the Word of God? Charles Finney denied the substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ. He denied that Christ was our substitute in His obedience, in His death and in His resurrection.



Finney taught that faith without works is dead. He believed that imputed righteousness was imparted righteousness. he did not believe that God imputed a righteousness to our account that allowed us to sin that grace may abound. And I think we do well to consider that salvation is a package deal. God does not save sinners to continue in sin- He saves them [i]from[/i] their sins. I believe this is what Finney meant. The compromise I am referring to is the easy believism that says that Christ is my righteousness so I can live however I want and make heaven.


Quote:
As I said before, there is only one Gospel that has the power to save men, and none of us are called to change to change that story. No matter what the state of our culture and what are motive is.



No one has the power to change the Gospel. Some men preach the Gospel to varying levels of its fullness and power. Finney was a preacher of righteousness and repentance. He got things moving along in the lives of people that waited on God to change them.

Finney showed man his responsibility before God. His theology is very complicated and difficult to follow, so it is easily misrepresented. We almost need him around to explain it. But God has often used imperfect men to accomplish His purposes. As A.W. Tozer stated, I also do not agree with some of Finney's conclusions. So I do not glean from those bad parts. I focus on what is good and hold fast to that. I disregard the bad points. I do that with every minister I read or listen to. Only a few people I know are true Finney-ites and we have challenged their views also. But I refuse to throw the baby out with the bath water whether it is Calvin, Luther, Arminius or Finney.


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Robert Wurtz II

 2008/8/31 22:41Profile
hmmhmm
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 Re:

Quote:

ccchhhrrriiisss wrote:
I am glad that he was able to confront and prompt "Churchy" individuals about the true eternal condition of their souls. Perhaps we can simply thank God for as much, while cautioning the brethren about what Biblical justification really means?





I think we need a Finney every now and then to "shake" us up, we are so comfortable in our doctrines that noting happens, we live same defeated lifes and think just because we have a right doctrine we will be saved, it is a deception.

I do hope for all who are openly swinging at Finney not just glory in the fact the have a better doctrine, if that doctrine dont have lead them to a better , higher standard of life then Finney lived. Otherwise there is a word for such people

hypocrites

Mat 7:5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.

I dont understand why so many are at Finney, i do se they dont like his doctrines, but they attack Finney much more then any other. For my self Finney was Gods man in times where there was no one else who could get the job done, no one else of the thousands of christian in those days who claimed "we have the doctrine", none of them could bring heaven closer to earth.

It took a man like Finney, sure our pride gets a prick when someone with the "wrong" theology are closer to God then we with our "right" doctrine we learned second hand from the popular teachers.

but i hope we recognize our sin and repent of it.

Pro 11:9 An hypocrite with his mouth destroyeth his neighbour: but through knowledge shall the just be delivered.


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CHRISTIAN

 2008/8/31 22:55Profile
BenK
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Joined: 2006/12/17
Posts: 49
Harrisburg PA

 Re:

ccchhhrrriiisss said

"For the most part, I am opposed to the teachings of Calvinism...it is ridiculous to claim that God will accept a person who has walked away from him simply because they once believed. In my opinion, there is no such thing as "eternal security" in the sense that a believer can live in a constant, unrepentant state of sin."

brother, that is not Calvinism


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Benjamin Kreps

 2008/8/31 23:14Profile
hmmhmm
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Joined: 2006/1/31
Posts: 4991
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 Re:

Quote:

BenK wrote:
ccchhhrrriiisss said

"For the most part, I am opposed to the teachings of Calvinism...it is ridiculous to claim that God will accept a person who has walked away from him simply because they once believed. In my opinion, there is no such thing as "eternal security" in the sense that a believer can live in a constant, unrepentant state of sin."

brother, that is not Calvinism



depends on who you ask, according to some, you can live in constant sin if you are elected and yet be in heaven. Because no matter what you do, God has chosen you, and nothing can change that.

so define calvinism, whos calvinism are we talking about?


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CHRISTIAN

 2008/8/31 23:28Profile
ccchhhrrriiisss
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Joined: 2003/11/23
Posts: 4499


 Re:

Hi BenK...

Those are two seperate statements. I am opposed to the teachings of Calvinism AND in my opinion, there is no such thing as "eternal security" in the sense that a believer can live in a constant, unrepentant state of sin.

Sorry for the confusion.

:-)


_________________
Christopher

 2008/8/31 23:33Profile









 Re:

Quote:
Personally, I don't really read much about Finney outside of his autobiography. I really don't even care about what doctrinal views he had. I am extremely glad that he was able to play a role in a move of God in New England during the 1800s.

\

Not that it matters, but I do want to clarify something. I did not in any way call into question, Charles Finney's standing before God. In fact, my exact quote was

Quote:
We have no right to judge Finney's salvation because none of us knew him. But we do have an obligation to condemn any Theology that changes the only Gospel that has the power to save men.



I know that many times people do not read the entire post...I do it too. I just wanted to clarify what I wrote. In fact, my thoughts on Charles Finney, or any preacher for that matter are really 180 degrees from your statement. I am not so much concerned about men and their accomplishments, but I am more concerned about....do they teach Truth! If they do not then I do not want any part of it, nor do I want those around me to have any part of it, regardless of their "accomplishments".

Look, Ghandi, accomplished much in his life. He moved men to action. He challenged the status quo, and much of his life was based upon the teachings of Jesus. When I watch the movie about him, I am challenged and I even ask myself, "Could I do what he did? Would I have that self-discipline to follow my convictions like he did?" But Ghandi would deny the Gospel.
Am I saying that Finney was like Ghandi? No. I am saying that men can accomplish great things and men can gather a following, but men, no matter how zealous they are about righteousness and goodness and the law, cannot save anyone!

They Jews in Paul's day had a tremendous zeal for the law of God. Paul had a tremendous zeal for the law of God, but even he had to admit that the Law could not save.

And when I talk about Salvation and the Gospel being the only thing that has the power to save. I am not talking about being saved so that I might live like I want to. Salvation includes, justification, sanctification, and glorification. The Gospel is the Power of God unto Salvation to all those that believe. Real Christians love righteousness, but they understand that that righteousness, imputed and imparted , is a Gift of God.

It was said that Finney did not believe in imputed righteousness. If that is so, then he did not believe the Gospel. Yes, that is a strong statement. It is not against the man, but it is against his teaching.

If we get rid of imputed righteousness we DO NOT HAVE A GOSPEL. I need a perfect righteousness. If I do not have Christ's righteousness imputed to me, then where to do I get a perfect righteousness? How am I reconciled to a Holy God. He is Holy...right? The death of Christ pays for the penalty of sin. The death of Christ turns away God's anger and wrath from my sin, but I still need a perfect righteousness to walk with God.

"Can two walk together, except they be agreed?"

Concerning the vehemence towards Finney. I think much of the criticism of Charles Finney has to do with the teachings that surround him. He is not the first to push law righteousness and he will not be the last. But, I think he is a sort of figure head for that sort of teaching. It's the teaching that people despise, not the man. Again, we do not know that man, but we can read reams upon reams of his sermons. Maybe he is a target because he really has been a huge influence upon the evangelical church of today.

I personally do get upset when I read or hear men who deny imputed righteousness, or deny, sustitutionary atonement...not for myself. I have many friends and family members....many (I have 5 brothers and sisters...and many nephews and nieces) who seem to be walking around in a daze. They were brought up under law righteousness. They were told they HAD TO BE HOLY! They were told to stop watching TV and DON'T BE OF THE WORLD. They were whipped on the back by LAW PREACHERS and scolded and exhorted that they did not pray enough and did not witness enough. They were told that they had to obey God!

BUT THEY WERE NEVER TOLD WHAT GOD DID FOR THEM IN CHRIST SO THAT THEY MIGHT HAVE THE POWER TO OBEY GOD!

We have the obligation to tell men that they are lost, that they abide under the wrath of God. We have the obligation tell men that they are slaves to sin, and that their very life is a living rebellion because the image of God that they portray is marred, for all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God. We have an obligation to convince men of their state by putting showing them the law of God. For the law is not for the righteous but the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, etc. WE ARE TO USE THE LAW LAWFULLY.

But...

We are also obligated to tell men...WHAT GOD HAS DONE FOR THEM IN CHRIST JESUS SO THAT THEY MAY BECOME RIGHTEOUS. Jesus Christ was born under the law and was subject to the law, so that He could obey the law for us. His perfect obedience to the law is then imputed to us by faith. Jesus Christ died on the Cross as payment for sin, turning away the Wrath of God from all those that believe. Though he was not subject to death because He was not a descendant of Adam, He died. He did not have to die. He chose to give His life or all those that believe. Jesus Christ rose from the dead showing that He had power of death, hell and the grave. He rose from the dead, and all those that believe in Him will one day rise from the dead also.

Death no longer has a sting because He met all the righteous requirements and suffered all the righteous judgment that was necessary.

The sting of death is sin - paid for
The strength of sin is the law - obeyed it completely.

But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ

If Charles Finney believes that, then I am with him as a brother. If any man believes that then I
am with him as a brother. If any preacher of teacher does not believe that then maybe they should follow the exhortation to "wait on their teaching" for Paul says of them...

6From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling;

7Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.

 2008/9/1 8:30
RobertW
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Joined: 2004/2/12
Posts: 4636
Independence, Missouri

 Re:

Quote:
brother, that is not Calvinism



Some people brand of Calvinism is pray the sinners prayer and you are eternally secure. I have debated people with this view. However, I can swallow John Macarthur's brand of Calvinism a whole lot better. :-)

Quote:
If Charles Finney believes that, then I am with him as a brother



The thing about Finney is that he stripped away the notion that folk can live in sin and be saved. He focused on the passages that flushed men out of their hiding places. He was the master of being able to say two things at one time. He would say "saving faith saves unto good works" in such a way that justification and sanctification were inseperable.

The reason why Finney is so hated is because folk are stripped of their assurance that do not have a genuine conversion. Finney was practical. He is hated for the same reason Luther wanted James out of the Canon. The desire to over stress faith alone in Luther was no different than Finney's desire to stress man duty before God. And I would never esteem Luther as a heretic because he questioned the word of God.


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Robert Wurtz II

 2008/9/1 8:46Profile
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 Re:

Quote:
Some people brand of Calvinism is pray the sinners prayer and you are eternally secure.



This is some peoples brand of Arminianism as well.

I have never visited or attended a Calvinistic church, but I have heard this preached many times.

Quote:
The thing about Finney is that he stripped away the notion that folk can live in sin and be saved.



Paul Washer does a good job of this as well. :-)

Reading the Bible makes it clear to me.


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TJ

 2008/9/1 9:41Profile
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Posts: 9192
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 Re: Finney or Copeland?

Quote:
The thing about Finney is that he stripped away the notion that folk can live in sin and be saved. He focused on the passages that flushed men out of their hiding places. He was the master of being able to say two things at one time.



Pardon my jumping into the fray, will make just as quick an exit ... This is key to grasping certain men of God for [i]such a time as this[/i] which was alluded to earlier. Times, conditions, culture do matter after all. Manner, delivery, focus as Robert mentions, so many variables. Over the years have attempted to draw attention to the very variety of preachers\teachers\pastors that are available here on SI. Our brother Paul exemplified the same thought recently;

[i]Three men who I believe exemplify the constancy of God's dealings yet preach in an entirely individualistic manner are Art Katz, Keith Daniel, and Zac Poonen. All three, in my estimation, minister from level of God that imparts the divine life which we spoke about in the previous post. They offer no nominal sermons of oratorical prowess, no exacting theology, nothing in the classical sense that leaps out and smacks of sermonizing textbookism. Art Katz is a razor-thin scalpel, going deep into the inner most secret parts of the spirit to bring forth divine truth with an extreme articulation and precision. Keith Daniel thunders Holy Scrpture with an authority unlike any brother I've ever heard, with the life of God flowing from his ministry like a mighty river. Poonen speaks in a conversational tone, never moves from behind the pulpit, totally relaxed, with messages and teachings revealing a supernatural wisdom teamed with a supernatural simplicity. His vocabulary in comparison to Katz's is maybe a third in size, yet both men arrive at the same impartation of divine life; their individualistic waters converge at the same massive, common delta all such men of God meet at - where the transforming power of God, the divine flow of unction galvanizes the inner man of the hearer and effectuates a deep stirring and hunger for more of the pure essence of God. The inexorable steering toward a greater Christ-likeness in every facet of our being.[/i]

[url=http://www.sermonindex.net/modules/newbb/viewtopic.php?viewmode=flat&order=0&topic_id=24976&forum=34&post_id=&refresh=Go]THE ANATOMY OF PREACHING[/url]

Personally I have kept something of almost purposeful ignorance of constructs of most all the men of God who are available here. I see as little difference reading Calvin as I do Chambers, Spurgeon as Wesley or Whitefield or as far as any one wishes to go. In fact even amongst these names listed I couldn't tell you which held to which construct, short of John Calvin and even then it's his followers .... ;-)

I digress and am only poking a bit of fun at that. There came a saturation point going from one extreme to the other, the great swinging pendulumitis that Zac Poonen coined from the modern forms and wearing, weak, surface level, WOF ... etc. I have of late been wanting to suggest something; Where would we be without our categories?

It's interesting to note what is latched on to and that which is ignored. The problems seem to stem from what aspect is launched off on and then made into further 'doctrine' - Finney, Luther, Calvin - is it truly all that they expressed? Did they even get around to it? Did they tell us everything that they were chewing on and what we might be chewing on? We seem to be so constituted by an either\or construct that we are often incapable of holding seemingly conflicting thoughts in tension. It's either legalism or abusing grace and easy believe-ism. Either 5 points or none of the above. It just goes on and on and on. I do not think it is without problem or discussion, comparison to the scriptures - but what of the Scriptures themselves? This hour has a strange way of desecrating the scriptures without any issue whatsoever to what particular version is in question. I am want to say, where did all the cut up versions come from? They seem completely bereft of whole sections as the focus is now far different than what it was in the days and times and circumstances of the likes of these, such as Finney and others. Now it has turned out that the scriptures were really never about God's glory and His purposes after all, but [i]ours[/i]!

A thought. I wonder if we did something of the opposite and dragged todays constructs and focus of prophecy and healing's and finances, "how to's", claim jumpings, Christian celebrity and commercial enterprise et al. back to the times and likes of these men what tone and focus they would have had? Somehow I cannot shake the sense of a solidarity amongst them all. We do that here by bringing them forward as example all the time and surely they had their share of it and spoke towards it, but [i]now[/i] just look at the state of matters.

Two bits.


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Mike Balog

 2008/9/1 13:51Profile





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