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Discussion Forum : Revivals And Church History : Finney Criticism

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Mekdi
Member



Joined: 2004/4/29
Posts: 92
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

 Re:

One of the man used in my walk with God and who by the Spirit led me to know the true and the living God in my life is Charles Finney eventhough he is centuries away from me! I personally am revived because I found about this man’s articles in SI! Let the criticizers do what he did to America actually to the world with his prayer partner Daniel Nash and then I will give them ear for the kingdom of God is not a matter of words but of power! Let’s not waste our time on this kind of people that we may not be taken with their foully! Lets move on with what is good and honest for the judge of this world will not slumber or sleep and will show Himself strong on behalf of His saints!!!

Your sis. Mek.


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Mekdes Tsige

 2006/10/13 1:40Profile









 Re:

My impression from people who call Finney a heretic mainly boils down to Finneys denial of "original sin". That is what seems to put him in the catagory of a heretic to some.

Another was that Finney believed Jesus death was an atonement, not a substitution. If Jesus took our punishment and recieved our deserved wrath, He would have gone to hell. But rather, Finney taught, that the death of Christ was not a substitute but an atonement, it was an alternative.

Also people take issue with his believe in original ability. That God, by His grace, has given all men the ability to obey Him. And the reason most do not obey God is because they "will" not, not because they "cannot".

Those are just what I have picked up as to why people call Finney a heretic.

 2006/10/13 3:46
Kedric
Member



Joined: 2006/9/18
Posts: 8


 Re:

God no doubt used Mr. Finney to give me knowledge of the truth. With Finney I began to understand the scriptures for the first time and was amazed as the Bible came to life and had new meaning. I wasn't reading his book (Revival Lectures) to "look" for the truth. I read it because I had a passion for revival. I had quoted him some during a (uneducated - zeal without knowledge) revival and I didn't really know much about him. My life has been changed upside down?

So he is a pretty good guy I'd say.


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Kedric Jones

 2006/10/13 7:23Profile
OverSeer
Member



Joined: 2006/7/15
Posts: 153
Geneva, Alabama

 Re:

Quote:
This man went on to attack viciously the doctrine of the substitutionary atonement of Christ, and in addition to that, to repudiate as clearly and as loudly as he could the doctrine of justification by faith alone by the imputation of the righteousness of Christ. This man’s basic thesis was, we don’t need the imputation of the righteousness of Christ because we have the capacity in and of ourselves to become righteous.

JoeA wrote:
Quote:
Charles Finney didn't really believe in such trash did he?

Charles Finney wrote:
Quote:
7. He can not plead as our Advocate that He has paid our debt, in such a sense that He can demand our discharge on the ground of justice. He has not paid our debt in such a sense that we do not still owe it. He has not atoned for our sins in such a sense that we might not still be justly punished for them. Indeed, such a thing is impossible and absurd. One being can not suffer for another in such a sense as to remove the guilt of that other. He may suffer for another's guilt in such a sense that it will be safe to forgive the sinner, for whom the suffering has been endured; but the suffering of the substitute can never, in the least degree, diminish the intrinsic guilt of the criminal. Our Advocate may urge that He has borne such suffering for us to honor the law that we had dishonored, that now it is safe to extend mercy to us; but He never can demand our discharge on the ground that we do not deserve to be punished. The fact of our intrinsic guilt remains, and must forever remain; and our forgiveness is just as much an act of sovereign mercy, as if Christ had never died for us.

See - Christ Our Advocate - at http://www.sermonindex.net/modules/articles/index.php?view=category&cid=96

Finney's theology had no room for God to be both just and the justifier through substitutionary atonement. His doctrine in this regard was identical to that of Pelagius. According to Finney's own words quoted above one cannot be discharged from sin debt on the ground of justice which means that God cannot "justify" a sinner and still remain "just." What about Romans 3:21-26?

Grace and peace
Olan


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Olan Strickland

 2006/10/13 10:02Profile
RobertW
Member



Joined: 2004/2/12
Posts: 4636
Independence, Missouri

 Re:

As pertains to Original Sin I think Finney made the mistake of trying to understand the place that a unregenerate person is in through the eyes of being regenerate. This is a serious problem as it totally misunderstands the place a sinner is actually in while alienated from the life of God. It has serious implications and effects on ones theology also. Sure, I can tell a sinner to 'obey God' and live a righteous life because it is my experience that [u]I can[/u]. But the reason why I can is that God is working in me both to will and to do His great pleasure by the Holy Spirit. In other words, unlike the unregenerate, I have the Paraclete walking alongside helping me bear the fruit of the Spirit unto obedience.

This is where we get into a pickle. We are culpable for our crimes against God because at any given time we could have chosen to obey Him and we have resisted the Holy Spirit as He has pressed us to walk in the light that we have. However, 'obedience' is not the only issue by any means. Christ did not come to make bad men good He came to make dead men live (Ravenhill). Man lived alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that was in them through the blindness of their hearts. They needed to be 'regenerated'. This is more than simply changing ones mind. This is God coming in and making a new creature. This [u]is[/u] a Divine miracle. If any man be in Christ he/she is a [i]new creature[/i]. Finney was wrong to assert that regeneration is not a miracle. It is more than me making myself a new heart. What the Hyper Calvinists of Finney's day had done- Finney, unfortunately, took the opposite position and as a result was never really in balance (in my opinion). He placed man's salvation very much in man's hands and that is a serious problem if it is over stepped. Salvation soon becomes in practice the work of man 'working out' his/her own salvation in continual fear and trembling. Sounds biblical? What is the 'work'?


Then they said to Him, "What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?" Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent." (John 6)

This is why, to me it is important to understand the nature of 'working out' our salvation. Faith has been called "right response to revelation". God reveals and we respond. If I do not respond rightly- it is [u]not[/u] faith. This is why 'self-examination' can be dangerous if it is not in the hands of the Holy Spirit. This is why examination in the hands of a well meaning preacher is also dangerous. God is working in us to will and do His good pleasure; our 'work' is to respond rightly to Him as He [i]reveals[/i]. We respond as He reveals. This is akin to the light that we are to walk in.

Either way we look at it, we have to be careful not to base our theology on our own present experience. I am utterly dependent to see the condition of sinners through the eyes of scripture. Error begets error. I like Finney on many things, but I also think that he was wrong in some areas. We have to prove all things and hold fast to that which is good.


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Robert Wurtz II

 2006/10/13 10:50Profile









 Re:

Well and true for Finney said in his opening to Systematic Theology to test what he says for he may have erred,(paraphrase)

Question to robertw and to oversear; Have you read Systematic Theology by Finney? I am just wanting to know. I do not want to get into a Finney debate.
God bless, John

 2006/10/13 11:20
RobertW
Member



Joined: 2004/2/12
Posts: 4636
Independence, Missouri

 Re:

Quote:
Question to robertw and to oversear; Have you read Systematic Theology by Finney?



Hi John,

Finney's works are quite extensive and involved. Following them is a very mind consuming task. I am mostly familiar with His Revival's of Religion and Memoirs, but I have read much of his systematic theology as well as related sermons and lectures. I don't count myself an expert on Finney by any stretch. For those who may not know, Finney studied to be a lawyer, so he is heavily influenced by that. It is quite circular also because he was once told that the laws that govern our land were based upon the scriptures. This sparked his interest in the bible and eventually he was converted.

He lived in a time when folk were basically told "You shall- you shant, you can- you can't. you will- you won't, and you'll be damned if you don't" (something like that). He arrived at a time that when someone needed to break this gridlock between the sinner and God. As Tozer once said to the effect, I do not agree with many of his conclusions, but he certainly got things moving again.

God Bless,

Robert


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Robert Wurtz II

 2006/10/13 12:05Profile
JoeA
Member



Joined: 2004/11/29
Posts: 364
Decatur, Illinois

 Re:

Overseer wrote:

Quote:
Charles Finney wrote: Quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

7. He can not plead as our Advocate that He has paid our debt, in such a sense that He can demand our discharge on the ground of justice. He has not paid our debt in such a sense that we do not still owe it. He has not atoned for our sins in such a sense that we might not still be justly punished for them. Indeed, such a thing is impossible and absurd. One being can not suffer for another in such a sense as to remove the guilt of that other. He may suffer for another's guilt in such a sense that it will be safe to forgive the sinner, for whom the suffering has been endured; but the suffering of the substitute can never, in the least degree, diminish the intrinsic guilt of the criminal. Our Advocate may urge that He has borne such suffering for us to honor the law that we had dishonored, that now it is safe to extend mercy to us; but He never can demand our discharge on the ground that we do not deserve to be punished. The fact of our intrinsic guilt remains, and must forever remain; and our forgiveness is just as much an act of sovereign mercy, as if Christ had never died for us.



If he denied that Christ fully paid the debt for our sins, how then could he have been saved? I don't care what any man has done, if you deny Christ the glory for your salvation, if you give up the blood, you are lost.


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Joe Auvil

 2006/10/14 20:33Profile









 Re:

Finney is explaining the work partially from the standpoint of confronting universalistic belief.

Even when you say "deny Christ "FULLY PAID" many think that means o.k. I don't have to repent cuz he fully paid ;did it all. Or well if God is love then he wouldn't send me to hell.

You have to understand the way Finney defined things and used words. I am now concerned that yet another is being turned off to finney by the misquoting and misunderstanding of others.
God bless, John

 2006/10/14 22:59
PaulWest
Member



Joined: 2006/6/28
Posts: 3405
Dallas, Texas

 Re:

I thought I'd take another part of Finney's message "Christ, our Advocate" and let him explain his substitutionary view a bit more. Overseer provided #7; this is an excerpt from #8 of the same sermon. Hope this helps elucidate the issue at hand.


"They (theologians) insist upon it that the atonement of Christ is the ground of our forgiveness. They seem to assume that He literally bore the penalty for us in such a sense that Christ now no longer appeals to mercy, but demands justice for us. To be consistent they must maintain that Christ does not plead at a mercy-seat for us, but having paid our debt, appears before a throne of justice, and demands our discharge.

I cannot accept this view. I insist that His offering could not touch the question of our intrinsic desert of damnation. His appeal is to the infinite mercy of God, to His loving disposition to pardon; and He points to His atonement, not as demanding our release, but as fulfilling a condition upon which our release is honorable to God. His obedience to the law and the shedding of His blood He may plead as a substitute for the execution of the law upon us -- in short, He may plead the whole of His work as God-man and Mediator. Thus He may give us the full benefit of what He has done to sustain the authority of law and to vindicate the character of the Law-giver, as fulfilling conditions that have rendered it possible for God to be just and still justify the penitent sinner."


_________________
Paul Frederick West

 2006/10/14 23:55Profile





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