An important lesson from the original post."1. The first error is, in supposing that they must make themselves better, or prepare themselves, so as in some way to recommend themselves to the mercy of God. It is marvelous, that sinners will not understand, that all they have to do is to accept salvation from God, all prepared to their hands. But they all, learned or unlearned, at first, betake themselves to a legal course to get relief. This is one principal reason why they will not become Christians at once, just as soon as they begin to attend to the subject. They imagine that they must be, in some way or other, prepared to come. They must change their dress, and make themselves look a little better; they are not willing to come just as they are, in their rags and poverty. They must have something more on, before they can approach to God. They should be shown, at once, that it is impossible they should be any better, until they do what God requires. Every pulse that beats, every breath they draw, they are growing worse, because they are standing out in rebellion against God, so long as they do not do the very thing which God requires of them as the first thing to be done.
Thanks for posting the sermon! I loved it! Not many preachers who would preach something like that today! The modern false preachers say that you can be saved while you continue in your sin. We need to get back to the Biblical Gospel that Finney preached, one that included an abandonment of all sin.I heard Leonard Ravenhill in one of his sermons here on SI that 85% of Finney's converts stayed in the faith! Despite what Eli said about Finney doing damage to communities and most of his converts falling away, history says the opposite. I highly recommend reading Finney's autobiography. I can't think of any preacher alive today that has been used as Finney was. I pray for the Lord to send us another Finney!I know that both William and Catherine Booth were highly influenced by Finney and look at the fruit that they had!
Arminian, please repent of division and humble yourself just a bit. Winning the argument is not as important as winning the soul. I think u are doing more harm than good on this forum with your current hard stance from your other posts.
I heard Leonard Ravenhill in one of his sermons here on SI that 85% of Finney's converts stayed in the faith! Despite what Eli said about Finney doing damage to communities and most of his converts falling away, history says the opposite.
Finney said that early on in his ministry he saw backsliders because he didn't preach that you could live free from sin. That was the problem. That is why he started preaching perfection he said. He said that this experience that occurred early on in his ministry is what helped him develope his holiness theology. He saw people going back to their sins because they were hearing from the Church that you cannot live free from sin. This antiholiness message created backsliders.Charles Finney wrote in his systematic theology"Young converts have not been allowed so much as to indulge the thought that they could live even for a day wholly without sin. They have as a general thing no more been taught to expect to live even for a day without sin, than they have been taught to expect immediate translation, soul and body, to heaven. Of course, they have not known that there was any other way than to go on in sin; and however shocking and distressing the necessity has appeared to them, in the ardour of their first love, still they have looked upon it as an unalterable fact, that to be in a great measure in bondage to sin is a thing of course while they live in this world. Now, with such an orthodoxy as this, with the conviction in the church and ministry so ripe, settled and universal, that the utmost that the grace of God can do for men in this world is to bring them to repentance, and to leave them to live and die in a state of sinning and repenting, is it at all wonderful that the state of religion should be as it really has been? In looking over the results to Christians, of preaching the doctrine in question, I feel compelled to say, that so far as all observation can go, I have the same evidence that it is truth, and as such is owned and blessed of God to the elevation of the holiness of Christians, as I have, that those are truths which I have so often preached to sinners, and which have been blessed of God to their conversion. This doctrine seems as naturally calculated to elevate the piety of Christians, and as actually to result in the elevation of their piety, under the blessing of God, as those truths that I have preached to sinners were to their conversion. Christ has been in a great measure lost sight of in some of his most important relations to mankind. He has been known and preached as a pardoning and justifying Saviour; but as an actually indwelling and reigning Saviour in the heart, he has been but little known." This is even a quote from an antiFinney article regarding his preaching on perfection:"Finneys biographers indicate that Finney came to this teaching out of his disappointment that converts of his revivals had not made the progress he expected and that the church had not prevailed in the world as he hoped. For example, G. Frederick Wright, who wrote as a professor at Oberlin in 1891 (where Finney was previously a professor of theology), comments on Finneys motives to write Lectures to Professing Christians, which express his views on perfection: "At the same time, his mind felt with increasing keenness the necessity of a higher state of consecration on the part of the church, if Christianity was ultimately to prevail in the world."Over 500,000 people responded to his public invitations to receive Christ...Under his ministry more than 80 percent of his converts stayed true to God even after 20 years." http://www.firesofrevival.com/charlesfinney/
I don't mean to be contentious, but the record must be set straight. This may be unimaginable to you, but Ravenhill was actually wrong in what he said about Charles Finney and his converts. You say "history" says the opposite. Could you source this "history" you speak so confidently about? If your information is coming from Ravenhill's sermon, that's not scholarship, because Ravenhill is not a historical source, nor did he site one.History has spoken.Jame Boyle, a co-worker with Finney, wrote to him not long after the revivals:[i]"Let us look over the fields, where you and others and myself have labored as revival ministers, and what is now their moral state? What was their state within three months after we left them? I have visited and revisited many of these fields, and groaned in spirit to see the sad, frigid, carnal, contentious state into which the churches had fallen and fallen very soon after our first departure from among them"[/i] (Literary and Theological Review, March, 1838, p. 66).
Dear friend,This is not about whether a Christian living in blatant rebellion and sin should be considered a Christian. No one is saying that. The grace of God teaches us to deny ungodliness (Titus 2:12). Any example sited of people who turn the grace of God into licentiousness is not an argument against the gospel of salvation by grace alone through faith alone. The answer is not to preach a false gospel of works to them, but to preach the true gospel of grace. People WILL be transformed by the love and grace of God - if they are not, it is because they haven't truly believed, which is obviously the case.It's so important to see that just because a preacher preaches about Jesus, and uses all kinds of Biblical terms, and calls men to live holy lives, that does not make him a true preacher of the gospel. Scripture clearly warns us that many false teachers shall come in Christ's name, and they shall be under the guise of "ministers of righteousness" (2 Cor. 11:15). Why do we always assume that if a preacher is preaching holiness they are approved? Don't we realize that it is [i]religious[/i] deception that runs rampant in our world today, and all under the pretense of godliness? I honestly believe a great many of us are ignorant of this reality. False teachers come in sheep's clothing! Don't we realize that?Ultimately, the question must be as concerns Finney: Did Charles Finney preach the gospel as it is in the Holy Scriptures? Does he pass the test of Galatians 1:8-9? Is the gospel that Paul called his own the same gospel that Finney formulated in his Systematic Theology in 1851? That is the question... not how much success did he have (yes, I know that I brought it up!).I sited my quotes in my post above. If those materials are not accessible to you, you can look in Bibliotheca Sacra Volume 78, Jan. 1921, a religious quarterly magazine right out of Oberlin, Ohio, itself.Blessings to my dear brothers and sisters in Christ,Yours,-Eli
Hi Eli...I certainly didn't enter into the conversation just to discuss the merits or vices of Calvinism. I have my personal views that I feel are deeply grounded in Scripture. In fact, I don't think that either the teachings of Calvinism or Arminianism are correct in their entirety. Rather, I feel more inclined to not try and "figure out" these silly philosophies in their entirety and simply remember the [i]bottom line[/i]. If a person is living in continual sin, then they should not expect to enter the Kingdom of God (no matter how "churchy" they may appear to be and regardless of whether or not their "conversion" was sincere). Personally, I think that it is a flaw to preach either a works-centered "Gospel" or a "Gospel" that tells believers that that it is entirely impossible for them to walk away from the faith. We can argue that people who walk away were "never truly saved to begin with," but that doesn't line up with the warnings in Scripture from Peter, Paul, John and the writer of Hebrews about this possibility. I pointed out a few of these passages earlier. It also doesn't explain the constant war and temptation within the hearts and minds of believers to follow after the ways of the flesh. While I know that we must remember the grace of God, I can't help but wonder if people who truly came to Christ are somehow bound as slaves from ever choosing to return to the ways of the world for the remainder of their days. Now, I can't imagine ever walking away from God...but the temptation to follow after the ways of the flesh is ever present. I suspect that anyone who claims that it isn't is not telling the truth. I have known people (including my own sister) who have sincerely walked with the Lord for years, yet somehow chose to pursue the things of this world. It would be great to believe in a "irresistible grace" that would bring her back...but I have known similar people who died in their sins. Yet, I still tend to stray from the theological arguments about this much-debated topic. I feel that much what is taught is reading too much into the Scriptures. I don't see the five points of Calvinism taught in Scriptures as decisively as they are taught today. Of course, I also know that we are saved by grace and NOT by works. However, I couldn't care less about the teachings of Calvinism or Arminianism. I feel that some people might make a "mountain out of a molehill" so to speak. This is probably my strongest disappointment with modern "theology" as it is taught today: Men pretend to know the absolute mind of God in regard to matters by sifting through Scriptures and piecing together a doctrine that they think is obvious (which is odd given the mass disagreement). However, my point in entering the discussion was not to argue about the subject itself. Rather, I was concerned with the extent of specific accusations (and just where they may have originated). Even now, you haven't told me whether or not you found this particular quote on your own or if you uncovered it somewhere else (such as, say, an anti-Finney article, book or website). In addition, Charles Finney isn't here to defend himself. We don't have a record of critics confronting Charles Finney, nor do we have a record of Charles Finney answering his critics while he was still alive. However, I actually found the written work from which the passage came from. I digitized that particular passage and you can access this particular page by [url=http://img163.imageshack.us/img163/6545/finney66a.jpg]CLICKING HERE[/url]. I noticed that your statement might not be entirely accurate. First off, I read through the article from which this quote came (although it is merely an uncited footnote). The article itself is quite biased in its accusations against Finney (and is filled with claims of what Finney supposedly "believed" but with no effort made to actually verify this at all). In addition, this letter itself is not a "source" because it is neither part of the article itself (it is just a footnote) and is not even cited at all. We don't know where or how the author or editor of this article actually obtained the letter or the validity of the letter at all for that matter. Further, you wrote:
Jame Boyle, a co-worker with Finney, wrote to him not long after the revivals:
I don't think it is at all necessary to have Finney here to defend his views. We have his systematic theology and many other transcripts that give us clear evidence that he did not teach the gospel that Paul taught.
alan4jc wrote:I don't think it is at all necessary to have Finney here to defend his views. We have his systematic theology and many other transcripts that give us clear evidence that he did not teach the gospel that Paul taught.