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 Charles Spurgeon on Charles Finney

The past generetions of spiritual giants like John Wesley, George Whitefield, Charles G. Finney, Charles H. Spugeon were men with great hearts and stong convictions. My heart aches when i read today about christians who speak disrespectly against men of God of the past days. For those who honor Spurgeon as a great preacher let them heed what he adviced to his students about Finney.

The following by Spurgeon on Finney is from his Lectures to my students, second series , "On Conversion As Our Aim", page 185:

"Exhortations, entreaties, and beseechings, if not accompanied with sound instruction, are like firing off powder without shot. You may shout, and weep, and plead, but you cannot lead men to believe what they have not heard, nor to receive a truth which has never been set before them. “Because the preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge.”

While giving instruction it is wise to appeal to the understanding. True religion is as logical as if it were not emotional. I am not an admirer of the peculiar views of Mr. Finney, but I have no doubt that he was useful to many; and his power lay in his use of clear arguments. Many who knew his fame were greatly disappointed at first hearing him, because he used few beauties of speech and was as calm and dry as a book of Euclid; but he was exactly adapted to a certain order of minds, and they were convinced and convicted by his forcible reasoning. Should not persons of an argumentative cast of mind be provided for? We are to be all things to all men, and to these men we must become argumentative and push them into a corner with plain deductions and necessary inferences. Of carnal reasoning we would have none, but of fair, honest pondering, considering, judging, and arguing the more the better."


What i found interesting enough is that the great giants of the past like Tozer, Ravehill, Paris Reidhead, Jonathan Goforth, Oswald J.Smith, R. A.Torrey, D.L.Moody, A.J.Gordon, A.B.Simpson ect, ect, had great respect for the revivalists of the 19th century.

How few have experimental knowledge of Jesus Christ today and fewer are those who exercise the spiritual senses. Its a wonder to me the lack of spiritual discerment and of spiritual taste on the christian literature read by many. Our dead and suffocating fundamentalism, pentecostalism, evangelicalism is the woe of today. The deadly farisaical spirit is well and alive in our midts.

Spurgeon would not have been proud today if he knew the accusations and slanders that his "admirers" spread about the deeds of a man of God who is with him enjoying the presence of Jesus in heaven.

Spurgeon the "Prince of Preachers" and Finney the "Prince of the Evangelists" were great soul winners and wise fishermen.




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Redi

 2009/12/5 4:47Profile









 Re: Charles Spurgeon on Charles Finney

Very well said. thanks for posting something simple and positive.

I wish more posters on SI took this more respectful approach towards the the revivalist of the past.

God bless

 2009/12/5 6:50
PaulWest
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Joined: 2006/6/28
Posts: 3405
Dallas, Texas

 Re:

Quote:
I am not an admirer of the peculiar views of Mr. Finney, but I have no doubt that he was useful to many


My sentiments of Finney precisely. He was God's man of the hour, custom-tailored to speak into the prevailing deadness of calvinistic evangelical Christianity in this country during the 1840's with a ministry authenticated by the Holy Ghost with great signs and wonders and genuine revival. God's approval was on Finney, despite his departure from the ubiquitous reformed theological mindset of his day, and this infuriated many, and still confounds millions today who can't bring themselves to believe God would so powerfully use a man who ostensibly contradicts their theology.

I love how God works, how He thinks, and how he deliberatly obliterates the presuppositional molds we set up to legislate how He must move. It keeps me humble; it prevents me from adopting a condescending view of my own theological persuasion whereby God is permitted to operate soley under. I may disagree profoundly on some points with Finney, but Finney is still counted a brother to me; I read his essays and profit from them. I am staggered by the accounts of how God shut down entire cities, secular universities, emptied out jails, factories as men fell on their faces and besought God for repentance. And I am equally staggered by the awesome testimonies of men like Father Nash, and other prayer warriors who would labor in sweat and tears, wrestling with God for days before Finney would arrive in town...and then how Satan's kingdom would be smashed after he preached, and the "worst" drunkards, criminals, and other opposers of religion would get gloriously saved - and many of them would later go into lifetime missions.

As usual, Spurgeon speaks with great wisdom, balance, insight. I too wish that other reformed brethren might avail themselves to the awesome immensity and sovereignty of God.

Brother Paul


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Paul Frederick West

 2009/12/5 10:47Profile
twayneb
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 Re: Charles Spurgeon on Charles Finney

A man does not have to have his theology airtight to be used mightily of God, and praise God for that. If we had to have our theology right for God to use us, God would never have anyone to use.

There are two extremes that rob us of all that great men and women of God of the past give to us. One is exactly what you describe. It is the attitude that because I do not agree with all of the person's doctrine, I cannot receive anything form him and even despise him. We miss out on so much that God has to say through that person. The second is an extreme veneration of a man and his teachings. It is the attitude that, "I am a follower of _________ and I disagree with anyone who disagrees with him." It divides us into factions and sects. See 1 Corinthians 1-3.

Ultimately, I am responsible for digging into the word of God and comparing all doctrines taught by men to that word. If a man misses it and he is not a heretic, then I disagree with that particular teaching without despising the man and the gift that he is to the body of Christ.

We do need to give honor where honor is due. God has had imperfect men who were yielded and surrendered to His will, who He used in mighty ways in their time. I praise God for these men who went before.

Travis


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Travis

 2009/12/5 17:41Profile
PaulWest
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Joined: 2006/6/28
Posts: 3405
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 Re:

Quote:
There are two extremes that rob us of all that great men and women of God of the past give to us. One is exactly what you describe. It is the attitude that because I do not agree with all of the person's doctrine, I cannot receive anything form him and even despise him. We miss out on so much that God has to say through that person. The second is an extreme veneration of a man and his teachings. It is the attitude that, "I am a follower of _________ and I disagree with anyone who disagrees with him." It divides us into factions and sects. See 1 Corinthians 1-3.


Brother, you've managed to crystallize the burden of my soul here on SI. I've been contending for this mindset for years here. The spirit of "I am a follower of ______'s theology and all others who don't conform are heretics" is one that I absolutely detest. This is essentially the spirit that precipitated the stoning of the OT prophets, the rejection of John the Baptist and the crucifixion of Christ by the prevailing rabbinical system of that day. It's very easy to slip into this mode when God gives us revelation on a certain points. Our mistake is in believing we now understand [i]all[/i] things, and immediately begin condemning others who deviate from what we've been shown. We err greatly by doing this, and severely limit ourselves growth-wise by aligning ourselves exclusively with one camp or another. A spirit begins to pervade at this point: the spirit of labeling certain men of God heretics and devils and wolves. We massacre our own. It's the same thing that befell the scribes and pharisees with all their theology and studying - in the end they were so blinded by their learning and proof-texting that they couldn't even recognize a true prophet of God outside their clique.

Now, I'm certainly not saying we have to agree with each other on all points; and in certain instances the term [i]"heretic"[/i] must be applied and Titus 3:10 obeyed, but, thankfully, I've found that these occasions are exceptional.


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Paul Frederick West

 2009/12/5 18:34Profile









 Re: Charles Spurgeon on Charles Finney

I recently came across these quotes about Finney that show a side of him that is not easily seen by reading the more intellectually demanding portions of his lectures.

"He had an intense emotional nature. When he had unfolded his subject in the clearest manner, he would throw himself, body and spirit, into the most impassioned personal appeals, carrying his hearers almost irresistibly with him. We could almost see the yawning abyss, the crucified One, the glories of heaven." - Rev. Leonard S. Parker

"how often have I seen him in the pulpit so overcome with emotion, that he would turn around and say, 'I can not preach. Brother, will you not pray?'" - Rev. C.C. Foote

"His lectures were not bare skeletons of truth, but had infused into them the force and beauty of real life, were clothed with the creations of a heart that intensely sympathized with Christ. When he presented the subject of the Atonement, for example, so vividly was the great love of the Godhead made to appear to our minds that we found ourselves in tears, at times, with our pencils in our motionless hands!" - Parker

 2009/12/5 20:03
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 Re:

Quote:
The following by Spurgeon on Finney is from his Lectures to my students, second series , "On Conversion As Our Aim", page 185:

"Exhortations, entreaties, and beseechings, if not accompanied with sound instruction, are like firing off powder without shot. You may shout, and weep, and plead, but you cannot lead men to believe what they have not heard, nor to receive a truth which has never been set before them. “Because the preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge.”

While giving instruction it is wise to appeal to the understanding. True religion is as logical as if it were not emotional. I am not an admirer of the peculiar views of Mr. Finney, but I have no doubt that he was useful to many; and his power lay in his use of clear arguments. Many who knew his fame were greatly disappointed at first hearing him, because he used few beauties of speech and was as calm and dry as a book of Euclid; but he was exactly adapted to a certain order of minds, and they were convinced and convicted by his forcible reasoning. Should not persons of an argumentative cast of mind be provided for? We are to be all things to all men, and to these men we must become argumentative and push them into a corner with plain deductions and necessary inferences. Of carnal reasoning we would have none, but of fair, honest pondering, considering, judging, and arguing the more the better."



Tremendous quote brother. Amen to your sentiments. Oh in our youthful zeal for our right interpretation of truth we miss the heart of God! I have been there too many times thus far in my Christian walk.


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SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2009/12/6 3:47Profile
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Joined: 2006/1/31
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 Re:

I would like to add this, its Charles Simeon speaking With John Wesley, and i think it shows both sides have much more in common then they think, some use of terminology and words may differ but often they meen the same for both groups they just word it differently. Yes there are some differences to :-) but i like this....

[i]So you call yourself an Arminian. People call me a Calvinist; and therefore we are supposed to argue about finer points of theology. But before we start fighting, may I ask you a few questions? Do you think that you are a depraved person, so depraved, in fact, that you would have never turned to God if God had not put it in your heart first?

Yes, I do indeed

And do you reject your coming to God with your works as the source of your righteousness, and look for salvation solely through the blood and righteousness of Christ?

Yes, solely through Christ.

And since you were at first saved by Christ, do you try to continue to be saved by something other than him?

No, I must be saved by Christ from first to last.

Since then you were first saved by the grace of God, do you need to keep yourself saved by your own power?

No.

Are you to be upheld every hour and every moment by God, just like a baby in his mother’s arms?

Yes, altogether.

And is all your hope in the grace and mercy of God to preserve you so that you will be able enter into his kingdom?

Yes, I have no hope but in Him.

Then, let me say, my friend, that this is what Calvinism is. This is election and justification by faith, and perseverance. This is really all there is to it and nothing else. Therefore, instead of searching for differences in language and definitions and having that be a source of contention between us, can we please be united in these things that we agree on?[/i]


and this little quote from Chrles Spurgoen is also very worth meditating on. How often have I broken fellowship, cut of a brother, looked down upon those whi differ from my understanding of scripture? in my heart..... and i am not saying we should not discern anything and let everything under the sun pass for Christianity, the sad truth is i think most of what is paraded as Christianity is very far from it. But in this case, Arminian vs Calvinist i think is not such a case where there should be any tension at all, other then towards our own imperfect unloving heart that according to this wisdom want to fight its enemy, and defend my "right" vies and understanding and making me superior to my brothers who hold another view.

Anyway read brother Spurgeons words:

[i]How surprised we will be to meet some saints in heaven whom we did not love on earth! We would not fellowship with them at the Lord’s table. We would not acknowledge that they were Christians. We looked at them suspiciously if we saw them in the street. We were somewhat wary of all their actions. We suspected their zeal as being nothing better than a show and an exaggeration, and we looked on their best efforts as having sinister motives at the heart. We said many unkind things, and felt a great many more than we said. When we see these unknown and unrecognized brothers and sisters in heaven won’t their very presence naturally remind us of our offenses against Christian love and spiritual unity? I can’t imagine a perfect man, looking at another perfect man, without regretting that he ever treated him in an unkind manner: it seems to me to be the trait of a gentleman, a Christian, and of a perfectly sanctified man above all others, that he would regret having misunderstood, and misconstrued, and misrepresented one who was as dear to Christ as himself. I am sure as I walk among the saints in heaven, I cannot (in the natural order of things) help feeling “I did not assist you as I ought to have done. I did not sympathize with you as I ought to have done. I spoke a harsh word to you. I was alienated from you;” and I think you would all have to feel the same; inevitably you must, if it were not that by some heavenly means, and I don’t know how, the eternal God will so overshadow believers with the abundant bliss of his own self that even that cause of tears will be wiped away.[/i]


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CHRISTIAN

 2009/12/6 5:50Profile
twayneb
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Joined: 2009/4/5
Posts: 2000
Joplin, Missouri

 Re:

Quote:
Now, I'm certainly not saying we have to agree with each other on all points; and in certain instances the term "heretic" must be applied and Titus 3:10 obeyed, but, thankfully, I've found that these occasions are exceptional.



Absolutely so. A heretic is one who brings a schism into the body and divides. A heretic is not a believer who has missed it on a doctrinal point yet remains changeable and teachable. I recall a time in my own life when I held the view that was consistent with the body I grew up in, but, as I can see Biblically now, was inconsistent with the teachings of Christ. Those who had gone before me, though great men and women of God who loved Him and moved strongly in the gifts of the Spirit, etc., had missed it on this point. I was teaching high school mathematics at the time, and had a young lady in the class who held a very strong Christian witness in the school where I taught. We sometimes discussed scripture briefly after class. One day she and a friend walked into my classroom and in the course of the conversation that ensued, this doctrine came up. She very nicely said, "Well I just don't see how that can be the case because...." I thought about what she said for some time. I was a very traditional pentecostal, she was a very traditional baptist. I disagreed with, I am sure, a number of doctrinal fine points that she had been taught all her life. I could have dismissed her as young and ignorant or wrong because of her denominational affiliation. Instead I began to dig into scripture and came to the conclusion Biblically that she was right.

We must remain teachable and hold our particular doctrinal nuances loosely. We must allow God room to change our minds on things. We must value God's ability to bring revelation to others that, perhaps, we have not received ourselves and take their viewpoint seriously to the extent that we do not reject it outright simply because that person is a Baptimethodicostal, or whatever name they put on themselves.

Travis


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Travis

 2009/12/6 10:05Profile
Leo_Grace
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Joined: 2009/6/14
Posts: 703


 Re: Amen, Travis.

Quote:
We must remain teachable and hold our particular doctrinal nuances loosely. We must allow God room to change our minds on things. We must value God's ability to bring revelation to others that, perhaps, we have not received ourselves and take their viewpoint seriously to the extent that we do not reject it outright simply because that person is a Baptimethodicostal, or whatever name they put on themselves.

Travis


If we are no longer teachable (humble), we may have lost our connection to the vine.

 2009/12/6 13:33Profile





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