havok20x, which Writings of Finneys have you read ?
///2) Social Gospel theology///I think to take Finneys Anti Slavery position and attribute it as him being a founder of the heretic Social Gospel, is a bit profound.John Wesely also was equally out spoken when it came to Slavery, He also preached against it and wrote against it and supported the Abolition Committee and even tried to assist the abolition campaign.Does that make John Wesely also an advocate of the social gospel?I think if we are to be honest, it was not Edwards, Whitefield, Wesely, or Finney etc. that began nor fuled the social gospel and liberal christianity. but instead it was things such as new methods of studing the Bible that came out of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries such as the historical-critical method and the philosophys that came out of the enlightenment such as scholaticism, humanism, rationalism, etc that began creeping into the church. Those are the things that founded and fuled liberal christianity and the social gospel.
Hey Saltlicker20 - (interesting screen name. Is there a cool story for it?)I can say with a good deal of confidence that you are going to get people saying things that are 180 degrees apart with each claiming they are correct.Proudpapa has some good points.However, if you want the whole truth you should read his biography. There is no substitute. It will melt away a great deal of the false, harsh, and flatly dishonest criticism you will see posted about Finney on threads. i won't post rebuttals or debate on it. What is the point, eh? If you want the actual truth about Finney then get it straight from Finney. It will prove far more beneficial to gain your view from the man himself as opposed to the legion of folks that all have an opinion.
I have an old copy of Finney's Systematic Theology, which is some pretty tough reading. My copy however is full of notes and underlining because I found my way to loving God through his ministry.Much easier reading covering all his major points, is Helen Wessel's edit of the original autobiography, still available cheap at Amazon.Finney's ministry secured the salvation of an estimated 500,000 people, and it is said that the retention rate for his converts was around 80%. Compared to modern figures of around 5% or less, it behooves any wise person to take a closer look at the man and his ministry before dismissing him as some kind of nut.In addition to defining all the words we bandy about in our theological discoursing, his main theme was man's personal obligation to seek God. Prevailing theology of the day was that salvation was only initiated by God for His elect, and it was not the place of totally sinful man to presume he could be saved without first getting a call from God.Finney argued that it was the obligation of every man to reach out to God in repentance and to get saved- lambasting the idea that God had pre-selected only a few to save, and had condemned the rest. When he preached this, proving God's call to men from the Bible, thousands came running for the altar to be saved. As you might expect, this angered the clergy of the other persuasions and the stamp of heresy was placed on him.He did not lie to obtain his ordination as a Presbyterian minister, he just refused to accept the tenets of limited election and destroyed the logic of the committee members who had come to examine him and confirm the ordination. Really, it was a dramatic moment in time as described in the autobiography, and the ordination was given. And enemies were made...Few men in history operated in the power of the Holy Spirit like Charles Finney.Read the works, then draw any conclusions.
Prior to this discussion, I had read a little here and a little there by Finney. I did not like it. After we started talking, I started reading more of what he had written. I still find some of what he says to be troubling, namely in the Justification section of "Revival Truths." I never met the man, so I can't say "Hey! What did you mean by such and such?" But it seems to me that Finney uses works as a means to maintain justification. It isn't justification by grace through faith resulting in works, which is what I have read time and time again in the scripture. His version is justifcation by faith and works resulting in future grace. And that may seem like such a trivial thing. Especially for believers, because regardless a true believer will meet both criteria (having faith and works). But an unbeliever will not. He can only meet the second and thereby believe that he maintains his salvation by his works.
It is the responsibility of the church to preach the gospel and call men to repentance. That is what Finney was doing.
And yet, there are places where Finney says works are not necessary to secure salvation. It may be that I have a really difficult time understanding him.