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Discussion Forum : Scriptures and Doctrine : Finney... Again

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Joined: 2022/6/24
Posts: 7


Branchvine I will begin by saying excellent response. The scriptures are supreme and these powerful texts illustrate the point I was attempting to make.

In response to narrowpath: I did not use the correct terminology, fruits was not the most appropriate word that could have been used, looking back I was using it synonymously with results. The believer will absolutely bring forth fruits in Christ. However, as Branchvine Illustrated in their response this is the gift of God and his grace working in us. Not our own works.



You cannot confuse and equate these two(results and spiritual fruit). That will lead not only to pragmatism but to a tiered Christianity where individuals are lifted up for getting results and and men are glorified rather than God. Ministers will get praised or shamed based on the size of their church or the number of their baptisms, not their obedience to the word of God. Theology always Directs practice so it is paramount to understand the error in this statement(that results = spiritual fruit). That is not a theology taught in the scriptures, it is abhorrent.

Finally, God is the one who does these things and he is the one who gives these gifts of grace to us according to Christ's gift(Ephesians 4:8). Must we run with endurance, of course. But in the end all results and glory is given to the Father above who opens hearts and minds.

That is all I will say on this. I believe we have addressed it enough with both the word of God and dialogue. We need to move back to the central discussion here. Not whether or not Finney saw results, but whether his teachings were based and guided by the scriptures. Ultimately that will decide this discussion.

 2022/8/5 15:57Profile

Joined: 2006/11/26
Posts: 4126


Charles Finney
Like the prophet Jeremiah, Charles G. Finney was anointed of God to “root out” and to “plant” in the Lord’s vineyard, (Jer. 1:10). He was a man of intense prayer, purity and passion. “Emptied of self, he was filled with the Holy Spirit. His sermons were chain lightning, flashing conviction into the hearts of the stoutest sceptics. Simple as a child in his utterances, he sometimes startled his hearers by his unique prayers.”

Revival follows his preaching
He could thunder the judgments of God upon sin with great liberty and power and then offer the mercy of the gospel with tenderness and tears. Without question he was a prophetic voice to 19th century America. His ministry consistently produced revivals, even in areas considered hardened and unreceptive to the gospel. Finney’s autobiography is filled with accounts of powerful manifestations of the Spirit. On one occasion when Finney was preaching in a school house, “suddenly an awful solemnity fell upon the assembly and the congregation fell from their seats, crying for mercy.” Finney said, “If I had had a sword in each hand I could not have cut them off as fast as they fell. I think the whole congregation was on their knees or prostrated in two minutes.” The crying and weeping of the people was so loud that Finney’s exhortation of Christ’s mercy could not even be heard.

Conviction follows Finney
“Finney seemed so anointed with the Holy Spirit that people were often brought under conviction of sin just by looking at him. When holding meetings at Utica, New York, he visited a large factory. At the sight of him one of the workers, and then another, and then another broke down and wept under a sense of their sins, and finally so many were sobbing and weeping that the machinery had to be stopped while Finney pointed them to Christ.”

Finney’s converts stayed the course
Finney seems to have had the power of impressing the conscience of men with the necessity of holy living in such a manner as produced lasting results. “Over eighty-five in every hundred persons professing conversion to Christ in Finney’s meetings remained true to God. Whereas seventy percent of those professing Christ in meetings of even so great an evangelist as Moody afterward became backsliders.”

The secret: Prayer
Such results were the fruit of hours and hours of prayer. It was not Finney’s prayers alone that secured such heaven-sent revivals. Finney’s was supported by the prayers of two of God’s hidden treasures. It was the hidden, yet powerful intercessions of “Father Nash” and Abel Clary that laid the ground work for these mighty moves of God. “Abel Clary was converted about the same time as Finney, and was licensed to preach also, but he had such a burden of prayer that he could not preach much. His whole time and strength were given to prayer. He would writhe and groan in agony, unable to stand under the weight.” “After Clary’s death Finney discovered Clary’s prayer journal. Finney found in the exact order of the burden laid upon Clary’s heart was the order of blessing poured upon his ministry.”

Daniel Nash
Father Nash
Father Nash lived a life of almost continual intercession. “He joined himself with Finney, kept a prayer list and was no doubt the secret of much of Finney’s marvelous success. He did not preach and often did not go to the meetings, but remained in his room, or in the woods, wrestling with God in mighty prayer. Often before daybreak people could hear Father Nash for half a mile or more in the woods, or in a church praying, and the sense of God’s presence was overwhelming.”

The Church must do more than esteem the history of men like Charles Finney, Father Nash and Able Clary. If we are going to experience revival we must repent and practice the truths they declared; truths of a holy and pure life; truths of hidden intercession and an uncompromising love for Jesus!

© David Smithers


 2022/8/5 16:55Profile

Joined: 2022/6/24
Posts: 7


Though interesting, this still does not address the crux of this discussion:

measuring the apparent results of Finney's revivals and his teachings against the revealed word of God.

I believe I might have to bow out of this conversation. We seem to be going in circles. Instead of addressing the scriptures directly on Finney's teachings and whether he was truly a man of God, each query is answered with a testimony or story that supersedes the scriptures stated.

Furthermore, I could probably find a similar testimony of Joseph Smith or Ghandi as great men of God and a man of peace. Bottom line: Experience must be tested against the scripture(Test every spirit 1 John 4:1). That's the only way heretic is delineated from saint. If we can't do that, then y'all can continue on but I'm out.

 2022/8/5 22:35Profile

Joined: 2020/2/12
Posts: 225


"measuring the apparent results of Finney's revivals and his teachings against the revealed word of God."

"And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth." (Acts 17:11 NLT)

Paul probably never had such a "successful " ministry as some of today's preachers.
"But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it." (Matthew 7:14 NLT)

With those words I'm also leaving this discussion.

 2022/8/6 2:19Profile

Joined: 2005/1/9
Posts: 1337
Germany NRW


I am halfway through Finney's book Lectures on Revival of Religion and I find it to be very eye opening. He exposes a lot of the pseudo piety in the churches of his day and age.
No wonder this man is held in high regard by some and trashed by others. No doubt, God used this man a great deal. Where are the Finneys of today?

Here is a little excerpt from chapter 16

where he expounds on the use of prayer for revival

How often do you hear people pray for sinners in this style, “O Lord, help this poor soul to do what he is required to do—O Lord, enable him to do so and so.” Now this language implies that they take the sinner’s part, and not God’s. If it was understood by those who use it, as it is sometimes explained, and if people meant by it what they ought to mean when they plead for sinners, I would not find so much fault with it, But the truth is, that when people use this language, they often mean just what the language itself would be naturally at first sight, understood to mean, which is just as if they should pray, “Lord, thou commandest these poor sinners to repent, when, O Lord, thou knowest they cannot repent unless thou givest them thy Spirit, to enable them to do it, though thou hast declared that thou wilt send them to hell if they do not, whether they ever receive the Spirit or not, and now, Lord, this seems very hard, and we pray thee to have pity upon these poor creatures, and do not deal so hardly with them, for Christ’s sake.” Who does not see that such a prayer, or a prayer which means this, whatever language it may be couched in, is an insult to God, charging him with infinite injustice, if he continues to exact from sinners a duty which they are unable to perform without that aid which he will not grant. People may pray in this way till the day of judgment, and never obtain a blessing, because they take the sinners part against God. They cannot pray successfully, until they understand that the sinner is a rebel, and obstinate in his rebellion—so obstinate that he never will, without the Holy Spirit, do what he might do as well as not, instantly, and this obstinacy is the reason, and the only reason, why he needs the influence of the Holy Spirit for his conversion. The only ground on which the sinner needs divine agency is to overcome his obstinacy, and make him willing to do what he can do, and what God justly requires him to do. And a church are never in an attitude in which God will hear their united prayers, unless they are agreed in so understanding their dependence on God, as to feel it in perfect consistency with the sinner’s blame. If it is the other way, they are agreed in understanding it wrong, and their prayers for divine help to the unfortunate instead of divine favor to make a rebel submit, are wide of the mark, are an insult to God, and they never will obtain favor in heaven.

(3.) They must be agreed in understanding that revivals are not miracles, but that they are brought about by the use of means like other events. No wonder revivals formerly came so seldom and continued so short a time, when people generally regarded them as miracles, or like a mere shower of rain, that will come on a place and continue a little while, and then blow over; that is, as something over which we have no control. For what can people do to get a shower of rain? Or how can they make it rain any longer than it does rain? It is necessary that those who pray should be agreed in understanding a revival as something to be brought about by means, or they never will be agreed in using them.

(4.) They must be agreed in understanding that human agency is just as indispensable to a revival as divine agency. Such a thing as a revival of religion, I venture to say, never did occur without divine agency, and never did occur without human agency. How often do people say, “God can, if he pleases, carry on the work without means.” But I have no faith in it, for there is no evidence of it. What is religion? Obedience to God’s law. But the law cannot be obeyed unless it is known. And how can God make sinners obey but by making known his commandments?"

 2022/8/30 15:53Profile

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