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Discussion Forum : Revivals And Church History : Nettleton vs Finney – two revivalists conflict

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Joined: 2005/5/2
Posts: 3777

 Nettleton vs Finney – two revivalists conflict

Here is a (rather lengthy) article about Asahel Nettleton, a little-known but effective revival leader in the early eighteen hundreds who preached around the same time as Finney.

[url=]Asahel Nettleton: The Forgotten Evangelist[/url]

It is interesting to note the significant differences between Nettleton and Finney. I quote:
Most surprising to modern readers is the discovery that Nettleton’s tremendous effectiveness occurred without any of the methods that modern evangelicals think are so essential in evangelism. For example, in all his ministry, thousands came to a solid, lasting faith in Christ though Nettleton never once gave an “altar call.” In fact, one of the greatest struggles in Nettleton’s life occurred as he led the stand against such “new measures” employed by Charles Finney.

Without a doubt, Finney’s methods were effective in attracting large crowds and in securing large numbers of “professions.” But they involved many questionable aspects that Nettleton and other ministers could not accept.

More about the differences are explained in the article.


 2006/5/15 13:16Profile

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

 Re: Nettleton vs Finney – two revivalists conflict

I think its important to remember that though these men may have had differences in views as it pertains to Revival and God's sovereignty, they were both ultimately on the same team. It is almost always the unfortunate finality of ministers differing in opinion that some would pit them against each other.

They were different ministers focusing on a different aspect of God's working and nature in a time very removed from ours. It would take quite a study of the spiritual climate and experiences of the men's respective environments to really know why each focused where they did. Finney lauds Jonathon Edwards preaching on sovereignty as needed in the times Edwards lived. I think he acknowledged the need to preach sovereignty as the conditions dictated. He just never seemed to encounter them. Finney believed that when God said 'go' man was responsible to do what God told Him to do and not hide behind his own [i]inability[/i]. regardless of where we stand on the issues, I believe Finney is right here. We may all arive at our conclusions differently, but when God says 'Do' we 'can' and we 'must'.

God's sovereignty and man's responsibility is almost always at the root of these contentions. This is not new. James and Paul were pitted together also to which Luther did not think the epistle of James canonical. Depending on ones own convictions they will either choose sides or they will acknowledge the Truth in its fulness not neglecting the one for the other's sake. I don't think it has to be one or the other. I believe it is both. It is just unfortunate that men draws lines in the sand and choose sides in these things.

Robert Wurtz II

 2006/5/15 13:40Profile

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