SermonIndex Audio Sermons
Access over 100,000+ Sermons from Ancient to Modern
See Opportunities to Serve with SermonIndex
Discussion Forum : Scriptures and Doctrine : Finney... Again

Print Thread (PDF)

Goto page ( 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 Next Page )
PosterThread
drifter
Member



Joined: 2005/6/6
Posts: 861
Campbell River, B.C.

 Finney... Again

I am reading through Charles Finney's Systematic Theology (it's slow going: I brought it to work to read on my breaks so I typically read 10 pages or so per break; some of the concepts can be difficult to grasp because Finney uses very technical language typical of a lawyer.)

Anyhow, the reason I titled this post "Finney... Again" is because I have found some of his theology hard to grasp and sometimes hard to accept (and I have commented on his theology more than once on SI.)

He says that when someone is truly born of God, if they sin (which, I might add, is ALWAYS willingly, according to him; sin is a wilful breaking of God's law. I tend to agree with this as sin is never an accident), then the child of God stands condemned under the law, and is in exactly the same position as a sinner; if he were to die with sin not repented of, he would go to hell. The only difference between the sinner and the believer is that the believer is legally a child of God. He says that as soon as you sin, you cease to be holy; a person cannot be holy and sinful at the same time.

I should point out that Finney did not believe in original sin. I do (tentatively). My view is that humans are born with a propensity (or a bent, if you like) towards sin. We do not pay the penalty for Adam's sin, but we have a corrupted nature. I think that when a person is born again, he is given a new nature, a new heart, and the old nature is at war with the new. The way I see it, Romans 7 describes the christian's battle against the old nature.

Has anyone on here read Finney's Systematic Theology, or are you at least familiar with the concepts (and have not only read articles decrying him as a heretic)? I do agree with 95% of what he says, but I have a problem with this one teaching.


_________________
Nigel Holland

 2022/7/18 23:26Profile
narrowpath
Member



Joined: 2005/1/9
Posts: 1329
Germany NRW

 Re: Finney... Again


It is good to study the bible systematically, but when it comes to theolgogy, every system will err and fail, and misrepresent God and cause pain and division, regardless how much effort and research is put into its development.

Look at Calvinism, Arminianism, Deism, Theism, open theism, dispensationalism... you name it. No 2 theologians agree completely with another.

God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit always agree.

The reason is simple. God is not a system, nor does he use one . God is God and he is a person with infinite depth and wisdom. Infact all of God's attributes are infinite. We will take forever to know God in all His depth.
Man needs systems and they all have their faults, because reality is always more complex than any system that tries to operate in it.

Even the law of God, perfect as it was, failed to cure man's ailments. God needed to come in person to sort us out.

If there was a perfect theological system, it would be in the bible. Instead God uses history, law, poetry, parables and narrative to reveal himself to man in his word. His word can only be understood by the aid of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is by far the best theologian, because he knows all the depth and riches and wisdom of God.



 2022/7/19 2:14Profile
JFW
Member



Joined: 2011/10/21
Posts: 1739
Dothan, Alabama

 Re: NP

Your response is very well worded and (for me) addresses the crux of the matter, thank you 🙏🏻


Nigel,
Finney is an interesting character whom has always found favor with me even when we don’t share the same understanding, It is most likely due to his relentless pursuit (love) of the truth and his ruthless rejection of anything deemed not true (the world).
While, like us all, Finney had a limited perspective (light), he nonetheless seems to have been faithful to his “heavenly vision” and like Paul, was zealous for the work of the ministry.

One of Finney’s strengths was the clear understanding of “potential vs literal” in his rendering of scripture. This largely due to his legal training and carried over into his ministry. This line of demarcation was seemingly forever present in the cases he made wether in addressing faith or grace or salvation itself and figures heavily in his doctrine and subsequent theology.
In my understanding, Finney saw original sin in the same context as salvation,... as a precondition (potential) that is present but not active until we submit and serve it. Likewise he saw that it is only applicable (imparted) so long as we remain (abide) in it, which is to say that in either case it is only credited to our account when we act in faith regarding it.

Regarding your specific point, it would seem that Finney took Paul’s admonition in 1 Cor 9:27 as a literal potential for us all-
“But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”

This is of course not the only verse that speaks so, there are many from Lord Jesus that share similar warnings/encouragements - tho historically not many have really given heed to such mainly because of the implications and demands it puts on the “believer” where most of which would shrink back at the prospects. Finney attempted to make a clear point of Gods requirement of holiness and squarely rejected any attempt to water down the gospel to allow for anything less.

This quote would stand in sharp contrast to how the gospel is and has been preached over the past decade or so and illustrates where the opposition to his ministry resided and continues to this day. In fact there are few preachers who have stirred such controversy from their own brethren than did Charles Finney and tbh I tend to like those types of preachers, if for no other reason, their commitment to what they believe even if the whole world was against them :)

“ GRACE: The impression of many seems to be, that grace will pardon what it cannot prevent; in other words, that if the grace of the Gospel fails to save people from the commission of sin in this life; it will nevertheless pardon them and save them in sin, if it cannot save them from sin. Now, really, I understand the Gospel as teaching that men are saved from sin first, and as a consequence, from hell; and not that they are saved from hell while they are not saved from sin. Christ sanctifies when he saves. And this is the very first element or idea of salvation, saving from sin. "Thou shall call his name Jesus," said the angel, "for he shall save his people from their sins." "Having raised up his Son Jesus," says the apostle, "he hath sent him to bless you in turning every one of you from his iniquities." Let no one expect to saved from hell, unless the grace of the Gospel saves him first from sin.--Charles Finney”

Here’s a link to a good source for Finney and those of like mind -
http://www.charlesfinney.com/gospeltruth.php


_________________
Fletcher

 2022/7/19 8:05Profile
havok20x
Member



Joined: 2008/9/14
Posts: 965
Pineville, LA

 Re: Finney... Again

You should also study Pelagianism to see why Finney’s theology is suspect.

Here is a good article to explain:

https://www.challies.com/articles/the-false-teachers-pelagius/

 2022/7/23 10:42Profile
narrowpath
Member



Joined: 2005/1/9
Posts: 1329
Germany NRW

 Re:

I actually started reading "Lectures on Revivals of Religion" by Finney. It is easy to sit in your study and find fault in the theology of men God used. They all had their faults; Finney, Wesley, Luther, Spurgeon..

God looks at the fruit of our lifes, and compared to them I guess any of us weighed in the balances will be found wanting. Their testimony stands, they walked the walk, shed the tears, and had callouses on their knees thanks to nights in prayer.

Without the revivals that these men were involved, I guess Tim Challies would not have the platform and audience he has today.

 2022/7/27 13:54Profile
havok20x
Member



Joined: 2008/9/14
Posts: 965
Pineville, LA

 Re:

Finney is a heretic and the author of so many ungodly church practices we now see today. The man does not deserve to be named among Wesley, Luther, and Spurgeon.

Finney self-aggrandized. And you are right about fruits. The burned over district, an incredibly high percentage of his “converts” abandoning the faith, and teaching demonic doctrines. I would say the fruits definitely show who he is.

 2022/7/28 12:56Profile
narrowpath
Member



Joined: 2005/1/9
Posts: 1329
Germany NRW

 Re: Pelagianism

Pelagius did not believe in Pelagianism, not even Semi-Pelagianism. Pelagius did not promote that man can get saved by his unaided will but believed more like Wesley in fallen man's ability to respond to Gods prevenient grace.
It was a malicious campaign by Augustin who attributed false teachings to Pelagius in order to cancel him for his own advantage in order to promote his own false teachings that include predetermination, infant baptism, baptismal regeneration and OSAS. He got him ousted by papal decree, which is absolutely shameful.

In a very similar fashion Jacob Arminius was condemned in the synode of Doort.

Wasn't Jesus also condemned by the chief priests and pharisees? Didn't they manipulate the secular and official religios authorities?

Matthew 10:17
Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues,

Matthew 5:10-12
10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

There is a good discourse by Leighton Flowers and Dr. Ali Bonner, who did extensive research Pelagius and his contemporaries:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gAMAyi1cjZw&t=5s

 2022/7/28 14:07Profile
havok20x
Member



Joined: 2008/9/14
Posts: 965
Pineville, LA

 Re:

I am not a huge fan of Augustine either, but that doesn’t change that Finney was a heretic.

 2022/7/28 15:02Profile
havok20x
Member



Joined: 2008/9/14
Posts: 965
Pineville, LA

 Re:

And you don’t have to take my word for it. Read Pelagius’ words yourself. He condemns himself (er…technically he is justifying himself, ha!):

That is why we must now take precautions to prevent you from being embarrassed by something in which the ignorant majority is at fault for lack of proper consideration, and so from supposing, with them, that man has not been created truly good simply because he is able to do evil and is not obliged by the overpowering inclination of his own nature to do good on compulsion and without any possibility of variation. If you reconsider this matter carefully and force your mind to apply a more acute understanding to it, it will be revealed to you that man's status is better and higher for the very reason for which it is thought to be inferior: it is on this choice between two ways, on this freedom to choose either alternative, that the glory of the rational mind is based, it is in this that the whole honour of our nature consists, it is from this that its dignity is derived and all good men win others' praise and their own reward. Nor would there be any virtue at all in the good done by the man who perseveres, if he could not at any time cross over to the path of evil.23
2. It was because God wished to bestow on the rational creature the gift of doing good of his own free will and the capacity to exercise free choice, by implanting in man the possibility of choosing either alternative, that he made it his peculiar right to be what he wanted to be, so that with his capacity for good and evil he could do either quite naturally and then bend his will in the other direction too. He could not claim to possess the good of his own volition, unless he were the kind of creature that could also have possessed evil. Our most excellent creator wished us to be able to do either but actually to do only one, that is, good, which he also commanded, giving us the capacity to do evil only so that we might do his will by exercising our own. That being so, this very capacity to do evil is also good - good, I say, because it makes the good part better by making it voluntary and independent, not bound by necessity but free to decide for itself. We are certainly permitted to choose, oppose, approve, reject, and there is no ground for preferring the rational creature to the others except that, while all the others possess only the good derived from their own circumstances and necessity, it alone possesses the good of free will also.
But most of those who, from lack of faith as much as of knowledge, deplore the status of man, are - I am ashamed to admit it - criticising the Lord's work and asserting that man ought to have been so made that he could do no evil at all, and we are then in a position where what is moulded says to its moulder: Why have you made me thus (Rom.9.20)? And these most shameless of men, while hiding the fact that they are managing quite well with what they have been made, would prefer to have been made otherwise; and so those who are unwilling to correct their own way of life appear to want to correct nature itself instead, the good of which has been so universally established in all that it sometimes reveals itself and brings itself to notice even in pagans who do not worship God. For how many of the pagan philosophers have we heard and read and even seen for ourselves to be chaste, tolerant, temperate, generous, abstinent and kindly, rejecters of the world's honours as well as its delights, lovers of justice no less than knowledge? Whence, I ask you, do these good qualities pleasing to God come to men who are strangers to him? Whence can these good qualities come to them, unless it be from the good of nature? And since we see the qualities of which I have spoken contained either all in one person or severally in several persons and since the nature of all is one and the same, by their example they show each other that all qualities which are found either all together in all or severally in each one are able to exist in all alike. But if even men without God can show what kind of creatures they were made by God, consider what Christians are able to do whose nature and life have been instructed for the better by Christ and who are assisted by the aid of divine grace as well.
4, 1. Come now, let us approach the secret places of our soul, let everyone examine himself more attentively, let us ask what opinion our own personal thoughts have of this matter, let our conscience itself deliver its judgement on the good of nature, let us be instructed by the inner teaching of the mind, and let us learn about each of the good qualities of the mind from no other source but the mind itself. Why is it, I ask you, that we either blush or fear at every sin we commit, displaying our guilt for what we have done at one moment by the blush on our countenance, at another by its pallor, anxiously trying to avoid any witness even of our smallest offences and suffering pangs of conscience all the while? And why, on the other hand, are we happy, resolute, bold after every good deed we have done and, if this fact is hidden from sight, desire and wish it to be seen in broad daylight? Why else unless it is because nature itself is its own witness and discloses its own good by the very fact of its disapproval of evil and, by putting its trust only in a good deed, shows what alone benefits it? Hence it comes about that frequently, though a murderer's identity remains concealed, torments of conscience make furious attacks on the author of the crime, and the secret punishment of the mind takes vengeance on the guilty man in hiding; nor is there any room for escape from punishment after the crime has been committed, since guilt is itself the penalty. That is why the innocent man, contrariwise, enjoys the peace of mind that comes from a good conscience even while undergoing torture and, though he fears punishment, still glories in his innocence.

 2022/7/28 15:22Profile
narrowpath
Member



Joined: 2005/1/9
Posts: 1329
Germany NRW

 Re:

God uses people with imperfect theology, even today. He used both Wesley and Whitfield, Moody and Spurgeon, Luther and Arminius who but disagreed in major points in their theology. If Finney was a heretic, how then did his revivals operate? Miracles happened in his ministry and there was true repentance. Was it in the power of the devil or by the work of the Holy Spirit?

All true servants of God are maligned by some, the bible foretold us . If you want a clou, look at who persecuted whom in church history and it is always from within what calls itself Christendom. You always find the Pharisees, Priests, Herodians, Sadducees as chief enemies who manipulate the governours.

Jesus warned sternly about attributing the Holy Spirit's work to the devil. How many souls have his critics won?

 2022/7/29 5:46Profile





©2002-2021 SermonIndex.net
Promoting Genuine Biblical Revival.
Affiliate Disclosure | Privacy Policy