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The Pride of Finney

The more I read of the eighteenth-century heretic Charles Finney, the more I am struck by one characteristic. Whatever he may have said about concern for souls, prayer, love of God, etc., I am convinced that he was driven by one thing, that is, a great spiritual pride. Throughout his writings, especially those concerning his methods and his criticisms of his contemporaries, an enormous unveiled arrogance appears. Take this, for example:


I say that God taught me; and I know it must have been so; for surely I never had obtained these notions from man. And I have often thought that I could say with perfect truth, as Paul said, that I was not taught the Gospel by man, but by the Spirit of Christ himself.

—Charles Finney, quoted in Pentecost Today? (Banner of Truth, 1998), 43.

No wonder Finney was so confident. He was infallible!

Any wise man knows that if he has a novel idea previously unknown to or rejected by the church, that idea is wrong. But according to Finney, the apparent originality of his notions was all the proof he needed of personal divine inspiration. Any thought manufactured in his own mind, untaught, had to have come directly from God. He placed himself on the level of an apostle, or very near it. Consequently, he was entirely unteachable.

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Posted  in: Charles Finney · Iain Murray · Pentecost — Today?
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#1 || 12·05·24··10:17 || Josua

I was just listening to Tony Campolo talk about Finny. He said that after Finny's alter calls, he intvied those who came forward to come to a back room. In that room he had two tables: one to sign up for the anti-slavery movement and another to sign up for the women's rights movement.Finny saw the direct link between personal relationship with God and taking part in what God was doing in the world.To those who didn't want to sign up for either movement, Finny would say, well, you need to go back out and rethink your decision to follow Christ. I would image that phrase would never be uttered in many of today's american churches though it was uttered by Jesus (rich young ruler .).***i realize that this point has VERY little to do with your post. I have just always held Finny as sort of a hero in connecting a strong emphasis on evangelism with a strong emphasis on social action. However, I know very very little about his theology.

#2 || 12·05·24··12:44 || David Kjos

As bad as Finney’s theology was (so bad, I’m convinced he was never saved), Campolo’s is far worse.

Furthermore, Campolo’s story sounds made up. I don’t believe Finney did that. In all my reading of trustworthy sources (which would never include Campolo), I’ve never read that.

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