Exposing an Old Heretic – Charles G Finney

finney3Some may wonder why we are jumping on a person who has been dead for over 135 years!  Sadly, it is because there are many who hold this man in high esteem and much of what we find in modern evangelicalism is due to the heresy that this lawyer-turned-preacher taught to unsuspecting congregations.  Today, this man is considered to be the “Father of Modern Evangelism” and yet I am convinced from the Scriptures that he was nothing but a charlatan who has perpetuated much of what passes for “biblical” Christianity in the western world particularly.

I was recommended to an article which I now recommend to our readers.  The following paragraph is an excerpt from this article by Phil Johnson.

“Charles Grandison Finney was a heretic. That language is not too strong. Though he excelled at cloaking his opinions in ambiguous language and biblical-sounding expressions, his views were almost pure Pelagianism. The arguments he employed to sustain those views were nearly always rationalistic and philosophical, not biblical. To canonize this man as an evangelical hero is to ignore the facts of what he stood for.”

You can read the rest of this excellent article by Phil Johnson by going to this link.

11 thoughts on “Exposing an Old Heretic – Charles G Finney

  1. I’m glad you’ve posted this. I have some friends who have fallen deeply into the traps of Finney’s theology. This is shocking to me because they used to be so strong in their beliefs, and now they are pushing doctrines such as Open Theism and Sinless Perfection. It is sad to see the changes they have made and how it has affected their ministries.

  2. Sad thing for me – the pastor of the church we recently left took it as compliment a couple years ago when I told him that his invitation would do Finney proud.

    Oh – I just looked at the Phil Johnson link – I included that in my letter telling the pastor why we were leaving!

  3. Michael Horton and the guys over at White Horse Inn have mentioned Finney a few times in the 2008 series “Christless Christianty” and I think Horton discussed him briefly in his new book Christless Christianity. I emphasise think in relation to the book as I could be wrong….its been a month or 2 since I finished the book and my memory may not be serving me correctly! Basically the “alter call” and the like stem for Finney’s “revivalism” meetings and indeed his theology has filtered down into a lot of western Christianity as a whole. Finney was a heretic and needs to be exposed as being one. A lot of false converts resulted from his ministry, much similar to today’s say a little prayer and ask Jesus into your heart and BAMN! YOU’VE GOT THE HOLY SPIRIT BABAYYYY AND YOUR TOKEN INTO HEAVEN!!

    Do check out white horse inn for this and also the modern reformation articles archive as I am sure there is some stuff on there as well!!

    R..P

  4. After reading your “tag” on Finney,I am thinking that you reformed calvinist or more upset that your “Westminster Confession” is attacked and not the Bible truths that Finney set forth in Bible truths,oh,wait,the “Westminster Confession” is your Bible,what was I thinking.

  5. Charles Spurgeon on Finney (Lectures to my students)

    “Exhortations, entreaties, and beseechings, if not accompanied with sound instruction, are like firing off powder without shot. You may shout, and weep, and plead, but you cannot lead men to believe what they have not heard, nor to receive a truth which has never been set before them. “Because the preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge.”

    While giving instruction it is wise to appeal to the understanding. True religion is as logical as if it were not emotional. I am not an admirer of the peculiar views of Mr. Finney, but I have no doubt that he was useful to many; and his power lay in his use of clear arguments. Many who knew his fame were greatly disappointed at first hearing him, because he used few beauties of speech and was as calm and dry as a book of Euclid; but he was exactly adapted to a certain order of minds, and they were convinced and convicted by his forcible reasoning. Should not persons of an argumentative cast of mind be provided for? We are to be all things to all men, and to these men we must become argumentative and push them into a corner with plain deductions and necessary inferences. Of carnal reasoning we would have none, but of fair, honest pondering, considering, judging, and arguing the more the better.”

  6. “A lot of false converts resulted from his ministry, much similar to today’s say a little prayer and ask Jesus into your heart”

    I am no fan of parts of Finneys theology, but I find it sad that many Christians parrot things like this that they have heard and yet most have never investigated. This is nothing but a lie as Finney had some of the most convicting things I have ever read, urging believers (the dead calvinists of his day, much similar to todays reformed church members) onto holiness and not to rest in a dead profession of faith. The problem is not that he preached cheap grace at all, like a joel osteen altar call, but that his preaching lended itself to striving in the flesh over exalting the finished work of Christ. There are many problems with him, but his false conersion rate is probably less then many reformed preachers, and he preached nothing like the crossless ask Jesus into your heart nonsense we see today.

    in Christ -Jim

  7. Like nearly ever other evangelical who has graced the pulpit Finney had his problems but I think these modern day critics are attacking a man who on his worst day was far more capable and earnest about bringing glory to God than these critics on their best day. Many of these critics are shaving the truth when it comes to Finneys theology and methods or are taking them out of context. I’m sure Satan will raise up many critics to try to destroy what this great revivalist did and his message which still hits with godly power today and I’m not going to get on their hell bound bandwagon with them. Shame on you for criticizing a powerful working of God through Finney. Here’s a challenge…read Finneys Revival Lectures with an open heart and see if you don’t emerge as a better person. The history of godliness will always be favorable to Charles Finney and despite jealous critics whose ministries cannot rise above their own pulpit, he will always be known. As for these critics, nobody knows them with the exception of Warfield and he was just jealous. Look closer and ask the Holy Spirit to interpret the effects of Finneys ministry a century later and the truth will be told. At the same time, reject that other spirit that loves to do good men harm.

  8. We are commanded to boldly defend the faith, are we not? Paul publicly “defended the faith” by exposing Peters hypocrisy to all present. I suppose that Dean, Dr. Hines and even fleebabylon would love to correct even the Apostle Paul for defaming a good man with many good writings. Peter gave no alter call in Acts 3. it seems that “alter calls’ were conjured up by Finney but not by scripture.
    In any case you attack in worse manner than those who have exposed Finney. You refute nothing. you prove nothing. you assert and imply evil even Satanic motives upon these faith defenders. So heresy is relegated to having problems? You slander these defenders for slandering Finney? Do two wrongs make a right in your eyes.
    If Fanny’s preaching had any positive effects it was in spite of his scripture twisting.

  9. #1 – There are no altars in the New Covenant church mentioned anywhere in the Bible. Zip.
    #2 – The area in New England where Finney spent most of his energy during the so-called Second Great Awakening was termed “the burnt-over district” because the people had been so worn down with his “new measures”. And 10 years after the event, the number of people thought to have been saved during it dropped from the uncounted thousands to less than 100.

  10. @Ti Miller

    ‘I suppose that Dean, Dr. Hines and even fleebabylon would love to correct even the Apostle Paul for defaming a good man with many good writings. ”

    Pure rhetoric TI Miller, pure flesh posing as spiritual words. My points are all valid and clear and in-line with those of Charles Spurgeon who wrote:

    “I am not an admirer of the peculiar views of Mr. Finney, but I have no doubt that he was useful to many; and his power lay in his use of clear arguments. Many who knew his fame were greatly disappointed at first hearing him, because he used few beauties of speech and was as calm and dry as a book of Euclid; but he was exactly adapted to a certain order of minds, and they were convinced and convicted by his forcible reasoning. Should not persons of an argumentative cast of mind be provided for? We are to be all things to all men, and to these men we must become argumentative and push them into a corner with plain deductions and necessary inferences. Of carnal reasoning we would have none, but of fair, honest pondering, considering, judging, and arguing the more the better.”

    My contention is with carnal little reformed boys who decry Finney by exaggerating his teachings and practices, etc.

  11. It is not uncommon even today for pastors to speak well of others that they have not properly vetted. Most elders/clergy with impeccable understanding of conventional apologetics are also oblivious to ‘contemporary” apologetics. Sadly all to often they do not respond well to being enlightened by the laity. I was tossed from a respectable local church for gently and respectfully alerting them concerning Blackaby and Rick Warren. They would not even read what I gave them. I doubt that Spurgeon was privy to Finney’s creeds.

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