Finney Systematic Theology

Finney, Charles – Systematic Theology (revised)

83 Lectures on Systematic Theology by Rev. Charles Finney. Charles Finney is counter to all Calvinist doctrine. His lectures propose systematic theology in a different light.

83 Lectures on Systematic Theology by Rev. Charles Finney. Charles Finney is counter to all Calvinist doctrine. His lectures propose systematic theology in a different light.

These lectures were printed in the 1851 English edition of FINNEY’S SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY. They are the combination of his VOL. 2 AND VOL. 3 Systematic Theology published in 1846-1847, partly re-written by himself for the 1851 London Edition. This 1851 version has been out of print since then.


Table of Contents of The Rev. CHARLES G. FINNEY’S SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851)

Various classes of truths, and how the mind attains to a knowledge of them

LECTURE 2. — Moral Government.
Definition of the term law . . Distinction between physical and moral law . . The essential attributes of moral law . . Subjectivity . . Objectivity . . Liberty, as opposed to necessity . . Fitness . . Universality . . Impartiality . . Justice . . Practicability . . Independence . . Immutability . . Unity . . Equity . . Expediency . . Exclusiveness

LECTURE 3. — Moral Government–Continued.
Definition of the term government . . Distinction between moral and physical government . . The fundamental reason of moral government . . Whose right it is to govern . . What is implied in the right to govern . . Point out the limits of this right . . What is implied in moral government . . Moral obligation . . The conditions of moral obligation . . Remarks

LECTURE 4. — Moral Government–Continued.
Man a subject of moral obligation . . Extent of moral obligation . . Shown by an appeal to reason, or to natural theology, to what acts and states of mind moral obligation cannot directly extend . . Shown to what acts and states of mind moral obligation must directly extend . . To what acts and mental states moral obligation indirectly extends

LECTURE 5. — Foundation of Moral Obligation.
What is intended by the foundation of moral obligation . . The extent of moral obligation . . Remind you of the distinction between the ground and conditions of obligation . . Points of agreement among the principal parties in this discussion . . Wherein they disagree . . That the sovereign will of God is not the foundation of moral obligation . . The theory of Paley . . The utilitarian philosophy

LECTURE 6. — Foundation of Moral Obligation. False Theories.
The theory that regards right as the foundation of moral obligation

LECTURE 7. — Foundation of Moral Obligation. False Theories.
The theory that the goodness or moral excellence of God is the foundation of moral obligation

LECTURE 8. — Foundation of Moral Obligation. False Theories.
The philosophy which teaches that moral order is the foundation of moral obligation . . The theory that maintains that the nature and relations of moral beings is the true foundation of moral obligation . . The theory that teaches that moral obligation is founded in the idea of duty . . That philosophy which teaches the complexity of the foundation of moral obligation

LECTURE 9. — Foundation of Obligation.
Another form of the theory that affirms the complexity of the foundation of moral obligation; complex however only in a certain sense

LECTURE 10. — Foundation of Obligation.
The intrinsic absurdity of various theories

Summing up

LECTURE 12. — Foundation of Moral Obligation. Practical Bearings of the Different Theories.
The theory that regards the sovereign will of God as the foundation of moral obligation . . The theory of the selfish school . . The natural and necessary results of utilitarianism

LECTURE 13. — Practical Bearings and Tendency of Rightarianism.
The philosophy which teaches that the divine goodness or moral excellence is the foundation of moral obligation . . The theory which teaches that moral order is the foundation of moral obligation . . The practical bearings of the theory that moral obligation is founded in the nature and relations of moral agents . . The theory which teaches that the idea of duty is the foundation of moral obligation . . The complexity of the foundation of moral obligation . . The practical bearings of what is regarded as the true theory of the foundation of moral obligation, viz. that the highest well-being of God and of the universe is the sole foundation of moral obligation

LECTURE 14. — Moral Government–Continued.
What constitutes obedience to moral law . . Obedience cannot be partial in the sense that the subject ever does or can partly obey and partly disobey at the same time . . Can the will at the same time make opposite choices? . . The choice of an ultimate end is, and must be, the supreme preference of the mind . . An intelligent choice must respect ends or means . . No choice whatever can be made inconsistent with the present choice of an ultimate end . . Inquiry respecting the strength or intensity of the choice . . The law does not require the constant and most intense action of the will . . An intention cannot be right and honest in kind, and deficient in the degree of intensity . . Examination of the philosophy of the question, whether sin and holiness consist in supreme, ultimate, and opposite choices or intentions . . Objections to the foregoing philosophy considered . . This philosophy examined in the light of the scriptures

LECTURE 15. — Moral Government–Continued.
In what sense we have seen that obedience to moral law cannot be partial . . In what sense obedience to moral law can be partial . . The government of God accepts nothing as virtue but obedience to the law of God . . There can be no rule of duty but moral law . . Nothing can be virtue or true religion but obedience to the moral law . . Nothing can be virtue that is not just what the moral law demands. That is, nothing short of what it requires can be in any sense virtue . . Uses of the term justification . . Fundamentally important inquiries respecting this subject . . Remarks

LECTURE 16. — Moral Government–Continued.
What constitutes obedience to moral law . . Just rules of legal interpretation . . That actual knowledge is indispensable to moral obligation shown from scripture . . In the light of the above rules, inquire what is not implied in entire obedience to the law of God

LECTURE 17. — Moral Government–Continued.
What is implied in obedience to the moral law . . Call attention to certain facts in mental philosophy, as they are revealed in consciousness . . Point out the attributes of that love which constitutes obedience to the law of God . . Voluntariness . . Liberty . . Intelligence . . Virtuousness . . Disinterestedness . . Impartiality . . Universality

LECTURE 18. — Attributes of Love.
Efficiency . . Penitence . . Faith . . Complacency

LECTURE 19. — Attributes of Love–Continued.
Opposition to Sin . . Compassion

LECTURE 20. — Attributes of Love–Continued.
Mercy . . Justice . . Veracity

LECTURE 21. — Attributes of Love–Continued.
Patience . . Meekness . . Long-suffering . . Humility

LECTURE 22. — Attributes of Love–Continued.
Self-denial . . Condescension . . Candour . . Stability . . Kindness . . Severity

LECTURE 23. — Attributes of Love–Continued.
Holiness, or Purity . . Modesty . . Sobriety . . Sincerity . . Zeal . . Unity . . Simplicity

LECTURE 24. — Attributes of Love–Continued.
Gratitude . . Wisdom . . Grace . . Economy

LECTURE 25. — Moral Government.
Revert to some points that have been settled . . Show what disobedience to moral law cannot consist in . . What disobedience to moral law must consist in

LECTURE 26. — Moral Government.
What constitutes disobedience . . What is not implied in disobedience to the law of God

LECTURE 27. — Attributes of Selfishness.
What constitutes disobedience to moral law . . What is implied in disobedience to moral law . . Attributes of Selfishness. Voluntariness . . Liberty . . Intelligence . . Unreasonableness . . Interestedness . . Partiality . . Impenitence . . Unbelief

LECTURE 28. — Attributes of Selfishness–Continued.
Efficiency . . Opposition to benevolence or to virtue . . Cruelty . . Injustice

LECTURE 29. — Attributes of Selfishness–Continued.
Oppression . . Hostility . . Unmercifulness . . Falsehood, or lying . . Pride

LECTURE 30. — Attributes of Selfishness–Continued.
Enmity . . Madness . . Impatience . . Intemperance . . Moral recklessness . . Unity

LECTURE 31. — Attributes of Selfishness–Continued.
Egotism . . Simplicity . . Total moral depravity implied in selfishness as one of its attributes . . The scriptures assume and affirm it . . Remarks

LECTURE 32. — Moral Government–Continued.
A return to obedience to moral law is and must be, under every dispensation of the divine government, the unalterable condition of salvation . . Under a gracious dispensation, a return to full obedience to moral law is not dispensed with as a condition of salvation, but this obedience is secured by the indwelling spirit of Christ received by faith to reign in the heart

LECTURE 33. — Moral Government–Continued.
What constitutes the sanctions of law . . There can be no law without sanctions . . In what light sanctions are to be regarded . . The end to be secured by law, and the execution of penal sanctions . . By what rule sanctions ought to be graduated . . God’s law has sanctions . . What constitutes the remuneratory sanctions of the law of God . . The perfection and duration of the remuneratory sanctions of the law of God . . What constitutes the vindicatory sanctions of the law of God . . Duration of the penal sanctions of the law of God . . Inquire into the meaning of the term infinite . . Infinites may differ indefinitely in amount . . I must remind you of the rule by which degrees of guilt are to be estimated . . That all and every sin must from its very nature involve infinite guilt in the sense of deserving endless punishment . . Notwithstanding all sin deserves endless punishment, yet the guilt of different persons may vary indefinitely, and punishment, although always endless in duration, may and ought to vary in degree, according to the guilt of each individual . . That penal inflictions under the government of God must be endless . . Examine this question in the light of revelation

LECTURE 34. — Atonement.
I will call attention to several well established governmental principles . . Define the term atonement . . I am to inquire into the teachings of natural theology, or into the à priori affirmations of reason upon this subject . . The fact of atonement . . The design of the atonement . . Christ’s obedience to the moral law as a covenant of works, did not constitute the atonement . . The atonement was not a commercial transaction . . The atonement of Christ was intended as a satisfaction of public justice . . His taking human nature, and obeying unto death, under such circumstances, constituted a good reason for our being treated as righteous

LECTURE 35. — Extent of Atonement.
For whose benefit the atonement was intended . . Objections answered . . Remarks on the atonement

[expand title=”See modules on the Atonement”]

The Atonement is the doctrine that Jesus Christ paid by his death whatever God demanded as justice for mankind. The action was universal for all mankind, it is only applied individually as each individual has faith in the work of Christ on the Cross.

Modules on the Atonement Category Level

Modules on the Atonement Tags Level


            LECTURE 36. — Human Government.
            The ultimate end of God in creation . . Providential and moral governments are indispensable means of securing the highest good of the universe . . Civil and family governments are indispensable to the securing of this end, and are therefore really a part of the providential and moral government of God . . Human governments are a necessity of human nature . . This necessity will continue as long as human beings exist in this world . . Human governments are plainly recognized in the Bible as a part of the moral government of God . . It is the duty of all men to aid in the establishment and support of human government . . It is absurd to suppose that human governments can ever be dispensed with in the present world . . Objections answered . . Inquire into the foundation of the right of human governments . . Point out the limits or boundary of this right

            LECTURE 37. — Human Governments–Continued.
            The reasons why God has made no form of civil government universally obligatory . . The particular forms of state government must and will depend upon the virtue and intelligence of the people . . That form of government is obligatory, that is best suited to meet the necessities of the people . . Revolutions become necessary and obligatory, when the virtue and intelligence or the vice and ignorance of the people demand them . . In what cases human legislation is valid, and in what cases it is null and void . . In what cases we are bound to disobey human governments . . Apply the foregoing principles to the rights and duties of governments and subjects in relation to the execution of the necessary penalties of law

            LECTURE 38. — Moral Depravity.
            Definition of the term depravity . . Point out the distinction between physical and moral depravity . . Of what physical depravity can be predicated . . Of what moral depravity can be predicated . . Mankind are both physically and morally depraved . . Subsequent to the commencement of moral agency and previous to regeneration the moral depravity of mankind is universal . . The moral depravity of the unregenerate moral agents of our race, is total

            LECTURE 39. — Moral Depravity–Continued.
            Proper method of accounting for the universal and total moral depravity of the unregenerate moral agents of our race . . Moral depravity consists in selfishness, or in the choice of self-interest, self-gratification, or self-indulgence, as an end . . Dr. Wood’s view of physical and moral depravity examined . . Standards of the Presbyterian Church examined

            LECTURE 40. — Moral Depravity–Continued.
            Further examination of the arguments adduced in support of the position that human nature is in itself sinful

            LECTURE 41. — Moral Depravity–Continued.
            The proper method of accounting for moral depravity . . Pres. Edwards’s views examined . . Summary of the truth on this subject . . Remarks

            [expand title=”See theWord modules on Moral Depravity”]

            Moral Depravity is a Calvinism keyword. The Bible clearly declares that for all have sinned. There is no doubt about this. But moral depravity in a Calvinist mindset means that there is nothing that any human can do that is approved of God, or that pleases God. But the Bible clearly states that some people have pleased God with the way they lived their lives. Noah, Enoch, David, etc. prove that the Calvinist position of moral depravity is an extreme position not supported by the Bible. Therefore, works mentioning moral depravity have to be sifted as to whether they are just affirming the sinfulness of all men, or the extreme Calvinist position of nobody ever doing anything that pleases God. We must clarify that as far as salvation, there are no merits that any man can do or offer to God in exchange for being saved. We are saved by faith only and not by good works.

            theWord modules on Moral Depravity


            LECTURE 42. — Regeneration.
            The common distinction between regeneration and conversion . . I am to state the assigned reasons for this distinction . . I am to state the objections to this distinction . . What regeneration is not . . What regeneration is . . The universal necessity of regeneration . . Agencies employed in regeneration . . Instrumentalities employed in the work . . In regeneration the subject is both passive and active . . What is implied in regeneration

            LECTURE 43. — Regeneration–Continued.
            Philosophical theories of regeneration . . The different theories of regeneration examined . . Objections to the taste scheme . . The divine efficiency scheme . . Objections to the divine efficiency . . The susceptibility scheme . . Theory of a divine moral suasion . . Objections to this theory . . Remarks

            LECTURE 44. — Regeneration–Continued.
            Evidences of regeneration . . Introductory remarks . . Wherein the experience and outward life of saints and sinners may agree . . Remarks

            LECTURE 45. — Regeneration–Continued.
            Wherein saints and sinners or deceived professors must differ

            LECTURE 46. — Regeneration–Continued.
            In what saints and sinners differ . . What is it to overcome the world? . . Who are those that overcome the world? . . Why do believers overcome the world?

            LECTURE 47. — Regeneration–Continued.
            Wherein saints and sinners differ

            LECTURE 48. — Natural Ability.
            Show what is the Edwardean notion of ability . . This natural ability is no ability at all . . What, according to this school, constitutes natural inability . . This natural inability is no inability at all . . Natural ability is identical with freedom or liberty of will . . The human will is free, therefore men have ability to do all their duty

            LECTURE 49. — Moral Ability.
            What constitutes moral inability according to the Edwardean school . . Their moral inability consists in real disobedience, and a natural inability to obey . . This pretended distinction between natural and moral inability is nonsensical . . What constitutes moral ability according to this school . . Their moral ability to obey God is nothing else than real obedience, and a natural inability to disobey

            LECTURE 50. — Inability.
            What is thought to be the fundamental error of the Edwardean school on the subject of ability . . State the philosophy of the scheme of inability about to be considered . . The claims of this philosophy

            LECTURE 51. — Gracious Ability.
            What is intended by the term . . This doctrine as held is an absurdity . . In what sense a gracious ability is possible

            LECTURE 52. — The Notion of Inability.
            Proper mode of accounting for it

            LECTURE 53.
            [There is no Lecture LIII in the printed book. The lectures are incorrectly numbered.]

            LECTURE 54. — Repentance and Impenitence.
            What repentance is not, and what it is . . What is implied in it . . What impenitence is not . . What it is . . Some things that are implied in it . . Some evidences of it

            LECTURE 55. — Faith and Unbelief.
            What evangelical faith is not . . What it is . . What is implied in it . . What unbelief is not . . What it is,–What is implied in it . . Conditions of both faith and unbelief . . The guilt and desert of unbelief . . Natural and governmental consequences of both faith and unbelief

            LECTURE 56. — Justification.
            What justification is not . . What it is . . Conditions of gospel justification

            LECTURE 57. — Sanctification.
            An account of the recent discussions that have been had on this subject

            LECTURE 58. — Sanctification.
            Remind you of some points that have been settled in this course of study . . Definition of the principal terms to be used in this discussion

            LECTURE 59. — Sanctification.
            Entire sanctification is attainable in this life

            LECTURE 60. — Sanctification.
            Bible argument

            LECTURE 61. — Sanctification.
            Paul entirely sanctified

            LECTURE 62. — Sanctification.
            Condition of its attainment

            LECTURE 63. — Sanctification.
            Condition of its attainment–continued . . Relations of Christ to the believer

            LECTURE 64. — Sanctification.
            Relations of Christ to the believer–continued

            LECTURE 65. — Sanctification.
            Relations of Christ to the believer–continued

            LECTURE 66. — Sanctification.
            Relations of Christ to the believer–continued

            LECTURE 67. — Sanctification.
            Relations of Christ to the believer–continued

            LECTURE 68. — Sanctification.
            Objections answered

            LECTURE 69. — Sanctification.
            Tendency of the denial that Christians have valid grounds of hope that they should obtain a victory over sin in this life

            LECTURE 70. — Sanctification.

            LECTURE 71. — Sanctification.

            LECTURE 72. — Sanctification.

            LECTURE 73. — Sanctification.

            LECTURE 74. — Election

            LECTURE 75. — Reprobation

            [expand title=”See more posts on Reprobation”]

            Reprobation is the belief that just as God has elected some to salvation, God has damned the majority to hell without any possibility that they could ever be saved. They are locked into that destiny by the will of God, not because of their own “free will” they refuse salvation. According to reprobation, they refuse salvation because God has elected them to that destiny. This is distinctly a position of Calvinist/Reformed. Many Calvinists do not know about Reprobation, and as they study deeper and deeper into it, these writings of key Calvinists become apparent.

            Tags: Reprobation


            LECTURE 76. — Divine Sovereignty
            Divine Sovereignty

            LECTURE 77. — Purposes of God
            Purposes of God

            LECTURE 78. — Perseverance of Saints.
            Notice the different kinds of certainty . . What is not intended by the perseverance of the saints

            [expand title=”See more posts on the Perseverance of the Saints”]


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            tw Modules on Perseverance of the Saints

            • Note – Calvinsts and Reformed refer to this security as “Perseverance of Saints” making our ongoing security of being saved sounding like a work that we do instead of security and promise that God does. Rare but that is the way it is. Arminians (and those leaning that way) prefer to refer to this as the “Security of the Believer” which is the correct biblical view, that our salvation is a matter of God keeping his promises. Since this is a pillar of Calvinism (as they define Perseverance of the Saints) then the results are going to be heavy on Calvinistic books. Really any doctrines book worth its salt should deal with the subject in one way or another.

            Categories: security-perseverance

            Tags: security-perseverance

            Tags: eternal-security

            Tags: security-of-the-saints


            LECTURE 79. — Perseverance of Saints proved
            Perseverance of Saints proved

            LECTURE 80. — Perseverance of Saints.
            Further objections considered

            LECTURE 81. — Perseverance of Saints.
            Consideration of principal arguments in support of the doctrine

            LECTURE 82. — Perseverance of Saints.
            Perseverance proved

            LECTURE 83. — Perseverance of Saints.
            Further objections answered

            Charles Finney

            I would technically classify Finney as a Presbyterian because he studied under that denomination and pastored a Presbyterian church. But I believe the bulk of his writings and teachings that has come down to us today are "in the vein" of Methodism. -- editor David Cox

            [expand title="Read more on Charles Finney's Biography"]

            Early life

            Charles Finney
            Charles Finney

            Born in Warren, Connecticut, on August 29, 1792,[2] Finney was the youngest of nine children. The son of farmers who moved to the upstate frontier of Jefferson County, New York, after the American Revolutionary War, Finney never attended college. His leadership abilities, musical skill, 6'3" height, and piercing eyes gained him recognition in his community.[3] He and his family attended the Baptist church in Henderson, New York, where the preacher led emotional, revival-style meetings. The Baptists and the Methodists displayed fervor in the early 19th century.[4] He "read the law", studying as an apprentice to become a lawyer under Benjamin Wright.[5] In Adams, New York, he entered the congregation of George Washington Gale and became the director of the church choir.[6]:8 After a dramatic conversion experience and baptism into the Holy Spirit, he gave up legal practice to preach the Gospel.[7][8]

            As a young man, Finney was a Master Mason, but after his conversion, he left the group as antithetical to Christianity and was active in Anti-Masonic movements.[9]

            In 1821, Finney started studies at 29 under George Washington Gale, to become a licensed minister in the Presbyterian Church. Like his teacher Gale, he "took a commission for six months of a Female Missionary Society, located in Oneida County. I went into the northern part of Jefferson County and began my labors at Evans' Mills, in the town of Le Ray."[10]

            When Gale moved to a farm in Western, Oneida County, New York, Finney accompanied him and worked on Gale's farm in exchange for instruction, a forerunner of Gale's Oneida Institute. He had many misgivings about the fundamental doctrines taught in Presbyterianism.[11] He moved to New York City in 1832, where he was minister of the Chatham Street Chapel and took the breathtaking step of barring from communion all slave owners and traders.[12]:29[4] Since the Chatham Street Chapel was not a church but a theater "fitted up" to serve as a church, a new Broadway Tabernacle was built for him in 1836 that was "the largest Protestant house of worship in the country."[13]:22 In 1835, he became the professor of systematic theology at the newly formed Oberlin Collegiate Institute in Oberlin, Ohio.[14]


            Finney was active as a revivalist from 1825 to 1835 in Jefferson County and for a few years in Manhattan. In 1830-1831, he led a revival in Rochester, New York, that has been noted as inspiring other revivals of the Second Great Awakening.[15] A leading pastor in New York who was converted in the Rochester meetings gave the following account of the effects of Finney's meetings in that city: "The whole community was stirred. Religion was the topic of conversation in the house, in the shop, in the office and on the street. The only theater in the city was converted into a livery stable; the only circus into a soap and candle factory. Grog shops were closed; the Sabbath was honored; the sanctuaries were thronged with happy worshippers; a new impulse was given to every philanthropic enterprise; the fountains of benevolence were opened, and men lived to good."[16]

            He was known for his innovations in preaching and the conduct of religious meetings, which often impacted entire communities. They included having women pray out loud in public meetings of mixed sexes; development of the "anxious seat," where those considering becoming Christians could sit to receive prayer; and public censure of individuals by name in sermons and prayers.[17] He was also known for his extemporaneous preaching.

            Finney "had a deep insight into the almost interminable intricacies of human depravity.... He poured the floods of gospel love upon the audience. He took short-cuts to men's hearts, and his trip-hammer blows demolished the subterfuges of unbelief."[18]

            Disciples of Finney were Theodore Weld, John Humphrey Noyes, and Andrew Leete Stone.


            In addition to becoming a widely-popular Christian evangelist, Finney was involved with social reforms, particularly the abolitionist movement. Finney frequently denounced slavery from the pulpit, called it a "great national sin," and refused Holy Communion to slaveholders.[19]

            President of Oberlin College

            In 1835, the wealthy silk merchant and benefactor Arthur Tappan (1786-1865) offered financial backing to the new Oberlin Collegiate Institute (as Oberlin College had been known until 1850), and he invited Finney on the recommendation of abolitionist Theodore Dwight Weld (1803-1895), to establish its theological department. After much wrangling, Finney accepted if he was allowed to continue to preach in New York, the school admitted blacks, and free speech was guaranteed at Oberlin. After more than a decade, he was selected as its second president, serving from 1851 to 1866. (He had already served as acting president in 1849.)[20] Oberlin was the first American college to accept women and blacks as students in addition to white men. From its early years, its faculty and students were active in the abolitionist movement. They participated together with people of the town in biracial efforts to help fugitive slaves on the Underground Railroad ans to resist the Fugitive Slave Act.[21] Many slaves escaped to Ohio across the Ohio River from Kentucky, which made Ohio a critical area for their passage to freedom.

            Personal life

            Finney was twice a widower and married three times. In 1824, he married Lydia Root Andrews (1804–1847) while he lived in Jefferson County. They had six children together. In 1848, a year after Lydia's death, he married Elizabeth Ford Atkinson (1799–1863) in Ohio. In 1865, he married Rebecca Allen Rayl (1824–1907), also in Ohio. Each of Finney's three wives accompanied him on his revival tours and joined him in his evangelistic efforts.

            Finney's great-grandson, also named Charles Grandison Finney, became a famous author.


            Finney was a New School Presbyterian, and his theology was similar to that of Nathaniel William Taylor. Finney departed from traditional Calvinist theology by teaching that people have free will to choose salvation. He argued that original sin was a "selfishness" that people can overcome if they made themselves a "new heart." He taught that "Sin and holiness are voluntary acts of mind."[22] He also believed that preachers had important roles in producing revival and wrote in 1835, "A revival is not a miracle, or dependent on a miracle, in any sense. It is a purely philosophical result of the right use of the constituted means."[22]

            A major theme of his preaching was the need for conversion. He also focused on the responsibilities that converts had to dedicate themselves to disinterested benevolence and to work to build the kingdom of God on earth. Finney's eschatology was postmillennial, meaning he believed the Millennium (a thousand-year reign of true Christianity) would begin before Christ's Second Coming. Finney believed Christians could bring in the Millennium by ridding the world of "great and sore evils." Frances FitzGerald wrote, "In his preaching the emphasis was always on the ability of men—and women—to choose their own salvation, to work for the general welfare, and to build a new society."[23]

            Finney was an advocate of perfectionism, the doctrine that through complete faith in Christ believers could receive a "second blessing of the Holy Spirit" and reach Christian perfection, a higher level of sanctification. For Finney, that meant living in obedience to God's law and loving God and one's neighbors but was not a sinless perfection. For Finney, even sanctified Christians ate susceptible to temptation and capable of sin. Finney believed that it is possible for Christians to backslide and to lose their salvation.[24]

            Benjamin Warfield, a Calvinist professor of theology at Princeton Theological Seminary, claimed, "God might be eliminated from it [Finney's theology] entirely without essentially changing its character."[25] Albert Baldwin Dod, another Old School Presbyterian, reviewed Finney's 1835 book, Lectures on Revivals of Religion.[26] He rejected it as theologically unsound.[27] Dod was a defender of Old School Calvinist orthodoxy (see Princeton Theology) and was especially critical of Finney's view of the doctrine of total depravity.[28]

            In popular culture

            In Charles W. Chesnutt's short story "The Passing of Grandison" (1899), published in the collection The Wife of His Youth and Other Stories of the Color Line, the enslaved hero is named "Grandison," which is likely an allusion to the well-known abolitionist.[29]

            The Charles Finney School was established in Rochester, New York, in 1992.[/expand]

            theWord modules by Charles Finney

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