fbpx

– Advertisement –

Heresy of the Day #7: Finney-ism

by | Jul 26, 2021

We need your support. As big tech continues its crackdown on conservative blogs, our days on these platforms are numbered. Go Ad-Free plus get Exclusive Member-Only content by subscribing to us on Substack!

Heresy: Finney-ism

Finney-ism is a bit of a misnomer as there never was an actual school of theological thought or a movement named for Charles Grandison Finney, the subject of this article. However, Finney was both a man of renown in 19th century American religious life and most definitely a heretic.

Finney was a former New York lawyer who was allegedly converted to Christianity in the early 1820s and a key figure in the so called “Second Great Awakening” of the early 1830s.”.

Where Finney went most obviously astray was in his views of man, sin, the will, and conversion. Of course, these errors presuppose grievously compromised views of God and His sovereignty as well, but we’ll concentrate on his anthropology and related areas for this short synopsis.

As one reads Finney’s works, one is immediately struck by how little scripture is discussed. Finney was far more a philosopher than a theologian who was utterly enslaved to human reason. His essays are a tedious exercise in relentless logic in which he incessantly subjugates God’s truth to his own humanistic conceptions of justice.

He denied original sin and depravity for instance because in his mind they would be unfair. For Finney, no man could be born into a state of inescapable depravity because that would absolve him from responsibility for his sin. Man was conceived in a morally neutral state and due to the onslaught of surrounding sin, every infant would eventually surrender to its temptations and render itself individually sinful and condemned. (in a nutshell)

The logical consequence of this for Finney was that “conversion” was purely an act of the will with no supernatural component whatsoever. A man was to be literally talked into the kingdom. He needed to be intellectually persuaded of the truth of the gospel and his own culpability. Finney employed what was known as the “anxious seat” where sinners would be put in the front of the congregation and browbeaten into believing that they were sinners and entirely by an act of their own will to surrender themselves to Christ.

This was hyper Pelagianism taken to a new level.

He also held to a form of perfectionism wherein a believer could live in perfect love for God and his neighbor. Depending on where in his writings you read, this might include entire sanctification, that is. life without sin.

All of this was dependent on the natural abilities of man himself.

BB Warfield famously said that “God could be eliminated from Finney’s thought entirely without changing it’s essential nature.” (paraphrase)

There is more, but this should be enough to convince any sound biblically informed believer of the heretical nature of Finney’s theology.

As Big Tech continues to censor conservative publications like ours, we must increasingly rely on supporters to continue our work. Much of our work, particularly as it revolves around a biblical worldview on social and cultural issues, isn’t even allowed to be shared on social media anymore. This reduces our traffic and causes us to move more of our work exclusively to Substack. Members who subscribe to us on Substack will gain exclusive access to all of our work, free of ads and other annoying pop-ups, as well as member-only access to our podcast archive and controversial moderated content. Please consider supporting us today by subscribing at:



Key tenets of Finney-sm include:

  • The rejection of the doctrine of original sin.
  • The rejection of the doctrine of depravity at all for all intents and purposes.
  • The belief that sin consists entirely and exclusively of individual acts of the individual will.
  • The idea that conversion is natural act of the naturally persuaded human intellect and will

Modern-Day Proponents of Finney-ism:

  • While there are no explicit proponents of Finney’s views today, his influence can be seen in some Charismatic and Pentecostal groups.

The Dissenter is primarily supported by its readers. The best way to support us is to subscribe to our members-only site where you will receive all of our content ad-free, plus you will get member-only exclusive content.

 

Subscribe to The Dissenter

 

Or you can make a one-time or recurring donation using the box below. (Note, the donation box below is not for memberships, but for donations. For memberships, use the button above.)

Comments

Join our active and vibrant discussion community on Substack. Click here to subscribe.

Latest

Notitia, Assensus, and Fiducia: The Nature of Saving Faith

Notitia, Assensus, and Fiducia: The Nature of Saving Faith

It is no secret that the great deconstruction of evangelical Christianity has been underway for some time now. It’s hard to say when this deconstruction began or who is mostly responsible for initiating the project but at the end of the day, that really isn’t terribly...

What is the Doctrine of Original Sin and Why is it Important?

What is the Doctrine of Original Sin and Why is it Important?

There is a growing movement within Evangelical churches to reject the doctrine of original sin. The doctrine of original sin teaches that through Adam, all people are born with an inherent nature inclined toward sin and are in need of the regenerating work of the Holy...

What is the Doctrine of Divine Immutability and Why Does it Matter

What is the Doctrine of Divine Immutability and Why Does it Matter

The immutability of God, also known as the doctrine of divine immutability, is an incommunicable attribute of God that describes God as unchanging and unchangeable. This doctrine is a fundamental tenet of the Christian faith and is derived from Scripture—from where...

Subscribe

reformedgear.com

Follow Us

- Advertisement -

- Advertisement -

You Might Also Like…

Notitia, Assensus, and Fiducia: The Nature of Saving Faith

Notitia, Assensus, and Fiducia: The Nature of Saving Faith

It is no secret that the great deconstruction of evangelical Christianity has been underway for some time now. It’s hard to say when this deconstruction began or who is mostly responsible for initiating the project but at the end of the day, that really isn’t terribly...

What is the Doctrine of Original Sin and Why is it Important?

What is the Doctrine of Original Sin and Why is it Important?

There is a growing movement within Evangelical churches to reject the doctrine of original sin. The doctrine of original sin teaches that through Adam, all people are born with an inherent nature inclined toward sin and are in need of the regenerating work of the Holy...

Heresy of the Day #13: Antinomianism

Heresy of the Day #13: Antinomianism

Antinomianism is a heresy that has been present in various forms throughout the history of Christianity. At its core, antinomianism is the belief that believers are not bound by moral law, and that they are exempt from following God's commands. This belief is in...

Why Abortion is Destructive to Society

Why Abortion is Destructive to Society

Abortion is a highly controversial issue that has been at the center of debates and discussions for decades. While some people, primarily, non-Christians, view it as a "necessary medical procedure" that allows women to "make choices about their own reproductive...