January 8, 2008

Finney's View of Total Depravity

I decided to post this graphic for my fellow friend and blogger Dean to help clarify Charles Finney's view of Total Depravity (click to enlarge). Finney believed in a concept known as Semi-Pelagian view of moral ability (which I hold to also). Hopefully this will also further clarify what it is traditional Augustinian theology (Calvinist) on this subject as well.

1 comment:

D. L. Talley said...

Finney was a man who taught quite definitely that, if one applied a given technique, one could have a revival at any time. This is the essence of Finney's teaching in his books on revivals. But history has surely proved that Finney was quite wrong.

Many have tried to plan revivals by using his technique and have done so honestly, sincerely, and thoroughly, but the desired revival has not come. One of Finney's cardinal errors was to confuse an "evangelistic campaign" and a revival, and to forget that the latter is always given in the sovereignty of God. It never results from the adoption of certain techniques, methods, or organization.

Indeed, in copies of the Oberlin Evangelist containing articles by Finney (after his period as an evangelist and when he had become a professor of theology), there are indications that the writer himself had become somewhat suspicious of his own techniques.

There are statements written by Finney such as the following:

"If I had my time over again I would preach nothing but holiness. The converts of my revivals are a disgrace to Christianity!"

"If I had the strength to go through the churches again, instead of preaching to convert sinners, I would preach to bring the churches to the spiritual standard of holy living."

The suggestion is that the tremendous pressure which this evangelist's methods brought to bear upon the will and emotions, produced only temporary results (Conversions, Psychological and Spiritual, p. 31).

JAMES BOYLE -- As a co-worker with Finney, Boyle wrote on December 25th, 1834:

Dear brother Finney, let us look over the fields where you and others have labored as revival ministers, and what is now their moral state? What was their condition within three months after we left them? I have visited and revisited many of these fields, and groaned in spirit to see the sad, frigid, carnal, contentious state into which the churches have fallen--and fallen very soon after our first departure from them.

And this heretic is your hero?

Truly you are a deceived deceiver, and a dog.

'Nuff said.

Done with you.