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      Let Me State This in Bold So it is Perfectly Clear:

      Tuesday, November 13, 2007

      Charles Grandison Finney was a heretic and everyone who is promoting his methods of "decisional regeneration" is promoting heresy.

      Now that I have that out the way, to find out the extent of this, you will need to listen to the following two presentations by Mark Kielar and White Horse Inn. Phil Johnson of TeamPyro also wrote an article about him and his methods several years ago. You can read that article here. Phil said,
      "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."

      I have several books by Finney, and Johnson is not making caricature of what Finney proclaimed. The words and terminology he used could make a person believe they are getting somewhere if one only reads it in pieces, but if you follow his thoughts all the way to the end, they all lead to the same place: yourself, not Christ.

      In short, among other things, Finney did not believe in and did not teach original sin even though it is clearly presented in Romans 5:12-21, the imputation of Christ's righteousness to the believer even though it is clearly presented in Romans 4 and Philippians 3:9 among other places, and was basically the first primary proponent of the heresy that is now sweeping through the modern church called "Decisional Regeneration".

      According to Finney's "theology", if there is no original sin, then Adam was just the "bad example to follow" and Christ, in turn, was the "good example to follow". In other words, in Finney's teaching, there was no reason for Christ to die. This brings to mind another person you might recall, as well. The man is named Peter. Peter was actually walking with Jesus Christ one day and told him he couldn't die; far be it from him to die. Jesus then turned and said, "Get behind me Satan: you are an offense unto me: for you conisder not the things that be of God, but those that be of men." (Matt. 16:23) Christ had to die for forgiveness of sin, and if someone promotes a "theology" where he is just a good example, the same rebuke could be said to them as well.

      In Finney's defense, however, towards the end of his life, he did make the confession that the many, many false converts he produced were, in fact, false. He admitted to his failure which, at first, might make you wonder why there are so many people still promoting his methods even if he, himself confessed they were in err. If you think about it, though, if someone adopts the same mentality Finney had when he came up with these methods which was his interest in the numbers and not what the Bible had to say was the right way to evangelize, it wouldn't really make sense if his contemporaries contradicted him and started doing their homework instead of relying on the methodology of "how does this evangelism experience make you feel?" Maybe they will admit that they led many to hell for the sake of preserving their own ignorance on their deathbeds as well.

      Kielar's sermon is one of the most surprising sermons I have ever heard for many reasons including this one: According to Kielar and his research, the granddaddy of the altar call got "saved" and started preaching without much training (including Biblical) but was able to coerce people to make decisions by his, get this, keen intellect and human strategies. Yeah, if you listen to the entire Kielar sermon, your mouth may be open for the majority of the time, too, when you realize how similar this sounds to many of the problems that are now found in the "seeker-sensitive" and "ask Jesus into your heart when you were twelve" movements. Furthermore, according to Keilar and his research, you will not find an "altar-call-salvation" before the 1820's. It was founded by the same man who denied certain parts of Scripture because they were "incompatible with his disposition".

      Now take this into perspective. Most everyone who reads this who lives or has lived in the United States and has been around the majority of "evangelical" church functions may think that the altar call (or mourner's bench as Finney called it at the beginning) is orthodox because this is basically all that everyone who reads this and is not very familiar with history has to work with. Yet, before the 1820's, there is no record of the "altar call salvation". "Surely," one may say, "the Apostle Paul had to go back and walk an aisle and say a prayer after Jesus knocked him off his horse." No, he didn't. "Well, surely Augustine had to go back and make the one, final confession that he didn't make the trip to the mourner's bench." No, he didn't. "Ok, ok... SURELY Martin Luther, after he stood before the council at the Diet at Worms, had to go ask Jesus into his heart as SOME point in order to be saved." No, actually he didn't do that either. "Well, how were they saved!?" They believed on the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ. They confessed with their mouth that Jesus is Lord and believed in their heart the God raised Him from the dead. "Well, what's the point of the altar call for salvation then!?" You tell me: Is there one?

      "Learning from History's Mistakes" - Mark Kielar

      "Charles Finney and American Revivali
      sm" - White Horse Inn

      Here is an example of how Finney's methods are being used:

      Here is a CrossTV video that gives further commentary
      on the fallacy of "Decisional Regeneration":

      1 comment:

      LeRoy Whitman said...

      I happened across a couple YouTube video posts criticizing Finney and his methods. I am writing because they are so full of inaccuracy. In my search to respond, I found your blog page, and the assertion that he was a heretic. I want to say that this charge is patently FALSE, historically proveable as false. In his own day, Finney was in fact brought up on charges of heresy. When his contemporaries had to listen to what he actually taught, in a dispassionate church court and not just the emotionally-charged slanders and accusations against him, they Acquitted him of heresy. That means he was not guilty of heresy. It means that those Calvinistic ministers who actually listened to and questioned him closely found that his theology was not heretical. Therefore, it is difficult for me to believe you over them. Furthermore, I have read, understood, and studied Finney, and the charges you are making are incorrect. The form of the bland "altar call" you speak of was developed and popularized more under Moody. While this may have been a development from Finney's practice of having a mourner's bench (when it was necessary! - for many times people actually fell to the floor weeping and crying out in the midst of his preaching campaigns), Finney himself was, according to the HISTORICAL documents that give us knowledge of his methods, careful to instruct people until they understood their guilt before God before he preached Christ as the necessary and sufficient remedy.

      Therefore, I ask you to remove the article saying he was a heretic, since it is demonstrably untrue. And I appeal to you, if you are a brother, to actually read his Autobiography and at least the first chapters of his Revival Lectures, rather than just what others say about him. (This does not need to be posted; I am writing to you.)

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