Global Christianity Charles Grandison Finney
(1792 - 1875)
Global Christianity

Nineteenth-century American revivalist and proponent of free will theology.

Charles Finney

Finney was an apprentice lawyer in New York State when a dramatic conversion experience convinced him to become a preacher. Finney developed an evangelistic strategy known as the "new measures," which included the "anxious bench," where sinners publicly sought conversion. In his 1835 Lectures on Revivals of Religion, Finney declared that the right revival techniques could produce new Christians as surely as good farming methods produce a harvest. Finney's revivals thereby differed from the eighteenth century Great Awakening, whose leaders believed that God sent revivals without human effort. Though ordained a Presbyterian, Finney opposed doctrines of Puritanism, such as divine sovereignty, limited atonement, and the bondage of the human will. Instead he preached freedom of the will, salvation, personal holiness, and the perfection of society. He urged Christians to prepare the world for Christ's return. Finney served as a professor and then president of Oberlin College, in Ohio, which became a center of abolitionism. He strongly shaped nineteenth-century American evangelicalism.

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