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06 August, 2007 / theexpositor

Michael Horton- The Legacy of Charles Finney

I have really been blessed by the articles of Dr. Michael Horton concerning the man, the theology and the infleunce of Charles Finney. If you havent already, please listen to the White Horse Inn program concerning Charles Finney and American Revivalism.

Here is another great article by Dr. Horton from Modern Reformation magazine on The Legacy of Charles Finney.

In it he writes, ”

“Not only did the revivalist abandon the material principle of the Reformation (justification), making him a renegade against evangelical Christianity; he repudiated doctrines, such as original sin and the substitutionary atonement, that have been embraced by Roman Catholics and Protestants alike. Therefore, Finney is not merely an Arminian, but a Pelagian. He is not only an enemy of evangelical Protestantism, but of historic Christianity of the broadest sort.I do not point these things out with relish, as if to cheerfully denounce the heroes of American evangelicals. Nevertheless, it is always best, when one has lost something valuable, to retrace one’s steps in order to determine when and where one last had it in his or her possession. That is the purpose of this exercise, to face with some honesty the serious departure from biblical Christianity that occurred through American revivalism. For until we address this shift, we will perpetuate a distorted and dangerous course. Of one thing Finney was absolutely correct: The Gospel held by the Westminster divines whom he attacked directly, and indeed held by the whole company of evangelicals, is “another gospel” in distinction from the one proclaimed by Charles Finney. The question of our moment is, With which gospel will we side?”




  1. Jeremy Hulsey / Aug 7 2007 16 29

    “Therefore, Finney is not merely an Arminian, but a Pelagian.”

    You would probably be more correct to say that Finney was NOT an Arminian, but a Pelagian. Arminians who know theology are as against Pelagianism as Calvinists are against hyper-Calvinism. Both are dangerous and heretical.

  2. Henry Frueh / Aug 7 2007 19 32

    When Charles Finney stepped out of his calling and became a theologian he embraced some goofy doctrines. However, many areas in the northeast still bear the results of his ministry, and many towns were transformed by the Spirit through his preaching.

    As a theologian he was in left field, as an revivalist he was used greatly.

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