Finneyism and Modern IFB evangelists

Discussion in '2005 Archive' started by 4His_glory, Feb 15, 2005.

  1. 4His_glory

    4His_glory
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    I have been reading about Finneyism and the methodolgies he used to "bring about" revival. I see alarming similarities in his methods and that of many "big name" evangelists in IFB circles. Am I alone in this observation?
     
  2. USN2Pulpit

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    What similarities are you seeing, for instance. (for us ignorant brethren who aren't familiar with the term "Finneyism")
     
  3. 4His_glory

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    My apologies for not giving some of the similarities. :(

    Finney believed that the revival did not come because the church did not activly pursue it, rather than viewing it as the supernatural, sovereign working of God. He taught that if the church would pray dillegently they could cause God to send revival.

    From this he used several troublsome methodolgies in his meetings, that I see some modern day evangelists practicing as well.

    1. A man centered presentation of the Gospel, and a man-centered view of sanctification.

    2. The prolonged invitation and use of highly emotional and manipulative techniques to "cause" men to respond to the Gospel.

    There are others as well, but I do not have the time to write them now, perhaps latter. I admit that I am still reading and learning about Finney myself, so if anybody else who knows more than I wants to share their thoughts about him and his evangelistc methods please do so! [​IMG]
     
  4. USN2Pulpit

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    I have heard that the manipulative invitation was one of the hallmarks of "finneyism."
     
  5. PastorSBC1303

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    No doubt Finney had some problems, some of which we are still feeling the effects of today.
     
  6. Scott J

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    I have heard the same thing about his invitations. I have also heard that the changes caused by his revivals were mostly short lived.

    I do however believe that we should be praying for revival in the church and for the gospel to be spread and received. I don't believe we force God's hand but I think seeking these things give glory and honor to Him regardless of His answer.
     
  7. 4His_glory

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    I find that many evangelists like to conduct their invitation in a similar vein. There is a lot of manipulation going on, and they seem lacking in true Holy Spirit conviction.

    As far as praying for a revival goes, what is meant by a "revival"? There seen to be a couple of differnt ideas. One says a revival is a revival of God's people renewing their relationship with Him. Another believes it is the saving of many souls.

    Many people will use the 2Cronicles 7:14 as a "proof-text" to show we ought to pray for revival. It however is a bad case of exegesis.

    I believe that we ought to pray to God for His work in the hearts of men, since He alone is the one that can save them. A revival is nothing but His sovereign work, and He will send it according to His will and not ours.

    I do not see the NT Church praying for revival. I see them simply being faithful in proclaiming the Gospel and God provedentially working in the lives of men. This is what we see during the Great Awakening as well. Edwards was not praying or trying to force God to bring a revival. He Simply was faithful to God's will and proclaimed the Truth and God did a great work.
     
  8. Circuitrider

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    While there well may be some serious problems with "Finnyism" we ought to be careful about painting IFB evangelists with a broad brush. :eek: While pastoring I had at least 15 different IFB evangelists on repeated occcastions and I felt that most of them used good ethical and biblical techniques in their preaching and invitation. If they had not done so, I would never have had them back. The key is to check out the man before you have him and then avoid the few who might be using wrong methods. ;)
     
  9. Scott J

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    That Christians will be transformed by the renewing of their minds to a greater level.

    I believe revival has to do with getting Christians and the "church" on track which may result in people being saved. Much of American Christianity is carnal... and that is beyond those who think they are saved but are not. I am not sure that I know any Christians who are giving their lives completely, sacrificially to Christ.
     
  10. 4His_glory

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    Your defenition of revival is rather new, but I know that many would lay claim to it.
     
  11. 4His_glory

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    The main similarity I see in Finney's methods and that of many evangelists is the highly emotional, pressurized invitation. Whether it is to get sinners or saints to respond to the message. I have been in many services were the evangelist will use manipulative tactics to solicit a response. One feels quilty if they do not come forward in tears and "get there heart right with God". Some have even mentioned the unbiblical notion that believers will have to give account of their sins before God at the judgment seat. Boy how this does scare many ignorant Christians! But is this the work of God?

    I say no, it is not. What ever happened to faithfully proclaiming the Word and letting the Holy Spirit work in the hearts of the listeners?
     
  12. robycop3

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    I believe anything less than THE WHOLE GOSPEL TRUTH while evangelizing is incorrect. If one is COERCED into "getting right with God", is he/she really coming to Christ in belief and repentance?

    Jesus preached MUCH more about hell than He did heaven. Hell-Fire-And-Brimstone preaching is NOT coercion but Scriptural truth and is NOT man-made.
     
  13. 4His_glory

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    I never said anything about hell-fire-and-brimstone preaching. The fact is though I have seen many an evangelist step up the ante to the point that one feels quilty for not coming forward. I had an evangelist from the puplit critize me as "not being a prayer warrior" and that I "would never make it in the ministry" unless I become one in front of an entire church. A church in which I presented my ministry.

    Not only was that unethical, it was flat out man-centered of him to get the missionary to come forward. I did not go forward, simply because I was not under conviction, and his message was just plain awful.

    Many evangelists use emotinal techniques to solicit a response instead of allowing God to work in hearts after giving a simple invitation. This stems from bad theology one, and two from the influnce of Finney's ideology upon many a evangelist.
     
  14. gb93433

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    Every revival was short lived due to the lack of follow up. If you look at the revivals in America many cults came at the same time.

    There must be proper follow up if there is to be genuine revival. No follow up means disobedience to Mt. 28:19,29.
     
  15. gb93433

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    I am not sure I would agree totally. Often they use emotional techniques because they never paint the picture of the cost of following Jesus but rather so they can brag about numbers and get people to come forward. Some seem to think because someone comes forward they are saved. Often the person comes forward because the preacher gives them a load of dung and they believe it by coming forward thinking they are escaping hell. When they are simply responding to a false.

    I have preached in churches where one person came forward in a week and others where they were coming out of the woodwork. The message and method is the same. The results are God's I am just the message boy.
     
  16. GeneMBridges

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    That's putting in a bit lightly, IMO. Some were rather large, like this huge one:

    Finney outright repudiated the substitutionary atonement AND called the imputation of Christ's righteousness a "legal fiction" He even said that the only sins for which Christ could have atoned were HIS OWN. (pp.320 -322). He blatantly denied the substitutionary atonement on p.217 of his work, when he wrote, " "...assumes that the atonement was a literal payment of a debt, which we have seen does not consist with the nature of the atonement...It is true, that the atonement, of itself, does not secure the salvation of anyone." and on p. 209, "The atonement would present to creatures the highest possible motives to virtue. Example is the highest moral influence that can be exerted...If the benevolence manifested in the atonement does not subdue the selfishness of sinners, their case is hopeless." Let's not forget that Finney denied we are sinners by nature. To him, we only sin by following Adam's example (p. 179). This is the logic by which he arrives at his doctrine of justificaition in which we are made righteous by following the example of Christ. For Finney, believing in Christ was preceded by persevering in Christ, e.g. following Christ:

    He writes:

    (p. 57). This is pure salvation by works!This isn't Arminian. It's not even semi-Pelagian. It's not even Romanism! It's rank Pelagianism! For those unsure about Pelagianism, the definition is: H.E.R.E.S.Y. Ugh.

    I love this zinger:

    He wrote:

    Thanks, Charles!

    These are all quotes directly from Finney's own Systematic Theology (Bethany, 1976). In many ways, Finney was the first classical liberal. He went beyond Arminianism itself when he limited the atonement to the exemplary/subjectivist view. Evangelical Arminians' prevailing tendency is an administrative view of general atonement. Wesley actually accepted penal substitution but marginalized it in his own theology, an odd hybrid of the adminstrative and penal view. Finney's however, is the classic liberal prevailing tendency of the experiential/subjectivist seen in Schleiermacher. By couching his messages evangelistically, saying that Jesus died for sinners and by believing and trusting Jesus the lost will be saved, Finney performed the classic bait and switch that liberals and neo-orthodox use when they use "God language" that sounds orthodox to mean one thing to the people when they themselves mean something completely different. (Reinhold Niebuhr's innovative take on "Jesus Loves Me" comes to mind. For us, it's a gospel truth the Bible teaches as a concrete, objective real truh. For him, it's a statement about the nature of biblical revelation in some sort of subjectivist "encounter.") For Finney "theology" was a synonym for "ethics."

    When I see and hear fundamentalist/evangelical pastors and evangelists talking about how wonderful Finney was, I have to wonder if these people have actually read Finney and understand him. If these ideas were proclaimed in an IFB church (and most SBC churches for that matter, and certainly not in a GARBC church!) today, that person would be condemned as a false teacher in a heartbeat. I guess as long as your evangelism is about "winning souls" its okay. I'm pragmatic, even for a Calvinist, and I, while I naturally regard Whitefield the superior theologian to Wesley, rejoice that they both preached the gospel and many souls were saved, but I also know a thing or two about Whitefield and Wesley theologically. Finney was not a Wesley. He wasn't even an Arminius or a Cassian. Personally, I use Finney as an object lesson in how God can do great things in spite of bad theology and an example of what not to do, not how to do things right.
     
  17. superdave

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    Thanks Gene, Its nice to see some concrete evidence of Finney's position. Much more scary than the high pressure invitation. It makes one wonder if the man was even saved, having completely denied the truth of the gospel that man cannot justify himself.

    I attended an event this weekend at a local IFB church where a long time evangelist spoke, and very clearly proclaimed the true gospel, gave a simple call to respond to the truth (with no high pressure altar call) and 11 or 12 guys responded. Its much easier to attribute the results to God when the focus is on the Word, and allowing the Spirit to work, rather than using emotionalism and guiltwhmongering to try to get everyone in the room to come and bow down to you at the front of the room, something that has always fried me. That being said, I have heard plenty of IFB evangelists, and many of them have a proper view of their role in the process. Influenced by Finneyism, perhaps, but certainly not as bad as some I have seen.
     

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