- Classic work on revival
- Finney was called the most influential Liturgical Reformer in American History
The twenty-two chapters of this book owe so much of their appeal to the fact that they were first preached to a visible audience. Taken down by Joshua Leavitt, they were carefully edited and annotated by the author. Consequently, they bear evidence of warm words flowing from a flaming heart.
No other book on the subject of revival has been so mightily used of God. It has been translated into many languages and circulated around the globe. Despite the length of time since the lectures were first delivered and published, so powerful are they in present-day application that they are still used as texts in many Bible schools and seminaries.
In Revival Lectures Finney explains what a revival of religion is and treats at length such related subjects as the place of faith and prayer in relation to revival; the need of the Holy Spirit; methods to be used in the quest for souls; hindrances to revivals; instructions to converts; and helpful rules for growth in grace. The principles and methods God used so mightily in Finney's day are equally effective in our own.
About the Author
Born in 1792 in Warren, Connecticut, Charles Grandison Finney was the youngest of fifteen children. The son of farmers, Finney never attended college, but his six foot three inch stature, piercing eyes, musical skill, and leadership abilities gained him recognition in his community. He studied as an apprentice to become a lawyer, but after a dramatic conversion experience and baptism into the Holy Spirit in Adams, New York, he resigned from all of his duties at his law office to attend to the call of God on his life which was to preach the gospel. In December of 1823, he became a licensed minster by the Presbyterian Church, Evans Mills, New York.
He moved to New York City in 1832 where he pastored the Chatham Street Chapel, and later founded and pastored the Broadway Tabernacle, known today as Broadway United Church of Christ. Finney's presentation of the gospel message reached thousands and influenced many communities. In addition to becoming a popular Christian evangelist, Finney was involved with the abolitionist movement and frequently denounced slavery from the pulpit. In 1835, he moved to Ohio where he would become a professor and later president of Oberlin College from 1851 – 1866.
Finney was a primary influence on the "revival" style of theology which emerged in the 19th century. Finney's theology is difficult to classify, as can be observed in his masterwork, Religious Revivals. In this work, he also states that salvation depends on a person's will to repent and not forced by God on people against their will. However, Finney affirmed salvation by grace through faith alone, not by works or by obedience. Finney also affirmed that works were the evidence of faith.
Finney's understanding of the atonement was that it satisfied "public justice" and that it opened up the way for God to pardon people of their sin. This was the so-called New Divinity which was popular at that time period. In this view, Christ's death satisfied public justice rather than retributive justice. As Finney put it, it was not a "commercial transaction."
One of the most famous things Finney did was implement public professions of faith where people would come down the isle of the Church to proclaim their faith, and he also set up the opportunity for seekers to be counseled about their faith before making the profession. An uncommon practice at the time, which has been adopted as a standard for many Churches today. In August 1875, Finney died in Oberlin due to a heart ailment.