B. B. Warfield on the Finneyite priesthood of evangelists

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Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
It is a sufficiently odd doctrine which he [Charles G. Finney] here enunciates, a kind of new Lutheranism with the evangelist substituted for the Word. The Holy Ghost is represented, not, as in the Reformed doctrine, as accompanying the word preached extrinsecus accedens—“the Lord opened Lydia’s heart,” “Paul may plant and Apollos water, the Lord gives the increase”; and not as in the Lutheran doctrine as intrinsic in the Word spoken, acting out from the Word on the heart of the hearer; but as intrinsic in the evangelist speaking. By a mere gaze, without a word spoken, Finney says he reduced a whole room-full of factory girls to hysteria. ...

For more, see B. B. Warfield on the Finneyite priesthood of evangelists.
 

Stephen L Smith

Administrator
Staff member
Warfield is right to say Finney substitutes the Word for the cleverness of the preacher. I grew up in a Finney style evangelistic church method. It was reading Martyn Lloyd-Jones which helped me see the error of this.

Although Wesley and Finney were both Arminians there was an important difference. Wesley had a conviction about the Spirit's saving power similar to a Reformed position. Finney on the other hand substituted means for the work of the Spirit, hence the idea of the alter call. It seems to me that Finney took Arminianism to its logical, and dangerous, conclusion.
 
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