Friday, October 10, 2008

Frame of mind on Finney


Dear Bob:

Guy Davies of the Exiled Preacher blog hosted an interview with John Frame. I think you will appreciate Frame's endorsement of Finney's evangelism, though I doubt the Calvinists who have criticized him of late will not nor will they appreciate being described as Hyper-Calvinists:

GD: Which theological book have you found most helpful in the last twelve months? It is a must read because....

JF: Believe it or not, Holy Spirit Revivals, by Charles Finney (New Kensington, PA: Whitaker House, 1999). Finney here is very different from the picture of him given in the standard Reformed polemics. He is thoroughly dependent on God’s sovereign working, through the prayers of his people, to reach the lost. His opponents, as he describes them, appear to me to be hyper-Calvinists, not authentic Calvinists: people who think that an inquirer should wait passively for the Spirit to change his heart, rather than obeying the biblical command to repent and believe. On that issue, assuming that he has described it correctly, I certainly would have been on Finney’s side. His Systematic Theology, however, contains some significant errors and confusions. He should have stuck to evangelism.

Interesting, indeed.

With regards,

Bob: Thanks, Ian, for calling this to my attention. It is good that at least one person among the "Reformed" camp does not follow the "party line" about Charles G. Finney. [See Spurgeon and Finney vs. the Founders and Timmy Brister Bristling From "Finneyitis"].

Most of the modern "Reformed" who carp about Finney's evangelism are probably simply repeating the criticisms by Hybrid Calvinist Presbyterians of the past who opposed Finney due to his getting professions of faith from Pedobaptists who supposedly were "regenerated" in infancy.

Any evangelism which tends to undermine the "born again before faith" heresy of the Hybrids is repudiated by the anti-Finneyites in the "Reformed" camp as "Arminian," "synergism," and "semi-Pelagianism."
Finney's zeal to win lost souls was (and is) a rebuke of the dead evangelism of the majority of the "Reformed."


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