Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Finney: Not an Example. Not Even Evangelical.

I forced my way through a bit of Finney's painfully laborious Systematic Theology as a seminary assignment years ago. Those are hours I'll never get back. It took far longer than it should have for me to cut my losses and swap him for the comparably elementary—even whimsical—Charles Hodge. But I found Finney nearer to intelligibility than orthodoxy.

This broader assessment of Finney's ST confirms my instincts: Folks who think Finney is a paragon of faithful evangelistic fervor 1) never read Finney; 2) didn't understand him (which is reasonable); or 3) are heretics themselves. Here's how the reviewer put it:
[I]f what we had just read could be called "Christian Theology," then the church had sinned grievously in its expulsion of Pelagius. There is nothing noteworthy to distinguish the one from the other. And if Finney believed what he wrote, then he was no Christian.

1 comment:

Tim Pauley said...

I am always amazed at the evangelical and even fundamentalist folk who point to Finney as a positive role model. A couple of years ago a Christian organization in our area sponsored a conference entitled "That Which Becomes Sound Doctrine" and used Finney as one of the examples. I've always thought that was a bit ironic.