Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Special Thanks to B.B. Warfield

I'd like to thank B.B. Warfield for supplying an answer to my question in yesterday's post, regarding the reason evangelical leaders may take a stand on an issue like homosexuality as it emerges among megachurches. Warfield had this to say in his volume, Perfectionism, regarding opposition to Charles Finney's revivals that focused on methodology rather than theology:
That it was "the new measures" rather than the Pelagianism of "the Western revivals" which in the first instance at least offended the Eastern brethren is no doubt due in part to the general fact that it is always external things which first meet the eye [emphasis mine]. The external things in this instance were shocking in themselves; and their rooting in a doctrinal cause was often felt but vaguely or not at all. 
Pelagianizing modes of thought, derived from the same general source from which Finney had himself drunk—the "New Divinity" taught at New Haven—were moreover widely diffused among the New England clergy themselves. Men of this type of thinking might be offended by Finney's practices on general grounds, but could scarcely be expected, for that very reason, to assign them as to their cause to a doctrine common to his and their own thinking. And that the more that there were as yet no adequate means of ascertaining what the doctrinal basis of Finney's preaching was. Only his actual hearers were in any real sense informed of his teaching. 
When a little later he began to publish lectures and sermons the scales fell from men's eyes. The discerning had no difficulty then in seeing the correlation between his practices and his doctrines, or in clearly understanding that the phenomena of his revivals which gave most offence were merely the natural consequences of the fundamental fact that they were Pelagian revivals. (p. 33)
Thanks also to the Piedmont Baptist College library for helping me pick this up cheap in a Wake Forest used bookstore, and also to the fine folks out there who've helped the leaven of Warfield infiltrate our ranks. I think you know who you are.

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