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The History of Presbyterianism in the United States Part 2: A Centuries of Change C – Charles Finney.

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Presentation on theme: "The History of Presbyterianism in the United States Part 2: A Centuries of Change C – Charles Finney."— Presentation transcript:

1 The History of Presbyterianism in the United States Part 2: A Centuries of Change C – Charles Finney

2 Master Timeline United StatesEurope 1620 – Mayflower lands 1730s-1743 – 1 st Great Awakening – American Rev – 2 nd Great Awakening 1830 – Book of Mormon – 3 rd Great Awakening – American Civil War 1870 – Scottish Common Sense 1889 – Moody Bible Institute 1891 – Briggs’ address 1910 – Pres. G.A.: 5 Fundamentals – World War I 1922 – “Shall Fund.s Win?” 1923 – The Auburn Affirmation 1925 – The Scopes Trial 1929 – Westminster Theo. Seminary 1936 – Orthodox Presbyterian Ch – John Mackay, Princeton Sem – Westminster Confession of Faith – Age of European Enlightenment & of Scottish Common Sense Philosophy 1770s-1900 – Rise of German Higher Criticism – French Revolution 1827 – Plymouth Brethren begin meeting 1833 – Slavery Abolition Act of England Charles Darwin – Origin of Species – Darby travels to the United States 1919 – Rise of Neo-Orthodoxy United States (cont.) 1937 – Death of J. Gresham Machen - Bible Presbyterian Ch. (McIntyre) 1966 – RTS, Jackson, MI 1967 – Confession of ‘67, Book of Confessions 1973 – PCA 1983 – Union of UPCUSA & PCUS

3 The (First) Great Awakening, John Wesley George Whitefield Jonathan Edwards

4 Old Side/New Side, Old SideNew Side Wanted prohibition against rogue itinerant preaching. Wanted college diploma as minimum credentials for ordination. Reserved judgment on the truth of the Great Awakening phenomenon. Tended to dismiss rash conversions as not of the Spirit of God. Encouraged itinerant preaching as “not the enemy”. Higher education not always required or necessary. Embraced the emotional conversion experience entirely. Tended to criticize other side as “unconverted” themselves.

5 After the American Revolution, Christianity was being transformed. Christian faith had been on the decline since the Revolution, especially on the frontier. Universalism and Deism were popular, self- excusing faiths. Alcoholism, greed, abuse of slaves, and sexual immorality were rampant. Only small, local signs of revival could be found.

6 After the American Revolution, Christianity was being transformed. At nearby Cane Ridge, the phenomenon grew wilder: Preaching more dramatic Fainting, Shouting, Wild genuflections called “exercises” Ecstatic utterances Eventually, confusion reigned.

7 Between the United Presbyterian Church saw: 50,000 members added. a jump from 43 to 86 presbyteries. and a jump in number of pastors: from 543 to 1,140.

8 “Father of Modern Revivalism” 9 yr.s old at the time of Cane Ridge. Began studying law in Adams, NY. Began attending the local Presbyterian Church, leading the choir. In solitude & isolation, he testifies to an instantaneous conversion – “like waves of liquid love”. Immediately, he felt called to leave the study of law and become a preacher of the gospel. Charles Finney

9 “Father of Modern Revivalism” 9 yr.s old at the time of Cane Ridge 1823 – taken under care by the St. Lawrence Presbytery & licensed to preach. Charles Finney “Unexpectedly to myself they asked me if I received the Confession of faith of the Presbyterian church. I had not examined it; - that is, the large work, containing the Catechisms and Presbyterian Confession. This had made no part of my study. I replied that I received it for substance of doctrine, so far as I understood it. But I spoke in a way that plainly implied, I think, that I did not pretend to know much about it.” The Memoirs of Charles Finney: The Complete Restored Text Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1989, pg

10 The Adopting Act of 1729 And in case any minister of this Synod, or any candidate for the ministry shall have any scruple with respect to any article or articles of said Confession or Catechisms, he shall, at the time of his making the said declaration, declare his sentiments to the Presbytery or Synod; who shall, notwithstanding, admit him to the exercise of the ministry within our bounds, and to ministerial communion, if the Synod or Presbytery shall judge his scruple or mistake to be only about articles not essential and necessary in doctrine, worship, or govt. …

11 “Father of Modern Revivalism” 9 yr.s old at the time of Cane Ridge 1823 – taken under care by the St. Lawrence Presbytery & licensed to preach Began revivalism as a ministry in upstate New York 1832 – Minister of 2 nd Free Presbyterian Church (Broadway Tabernacle) 1835 – President of Oberlin College, Oberlin, OH Charles Finney First preaching efforts were lackluster. Revival dramatically started in Western, NY. His charisma and revival spirit gained him a quick reputation and an enthusiastic following.

12 Finney’s Controversial New Measures 1.He would visit towns without invitations/cooperation of local ministers & condemn them as unconverted if they resisted him. 2.Call individuals out by name as sinners headed for hell & then publicly prayed for their specific conversion. 3.He held protracted nightly meetings, employed women for public prayer and preaching. 4.He employed dramatic, emotional music to elicit an emotional response. 5.He would begin his messages with a Scr. reference but not give any specific attention to the text in his sermon. 6.He created the altar call, the “anxious bench” and decisional regeneration – a determination to live a morally righteous life. 7.Immediate admission of converts into church membership. Charles Finney

13 “Father of Modern Revivalism” – Rochester, NY “A person visiting Finney told him that he had no feeling regarding the condition of his soul. At this Finney picked up a fire poker and threatened to strike the man. The defensive reaction from the man caused Finney to remark that he was demonstrating feeling and should have feeling about his salvation as well.” J. Johnson

14 Finney boldly preached a “modified Calvinism” ▫Unbelief is a “will not” rather than a “cannot”. ▫Appeared singularly qualified to identify unbelief in others and frankly proclaimed the judgment of hell for them. ▫Came to adamantly reject Old Side theology and training as insufficient for the ministry. Charles Finney “Father of Modern Revivalism”

15 9 yr.s old at the time of Cane Ridge 1823 – taken under care by the St. Lawrence Presbytery & licensed to preach Began revivalism as a ministry in upstate New York 1832 – Minister of 2 nd Free Pres. Ch.  Chatham Street Chapel  Broadway Tabernacle 1835 – Professor at Oberlin College, Oberlin, OH – President, Oberlin College 1875 – Died at Oberlin Charles Finney

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17 Finney Changed “Church” “Worship” now was nothing but evangelistic revival. Building constructed in a theater design. No pulpit – an open stage - ▫for the conducting of acting/drama. ▫for the public seating of dignitaries/testimonials/etc. Massive organ/choir placed behind stage for effect. Special music provided for emotional appeal.

18 “Father of Modern Revivalism” 9 yr.s old at the time of Cane Ridge 1823 – taken under care by the St. Lawrence Presbytery & licensed to preach Began revivalism as a ministry in upstate New York 1832 – Minister of 2 nd Free Pres. Ch.  Chatham Street Chapel  Broadway Tabernacle 1835 – Professor at Oberlin College, Oberlin, OH – President, Oberlin College 1875 – Died at Oberlin Charles Finney

19 Finney’s Impact and Legacy “His legal training had conditioned Finney to think logically, but it had also saddled him with a world of wrong presuppositions. Finney’s notions of justice, guilt, righteousness, transgression, forgiveness, sovereignty, and a host of other terms were drawn from his legal studies, not the Scriptures.” John Macarthur Ashamed of the Gospel, pp

20 Finney’s Impact and Legacy He magnified New Side interests to dominate the religious landscape. He changed many people’s perception of church and worship. He made the ancient heresy of Pelagianism standard and accepted fare among many evangelicals. He made the “end” to be justified by any “means”.

21 Finney’s rejection of Calvinism He appealed to Rationalism rather than the Scriptures in his theology. He denied the doctrine of Original Sin and Total Depravity. He affirmed a universal, governmental atonement. He said that salvation is not a miracle from God but the logical, compelling choice of a reasonable human being. He replaced the grace of God with moralism and held to Christian perfectionism.

22 Finney’s rejection of Calvinism “One need go no further than the table of contents in his Systematic Theology to learn that Finney’s entire theology revolved around human morality. … Not until the twenty-first chapter does one read anything that is especially Christian in its interest … ” Michael Horton

23 Finney’s rejection of Calvinism He appealed to Rationalism rather than the Scriptures in his theology. He denied the doctrine of Original Sin and Total Depravity. He affirmed a universal, governmental atonement. He said that salvation is not a miracle from God but the logical, compelling choice of a reasonable human being. He replaced the grace of God with moralism and held to Christian perfectionism.

24 Finney’s rejection of Calvinism “[Arminians have] unconverted sinners who are dead in trespasses and sin bringing themselves to life by choosing to be born again. Christ made it clear that dead people cannot choose anything, that the flesh profits nothing and that a person must be born of the Spirit BEFORE he can even see the Kingdom of God, let alone enter it.” R.C. Sproul The Holiness of God, p. 232

25 Finney’s rejection of Calvinism “Does reason affirm that we are deserving of the wrath and curse of God for ever, for inheriting from Adam a sinful nature?” Charles Finney Lectures on Systematic Theology p. 320

26 Finney’s rejection of Calvinism He appealed to Rationalism rather than the Scriptures in his theology. He denied the doctrine of Original Sin and Total Depravity. He affirmed a universal, governmental atonement. He said that salvation is not a miracle from God but the logical, compelling choice of a reasonable human being. He replaced the grace of God with moralism and held to Christian perfectionism.

27 Finney’s rejection of Calvinism “This [governmental atonement] view holds that Christ by His death actually paid the penalty for no man’s sin. What His death did was to demonstrate what their sins deserved at the hand of the just Governor and Judge of the universe, and permits God justly to forgive men if on other grounds, such as their faith, their repentance, their works, and their perseverance, they meet His demand. But this is just to eviscerate the Savior’s work of all its intrinsic saving worth and replace the Christocentric vision of Scripture with the autosoteric vision of Pelagianism.” Robert Reymond A New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith p. 479

28 Finney’s rejection of Calvinism He appealed to Rationalism rather than the Scriptures in his theology. He denied the doctrine of Original Sin and Total Depravity. He affirmed a universal, governmental atonement. He said that salvation is not a miracle from God but the logical, compelling choice of a reasonable human being. He replaced the grace of God with moralism and held to Christian perfectionism.

29 Finney’s rejection of Calvinism “Some theologians have held that regeneration is the work of the Holy Spirit alone … But I might just as lawfully insist that it is the work of man alone.” Charles Finney Lectures on Systematic Theology, abridged p. 224

30 Finney’s rejection of Calvinism He appealed to Rationalism rather than the Scriptures in his theology. He denied the doctrine of Original Sin and Total Depravity. He affirmed a universal, governmental atonement. He said that salvation is not a miracle from God but the logical, compelling choice of a reasonable human being. He replaced the grace of God with moralism and held to Christian perfectionism.

31 Finney’s rejection of Calvinism Perfection was the teaching that: perfect obedience to God is attainable in this life. sanctification was a work of the Spirit and not of the Christian. led the way to later “victorious life” and “second blessing” teaching.

32 Finney’s advocacy of social reforms: He tied choosing Christ to denying alcohol. He preached the abolition of slavery. He advocated for prison reform and voluntary societies for the improvement of society.

33 “The Burned-Over District” Finney’s own term to refer to the area so heavily evangelized as to have no “fuel” (unconverted) left to burn (convert). The area from which came: ▫Latter day Saint movement – late 1820s ▫Millerites (Adventism), 1833 (influence for JWs) ▫Spiritism (Communion with the dead), 1840s ▫Oneida Society (Polygamist communal living), 1848

34 New Covenant Presbyterian Church Preaching God’s Sovereign Grace to a World of Need 128 St. Mary’s Church Rd., Abingdon, MD

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36 A Survey of 19 th c. Presbyterianism Francis Makemie arrived in MD st Presbytery organized, Philadelphia 1730s-43 – 1 st Great Awakening American Revolutionary War st General Assembly, PCUSA s – 2 nd Great Awakening Old School/New School Controversy – War Between the States 1861 – Presbyterians split north to south

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38 Old School/New School Old SchoolNew School Call to return to traditional Calvinism of the WCF. Suspicious of Revivalism. Call to maintain a Presbyterian form of Church government. United in the north as war approached. Passed the “exscinding act” removing entire synods Embraced “New Divinity” which was Arminian and universal. Desired and practiced revivalism. Was being led away from Presbytrianism and into Congregationalism. Divided in the south as war approached. Drew up the “Auburn Declaration” defending their views. Charles HodgeLyman Beecher

39 Lyman Beecher’s Vision for Revivals and Moral Crusades “[I]ndividual conversions were insufficient to prevent the United States from apostasy and ruin. … Beecher believed that Sabbath observance was essential to the protection of American liberty. [T]he United States would soon retrogress ‘after the influence of her Sabbaths has passed away.’” Lyman Beecher

40 Lyman Beecher’s Vision for Revivals and Moral Crusades “Intemperance is the sin of our land … and if anything shall defeat the hopes of the world, which hang upon our experiment with civil liberty, it is that river of fire ….” 1830s – New School Presbyterians initiated an effort to have congregations switch from wine to grape juice in the observance of the Lord’s Supper. Lyman Beecher

41 Charles Hodge His efforts in the defense of doctrinal integrity kept Princeton Seminary in the Old School party. Published Systematic Theology (3 vol.) in Argued for Presbyterianism as the government prescribed in Scripture. Openly critiqued Finney’s Pelagianism: Finney’s idea of moral ability “has not been adopted in the confession of any one denominational church in Christendom, but is expressly repudiated by them all.”

42 A Survey of 19 th c. Presbyterianism Francis Makemie arrived in MD st Presbytery organized, Philadelphia 1730s-43 – 1 st Great Awakening American Revolutionary War st General Assembly, PCUSA s – 2 nd Great Awakening Old School/New School Controversy 1850s-1900s – Third Great Awakening

43 Third Great Awakening – 1850s-1900s Protestant Denominations grew quickly. Many Christian colleges started. ▫1848 – Geneva College, Northwood, OH ▫1876 – Grove City College, Grove City, PA Rise of the Republican Party Revivalism of Dwight Moody ▫1886 – Moody Bible Institute, Chicago, IL

44 Third Great Awakening – 1850s-1900s Issues: A Postmillennium vision of culture Temperance => Prohibition Women’s Sufferage Child Labor laws Rise in the Social Gospel, esp. in missions “All purpose” Church facilities/services

45 Third Great Awakening – 1850s-1900s Other Creations: Holiness/Pentecostal Movements Young Men’s Christian Association Salvation Army, Catherine & William Booth The Society for Ethical Culture (Jewish) Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy Jehovah’s Witnesses – Charles Taze Russell

46 A Survey of 19 th c. Presbyterianism Francis Makemie arrived in MD st Presbytery organized, Philadelphia 1730s-43 – 1 st Great Awakening American Revolutionary War st General Assembly, PCUSA s – 2 nd Great Awakening Old School/New School Controversy 1850s-1900s – Third Great Awakening – War Between the States 1861 – Presbyterians split north to south

47 The Approaching Storm 1818 – First firm stand by Presbyterians against slavery. “voluntary enslaving of one part of the human race by another” was a gross violation of the most precious and sacred rights of human nature, … utterly inconsistent with the law of God, which requires us to love our neighbor as ourselves, … totally irreconcilable with the spirit and principles of the gospel of Christ.”

48 The Approaching Storm 1818 – First firm stand by Presbyterians against slavery – General Assembly ▫New School: slavery was the decisive issue – a moral crusade ▫Old School: preserving the nation was decisive issue.  On one hand, slavery not absolutely condemned in Scr.  On the other hand, the “evil connected with slavery” must not be countenanced.

49 The Approaching Storm 1818 – First firm stand by Presbyterians against slavery – General Assembly 1857 – New School churches divided from the north to form the United Synod of the Presbyterian Church. 12/4/1861 – Old School churches in the south hold their first G.A. with 45 presbyteries, 840 ministers, 72,000 communicant members.

50 PCUSA – Old School PCUS – New School PCUSA – New School PCUS – Old School

51 The Approaching Storm For the southern church, the hardening of political opinions meant a shift on slavery. ‘the institution of slavery is divinely recognized and sanctioned. … We are upholding and defending a sacred trust, committed to us by the providence of God.’ a North Carolina Presbyterian newspaper H&M

52 The Approaching Storm At the same time, many southern ministers continued to oppose and seek reform. In addition to seeking a reform of slaves’ domestic relations, [James A. Lyon of Mississippi] advocated that blacks and white gather together for worship, … that African-Americans be catechized, and that there be a repeal of laws prohibiting slaves from learning to read and write. H&M

53 After the War The Old and New Schools in the North reunited in But the division between North and South would be hardest for Presbyterians to overcome. The northern and southern Presbyterians could not accept each other until H&M

54 New Covenant Presbyterian Church Preaching God’s Sovereign Grace to a World of Need 128 St. Mary’s Church Rd., Abingdon, MD


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