It’s Free Friday and today’s free download, usually $4.95, is Power From On High by Charles Grandison Finney. Click here to download.
“There is a great difference between the peace and the power of the Holy Spirit in the soul. The disciples were Christians before the Day of Pentecost, and, as such, had a measure of the Holy Spirit. They must have had the peace of sins forgiven, and of a justified state, but yet they had not the endowment of power necessary to the accomplishment of the work assigned them. They had the peace which Christ had given them, but not the power which He had promised. This may be true of all Christians, and right here is, I think, the great mistake of the Church, and of the ministry. They rest in conversion, and do not seek until they obtain this endowment of power from on high. Hence so many professors have no power with either God or man. They prevail with neither. They cling to a hope in Christ, and even enter the ministry, overlooking the admonition to wait until they are endued with power from on high. But let anyone bring all the tithes and offerings into God’s treasury, let him lay all upon the altar, and prove God herewith, and he shall find that God ‘will open the windows of heaven, and pour him out a blessing that there shall not be room enough to receive it.’”
Power From on High is a series of concise, mature, challenging and Biblical sermons. Many of them were first published in the New York Independent from 1871-1874.
Born in 1792 in Warren, Connecticut, Charles Grandison Finney was the youngest of fifteen children. The son of farmers, Finney never attended college, but his six foot three inch stature, piercing eyes, musical skill, and leadership abilities gained him recognition in his community. He studied as an apprentice to become a lawyer, but after a dramatic conversion experience and baptism into the Holy Spirit in Adams, New York, he resigned from all of his duties at his law office to attend to the call of God on his life which was to preach the gospel. In December of 1823, he became a licensed minster by the Presbyterian Church, Evans Mills, New York.
He moved to New York City in 1832 where he pastored the Chatham Street Chapel, and later founded and pastored the Broadway Tabernacle, known today as Broadway United Church of Christ. Finney’s presentation of the gospel message reached thousands and influenced many communities. In addition to becoming a popular Christian evangelist, Finney was involved with the abolitionist movement and frequently denounced slavery from the pulpit. In 1835, he moved to Ohio where he would become a professor and later president of Oberlin College from 1851 – 1866.
Finney was a primary influence on the “revival” style of theology which emerged in the 19th century. Finney’s theology is difficult to classify, as can be observed in his masterwork, Religious Revivals. In this work, he also states that salvation depends on a person’s will to repent and not forced by God on people against their will. However, Finney affirmed salvation by grace through faith alone, not by works or by obedience. Finney also affirmed that works were the evidence of faith.
Finney’s understanding of the atonement was that it satisfied “public justice” and that it opened up the way for God to pardon people of their sin. This was the so-called New Divinity which was popular at that time period. In this view, Christ’s death satisfied public justice rather than retributive justice. As Finney put it, it was not a “commercial transaction.”
One of the most famous things Finney did was implement public professions of faith where people would come down the isle of the Church to proclaim their faith, and he also set up the opportunity for seekers to be counseled about their faith before making the profession. An uncommon practice at the time, which has been adopted as a standard for many Churches today. In August 1875, Finney died in Oberlin due to a heart ailment.
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