So Great Salvation by Charles G. Finney

So Great Salvation is a collection of evangelistic sermons by the famous nineteenth century revivalist Charles Finney. As might be expected his passion for the lost is clearly demonstrated. Unfortunately, Finney is not a careful student of Scripture and his sloppy exegesis is apparent throughout the book.

Finney was well known for his promotion of extreme Arminianism which appears often (pp. 13, 14, 25, 41, 57-58, 108, 126). Finney’s theological perspective led to the creation of a host of methods designed to persuade people of their need for Christ. Under Finney’s system the proclaimer of the gospel needs to use whatever means possible to “make his moral nature sensitive…” “This is the true secret of promoting revivals” (p. 126). Finney would take this so far as to believe that revival was the result of using proper technique, not necessarily springing from the power of God. Much of Finney’s legacy lives on today.

Yet, and I find this both interesting and contradictory, although Finney believes that God has done all that is necessary to bring people to salvation, and now it is up to them to exercise their own free-will (p. 14); still if God does not “interpose with efficient help” (pp. 63, 64) the sinner will not come to Christ. That is, if God does not make the first move to enable a man to receive the gospel that man will never come to Christ. Even the strongest of Arminians recognize that unless God draws men to Himself they will never choose to come (John 6:44).

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