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Reformed. Christianity. Evangelism. Modern Culture.
I have had my fair share of altar calls. I have walked down many an aisle to the tune of an emotional appeal. These days preachers get converts after appealing for almost anything. Do you want a better house? A happy marriage? Do you think life is hard and your kids don’t finish their porridge? Here is what you can do they say: Just say this prayer and let Jesus into your heart. He will come in and make things alright. He is seriously knocking at that door and he really wants to come in. Wait a minute you say. There is no preaching about sin, no preaching about righteousness no repentance? Yup, sadly that is the state of evangelicalism. We have mega churches and therefore can accommodate more converts but … to what?
A while ago, William Franklin “Billy” Graham (one of the most recognisable Evangelical faces of the 20th Century) was said as of 1993 to have made more than 2.5 million people “step forward at his crusades to accept Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour“. …Read More!
Excerpt from The Legacy of Charles Finney:
[Charles] Finney is particularly esteemed among the leaders of the Christian Right and the Christian Left, and his imprint can be seen in movements that appear to be diverse, but in reality are merely heirs to Finney’s legacy. From the Vineyard movement and the church growth movement to the political and social crusades, televangelism, and the Promise-Keepers movement, as a former Wheaton College president rather glowingly cheered, “Finney lives on!”
That is because Finney’s moralistic impulse envisioned a church that was in large measure an agency of personal and social reform rather than the institution in which the means of grace, Word and Sacrament, are made available to believers who then take the Gospel to the world…
To demonstrate the debt of modern evangelicalism to Finney, we must first notice his theological departures. From these departures, Finney became the father of the antecedents to some of today’s greatest challenges within the evangelical churches themselves; namely, the church growth movement, Pentecostalism and political revivalism.
Reacting against the pervasive Calvinism of the Great Awakening, the successors of that great movement of God’s Spirit turned from God to humans, from the preaching of objective content (namely, Christ and him crucified) to the emphasis on getting a person to “make a decision.”
Charles Finney (1792-1875) ministered in the wake of the “Second Awakening,” as it has been called. A Presbyterian lawyer, Finney one day experienced “a mighty baptism of the Holy Ghost” which “like a wave of electricity going through and through me…seemed to come in waves of liquid love.” The next morning, he informed his first client of the day, “I have a retainer from the Lord Jesus Christ to plead his cause and I cannot plead yours.” Refusing to attend Princeton Seminary (or any seminary, for that matter), Finney began conducting revivals in upstate New York. One of his most popular sermons was, “Sinners Bound to Change Their Own Hearts.”… Read More
Its one thing to be a preacher it’s another thing to bring oratorical skills to the pulpit and blend it with perfectly choreographed gimmicks to bring hundreds to their feet beckoning for more stories. Doesn’t it just amuse you when a preacher walks to the pulpit with a Bible and then decides to close it as he begins the sermon? My favourite ones are those “anointed coat” swinging show men who blow into microphones and keep repeating over and over, “I feel the anointing of God is here”. But I must say the deadliest are those slick ones who slide past you and mesmerise you to the point that you don’t even notice that they sneaked into the pulpit without a Bible (not even a pocket Message Bible). And as you try to figure where the sermon is going to come from…BANG! He has hit you between the eyes with a “holy ghost” stunner and you are writhing under your seat with your tie choking the living day lights out of you. Read More