Why you should know him: Finney has been described by Michael Horton as “the tallest marker in the shift from Reformation orthodoxy, evident in the Great Awakening (under Edwards and Whitefield) to Arminian (indeed, even Pelagian) revivalism. evident from the Second Great Awakening to the present. 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 evangelical churches, namely, the church growth movement, Pentecostalism and political revivalism.
Positions: evangelist, Presbytery of St. Lawrence, professor of theology and moral philosophy, and president of Oberlin College.
Education: no degrees.
Areas of interest/expertise: science of revival; moral philosophy, ethical perfection
Associations: abolitionism, temperance, feminism.
Books: Lectures on Revivals (1835); Lectures to Professing Christians (1838); Lectures on Systematic Theology (1846).
Unlike some, Old Lifers do not rely upon celebrities to boost their image, nor do they deny the less wholesome aspects of their past (or present) to root, root, root for the home team.