In his Lectures on Systematic Theology, Finney clarifies his theological views for both his sympathizers and his opponents, and outlines both the substance and the biblical justification for his theology. The first section of his lectures is devoted to Christian morality and ethics, which he uses as the groundwork for his doctrine of the atonement, doctrine of justification, and doctrine of sanctification. He speaks at length of the relationship between morality and holiness, with an emphasis on free will and an optimistic understanding of human moral ability. This volume also contains Finney’s lectures on Calvinism, including lengthy lectures on election, reprobation, perseverance of the saints, and divine sovereignty.
Charles Grandison Finney was born on August 29, 1792 in Litchfield, Connecticut. He studied law, but his plans were altered when he underwent a dramatic conversion experience at the age of 29. Finney later wrote of his conversation experience: “I could feel the impression, like a wave of electricity, going through and through me. Indeed it seemed to come in waves and waves of liquid love” (from Memoirs of Rev. Charles G. Finney, included in this collection).
Finney became pastor of the Free Presbyterian Chatham Street Chapel and later the Broadway Tabernacle. He spoke as a refined and expert orator and became a widely popular evangelist, organizing and preaching at numerous revivals and meetings throughout New England. He also traveled to England. As many as one million people heard Finney preach throughout his career, and many of them underwent conversion experiences. Finney also spoke at length about social issues, and became an ardent abolitionist. In 1835, Finney was appointed as a professor of theology at Oberlin College, and became its president in 1851, where he remained until 1866.
Charles Finney died on August 17, 1875.