Was Charles Finney a False Prophet? (Dr. Brown Interviews Jerry Johnson); and The Power of Conviction

[Download MP3]
Dr. Brown invites Jerry Johnson, founder and president of the Calvinist organization The Nicene Council, for a civil exchange about his DVD “Beware of False Prophets: The Case Against Charles G. Finney” during the first hour, and discusses the power of the Holy Spirit’s transforming work through conviction of sin during the second hour.

Hour 1:

Dr. Brown’s Bottom Line: Salvation is found in the blood of Jesus alone.  We are universally guilty before God, and have no possible hope of saving, redeeming, or improving ourselves; our only hope is to cast ourselves on God, plead for mercy, ask him to wash us clean by the blood of Jesus, and give us a new life, and a new life He will give us indeed!

Hour 2:

Dr. Brown’s Bottom Line: My friends, warmly welcome the deep conviction of the Holy Spirit!  Welcome the searching work of the Holy Spirit!  Anything that He brings to light and calls us to turn from is only that which will destroy us.  Any change He makes in us is for our lasting good!  Do not resist, but welcome the convicting and transforming power of the Holy Spirit.

Featured Resources:

A Time For Holy Fire by Dr. Brown: Are you fed up with Christianity as you know it? Does your heart long for something more? Have you had it with the same old religious cycle? Then this book is for you. Revival is our only hope—yet there is hope for revival!

The Revival Answer Book by Dr. Brown: In this clear-headed, biblical guide, Dr. Brown answers questions about true revival without a syllable of negativity or evasiveness, but with plenty of passion, using everyday language you can easily understand.

Meet Jerry Johnson:

Jerry Johnson is the Founder and President of NiceneCouncil.com and The Apologetics Group, Inc. (Apologetics Group Media). He has earned a Master of Arts in Christian Studies and a Master of Philosophy in Theology and Apologetics from Whitefield Theological Seminary. He is currently working on a doctorate from Knox Theological Seminary in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Jerry was the senior writer and researcher for the best selling documentaries Amazing Grace: The History & Theology of Calvinism and The Marks of a Cult: A Biblical Analysis. He also was the author of corresponding study guides for both films.

Jerry is a member of the Board of Regents for Whitefield Theological Seminary and serves as an adjunct professor at Knox Theological Seminary and Veritas Theological Seminary.

Other Resources:

Giants of the Faith [mp3 CD] with Dr. Brown:  Experience the ministry and message of men and women of God who shook their world! Charles Finney, George Whitfield, John (Praying) Hyde, Smith Wigglesworth, John G. Lake, Maria Woodworth-Etter, John Alexander Dowie, and Adoniram Judson.

Confronting the Critics of Revival with Dr. Brown

How Would You Define Revival? online article by Dr. Brown: “Revival is a season of unusual divine visitation resulting in deep repentance, supernatural renewal, and sweeping reformation in the Church, along with the radical conversion of sinners in the world, often producing moral, social, and even economic change in the local or national communities.” […]

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71 Comments
  1. I believe that we are all going to have to battle with our inherited sinful nature that was passed down to us from Adam and Eve until the day we leave this earth.

    The big question is this???? If Adam & Eve never sinned, would we???

  2. From what i know of Finney and the arguments against him, i would say that Finney was did theologically say things that are a problem, though i have seen him taken out of context, or contradicted by other statements he made.

    Yet as an evangelist, which was his real calling, by the Holy Spirit he effected conviction of sin, righteousness and judgment, that men were damned, not justified, by their works, and destitute of any merit by which he may escape Hell and gain Heaven, and that he effected true conversions by pointing them to Christ to be saved by His blood and righteousness.

    This does not sanction any of Finney’s theological assertions, but for Johnson to relegate Finney to Hell, and souls converted under him, is the result of taking some of Finney’s attempts at theology over that which he preached.

    As regards the former, while I think MacArthur’s analysis has some merit, Finney did not deny the Trinity, nor that man could only be justified thru faith in Christ, nor anything that i can see the converts in the book of Acts needed to believe to be saved.

    Sound doctrine is critical, and one thing that a characterizes a false gospel is the denial of the Deity of Christ, and the utter inability for man to be justifed based upon earning it by his moral merit, or the denial of the need for atonement and justification by faith, which faith i see Finney effecting. the above. Nor does he promote the usual cultic teaching of, the exaltation of one sect as necessary for salvation.

  3. It all depends on whether the Command to not eat the fruit was binding on only Adam and Eve, or was it binding on also their children. Hypothetically, it might be binding on the animals as well, Lol, although I doubt it. The animals, at least the serpent talked, weird, or was it normal then for animals to talk. The animals also, the nature itself, all went into a fallen state after Adam sinned. If a monkey came and ate the fruit would there have been a similar fall, I doubt it. Equally, if Adam and Eve’s children, let suppose, a thousand years later ate the fruit, would there have been a similar fall, or just punishment on that one particular individual. I am guessing just on that particular individual. Lol. However, we will never know since Adam and Eve did not last very long before sinning against The God Creator, leaving for all assumptions to be mere speculations. Lol. But I know the real question concerns with a theological debate over was Finney wrong to possibly not hold on to the idea that every baby is born a vile sinful baby imputed on them from Adam and Eve. Finney possibly believed that the baby became a sinner against God as they committed sins throughout their infancy, childhood, youth and adulthood. If Calvinist want to throw Finney in hell for this, then, I question how much I really like Calvinist and thank God that the Calvinist are not in charge of who has their name written in the Book of Life. Peace.

  4. Moreover, many Christians have been born again by faith in Christ and His blood, (Rm. 3:25) trusting in their heart that Jesus paid the price for their forgiveness, but are confused at to how that works. How many even understand the differences btwn the ransom theory, the satisfaction theory, the penal substitution theory and the moral influence theory? Yet if one presumes to formally occupy the office of a a teacher, than he is more accountable.

    In this regard, Finney is charged with denying the Biblical view of the atonement and salvation by faith.

    One analysis is that Finney held that Christ’s death satisfied public justice rather than retributive justice. As Finney put it, it was not a “commercial transaction.” This view, as explained here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atonement_%28Governmental_view%29), which arose arose in opposition to Socinianism, holds that Christ’s suffering was a real and meaningful substitute for the punishment humans deserve, but it did not consist of Christ receiving the exact punishment due to sinful people. Instead, God publicly demonstrated his displeasure with sin through the suffering of his own sinless and obedient Son as a propitiation

    This view is contrasted with that of the satisfaction theory formulated initially by St. Anselm, which is preferred by the Catholic Church, and developed further into the punishment theory held by most Calvinists. It can also be contrasted with the Christus Victor understanding preferred by most Eastern Orthodox Christians and many Lutherans. The satisfaction and punishment theories argue that Jesus received the full and actual punishment due to men and women while the Christus Victor view emphasizes the liberation of humanity from the bondage of sin, death, and the Devil.

    I myself see Christ becoming our scapegoat and paying the price needed for our forgiveness, but not siffering the equivalent of our eternal punishment, anymore than that whch foreshadwed him did. (Lv. 16)

    As for denying salvation by faith, that would seem to be in contradiction to his testimony in which he professed, that

    “I think I then saw,as clearly as I ever have in my life, the reality and fullness of the atonement of Christ. I saw that His work was a finished work; and that instead of having, or needing, any righteousness of my own to recommend me to God, I had to submit myself to the righteousness of God through Christ.

    Gospel salvation seemed to me to be an offer of something to be accepted; and that it was full and complete; and that all that was necessary on my part, was to get my own consent to give up my sins, and accept Christ. Salvation, it seemed to me, instead of being a thing to be wrought out, by my own works, was a thing to be found entirely in the Lord Jesus Christ, who presented Himself before me as my God and my Savior.”

    …In this state I was taught the doctrine of justification by faith, as a present experience.. I could see that the moment I believed, while up in the woods, all sense of condemnation had entirely dropped out of my mind; and that from that moment I could not feel a sense of guilt or condemnation by any effort that I could make…Instead of feeling that I was sinning all the time, my heart was so full of love that it overflowed.” –
    http://www.matthew548.com/Finney3.html

    And while Johnson places him in Hell, Finney also wrote,

    “A want of assurance of salvation through Christ, is unbelief. This must be so, if the Atonement is general, and if faith consists in believing what is said respecting it. The Apostle says, ‘that this is the record which God hath given to us, eternal life, and this life is in his Son.’ Now if it be true that God hath given eternal life to all, then not to possess an assurance of your own salvation through Christ, is unbelief.” – http://www.gospeltruth.net/1843OE/430802_unbelief.htm

    I cannot send such a one to Hell, versus those who rest upon their own righteousness and or the power of their church, who show not “things which accompany salvation.” (Heb. 6:9) We must contend for the faith, but not simply according to the letter, but its intent and effect as well.

    Other charges against Finney as that he denied the supernatural by stating revival was due to the right use of constituted means, are contrary to other statements and reliance upon prayer, and are likely a reaction against a Calvinistic fatalistic effect among some of making prayer perfunctory, with revival being something men need not seek, as God will do it when He is ready, and needs not our cooperation.

    And faulting Finney with the perfunctory conversions in modern times (in which over 1/3 of souls do not even keep marriage vows) due to altar calls, as if Jesus did not use “measures” conducive to needs, (Lk. 9:14) is a reach.

  5. As re Adam’s effect upon our proclivity to sin, it is clear that we have an inherited sinful nature, but to condemn infants to Hell due to something they did not do, or sinners for not doing what they were never given grace to do, and which inability they we not personally culpable for, is contrary to the text which state that judgment of damnation is based upon what one personally did. (Dt. 26:26 2Ki 14:5,6; 2Ch 25:4; Jer 31:29,30; Eze 18:20Rv. 20:11-15)

    Finney concludes of original sin, “It is a monstrous and blasphemous dogma, that a holy God is angry with any creature for possessing a nature with which he was sent into being without his knowledge or consent.” Finney’s Systematic Theology.p. 179

    But he is wrong in stating that,

    “When mankind become religious, they are not enabled to put forth exertions which they were unable before to put forth. They only exert powers which they had before, in a different way, and use them for the glory of God.”

    He also sees the sinning Christian and the unconverted sinner as being “upon precisely the same ground” – condemned, as real faith works obedience. But i see a distinction is made in Scripture btwn that done out of weakness, as Peter in Gal. 2, and besetting sinful tendency one strives against in Heb. 12) and continued, cognizant will-full deliberate sin, which refuses to repentant when convicted, which testifies to a formal denial of faith.

    A strong indictment against Finney is made by Horton, though i do not concur with all his indictment of of the “New Measures” and attack on men as Moody and Billy Sunday.

  6. I had no idea who Charles Finney is (was) until today. So I have no bias at all, based on the quotes that WERE read I have no reason to believe he was a false prophet.

    I think it was interesting that he was only condemned based on some church creeds and not by scripture.. Anyway it made an interesting discussion and led into a very good 2nd hour of the show, the conviction and repentance theme is great.

    TY,

    Eric.

  7. Looking forward to downloading the mp3 of this in a few hours. (I’m in the UK, so cannot listen live.)

    You pick such great topics, Dr Brown — and you are my new best friend after doing a show with the fabulous phenomenon that is Craig Keener.

    God is good!

  8. It needs to be said that Finney was opposing, as far as I understand it, Calvinistic notions of salvation that have left the people lethargic regarding spiritual truths. One of the notions Finney seemed to be up against was the idea that Jesus’ obedience is a substitute for ours (see “Systematic Theology” p.218, point #2), which might in today’s jargon be equivalent to saying, “God doesn’t see my sin but he sees Jesus.” Revival was needed because the people were lazy to spiritual realities, so it seems to me, having been taught under Calvinism that one cannot do anything for his salvation – Christ does it all – and that only certain ones known only to God were chosen for salvation, the rest are decreed for damnation. Maybe Finney was a little extreme but he was combating the extremism of Calvinistic ideas that strayed away from both reason and Biblical revelation.

  9. Dr. Brown quoted Finney’s understanding of the Gospel and asked Mr. Johnson what is heretical of such preaching. Johnson says Finney used evangelistic terms but meant them quite differently and heretically like a Mormom uses Christian terms. This comparison is unwarranted because, whatever terms a Mormon uses, the “gospel” preached by them is obviously not the Biblical Gospel. Dr. Brown’s point that Finney’s Gospel message, as he preached it, was adequate and notions like “original sin” are unnecessary and external to its proper proclamation.

    Regarding the atonement: (1) I believe it is correct to say that the atonement in and of itself does not secure anyone’s salvation. Mr. Johnson failed to continue Finney’s quote wherein he states, that “the promise and the oath of God, that Christ shall have a seed to serve Him, provide that security.” (2) If salvation in and of itself did secure salvation, then everyone would be secure in salvation since, as 1 Jn 2:2 states, the atonement (“propitiation”) was “not for [our sins] only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” Mr. Johnson, it seems to me, would be advocating not only “security” of salvation but its universal application.

    I also believe Dr. Brown, quite early in the debate, was correct to point out the inaccuracy of Johnson’s assertions that Finney is damned on the basis of his theology. Theology may affect one’s conduct but theology in and of itself is not the determinative factor in establishing one’s eternal destiny. Matthew 7:21-23 seems to show that their theology was correct – “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord” – but their condemnation was not based on their theology but on their conduct: “depart from me”, not “you false theologians”, but “you workers of iniquity.” I think that was the point of Jesus’ message, the prophet may come with all the correct terms, phrases, and interpretations of Torah, but are they living according to their profession of the Torah? Is their conduct consistent with their correct teaching of Torah?

    That is not to downplay the importance of right theology but it does show that in and of itself theology is not determinative of how God will pronounce judgement. Yet, this is another error in Calvinist thinking, that one must accurately understand/believe the Gospel (which is limited to their form) or else he is not saved or, at the least, their salvation is suspect.

    When it comes down to the heart of the matter, here is one who has preached salvation by the Cross and led many to a real and radical saving experience and Johnson condems him to hell. And here today, however correct in “theology”, the American church can’t seem to even break through the hardness of men’s hearts with a little conviction, let alone induce them to cry out to God in repentance; and damn to hell him who, if he had a sword in each hand, could not strike down each person as fast as they were falling on their knees in loud cries of repentance to God under his preaching of the message of Christ.

    Makes one wonder why the devil would use Finney in such a marvelous way with such heretical teaching and preach Christ in such a way as to produce genuine conversions.

    Just one more point, just because ministers today may overplay Finney’s “new methods”, like calling sinners to the “altar” and saying prayers of repentance, does not necessarily mean Finney’s use of them was or its use today is without Biblical warrant.

    Okay, okay, I admit, I take attacks against Finney quite personally…

  10. Thank you for this show. I appreciate the insight you gave to Charles who called in and asked about where we should go if the level of conviction in the preaching of a church is discouragingly low. Your advice was to pray for the preacher/brother for the conviction of the Holy Spirit to come forth. It can be a hard thing to do to stay in such a place and be used in a quiet hidden way but I imagine that it is pleasing to God let alone affective for all the people. Just being in such a place as a person desiring deep change and revival will inevitably make a difference too I think. Praise God!

  11. Does God no longer convict?

    If so, what then?

    Has he walked away?

    Has he withdrawn himself?

    What can we do?

    All I know to do right now, is ask for conviction such as is in proportion to, and is sufficient, according to my sin, and ask that I still have the grace of God to turn from it, and unto him.

    May we never loose that.

    I still believe that a right brotherhood in Christ will have the power to convict a sinner, for if one falls, one may help him up, but if two are there to help, there is more strength. When two or more are gathered in his name, Jesus said he will be there, and a threefold cord is stronger than one strand by itself.

    Still, I would like to see one that can chase a thousand. I think Charles Finney may have been one of those. We need men like that today.

  12. I am glad that Jerry Johnson is not God. The history of Christianity and Christians is laden with imperfect theology. I am grateful that God looketh on the heart and not the imperfection of our theology. After all, not all of us are learned. I pray that in spite of his hardcore take on the faithful Finney he will not be held to the same harsh judgement. Perhaps he should spend more time spreading the Love of Jesus.

  13. I wonder if we should pray that we will be judged according to how we judge others. (Matt 7:1,2 & I John 5:14) Maybe that’s what it takes to save us.

    Those that are wrong in their theology, or even deceived into predicting the day of the return of Christ, and the exact date of the day of judgment, don’t usually trouble me as much as a man being deliberately deceitful to me.

    A man that is deliberately false to my face, can be one that troubles me, especially if he is in some position of authority in the Church.

    I think there are wrong people and then there are false people. I think there’s a difference, but I don’t always know the difference.

    Sometimes those that are simply wrong on something, if you get close enough to them, appear to be deliberately wrong, willfully wrong.
    Those I find to be the most troubling.

    I still wonder if two or three good men, sizing up the situation as it really is, having prayed, searched the scriptures, verified as many of the facts, being willing to hear everything that pertains to a situation, being swift to hear anything that has merit, being unwilling to hear
    vanity, knowing the difference, being all together because they have the mind of Christ concerning a particular situation, should be able to settle a matter, like a few good men should be able to, right quick, after a little time and patience, and bring a wrong man to restoration by the gospel of Christ.

    I hope for a brotherhood like that, one that is able to do that whenever someone has been hurt by such a one and has come to them for help.

    And I know there are things we simply should just forbear, not being that important, suffering as Christ suffered the weaknesses of men.

    We have to choose our battles don’t we? Some will not be worth fighting for, and some will be.

  14. One can use Hitler as an illustration that some positive aspects of a person does not overcome their overall negative fruit, and the Mormons to illustrate that terms can be misused, but with Finney this testifies to a lack of objectivity. For while it seems clear that Finney was wrong in some of his theological conclusions, he was not fostering hatred of Jews nor leading souls by denying the nature of God and Deity of Christ, or eternal torment, or the need for repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus death and resurrection to be saved.

    He did deny the doctrine of original sin, and one should deny man is born with a constitutional proclivity to sin, yet the aspect of doomed infants due to something they did not do is problematic for Calvinism, (http://www.gospeltruth.net/menbornsinners/mbs08.htm) as should infant baptism, while Finney strongly condemned men as sinners in need of conversion.

    Finney’s rejection of substitutionary atonement is understandable insofar as the position that Christ suffered in Hell the equivalent of out eternal torment, but he would be wrong if he denies that Christ bore our sins and died for them, (1Cor. 15:3) the just for the unjust, (1Pt. 2:24; 3:18), which i am not aware he did deny.

    And the gospel does not require that we understand how that all works, but requires faith that Jesus died for our sins and rose again, and therefore we have redemption thru His blood.

    And Finney states,

    “Plainly, I am to believe in Him, as the Savior. That is, that He tasted death for every man, and that He hath given us eternal life.” “I must believe, not only, that He died for all, but for me; not only that justification is offered to all, but to me; and true faith, is accepting of eternal salvation at his hand.” – http://www.gospeltruth.net/1843OE/430802_unbelief.htm

    As it is, Jesus death is a multifaceted work, with redemption, ransom, victory, sacrifice, satisfaction, example, and substitute being ll used to describe and explain it.

    J.I. Packer states…
    “All this, being so, it might be hard to find an account of penal substitution which could safely be taken as standard or as fully representative, and it will certainly be more straight-forward if I venture an analysis of my own.” http://www.the-highway.com/cross_Packer.html

    Perhaps no famous preacher has been analyzed more than Finney, and overall, while (from what i heard) the video makes some valid charges, it seems to lacks objectivity, and to focuses more on aspects of Finneys theology in determining that Finney is in Hell, and that his converts were unsaved (inferred?), rather than whether he preached what the hearers in Acts heard and assented to in being converted.

  15. About the origional sin, I don’t think infants have sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression (Romans 5:14) nevertheless, all who have died have been made subject to death.

    There is an age of accoutability isn’t there?

    While reading The Pilgrim’s Progress, I read of how one of Christianna’s boys ate of the fruit of one of the trees on the left side of the way they were going, (the way that Christian himself had gone, prior to their leaving the City of Destruction) as it’s bough hung over the wall.

    It turned out that it was the fruit of one of the trees of Beelzebub’s orchard that the boy knocked down and ate.

    This made the boy very sick later on, giving him a bad case of the Gripes, for he ate something that was working inside of him, something that he wasn’t made to digest.

    It took a remedy prepared by the physician Mr. Skill according to his expertise in such matters, made from such things as we read of in the scripture, such as things pertaining to sacrifices, and the cross of Christ, concerning which the boy took to be distastful, though his mother told him that it was as sweet as honey.

    Take it he did, for as his mother said, that if he loved his mother and his brothers, Mercy, and his life also, he would take it, and he did begin to recover, wondering why it is that the medicine
    for the most part should be bitter to the taste.

    Prudence explained to him some of these questions he had. The boy had so many questions and Prudence supplied the answers one at a time.

  16. correction: cross in post 19 should be with a capital “C”.

    It’s like Prudence said, that when the Word works effectually, the heart and mind are cleansed by it.

  17. This “debate” points out indeed what #13, Nelson, found so. And it begs for a definition of terms, especially the term “Gospel” as Paul defined it to be. The Gospel is not relative to the preacher, or charismatic experience of gifts and gifting, or doctrines of Baptisms, but stands on the life, death, resurrection, and 40 day instruction of Jesus the Christ. Finney is famous for an emphasis on the Baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38 & 39) and revivalism. Such is not mentioned as constituting the Gospel by Paul, Peter, or John, but is recorded in Acts as a confirming and embolding reality for believers as witnesses of Jesus.

    I find much written in the VOR on-line magazine to add to the confusion which has been propagated by the so-called Charismatic movement remaining stuck on charismatic experience, accompanying its emphasis on earth bound ministry, rather than the work of Jesus Christ and His present ministry of intercession for His own. It seems that a commonly shared definition of the term “Gospel” is not clear by writers there, as is confused by an ongoing Kingdom interpretation agenda.

    It is not Pentecostalism which justifies and saves, nor, in many instances of glaring error as to scriptural fidelity and Charismatic insistence, any human minister locus of control of believers in assembly, or other issues of codependency and religious meeting behavioral excess [pump em up and whip em up]. It seems that proponents of Pentecostalism insist on utterance of tongues and interpretation in meetings as of equal regard with the Gospel and New Testament scripture–which it is not according to the guidelines of Jesus and Paul on the subject of Holy Spirit manifestation and real purpose in accompanying believers in this life.

    Finney’s insistence on religious and charismatic experience on top of the regeneration known by receiving the divine word of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is questionable. This especially looms as to his meeting based revival experience emphasis above simple heart faith and related works linkage to the Gospel of the King (of the past visitation, the coming Kingdom, and now established mystery Kingdom of God in Christ). Salvation in a soul is a matter of object and verb associations being loyal to the Lord himself, rather than meeting based behaviors. Pentecost was given to aid the sharing of the Gospel, not vice-versa.

    And so, today’s carriers of a Finney type meeting agenda insistence may be placing themselves between the believer’s direct faith in Jesus as Lord, through meeting based religious insistences and their affirmations being the “only” Way of Christ. As I read the Gospel accounts, though mass meetings do occur, there is no mention in them of charismatic insistence nor as to such as being the fulcrum to gaining ascent over a hill of religious confirmation of connection to Christ.

  18. @Nelson Banuchi

    “That is not to downplay the importance of right theology but it does show that in and of itself theology is not determinative of how God will pronounce judgement.”

    Then we have no basis for any discussion with Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, Roman Catholics etc. etc. etc. They have theology and since that theology is not “determinative” then you not anyone else have any meaningful basis to evangelize them with truth for according to your view they have their “truth” we have our so let us just get along and sing kumbaya…

    “Yet, this is another error in Calvinist thinking, that one must accurately understand/believe the Gospel (which is limited to their form) or else he is not saved or, at the least, their salvation is suspect.”

    Nope Sir that is a caricature and a straw man that you like to kick around and not Reformed Faith by any means. I know you have been confronted before about grotesque absurdity of your statements about the Reformed Faith yet obviously with no effect. Moving away from you to general observations this is an amazing but rather consistent characteristic of someone who wants to look on himself first and not the issue via his learning, his presuppositions, his experiences, his circle of friends and comfort and his likes only…

    This is in line with what prince of preachers said:

    “The basis of Arminian theology lies in attaching undue importance to man, and giving God rather the second place than the first.”
    – Charles Haddon Spurgeon

  19. #23

    It is clear that Nelson was not knocking having correct theology, but that it is not a protocol over and above right living, or doing and being in Christ. Even the demons believe Jesus is who he said He is. But this does not deliver them to the foot of His cross, for their justification.

  20. Dear Jabez,

    “above right living, or doing and being in Christ.”

    All the “right” living, “right” doing and “right” being apart from truth and mercy given by God is worthless. For all the right doing, living and being flows out of this first as John 6:37 teaches.
    If you see it that way then your comment about demons from James 2:19 is completely besides the point here.

    You can call it a “protocol.” I will call it the truth of Gospel as given in Mercy bringing new life from above and as such IT DOES MATTER and IT DOES make all the difference in this and any other world.

    All blessings,

    D.

  21. I hope to meet Charles Finney in heaven one day.

    If ever there was a “mixer” or some kind of social event that was open to the general public, if I could get by the man at the gate, I would like to meet the man.

    If I was ever asked if I ever called him a false prophet, I would like to be able to answer truthfully, “No Sir!”…or at least be able to say, “Well I did once, but I was wrong and repented of it…I had once been walking in some darkenss for awhile, in the past age, not looking unto the glory of this time as I should have been…I thought too much of the world that then was and …”

  22. Despeville, actually, Nelson’s points about Finney were nuanced and helpful. You should do your best to understand his points before launching such a strongly worded attack.

  23. Aargh! It’s the new blockbuster film, ‘Calvinism:Attack of the Pedants’.

    Mine is a serious point, albeit made in my chirpy Cockney style. When we read John chapter 4, it’s not exactly a theologically thorough witnessing encounter, is it? “Come see a man who told me everything I ever did — could he be the Christ?” And what about Acts 16:30-31? Ah, well, that’s an acceptable gospel presentation, because at least they didn’t do one of those evil Altar Calls.

    It reminds me of the attacks on Jesus: “Ooh, look, he’s healing on the SABBATH! Ooh, look, he’s not preaching the way WE do it! Check him out, sitting with his SINFUL FRIENDS! Anyway, he’s not a proper theologian, he’s just a carpenter…”

    As has been noted by other posters, I am thankful that God’s standards are lower than Mr Johnson’s.

    PS Did you know that about 80% of people come to Christ before the age of 20? Most 8-yr-old I know can’t even spell Penal Substitutionary Atonement …

  24. Hello,
    i am only a Gentile outsider who studies Holy Scripture,but i have a comment.

    In all countries,and all centuries until Jesus returns,Scripture tells disciples to love their enemies.
    On 13 February 1546,in a letter to Farel,Calvin said ‘If he (Michael Servetus] comes [to Geneva] i shall never let him go out alive,if my authority has weight’.
    In all countries,and all centuries until Jesus returns,Scripture tells disciples to heap burning coals on the head of their enemies – in 1553,a small fire burned at the feet of Michael Servetus.
    When confronted by Nathan,David repented of what he had done.
    In 1554,when Calvin was confronted by what had been done,Calvin composed a second defense document.

    In the light of Matthew Chapters 7:15-23 and 12:33-37,what are objective minds to make of that fruit,and those words ?
    Is the state of a man’s garments (Revelation 3:4-5) revealed by how he treats his friends,or his enemies ?

    When people are first taught Calvinism,are they told how Calvin treated his enemies – or does it go unmentioned ?
    When they in turn teach Calvinism to others,do they tell them upfront,or do they leave it unmentioned ?
    The problem is,i feel,if they knew upfront,they never would have sat at Calvin’s feet in the first place.
    By the time they find out,if they ever do,pride,and the dirt-friendly effect of OSAS (note Revelation 3:4-5) can serve to prevent them from admitting to themselves,or others,that they have been mistaught.

    For a free article on Calvin’s fruit,type ‘His Ashes Cry out Against John Calvin’ into a search engine.
    Get ‘The Reformers and their Stepchildren’ by Leonard Verduin for an informative account of the methods used to populate the camps (and deal with the opponents of ) Catholic and Reformed Protestant leaders.

    Is it honourable to Jesus,and Scripture,to talk about the fruits of whoever,whilst dwelling in the Reformed Theology camp – a camp which was built with the use of magistrates and violence,neither of which have any part to play in an authentic expansion of the Kingdom of God ?

    Matthew 7:20 ‘So then,you will know them by their fruits’. NASB
    ‘If he (Michael Servetus] comes [to Geneva] i shall never let him go out alive,if my authority has weight’.
    If that is not bad fruit,what is ?
    Can a man have both sustained hatred and soundness,or,are they mutually exclusive ?

  25. The key contention is that of what meaneth grace.
    Both Arminianism and Calvinism, as i somewhat poorly understand them, hold that man, due to total depravity, cannot salvifically respond to God’s command to repent and believe unless God enables it:

    Arminius stated that,

    “Evangelical faith is an assent of the mind, produced by the Holy Spirit, through the Gospel, in sinners, who through the law know and acknowledge their sins, and are penitent on account of them.”

    And that “faith, and faith only, is imputed for righteousness. By this alone are we justified before God, absolved from our sins, and are accounted, pronounced and declared RIGHTEOUS by God..”

    This ability to repent was referred to by Wesley as prevenient grace. A difference is that while Arminianism believes that man must respond to be born again, which would constitute a work, Calvinism holds that regeneration precedes the exercise of faith. Acts 15:8,9 may be used for this, if chronological, but seems to be in contrary to what the majority of texts teach. (Acts 2:38; 8:15-17; Eph. 1:13)

    The Arminian side can argue that even thinking, as a volitional response, is a work, and that “not by works” does not mean man is passively regenerated, but that it precludes any response of man, even if done by God’s grace, as making man morally worthy of eternal life, though in judgment works are used as a testimony as to whether one has true faith or not. (Mt. 25:31-36; Rm. 2:7,8,13; cf. Heb. 5:9)

    Roman Catholicism holds that, while a soul may be initially justified by grace, their good works done by grace truly merits the attainment of eternal life itself, and that by receiving grace from Rome’s treasury of merit, they can merit for themselves and for others the graces needed for the attainment of eternal life. (Catechism of the Catholic church, Part 3, Life in Christ, Merit, 2010; Trent, Canons Concerning Justification, Canon 32)

    A key difference is also that Calvinism holds that only the elect are given salvific grace to believe, and that such cannot resist His will, based on Rm. 9:19, while Arminius believed that prevenient grace is also given to those who reject it. This leads to the charge that Arminianism does not believe in depravity being total, as it allows that potentially all men could respond to God before being born again, and that they are denying the sovereignty of God, by allowing man to choose, contrary to Rm. 9.

    In contrast to both, Finney rejects that man is constitutionally disabled from responding to God, which is an overreaction to the Calvinsim’ if his day stressing that man can do nothing to save himself until he is moved by God to do so, which is true, but the Bible treats men as if they are all able to repent and holds them responsible for not doing, with the Lord even weeping over the lost, and thus Arminianism holds that all men are given grace to repent (or maybe grace that would lead to that ability) and can resist the will of God.

    I myself do not find i can reconcile both sides, nor feel i need to, and kind of plead Ps. 131 on this, but hold that “The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit, ” (Psalms 34:18) who thus trust in the risen Lord Jesus to save them by His blood and righteousness.

    And which i see Finney’s preaching effecting, as he stressed the holiness and justice of almighty God, and the need and responsiblt of man to repent and believe directly on Christ, versus confidence in one’s merit or church. .

    How man can repent, and how the atonement works such need not know to be saved, though it does have its place in theology, and affects how one preaches.

  26. #33, you apparently are missing that “in Christ” is not a sufficient qualification and needs to be qualified further because for example Jehovah Witnesses claim to be “in Christ” as well…

  27. Dr.Brown,

    “You should do your best to understand his points before launching such a strongly worded attack.”

    I do understand were your loyalties are Sir but I did understand his points as there was no “attack” and not strongly worded either… Perhaps instead you should give a consideration to this below comment by Mr.Nelson Banuchi as a real strong attack and and unfair caricature of the Reformed Faith solely for the needs of his rethoric:

    ““Yet, this is another error in Calvinist thinking, that one must accurately understand/believe the Gospel (which is limited to their form) or else he is not saved or, at the least, their salvation is suspect.”
    ~ Nelson Banuchi

    To which I can only reply with the words of prince of preachers again:

    “The basis of Arminian theology lies in attaching undue importance to man, and giving God rather the second place than the first.”
    – Charles Haddon Spurgeon

    Thank you and goodbye and all blessings.

  28. Despeville, this has nothing to do with loyalties. My comments to you are only meant to help you grow in truth, as I seek to grow every day of my life as well. There are wonderful Calvinists in the Body and wonderful Arminians, and my ultimate loyalty is to the Word and to the Lord.

    As for Nelson’s comments, he is accurately repeating what others posted in this forum in lengthy discussions in past months.

    As for Spurgeon’s comments, with all respect to the “Prince of Preachers,” he could hardly be more inaccurate or wrong — and I say this as one who was an ardent Calvinist for five years, with many a Spurgeon quote in my arsenal. The truth be told, Arminians are jealous for the glory of God and see that glory compromised by Calvinism.

    Grace to you!

  29. “#33, you apparently are missing that “in Christ” is not a sufficient qualification and needs to be qualified further because for example Jehovah Witnesses claim to be “in Christ” as well…” – Despeville

    Following Jesus is absolutely sufficient – haven’t you read about who Jesus forgave…they weren’t well-versed rule followers, they were regular folks with softened hearts who followed and obeyed him. He didn’t assign them worksheets and tests to be sure they had all their facts straight. How’d these people get saved prior to the occurence of “The Gospel” anyway?

    “…there was no “attack” and not strongly worded either” – Despeville

    You actually got fairly creative in your insult saying “I know you have been confronted before…”. Do you actually know anything about that person or did you merely go out of your way to be rude via fantasy (basically, just like you were warned about)? Your offensive reaction was reminiscient of the revelations about Calvin’s monsterous side. The fact that you’re denying it is, quite frankly, impossible to believe.

    “Perhaps instead you should give a consideration to this below comment by Mr.Nelson Banuchi as a real strong attack…”- Despeville

    Have you read the story where Jesus forgave the thief on the cross? What Nelson Banuchi said in your quote of him has to be true for that story to be possible, surely you can see that. Calling that a “real strong attack” is a bit of an over-reaction, and dismissing your attack as mild mannered is a serious under-reaction. Surely you’re concerned enough about the truth to not let these facts become swallowed utterly by personal biases.

    “To which I can only reply with the words of prince of preachers again:” – Despeville

    The quote you supply doesn’t help much without adding connections…as presented your reply is too vague.

  30. Well, that was interesting. I appreciate everyone’s support and just for the record, Despeville’s remark that he knows I have been confronted with misrepresenting Calvinism is very strange as I do not know him and have no idea what he’s talking about.

    It should be noted that Spurgeon also said something to the effect that “Calvinism is the Gospel”, a phrase oftentimes repeated by Calvinists.

    All I can say in response to Despeville’s comments in general is that I disagree with his assessment of my remarks and seek to assure him that there was no intent to insult anyone’s person by it.

  31. Hello Bob T,
    do read the free article Bob,and get Leonard’s book if you want a really meaty account.
    It is so maety that to get the best from it,i suggest reading it briskly first (to spy out the bookland,as it were),and then,read it again at a slower pace.
    It is awful that millions are implanted with beliefs that come from the Reformed and Catholic camp,without awareness of the fruit.
    Tell people before they get implanted.
    Mark

  32. Is there not clearly a tension in scripture between calvanism and Arminianism? It seems to me that a required adherence to either is evidence of a lack of true faith which is being substituted by intellectual knowledge. We would do well to notice that only in a western, “civilized” and intellectualized culture do we waste so much time and energy on such things. Is it just my experience that the more I come to know christ the less important these questions become because the Answer himself is truly all I need. He is not a doctrine or theology but rather a person. Those who don’t know the Lord simply laugh at the squabbles we throw around while completely aware of our lack of true spiritual authority. Please don’t misunderstand these comments as being dismissive of correct doctrine…in fact they are just the opposite. But let’s not get the cart before the horse. We don’t know him by our doctrines but rather by his spirit, who alone can lead us into all truth(doctrines) which is why it says “the letter kills but the spirit brings life”. The letter without the spirit has brought much death to this world already…did they not crucify Jesus based on a carnal(human-reasoned) interpretation of the very scripture He wrote!?!?(of course that was his plan all along). And what of the crusades, witch hunts, anti-semitism etc…all done in the name of Jesus! Let’s approach his word with humility and the understanding that we need his illumination!

  33. “The truth be told, Arminians are jealous for the glory of God and see that glory compromised by Calvinism.”

    And vice versa Dr.Brown. Grace to you as well!

  34. Wasn’t whitfield a calvanist? Didn’t he also have a powerful anointing? Kinda reminds me in a way of the whole Brownsville vs Toronto movements. Both had amazing fruit and preached different meassages. Is it possible that our anointing isn’t based on our doctrines but rather our nearness to God? God moves in spite of our doctrines…which, again, are not clearly defined in scripture concerning calvanism and Arminianism as they are BOTH extremes.

  35. Dave, Are you granting affirmation to the notion that the “gifts of God are given without repentance”? Does Charismatic assumptive excess then apply?

    There seem to be many dichotomies raised falsely in pitting some notions against others. For example, it is written that with the heart one believes and with the lips confession is made unto salvation. Then we hear about only giving lip service, as such…

  36. No, not all. Repentance is not my point. I am not defending either position. I think extremes on both positions are foolish, especially when the scriptures are clearly not clear! There are brilliant minds in both camps that can convincingly argue their position and convince the less “learned” but, neither able to see the clear, intentional tension the Lord allows to make room for true faith. I am simply saying what I said with no insinuations made.

  37. Also, I know you take issue with “charasmatic excess”, as you’ve mentioned a few times in the past, but my points have nothing to do with that. Rather, the issue I have is the fruitlessness of religious debate. I’ve heard it all before, especially concerning things that aren’t biblically clear…or maybe better said that the bible gives some creedence to both perspectives….and It causes division and argument, neither of which are godly.

  38. Can someone point out “the monsterous side” of Calvin for me, please?

    I really wish I understood this more clearly. I liked Dr. Brown’s debate with James White, and it was ALL GOOD — EXCEPT one point: there really was not a good explanation of Romans 9 “I will mercy whom I will, and harden whom I will.” An explanation WAS given; but it didn’t “satisfy” me (my need for an answer).
    After all, Paul says,

    “I 10And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, 11though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls— 12she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” 13As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

    14What shall we say then? IS THERE INJUSTICE ON GOD’S PART? (meaning, your FIRST THOUGHT, when you see this doctrine is — “what!? that doesn’t sound fair!”) By no means! 15For he says to Moses, “I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I WILL HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I WILL HAV COMPASSION.” 16So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. 17For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18SO, THEN HE HAS MERCY ON WHOMEVER HE WILLS, AND HARDENS WHOMEVER HE WILLS.

    19YOU WILL SAY TO ME, THEN, “WHY DOES HE STILL FIND FAULT? FOR WHO CAN RESIST HIS WILL?” 20 (the rebuttal is:) BUT WHO ARE YOU, O MAN, TO ANSWER BACK TO GOD? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” 21Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use?

    The idea being put forth here is that GOD CHOSE TO CREATE VESSELS FOR DESTRUCTION, AND SOME FOR HONORABLE USE — AT HIS WHIM; AND WHO ARE YOU TO ANSWER HIM BACK?!!
    The natural response to understanding this CORRECTLY would be — what!? that’s not fair!! that means that NO ONE can stop what God has made them to be!! Why would God punish me for doing something that I have no power at all to stop myself from doing? — and Paul says, “Yeah, I knew you would say that; and the answer to your question is: HOW DARE YOU ANSWER BACK TO THE CREATOR?!!

    That is the answer of Scripture: Yes, God created people for destruction and some for honor — so what? God has that right!! He is God!! Who are YOU — a MAN — to answer Him back?

    This is what it seems Scripture is saying.
    This would lead me to the happy conclusion that if I am in Christ, I have been chosen as a vessel of honor; but it doesn’t mean that I can never become a vessel of wrath again — in Romans 9, the natural branches are cut off for unbelief, and the Christians are told that if they ever go into unbelief, they will also be cut off, making them vessels of WRATH again —

    “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the WRATH of God remains on him.” — John 3:36

    This is talking about those who “fail the test of faith” — people such as the Galatians (had).

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