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Finney, Charles - Timeline Biography

Time Period

08-29-1792 - 08-16-1875

Description

After a religious conversion in 1821, Finney left his law practice to become an evangelist. Licensed by the Presbyterian Church, Finney began conducting revivals in small New York towns and spreading to large urban centers, like Philadelphia, Boston, and Rochester (1827-1832). Standing more than six feet tall with piercing eyes, he called people forward to the "anxious bench," where individuals wrestled with sin and sought forgiveness. These "new measures" proved effective during the Second Great Awakening.

Some criticized Finney of abandoning traditional Calvinist teachings and emphasizing human ability and social reform. Unlike popular Calvinist thought, Finney believed that God had given people free will and they should strive for divine salvation. Seeking to establish God’s kingdom on earth, Finney promoted abolitionism, temperance, and the growing role of women. In 1851, he became president of Oberlin College in Ohio, one of the first American colleges to accept both women and black students.

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Religious Groups

Presbyterian-Reformed Family: Other ARDA Links
Presbyterian-Reformed Family: Religious Family Tree

Events

Charles Finney's Rochester Revival
New School-Old School Controversy Splits the General Assembly
The Second Great Awakening

Movements

The Second Great Awakening

Related Dictionary Terms

Presbyterian-Reformed Family

Photographs

Charles Finney portrait- Internet Archive- from Memoirs of Rev. Charles G. Finney
Charles Finney portrait- Internet Archive- from Memoirs of Rev. Charles G. Finney

Charles Finney portrait- Internet Archive- from Appletons' Cyclopaedia of American Biography, vol 2 by James Grant Wilson and John Fiske
Charles Finney portrait- Internet Archive- from Appletons' Cyclopaedia of American Biography, vol 2 by James Grant Wilson and John Fiske

Charles Finney praying- Internet Archive- from Evangelized America by Grover C. Loud
Charles Finney praying- Internet Archive- from Evangelized America by Grover C. Loud

Charles Finney portrait- Internet Archive- from Charles Grandison Finney by William C. Cochran
Charles Finney portrait- Internet Archive- from Charles Grandison Finney by William C. Cochran

Book/Journal Source(s)

Queen, Edward, Stephen Prothero and Gardiner Shattuck, 1996. The Encyclopedia of American Religious History New York: Facts on File.
Reid, Daniel, Robert Linder, Bruce Shelley, and Harry Stout, 1990. Dictionary of Christianity in America Downers Grove, IL.

Web Source(s)

https://www.britannica.com/biography/Charles-Grandison-Finney
Charles Finney's Encyclopedia Britannica Biography.

Web Page Contributor

Benjamin T. Gurrentz
Affliated with: Pennsylvania State University, Ph.D. in Sociology

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