Finney, Charles Grandison

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Finney, Charles Grandison

Charles Grandison Finney, 1792–1875, American evangelist, theologian, and educator, b. Warren, Conn. Licensed to the Presbyterian ministry in 1824, he had phenomenal success as a revivalist in the Eastern states, converting many who became noted abolitionists. In 1834 the Broadway Tabernacle, New York City, was organized for him. Under his leadership this church withdrew from its presbytery and adopted the Congregational form of government. In 1837, Finney went to Oberlin College, where he was professor of theology until 1875 and president of the college from 1851 to 1865. At the same time he was pastor of the Oberlin Congregational Church and continued his evangelistic tours until his death, twice visiting England to conduct revivals. His theological writings, published chiefly in the Oberlin Evangelist, which he founded and edited, were of great influence and set the tone of "Oberlin theology," one of the forms of New School Calvinism. His Lectures on Revivals of Religion (1835) became the classic book for generations of revivalists.

See his memoirs (1876, repr. 1973); study by V. R. Edman (1951); W. G. McLoughlin, Modern Revivalism (1959).

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