Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Book Review: "Power from on High" by Charles Finney


Many people are unaware that Charles Finney was actually a very dangerous heretic. Today he remains a little popular in Pentecostal/Charismatic circles; I think because these circles are easily attracted to passionate individuals. But as Paul the apostle warned, there is a zeal without knowledge that is deadly (Romans 10:1-4).

Charles Finney did not understand and did not preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. He created his own systematic theology that was based on the wisdom of man and was not based on the Scriptures. Finney knew nothing of the righteousness that is ours through faith in Jesus Christ apart from the works of law (Romans 1:17, 3:21-26). To Finney, a person could only be saved if they stopped sinning and obeyed the law of God. Righteousness was based upon works, not the death of Christ and faith alone in Him. Such is human, natural wisdom that seems to make sense but is actually death, because the Scriptures teach us that no one can be justified before God by their works (Rom. 3:19-20, Gal. 3:10), and our own experience shows us this is true. The law of God can only condemn us. While it seems to make sense that we should obey God's law in order to be right with Him, such a path leads to destruction. The wisdom of God is Christ. As guilty sinners we look away from ourselves and from our works and put our trust completely in another for our righteousness and our salvation. Finney sadly did not understand this.

This book is filled with that human wisdom which says: if you want God's blessings you need to obey God's law. If you want power, you need to work for it. Finney lays down all sorts of rules which have an appearance of wisdom but will ultimately not help and will only harm a person who follows his advice. It reminds me exactly of Paul's saying in Colossians 2:23:

"These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh."

Everyone who has followed Finney's advice has experienced what Paul has said. Even in Finney's day, the young men who followed him got burned out and many eventually fell away from the faith. Please beware of this false teacher. Satan sends his ministers as "ministers of righteousness" but they are not true ministers of righteousness (2 Cor. 11:15).

Let me strongly encourage you to read Horatius Bonar's book "God's Way of Peace." This is one of the greatest books on the gospel one can read. Reading it will be one of the best things in life you've ever done.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8... 

Beware of Charles Finney



A reply to someone who asked me about Charles Finney's book "Power from on High".

Greetings T----,

Many people are unaware that Charles Finney was actually a very dangerous heretic. Today he remains a little popular in Pentecostal/Charismatic circles; I think because these circles are easily attracted to passionate individuals. But as Paul the apostle warned, there is a zeal without knowledge that is deadly (Romans 10:1-4).

Charles Finney did not understand and did not preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. He created his own systematic theology that was based on the wisdom of man and was not based on the Scriptures. Finney knew nothing of the righteousness that is ours through faith in Jesus Christ apart from the works of law (Romans 1:17, 3:21-26). To Finney, a person could only be saved if they stopped sinning and obeyed the law of God. Righteousness was based upon works, not the death of Christ and faith alone in Him. Such is human, natural wisdom that seems to make sense but is actually death, because the Scriptures teach us that no one can be justified before God by their works (Rom. 3:19-20, Gal. 3:10), and our own experience shows us this is true. The law of God can only condemn us. While it seems to make sense that we should obey God's law in order to be right with Him, such a path leads to destruction. The wisdom of God is Christ. As guilty sinners we look away from ourselves and from our works and put our trust completely in another for our righteousness and our salvation. Finney sadly did not understand this.

This book is filled with that human wisdom which says: if you want God's blessings you need to obey God's law. If you want power, you need to work for it. Finney lays down all sorts of rules which have an appearance of wisdom but will ultimately not help and will only harm a person who follows his advice. It reminds me exactly of Paul's saying in Colossians 2:23:

"These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh."

Everyone who has followed Finney's advice has experienced what Paul has said. Even in Finney's day, the young men who followed him got burned out and many eventually fell away from the faith. Please beware of this false teacher. Satan sends his ministers as "ministers of righteousness" but they are not true ministers of righteousness (2 Cor. 11:15).

Let me strongly encourage you to read Horatius Bonar's book "God's Way of Peace." This is one of the greatest books on the gospel one can read. Reading it will be one of the best things in life you've ever done.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8... 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A Christ-Like Gift

I wrote the following for the local Herald Journal newspaper as a response to someone who commented on the recent same-sex marriages that took place in Cache County, saying that they couldn't think of a more "Christ-like" gift.

----------------

Hello,
You mentioned that you couldn't think of a more Christ-like gift. But let's think for a moment about what would qualify a gift as "Christ-like".
A Christ-like gift would not be a gift that disregards the Word of God. It would not be a gift that disregards right and wrong, and that conforms to whatever is popular. For this very reason a Christ-like gift would not be much appreciated by a God-hating world.
When we read in the Bible about Christ (which is where we learn about Christ and what a Christ-like gift is) and when we read about the gift that He gave to the world, it was the gift of Himself dying on the cross for our sins. His gift is the forgiveness of sins, not the ignoring of sins; His gift is reconciliation to God because of a violated law, not the nullification of the law of God. Christ was rejected because of His stand for the Word of God. Christ upheld the law of God and therefore no Christ-like gift would condone homosexuality, which is explicitly condemned in the law (Lev. 20:13). These are simply the facts.
Before it is pointed out that the law also supports certain things that we don't practice anymore (such as stoning and not eating pork), it is essential to understand that there are many things in the law that were strictly ceremonial and with the coming of Christ they have ceased to be obligatory. But the moral aspect of the law never changes because it is the expression of the righteous character of God who never changes.
The reason we don't stone people anymore is not because sins have ceased to be sins, nor have they ceased to be serious. The reason why stoning shouldn't happen is because, as Jesus said, "He who has no sin cast the first stone." (John 8:7) We are not to think that today nobody deserves death according to God, but rather, according to Romans 1:28-32 we ALL deserve death and therefore no one is qualified to be the judge but God alone. God alone is the judge of the world and He has every right to throw stones, but at Christmastime we remember that He sent His Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but to die for the world, on the cross for our sins, so that we would not have to die but can have eternal life. This is God's great mercy towards sinners, which includes all of us.
So a true Christ-like gift would look like forgiving others even though they are sinners and don't deserve it. Forgiveness isn't about worthiness and deserts, but, as the Bible shows us, it's all about grace. Let's all give the Christ-like gift of forgiveness this year and always. That doesn't mean nullifying the law and saying things aren't sins when they really are, but it does mean forgiving and embracing each other as sinners, and helping each other through our trials and temptations. I can't think of a more Christ-like gift than that.