Moreover, many of the religions followers were being converted to Finney's theological teachings.3 As Charles Finney's following grew in numbers, so did the criticism he received from those who felt as if Finney was threading and invading their own territories.4
As it has been mentioned, Finney's lectures were broken down by his staunchest opponents. Every single detail of his teachings was analyzed to reveal anything that they might be able to use against him. The following discussion will focus on Finney's thoughts and how these differed from the traditional teachings of the Church. Furthermore, the reactions of various groups and individuals to Charles Finney's lectures will likewise be included in the discussion. The primary objective in undertaking such analyses is to reveal the rationale behind the Finney's castigation.
Finney asserts that the need for a revival comes from the assumption that the church is in a, "backslidden state."5 Furthermore, Finney believes that a revival is the rise of the church from its backsliding. This should happen together with the conversion of sinners.6 Finney believes that revival is but merely the commencement of the people's new obedience to God. He furthers this by saying,
A revival according to Finney is the renewal of the Ch...
g from the backslidden state where members of the church were blind to the state of sinners.8 In this backslidden state, Christians do not see the reality of the truth embedded in the scriptures. Although it may seem as if they admit to such truth, and that, "their conscience and judgment assent to it," the faith of Christians does not see such truth as it stands out in reality.9
Furthermore, Finney believes that,
A revival breaks the power of the world and of sin over Christians. It brings them to such a vantage ground that they get a fresh impulse towards heaven. They have a foretaste of heaven, and new desire after union with God; and the charm of the world is broken, and the power of sin overcome. 10
In all of Finney's thoughts regarding revival, one element stands out. Finney's concept of revival is not one that is a gift from heaven. Finney did not believe that a revival is a product of a miracle and that the church needs not to do anything but accept such gift from God. This is what one may deduce from Finney's statements on the origin of a revival, "A revival is not a miracle, nor dependant on a miracle, in any sense. It is a purely philosophical result of the right use of the constituted means."11 This statement clearly explains Finney's concept of a revival. For Finney, the revival is the product of human effort.12 He believes that Christians have the capability to initiate a revival. Miller states Finney's view of spiritual reformation was that of a self-reformation rather than a divine reformation.13 He did not believe that a miracle or a gift from God is needed in order for any miracle to begin. Finney's view of revival was pragmatic just as his view of the universe was. According to Horton,
The American pragmatic impulse that produced both Finney and