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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Lectures on Revivals of Religion, by Charles Grandison Finney, 9

2. Mistaken notions concerning the sovereignty of God have greatly hindered revivals. 

Many people have supposed God’s sovereignty to be some thing very different from what it is. They have supposed it to be such an arbitrary disposal of events, and particularly of the gift of his Spirit, as precluded a rational employment of means for promoting a revival of religion. But there is no evidence from the Bible that God exercises any such sovereignty as that. There are no facts to prove it. But every thing goes to show that God has connected means with the end through all the departments of his government—in nature and in grace. There is no natural event in which his own agency is not concerned. He has not built the creation like a vast machine that will go on alone without his further care. He has not retired from the universe, to let it work for itself. This is mere atheism. He exercises a universal superintendence and control. And yet every event in nature has been brought about by means. He neither administers providence nor grace with that sort of sovereignty that dispenses with the use of means. There is no more sovereignty in one than in the other. 

And yet some people are terribly alarmed at all direct efforts to promote a revival, and they cry out, “You are trying to get up a revival in your own strength. Take care, you are interfering with the sovereignty of God. Better keep along in the usual course, and let God give a revival when he thinks it is best. God is a sovereign, and it is very wrong for you to attempt to get up a revival, just because you think a revival is needed.” This is just such preaching as the devil wants. And men cannot do the devil’s work more effectually than by preaching up the sovereignty of God, as a reason why we should not put forth efforts to produce a revival. 

The previous post in this series is here. Charles Grandison Finneyʼs Lectures on Revivals of Religion is in the public domain, as I understand it. It is available here. Thanks for reading. Seek revival.

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