In my early years as a Christian, I received many valuable insights from reading the works of Charles Finney, one of the premier evangelists of the nineteenth century. Finney is controversial to some, but to me, he opened a door for understanding the love of God in a way few others could. On Sundays now, I’m going to share comments by Finney, taken primarily from his Systematic Theology. Today’s excerpt comes from the preface; I use most of this quote in my classes.
I have written for those who are willing to take the trouble of thinking and of forming opinions of their own on theological questions. It has been no part of my aim to spare my pupils or anyone else the trouble of intense thought. . . .
You were made to think. It will do you good to think; to develop your powers by study. God designed that religion should require thought, intense thought, and should thoroughly develop our powers of thought. The Bible itself is written in a style so condensed as to require much intense study. . . .
If any of my brethren think to convince me of error, they must first understand me, and show that they have read the book through, and that they understand it, and are candidly inquiring after truth and not “striving for masteries.” If my brother is inquiring after truth, I will, by the grace of God, “hear with both ears, and then judge.” But I will not promise to attend to all that cavillers may say, nor to notice what those impertinent talkers and writers may say or write who must have controversy. But to all honest inquirers after truth I would say, Hail, my brother! Let us be thorough. Truth shall do us good.