Charles Grandison Finney: Revival, Politics, and Social Reform

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Excerpt from Lecture XV of Revival Lectures

“The Church must take right ground in regard to politics. Do not suppose that I am going to preach a political sermon, or that I wish to have you join in getting up a Christian party in politics. No, you must not believe that.

But the time has come that Christians must vote for honest men, and take consistent ground in politics…. All parties will be compelled to put up honest men as candidates. Christians have been exceedingly guilty in this matter. But the time has come when they must act differently…. God cannot sustain this free and blessed country, which we love and pray for, unless the Church will take right ground.

Politics are a part of a religion in such a country as this, and Christians must do their duty to the country as a part of their duty to God. It seems sometimes as if the foundations of the nation are becoming rotten, and Christians seem to act as if they think God does not see what they do in politics.

But I tell you He does see it, and He will bless or curse this nation, according to the course they take.”

— from Lecture XV of Revival Lectures, by Charles Grandison Finney

Charles Grandison Finney (1792–1875) An American preacher and leader of the Second Great Awakening in the U.S.  He also was a part of a Christian religious movement that originated in Upstate New York during the 19th Century. Along with a group of other like-minded Protestant preachers, Charles Finney sought to promote social reforms through his faith, including the abolition of slavery and equality for women and blacks, especially in regard to educational opportunities. Serving as second president of Oberlin College in Ohio, Finney also took an active part in the Underground Railroad until the conclusion of the Civil War.

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