Charles Grandison Finney was a 19th-century American revivalist and theologian who was a leading figure in the Second Great Awakening. In his Lectures on Revivals of Religion, Finney discusses the roles of men and women in revivals.
Finney argues that men have a special responsibility to lead in revivals because they are typically the ones who are in positions of authority in the church. He writes, “Men are more generally in the habit of thinking, and they are more accustomed to take the lead in all matters of importance.” (Lecture III, Section 2)
Charles Finney believed that men are more naturally suited to leadership roles because they are typically more assertive and decisive. He wrote, “Men are more naturally active and energetic, and they are more accustomed to take the lead in all matters of importance.” (Lecture III, Section 2)
However, Finney also acknowledges that women can be effective leaders in revivals: “There are many instances in which women have been remarkably useful in revivals.” (Lecture III, Section 2) He goes on to say that women are often more sensitive to the spiritual needs of others, and they can be very effective in reaching out to those who are lost.
Overall, Finney believed that men and women have different but complementary roles to play in revivals. He argues that men should take the lead in organizing and leading revivals, while women should focus on providing spiritual support and encouragement.
How Finney’s Ideas Resonate Today
Finney’s insights into the nature of leadership are still valuable, and they can be applied to both men and women in today’s world.
In particular, his emphasis on the importance of both men and women in revivals is still relevant today. Revivals are not just about the work of individual leaders, but about the collective work of the entire church. Both men and women have important roles to play in revivals, and we need to work together to reach out to those who are lost.
Finney’s views on the role of women in leadership were ahead of his time. He acknowledged that women can be effective leaders in revivals, and he encouraged them to use their gifts and talents to serve the church. Today, we see more and more women in leadership roles in the church, and Finney’s insights can help us to understand the importance of women’s leadership in the church.
In a world that is increasingly divided, Finney’s insights can help us to build a more united church and a more just society.
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