The Great Invalidator of Old NotionsYou’d be amazed at the kinds of useless stuff that passes through my mind. Today I’m going to punish you with it. It’s just one of my little tests of friendship. Today, I wondered if I could come up with an acronym for the word “Propitiation.” You know, this year in AWANA, I’m teaching through Romans 3:21-26, which includes the gospel-rich terms “redemption,” “justification,” and “propitiation.” No, I haven’t come up with any for the other two terms, but here’s what I got for “propitiation.” I’m afraid it doesn’t help with the meaning of the term or anything, but it made me chuckle. 





IntoThe Great







Notions . . .

. . . Charles Finney excepted.

Yes, Charles Finney was ordained by the Presbyterian church, and yes, he did “invalidate old notions.” What old notions, you ask? Only biblical things like . . .

Original Sin . . . “The doctrine of original sin, or of a sinful constitution, and of necessary sinful actions, represents the whole moral government of God, the plan of salvation by Christ, and indeed every doctrine of the gospel, as a mere farce. Upon this supposition the law is tyranny, and the gospel an insult to the unfortunate.” (Systematic Theology, Lecture 24 on “Moral Depravity”)

Penal-Substitutionary Atonement of Christ . . . Finney’s invalidation of the old notion: the Moral Government theory–“Consequently, we find that, in this atonement, God has expressed His high regard for His law and for obedience to it. The design of executing the penalty of the law was to make a strong impression of the majesty, excellence, and utility of the law. Anything may answer as a substitute, which will as thoroughly demonstrate the mischief and odiousness of sin, God’s hatred to it, and His determination to carry out His law in all its demands. Especially may the proposed substitute avail if it shall also make a signal manifestation of God’s love to sinners.” (Charles Finney on the Atonement see also, Theopedia: Governmental Theory of the Atonement)

Imputation . . . “The doctrine of imputed righteousness, or that Christ’s obedience to the law was accounted as our obedience, is founded on a most false and nonsensical assumption.” (Horton, Michael: “The Disturbing Legacy of Charles Finney,” the quote may be found under the heading, “Distorting the Cardinal Doctrine of Justification.”)

Justification by Grace Alone through Faith Alone . . .That gospel justification is not to be regarded as a forensic or judicial proceeding. Dr. Chalmers and those of his school hold that it is. But this is certainly a great mistake, as we shall see.” (Systematic Theology, Lecture 36, “Justification” )

The Miraculous Nature of Revival . . .  “It is not a miracle, or dependent on a miracle, in any sense. It is a purely philosophical result of the right use of the constituted means—as much so as any other effect produced by the application of means. There may be a miracle among 13its antecedent causes, or there may not. The apostles employed miracles, simply as a means by which they arrested attention to their message, and established its divine authority. But the miracle was not the revival. The miracle was one thing; the revival that followed it was quite another thing. The revivals in the apostles’ days were connected with miracles, but they were not miracles.” (Lectures on Revivals of Religion, Lecture 1, “What a Revival of Religion Is“)

But, after all this, if what you really want is some good reading on “propitiation,” then check out the Wikipedia article.


7 responses

  1. John, your post is messed up. We can only read part of the first paragraph. I did not finish reading it as I lost the meaning. Hope you can fix this.


  2. Since Alan has pointed out that he can’t see my whole post, would others who attempt to read it please comment with what you see? From my vantage point, everything looks in order. I don’t know what the problem is.

  3. John-
    It must be a firfox thing, I can see it fine in ie.

  4. What in the world is a firefox? Isn’t that that movie about an advanced military stealth plane starring Clint Eastwood?

    Sorry you had difficulty. Hope you weren’t let down after all that anticipation . . . 🙂

  5. It’s amazing that Finney is considered a hero in fundamental churches today. Do they even know what he believed? I know i didn’t. I just knew that he had great amounts of “converts” in “revival”, so that made him a hero….i guess some things never change.

  6. I had a conversation with an IFB pastor about Finney once, and when I detailed Finney’s doctrine, my friend (who happens to be the preacher who married my wife and me) replied, “Then how do you explain his results?”

    I don’t think the four-point Arminian, fundamental, revivalists do know his doctrine. Many Calvinistic fundamentalists do, I think, but not the Arminians. When it comes to methods with potential for results (especially effective methods from the “good old days” of “old time religion”) discernment is put on the back burner more often than not, I believe.

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