Men & Women Who Dared To Be Different! Friday, May 29, 2009

A Deeper Baptism of the Holy Spirit

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A Deeper Baptism of the Holy Spirit

During his first years in Oberlin, Finney was troubled by the fact that some of those who had been converted during his revivals had since backslidden or fallen away from the faith. He began to think that Christians needed a deeper conversion, or “second blessing” beyond conversion, if they were going to live wholly sanctified lives on this earth. He came to believe that a further work of the Holy Spirit would allow Christians to live in holiness, thereby following Jesus’ exhortation in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:48 to “be ye perfect.” This belief would bring criticism on Oberlin, an institution that many people came to see as a den of extremists - chief among them, Finney and Mahan. The Second Blessing was a theme that Finney developed in his lectures at Oberlin, which would eventually be published as the two-volume Lectures on Systematic Theology. Finney would not experience anything along these lines in his own life, however, until the winter of 1843–1844.

During this winter, the Lord gave my own soul a very thorough overhauling, and a fresh baptism of his Spirit. . . . My mind was greatly drawn out in prayer, for a long time; as indeed it always has been, when I have labored in Boston. . . . This winter, in particular, my mind was exceedingly exercised on the question of personal holiness; and in respect to the state of the church, their want of power with God; the weakness of the orthodox churches in Boston, the weakness of their faith, and their want of power in the midst of such a community. The fact that they were making little or no progress in overcoming the errors of the city, greatly affected my mind. 10

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