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Charles Finney's Theology

Atonement: The governmental substitution of the sufferings of Christ for the punishment of sinners.  It is a covering of their sins by his sufferings. [We don’t believe in the governmental theory of the atonement]

Divine Sovereignty: The sovereignty of God consists in the independence of his will, in consulting his own intelligence and discretion, in the selection of his end, and the means of accomplishing it. In other words, the sovereignty of God is nothing else than infinite benevolence directed by infinite knowledge.

Election: That all of Adam's race, who are or ever will be saved, were from eternity chosen by God to eternal salvation, through the sanctification of their hearts by faith in Christ. In other words, they are chosen to salvation by means of sanctification. Their salvation is the end—their sanctification is a means. Both the end and the means are elected, appointed, chosen; the means as really as the end, and for the sake of the end.

Forgiveness: Forgiveness implies previous condemnation, and consists in setting aside the execution of an incurred penalty.

Grace: The attribute of love disposed to give a blessing to a person who deserves opposite treatment.

Gospel Justification: Consists in a governmental decree of pardon or amnesty—in arresting and setting aside the execution of the incurred penalty of law—in pardoning and restoring to favor those who have sinned, and those whom the law had pronounced guilty, and upon whom it had passed the sentence of eternal death, and rewarding them as if they had been righteous. Not to be regarded as a forensic or judicial proceeding. An act of grace, not law.

Moral Depravity: Moral depravity is the depravity of free-will, not of the faculty itself, but of its free action. It consists in a violation of moral law. Depravity of the will, as a faculty, is, or would be, physical, and not moral depravity. It would be depravity of substance, and not of free, responsible choice. Moral depravity is depravity of choice. It is a choice at variance with moral law, moral right. It is synonymous with sin or sinfulness. It is moral depravity, because it consists in a violation of moral law, and because it has moral character.

Perseverance: That all who are at any time true saints of God, are preserved by his grace and Spirit through faith, in the sense that subsequently to regeneration, obedience is their rule, and disobedience only the exception; and that being thus kept, they will certainly be saved with an everlasting salvation.

Regeneration: The same as the new birth. It is designed to express primarily and principally the thing done, that is, the making of a sinner holy, and expresses also the fact, that God's agency induces the change. Throw out the idea of what is done, that is, the change of moral character in the subject, and he would not be born again, he would not be regenerated, and it could not be truly said, in such a case, that God had regenerated him. Same as conversion.

Repentance: A change of choice, purpose, intention, in conformity with the dictates of the intelligence. A turning from sin to holiness, or more strictly, from a state of consecration to self to a state of consecration to God, is and must be the turning, the change of mind, or the repentance that is required of all sinners.

Sanctification: A state of consecration to God. To sanctify is to set apart to a holy use—to consecrate a thing to the service of God.

Sinless Perfection: [also called Perfectionism] A theological view that holds that a believer can “arrive” at a state in which (1) his walk in obedience and holiness is not dependant on the Grace of God, and (2) no longer has the ability to sin. Finney rejected this view entirely.

Will: “By will I mean the heart,” the faculty or power of moral agents to choose.