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Finney, Charles Grandison (1792–1875)

  1. Brett Knowles

Published Online: 25 NOV 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9780470670606.wbecc0542

The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization

How to Cite

Knowles, B. 2011. Finney, Charles Grandison (1792–1875). The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 25 NOV 2011


Charles Finney, Revivalist, began his highly successful evangelistic work in 1824 in upper New York State. His success was due largely to his unorthodox methods, known as “New Measures” revivalism, which contributed to changing religious perceptions in 19th century America. Earlier revivals were viewed (in Calvinist terms) as sovereign acts of God, which could not be predicted or produced — hence Jonathan Edwards' description of the beginnings of the Great Awakening (1735–1743) as “the surprising work of God.” However, by the time of the Second Great Awakening (1797–1835), an emphasis on the systematic promotion of revivals by human instrumentality was beginning to emerge. Finney exemplified — and did much to reinforce — this shift from “revivals” to “revivalism.”


  • Finney, Charles Grandison (1792–1875);
  • evangelistic work in 1824, in upper New York State;
  • the great awakenings, classical Protestant sense;
  • Finney's “new measures,” effectiveness;
  • Finney's understanding, in producing a revival;
  • “altar call” replacing “anxious seat”