The Second Great Awakening

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What is the significance of Charles Grandison Finney?

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Charles Grandison Finney had an epiphany in the woods as a young man and devoted the rest of his life to religion. He gave up the study of law and became the country's foremost religious revivalist of the Second Great Awakening. Finney studied as a Presbyterian and achieved ordination in...

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Charles Grandison Finney had an epiphany in the woods as a young man and devoted the rest of his life to religion. He gave up the study of law and became the country's foremost religious revivalist of the Second Great Awakening. Finney studied as a Presbyterian and achieved ordination in 1824. He was demanding of his congregation, and he expected public proclamations of faith from them. After effecting change in his own congregation, he became a circuit rider, bringing fiery rhetoric and challenging Calvinists to shed their reserve.

Finney rejected the Calivinist idea of the "elect" and preached that anyone could achieve salvation if they wanted it. His extreme emotionalism was not popular in some circles, such as the Congregationalists, Unitarians, and mainstream Presbyterians. Many considered him a fanatic, but he achieved great fame and many followers in New England and New York.

Finney's work at Oberlin College in Ohio as a pastor, theology professor, and eventual president enabled him to write books on evangelism and the abolition of slavery. Many consider his work the inspiration for other mass evangelist movements led by twentieth century figures such as Billy Graham.

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Charles Grandison Finney was known as a very famous revivalist of the Second Great Awakening. He was called the “father of modern revivalism.” He also was a lawyer, as well as a professor and president of Oberlin College. When it came to religion, Finney promoted and marketed the revivals. He believed all faithful individuals had to act. Revivals became a mainstay of American religion because of Finney.

In order to attract new converts, Finney made a series of reforms called the New Measures. One of these reforms was called the “anxious bench,” which allowed potential converts to think about their decision to accept Christ. Another reform was to increase the role of women. Women’s prayer groups formed, and women could speak at prayer meetings, even if men were present at those meetings.

Finney also believed in social reform. Oberlin College was the first college to admit women and African Americans. It was also an important station on the Underground Railroad.

Charles Grandison Finney played an important role in the Second Great Awakening.

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Charles Grandison Finney is known as the 'Father of Modern Revivalism'. He was a leader in the 'Second Great Awakening' in the United States, serving as a Presbyterian, then Congregationalist, minister and religious writer.

Finney's significance was in innovative preaching and service procedure. For instance, he allowed women to pray out loud and saved 'anxious' seats in the congregation for people interested in conversion.

He also supported abolitionism, using his preaching platform to denounce slavery. Other social reforms that he supported (and spoke for) were equal educational opportunities for women, and African Americans.

The Second Great Awakening was a period, from 1790 to 1850, that led to the enrolment of millions of new members, and the creation of several new denominations. Amending various social 'evils' through this Awakening was also thought to be aiding the preparation of humanity for the anticipated second coming of Jesus Christ. 

 

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Charles Grandison Finney is significant in US history because he was one of the major forces behind the social changes known as the Second Great Awakening.  This was a major religious revival that happened in the early 1800s.

The Second Great Awakening was important because it was a reaction to the less religious ideas of the Enlightenment and a reaction to the changes that were occurring in the US society and economy in the early 1800s.  The Second Great Awakening was important for people's religious lives, but it was also important because it gave rise to a number of reform movements (such as abolitionism) that were meant to improve society.

Finney, then, is important because he helped to bring about the Second Great Awakening.

 

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