In describing his conversion, Charles Finney wrote that he "wept aloud with joy and love" and "literally bellowed out unutterable gushings of [his] heart.... [W]aves came over me, and over me, and over me, one after the other, until I recollect I cried out, 'I shall die if these waves continue to pass over me.'" The quote goes a long way in explaining why Finney was driven to use evangelistic techniques that exploited the human psyche. With dramatic use of the "sinner's bench," a kind of spiritual torture chamber, he drove hearers to despair to bring them to a spiritual breakthrough not unlike his own.
Mark Galli is senior managing editor of Christianity Today.
Issue: "Choosing Grace" Jan./Feb. 2012 Vol. 21 No. 1 Page number(s): 46-49
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