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A Potentially Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Why Evangelicals Need the Young, Restless, and Reformed

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We can trust in Jesus not because he had a near-death experience, but because he was raised from the dead.

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.

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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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