Revival Fire

By (author)Charles Finney


Some of the most astounding revivals came through Charles Finney. It is wisdom to learn about revival from a person who had great success in conducting revivals. And history shows that Charles Finney definitely had great and long lasting success in carrying out revivals. If you want to have great revivals, it would be wise to diligently study Finney in this regard. The Christian Preservation Society summarizes this amazing work of God as follows:

— Finney Biography Excerpt by Christian Preservation Society — “Christian people, are you figuring round and round to get a little property, yet neglecting souls? Beware lest you ruin souls that can never live again!”

The greatest outpouring of Charles’s life came in Rochester, New York, starting in September 1830. Lyman Beecher, one of Finney’s harshest critics in his early years, would eventually call the revival in Rochester “the greatest work of God, and the greatest revival of religion, that the world has ever seen, in so short a time. One hundred thousand … were reported as having connected themselves with churches.” [Charles Finney, Memoirs of Charles Finney, New York: A. S. Barnes and Company, 1876]. It was recorded that as many as eighty-five percent of those converted remained Christians years later.

It was a revival that touched all social classes – from civic and business leaders to schoolteachers, physicians, shopkeepers, farmers, and migrant workers. Bars closed for lack of patrons. Crime rates dropped dramatically and stayed low for years, even as the population grew. At one point, the teenagers in the local high school were so distraught about the condition of their souls that they paid no attention to their lessons, so the director invited Finney to come and speak. Nearly the entire student body was saved, including the director, who had originally thought it was a ploy by the students to get out of their work. Forty of the students went on to become ministers. One of these later wrote:

The whole community was stirred. Religion was the topic of conversation, in the house, in the shop, in the office and on the street. The only theater in the city was converted into a livery stable; the only circus into a soap and candle factory. Grog shops were closed; the Sabbath was honored; the sanctuaries were thronged with happy worshippers; a new impulse was given to every philanthropic enterprise; the fountains of benevolence where opened, and men lived to good. [V. Raymond Edman, Finney Lives On, Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishers, 1971] The Rochester revival would prove to be the height of the Second Great Awakening and a spark to light the fuse of a national revival that ran like wildfire throughout the United States in 1831. A host of evangelists, including Beecher himself, took up the torch from Rochester, and the rolls of membership swelled in churches everywhere – Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist, Episcopalian, Congregational, and others alike.


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