Randall Balmer writes in The Making of Evangelicalism:
“… Evangelicals have understood better than anyone else how to communicate to the masses. The message they propagate is simple, straightforward, and utterly indebted to Charles Finney. Come to Jesus. Make a decision for Christ. You control your own spiritual destiny.
And somewhere in the Presidents’ Plot of the Princeton, New Jersey, cemetery, Jonathan Edwards, theologian of the First Great Awakening, is spinning in his grave” (p.25).
That’s possibly one of the funniest ways in which a historian acknowledges the deep theological divide between Jonathan Edwards and Charles Finney! Obviously Edwards wouldn’t take issue with the call for people to make a decision and turn to Christ. Edwards was a compatibilist in relation to God’s sovereignty and human responsibility (similar to the position I hold here). Edwards is spinning, proverbially, of course, due to the idea that people control their own spiritual destiny. But regardless of what position you take on the issue, Balmer is hilarious!
Luke is a pastor-theologian living in northern California, serving as a co-lead pastor with his life, Dawn, at the Red Bluff Vineyard. Father of five amazing kids, when Luke isn’t hanging with his family, reading or writing theology, he moonlights as a fly fishing guide for Confluence Outfitters. He blogs regularly at LukeGeraty.com and regularly contributes to his YouTube channel.