Backslider in Heart
by Charles G. Finney
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Charles Finney (1792-1875) was an American Presbyterian preacher known for his
revival services and extemporaneous preaching. Although he belonged to a Calvinist
denomination, he rejected several of Calvinism’s central doctrines. While staunch
Calvinists believed in the perseverance of the saints, Finney believed that a Christian
could “backslide,” or turn back from the Christian life and revert to a life of sin. In this
address, Finney clarifies his theology of backsliding, first explaining what it is not, then what it is. He describes what a backslidden life might look like, and
what consequences living in sin bring upon the sinner. Finney closes his address with
advice for escaping a state of backsliding, reminding people of Christ’s grace and loving
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