Today I’ve been reading Donald Dayton’s Discovering an Evangelical Heritage (1976) for a project on 19th century restoration movements and social justice. Great book. Here’s a thought from Charles Finney:
Is it possible, my dearly beloved brethren, that we can remain blind to the tendencies of things–to the causes that are operating to produce alienation, division, distrust, to grieve away the Spirit, overthrow revivals, and cover the land with darkness and the shadow of death? Is it not time for us, brethren, to repent, to be candid and search out wherein we have been wrong and publicly and privately confess it, and pass public resolutions in our general ecclesiastical bodies, recanting and confessing what has been wrong–confessing in our pulpits, through the press, and in every proper way our sins as Christians and ministers–our want of sympathy with Christ, our want of compassion for the slave, for the inebriate, for the wretched prostitute, and for all the miserable and ignorant of the earth.
May the Lord have mercy on us, my brethren. (p. 24)
(Dayton’s source is Letters on Revivals–No. 23: The Pernicious Attitude of the Church on the Reforms of the Age.)