Roman Catholics? Finney’s View

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What should a Protestant’s attitude or relationship be with Roman Catholics? Are we to consider all Catholics as lost and idolaters? The one person outside of the Jesus’ and the apostles, who has most influenced my thinking is Charles G. Finney, who in his Memoirs writes of his revival in Rochester in 1842 (Chapter 26) and some of his results:

“Several of the lawyers that were at this time converted in Rochester gave up their profession and went into the ministry. . . Chancellor Walworth’s son, at that time a young lawyer in Rochester, was another who appeared at the time to be soundly converted. For some reason with which I am not acquainted, he went to Europe and to Rome, and finally became a Roman Catholic priest. He has been for years laboring zealously to promote revivals of religion among them, holding protracted meetings; and, as he told me himself when I met him in England, trying to accomplish in the Roman Catholic church what I was endeavoring to accomplish in the Protestant church. Mr. Walworth seems to be an earnest minister of Christ, given with heart and soul to the salvation of Roman Catholics. How far he agrees with all their views I cannot say. When I was in England he was there and sought me out, and came very affectionately to see me; and we had just as pleasant an interview, so far as I know, as we should have had if we had both been Protestants. He said nothing of his peculiar views, but only that he was laboring among the Roman Catholics to promote revivals of religion among them.”

Notice that Finney did not refer to Mr. Walworth as a “hell bound sinner.” Nor did he say, “if he is truly converted, he will come out of that whore.”

Finney was a wise brother, who earnestly contended for the faith that was once delivered to the saints.

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