I have been considering for some time the negative effects of Pelagius’ unbiblical teaching concerning man and salvation. Charles Finney adopted Pelaguis’ bad theology and took it on the road with him in the name of evangelistic crusade. Both men denied the biblical doctrine of total depravity. They believed that man was inherently good and as a result could be persuaded through reason to believe the gospel. Therefore, Finney used music (to play upon and manipulate the emotions of man) and other persuasive techniques to attempt to do the work of conversion (that only the Spirit of God can accomplish).
The lasting consequences of such unbiblical thinking and teaching have been unfortunate and disastrous. Churches who would affirm the biblical doctrine of total depravity, and see salvation as the supernatural work of God, also unfortunately employ Finney’s tools of emotional manipulation. This has resulted in many false conversions because individuals have responded to the clever means employed, rather than from the conviction of the Holy Spirit to repent and believe the gospel.
What do we do about these things? Repent and let our practice be dictated by a proper biblical theology, rather than what appears to work. Scripture alone is the standard of truth, not what the current popular leader plugs as being the best practices to utilize.