By Richard Quebedeaux
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Extra info for By What Authority? The Rise of Personality Cults in American Christianity.
He fit the role of the lawyer he had been, arguing his case before court and jury, often in a very "uncleri cal" gray suit. Finney spoke "precisely, logically, with wit, verve, and informality" and thus converted other lawyers, real estate magnates, manufacturers, and commercial tycoons. Charles G. Finney employed controversial "new measures" to win his case with the unregenerate and nominally religious public. In the manner of a trial lawyer, he said "you" instead of "they" when speak ing about the wicked.
The then-conventional revival meeting form of Sunday sermons and weekday lectures was replaced by special services held nightly, which were often prolonged for hours in "inquiry sessions" after the formal meeting. This famous "protracted meeting" was the primary medium of the evangelist's communitywide revival campaigns that lasted several weeks. Finney thus marshaled the group pressure in settled communities that the frontier camp meetings had so successful ly fostered among rural folk by intensifying the conviction of sin and the need for forgiveness and change in direction.
The day of the gospel tent was over. Oral Roberts had been a pioneer in the use of TV for popular reli gious programming from 1 9 54 until 1 967. After a brief interlude off the air to reassess the style of his ministry, he returned to television in 1 969 with a new image that would transform revivalism by fully adapt ing it to this greatly expanding communications medium and to the world shaped by that medium. His TV sermons took on an existential character, focusing on "the now" rather than the hereafter; he accom modated his theology to the worldly concerns of his upwardly mobile viewers.