Charles Grandison Finney (1792-1875) was born in Warren, CT, and attended high school in New Jersey. He taught school for eight years and then spent three years studying law in Adams, NY.
A critical skeptic of religious dogma, he purchased a Bible and read it for the first time after noticing the numerous citations of the Bible in law books. Following a dramatic conversion experience in 1821, he gave up the practice of law and began a preaching ministry. He was ordained by the Presbyterian Church in 1824 and spent the next several years in full-time revival ministry. In 1835 he accepted a call to Oberlin College as professor of theology, serving as president from 1851 to 1875.
His revival ministry extended throughout the eastern United States and included two visits to England. It is estimated that half a million people were converted under his ministry, and his innovations in preaching and revival meetings have affected successive generations of preachers and revivalists.