CHARLOTTESVILLE, VIRGINIA (ANS) — Robert V. Finley, the 97-year-old pioneer of the indigenous mission’s movement, has been transferred to hospice care in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Dr. Finley was among the last of the colonial area missionary evangelists to serve in the Far East from 1948-1951.
Dr. Finley’s health has taken a sudden turn for the worse according to family and friends who are visiting him daily. His wife, Cynthia Finley, has taken emergency leave from her office to be at his bedside daily during this medical crisis. He was born May 2 in Albemarle County and is a graduate of the University of Virginia.
Returning to the USA in 1951 from the Orient, he traveled across the USA and around the world to champion the cause of indigenous missions and helping to raise support for native missionary leaders in China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Philippines and India.
His advocacy efforts were not well received by most post-war missions and denominations who wanted the vast network of American and British missionary organizations to return to the former colonies at the end of World War II.
Then in 1953, Dr. Finley decided to become the founder and first president of three new mission agencies. He organized all three agencies to take on different aspects of supporting the indigenous mission’s movement. They are Christian Aid Mission, International Students, and the Overseas Students Mission. He moved his headquarters from Washington, DC to Charlottesville in 1970.
The three agencies inspired the formation of hundreds of new native-led mission agencies and organizations in every country of the world and helped radically change the course of all Christian mission boards – both traditional and indigenous. Among the many agencies that were inspired by his vision were Advancing Native Missions, Campus Crusade, Gospel for Asia and scores of other groups that have become well-known brand names in both Protestant and Catholic missions.
Bob Finley was student body president of the University of Virginia in 1944 and the undefeated Inter-Collegiate Boxing Champion of the USA that same year. After graduation from UVA, Finley went on to become a popular evangelist for Youth for Christ and the Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship from 1945-1948.
His preaching helped take the Gospel to millions of American young people along with his co-worker and fellow evangelist, Billy Graham. Bob Finley and Billy Graham spoke in hundreds of Saturday night youth rallies during the post war years and helped to pioneer what became known as the Evangelical movement.
Robert Finley authored The Time Was at Hand, a book that teaches the key to understanding Biblical prophecy is the final evangelization of all unreached tribes and nations. He teachings have helped form a missionary calling for thousands of missionary evangelists in the USA and in over 200 nations.