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LIBERTY UNIVERSITY“The First Great Awakening”Jonathan Edwards and George WhitefieldSubmitted to Professor Galen Johnson, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the completion ofCHHI 300-D07 LUOSurvey History of ChristianityByStudentDecember 2, 2019
One of the greatest revivals to ever break out in America, the First Great Awakening occurred during the mid to late 1730’s and early 1740’s. This wasthe result of America’s need as a nation to return to the foundation of its first love. The Age of Enlightenment downplayed religion causing a spirit of complacency amongst many Christians. This was detrimental to the spirituality of the nation because the once united colonies became religiously divided. As this philosophicalmovement of secular rationalism rose with scientific reasoning and logic taking precedence over faith, there was a need for the rekindling and reigniting of the flame to wholeheartedly serve God, and the return of the fervent desire for religion.Many Christian leaders played an integral part in the advancement of the First Awakening. Important to this movement was John Calvin, the plowman and trailblazer who paved the way and laid the foundation for these leaders through his teachings that focused primarily faith, grace, and the uncompromised truth of scripture. They went from town to town pricking the hearts of many and transforming minds with the message of the truth of the gospel as inspired by John Calvin. However, there were two particular leaders of this era who stood out, Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield. Jonathan Edwards, the son of Timothy and Esther Edwards, was born on October 5, 1703. He was a renowned preacher who played an integral part in the expansion of the First Awakening. He came from a generational line of great
Christian leaders. Both his father and grandfather were ministers. “He was the only boy among 10 other siblings growing up in his New England household.”1Heattended Yale College from 1716 to 1720 and earned his bachelor’s degree. Later on, he obtained his master’s degree. At the age of 19, he began his preaching ministry. He pastored the congregation of a Presbyterian church in New York and a year later became the minister of a church in Bolton, Connecticut. A few years later, Jonathan was graced to have the opportunity to work in ministry alongside his grandfather, Reverend Stoddard. Sadly, not far ahead, “Reverend Solomon passed away and Jonathan assumed Stoddard’s role as minister,”2With his new role as the primary leader of the church, he saw that there were