First Great Awakening

Topics: First Great Awakening, George Whitefield, Protestantism Pages: 5 (2076 words) Published: December 10, 2010
Revival history is an interesting topic and one that can be explored at great depths. Revivals of the past, if looked at through the right lens, can awaken hope and desire for God to move again, even in the darkest times. Revivals show us that God is still very much active and interested in His people. The Father desires that we would know Him as a real Person and who loves to make Himself known through His Son Jesus. I wrote my paper on the First Great Awakening mainly because I am from New England and I have a passion to see the church set ablaze again in that area. The heritage is so rich in that land and I believe that the Lord would love to encounter His people again with a great spiritual awakening. Below, I will go over the Great Awakening in detail discussing the dates, location, key leaders, scope of impact, main features, main message, controversial aspects, principles learned, and our application for today.     The First Great Awakening was a religious revitalization movement that took place in the northeast, mainly in the New England area. The Great Awakening spread throughout the colonies on the eastern seaboard. The dates of when the First Great Awakening began vary due to the opinion of the chosen historian. Most say that the dates begin somewhere in the early 1700’s - 1740’s. The earliest stirrings of revival were recorded in the 1730’s in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The next noticeable move of God was in Northampton, Mass around 1734 - 36. The final thrust of awakening took place  in the 1740s with the arrival of the powerful orator and itinerant speaker, George Whitefield. A contributor to the National Humanities Center validates these claims by informing, “The earliest manifestations of the American phase of this phenomenon—the beginnings of the First Great Awakening—appeared among Presbyterians in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Led by the Tennent family—Reverend William Tennent, a Scots-Irish immigrant, and his four sons, all clergymen—the Presbyterians not only initiated religious revivals in those colonies during the 1730s but also established a seminary to train clergymen whose fervid, heartfelt preaching would bring sinners to experience evangelical conversion. Originally known as “the Log College,” it is better known today as Princeton University.”1 When looking historically at the Great Awakening, many may not recognize that the hand of the Lord was already starting to awaken hunger for revitalization of religion before the man Jonathan Edwards came on the scene. While serving as the new local congregational minister of a Northampton church, Jonathan Edwards noticed the spiritual dullness and condition of the town. He wrote this quote: “Just after my grandfather's death, it seemed to be a time of extraordinary dullness in religion. Licentiousness for some years prevailed among the youth of the town; they were many of them very much addicted to night-walking, and frequenting the tavern and lewd practices, wherein some, by their example, exceedingly corrupted others.” 2 Afterward, Jonathan was moved to the point of calling the young people to gather into small groups to join for prayer and a time of discussion. The next recognized stirrings began in December 1734 of Northampton, Massachusetts. Two well known young people died in the town and the population began to become concerned with death, life after death, eternity and other spiritual matters. In this stirring context, Edwards began preaching a teaching series on Justification by faith alone. It was at this point that six young people were converted. One of whom was a young girl who was said to be known by many young men in the town, meaning she was very immoral. The town of Northampton was shaken to its very core and three hundred more conversions took place following the initial 6. With the entire town boasting 1,100 people, this equates to 25% of the population getting saved. About a year later in 1736, the town went back to normal mainly due...
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