Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield

Essay by jacksobrCollege, UndergraduateA, April 2007

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Any time the Great Awakening is discussed from a religious standpoint, the religious figures Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield are two names that are difficult not to discuss. Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield are to revivalism and the Great Awakening as Vince Young and Reggie Bush are to athletes and a new age of football. Edwards and Whitefield were revolutionists during the 18th century revival know the Great Awakening. Their preaching’s demanded a religious intervention in the colonies that needed to take place during the 1700’s. Furthermore, they were the two key characters that made the Great Awakening what it is today.

George Whitefield, the claimed founder of American Revivalism, was hands down the greatest preacher of the Great Awakening. Whitefield was a preacher who was on the move. He traveled and preached throughout the American Colonies where he gained the nickname “the Grand Itinerant” (America’s Religions; Peter W.

Williams, pg.143.) This nickname showed that Whitefield, during his preachings, did not care whether or not someone was of his specific religion or had the same religious beliefs as he. All he wanted was to preach the Word of God to whoever wanted to listen. George Whitefield, (most notably) and other ministers performing revivals, were very charismatic, thus drawing in large crowds. I guess you could say Whitefield had a way with words. “Even the eminently rational Benjamin Franklin was moved to the point of emptying his pockets after hearing Whitefield preach on behalf of the orphanage he was sponsoring in Georgia.” (America’s Religions; Peter W. Williams) “It was said that he could reduce an audience to tears simply by pronouncing the word ‘Mesopotamia.’” (America’s Religions; Peter W. Williams) Everyone in the colonies knew who Whitefield was. He was the so called “X factor” of 18th century...