Whitefield began his traveling preaching career in America in order to raise money for an orphanage which he and the Wesley brothers had established in Georgia. As a young man, Whitefield considered becoming a preacher and spent hours studying his Bible, often reading late into the night. The year after his conversion, at the age 21, George Whitefield was ordained an Anglican priest. His message was simple: “Repent and you will be saved.” He neither understood theology nor considered it to be important in his mission of driving people to seek salvation. Very soon, however, criticism began to be voiced, at first by churchmen, because of the Calvinistic tone of his sermons. After another brief time in Georgia, planning the Orphan House, Whitefield had the greatest triumph of his life during his month-long tour through New England. The Oxford Companion to British History. (December 21, 2020). Encyclopedia of Religion. George Whitefield (1714-1770) was an English evangelist whose preaching in America climaxed the religious revival known as the Great Awakening. Retrieved December 21, 2020 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/whitefield-george-1. While he couldn't find a church in England to let him speak, in America he couldn't find a church that could contain his audience. Gaustad, Edwin "Whitefield, George American Eras. Great Awakening, religious revival in the British American colonies between about 1720 and the 1740s. Whitefield preached 18,000 sermons in his career and his writings, published posthumously, were contained in seven volumes. He was known as the "Great Itinerant" because he traveled and preached all around North … Rather, modern critics meditate upon his impact on the mid-18th century. After two centuries George Whitefield remains something of a controversial figure, although the controversy no longer deals with praise or blame or the accuracy of his own accounting of 18,000 sermons preached. Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA). ." Through Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, and New England he went, attracting large crowds and attacking clergy. The Oxford Companion to British History. ." : Blackwell Publishers, 1992, p. 290. Worldly Business no Plea for the Neglect of Religion. Then from the middle 1740's to early 1950's, Whitefield preached throughout Great Britain, Ireland, and America. As a consequence, followers of Whitefield became rivals of Wesley's supporters. . In his school and college days Whitefield experienced a strong religious awakening that he called a “new birth.”. Evangelical preacher and leader of the Great Awakening. George Whitefield (pronounced Whitfield) was an Anglican minister and leader of the early Methodist movement. Whitefield spent the winter in Georgia, but he composed press releases to insure that he was not forgotten in the other colonies. Whitefield's Boston visit lasted 10 days. Puritan cler…, PURITANS Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1994. World Encyclopedia. . ." His first religious raptures also belong to these early years. WHITEFIELD, GEORGE (1714–1770), English evangelist and itinerant revivalist in America. Impressed by Whitefield's success in lifting Christians out of their "lethargy" (lack of religious fervor), Edwards invited the reformer to preach to his congregation at Northampton, Massachusetts. When Whitefield spoke, mobs gathered and managed to drown out his powerful voice. His father died when George was just two years old, leaving his mother to keep their inn running and support her family as best as she could. Whitefield took the Calvinist position, whereas John Wesley sided with the liberals (advocates of less strict interpretation of religious doctrine). (In 1741 Whitefield became the leader of the Calvinist Methodists.) Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. At the age of 22, Whitefield was ordained a deacon in the Church of England. . Encyclopedia.com. JOHN CANNON "Whitefield, George . Britain's Mercies, and Britain's Duty Preached at Philadelphia, on Sunday, August 14, 1746 and Occasioned by the Suppression of the Late Unnatural Rebellion. Encyclopedia of the American Revolution: Library of Military History, The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions, Asbury, Francis Encyclopedia of the American Revolution: Library of Military History. George Whitefield. . "Pedlar in Divinity:" George Whitefield and the Transatlantic Revivals, 1737–1770. Met on the road by a committee of ministers and conducted into the town, he found all meetinghouses except King's Chapel open to him. Whitefield responded to this and to many other charges contained in the letter: that he preached extemporaneously in the open fields, that he criticized the national clergy, and that he claimed to "propagate a new Gospel, as unknown to the generality of ministers and people"—all this, said the bishop, in what is surely a Christian country already. More than any other preacher of his day, he made the Great Awakening a vital, far-reaching force, religiously, socially, and politically, in America. Whitefield had the cooperation of many Congregationalist, Presbyterian, and Reformed clergymen, but was usually turned away by his Anglican colleagues. (December 21, 2020). Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. In 1741 Whitefield married Elizabeth Burnell James, a thirty-seven-year-old widow whom he met in Wales. George Whitefield was born in 1714 in Gloucester, England. Whitefield toured Pennsylvania and New York, attracting large crowds and attacking the established clergy. Whitefield sailed back to America and in February, 1739, he preached to coal miners near Bristol, Connecticut. His later confessions of early wickedness were probably exaggerated, but they can be understood as belonging to this setting. Whitefield also became involved in abolitionist (antislavery) efforts, and his final project was an effort to convert Bethesda orphanage into a college. He also learned that by attacking the clergy, who had closed their pulpits to him, he could draw even larger crowds. He received financial assistance from Lady Elizabeth Hastings, who continued to support him and his causes later in life. degree and became a deacon in 1736. George Whitefield, together with John Wesley and Charles Wesley, founded the Methodist movement. Whitefield then returned to Georgia for a well-publicized confrontation with an Anglican group, thus keeping his name in the news. Even as many were going the religious and epistemological way of Franklin, many were also experiencing religious awakening and were renewing their devotion to God. St. Paul preaching at Athens, tells them, that as he passed by and beheld their devotions, he perceived they were in all things too superstitious. He was born on December 16, 1714 at the Bell Inn, Gloucester, and died in Newburyport, Massachusetts on September 30, 1770. He lies buried beneath the pulpit in the town's Presbyterian church. ." https://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/whitefield-george, JOHN CANNON "Whitefield, George George Whitefield, a pre-eminent evangelist and founder of the Calvinistic branch of the Methodists, was a native of Gloucester, England, in the Bell Inn of which town (his father being a tavern-keeper) he was born, Dec. 16, 1714. George Whitefield was an Anglican minister who scorned theology for whatever message would spark the conversion of people of all religious persuasions in England, Scotland, Ireland, and America. Here he became acquainted with John and Charles Wesley and in 1735 experienced a religious conversion. Whitefield continued his missionary work, but by 1744 his meteoric rise to fame was coming to an end. For instance, Gilbert Tennent adopted Whitefield's strategy of attacking Anglican ministers, taking it to disturbing heights. Upon his ordination as an Anglican deacon in July 1736, he preached his first sermon at St. Mary de Crypt. Encyclopedia.com. Encyclopedia of the American Revolution: Library of Military History. New Catholic Encyclopedia. 04. Consequently, Whitefield was driven outside to preach in the open air, which better suited his powerful speaking voice. He also always focused on the audience as he never used notes. Learn more about the Great Awakening. In 1741 Whitefield traveled back to England to preach. Encyclopedia of World Biography. At his busiest during this three-year tour, Whitefield preached three sermons a day. ." "Whitefield, George (1714-1770) George Whitefield and the Great Awakening. (Calvinism is a religion that placed strong emphasis on the supreme power of God, the sinfulness of humankind, and the doctrine of predestination, which states that all human events are controlled by God.) The Wesleys had since departed for England after having problems with Georgia officials. . . In the words of a young Maryland man, “he has the best delivery with the worst divinity that I ever mett with.”. In 1745 an older, wiser, and more sober Whitefield returned to America. "Whitefield, George (1714-1770) Departing from Anglican doctrine, he presented Methodist views of Christianity to his congregation with great emotion and enthusiasm. Whitefield also inspired the publication of evangelical magazines, which sprang up throughout the colonies to praise his amazing successes. John Winthrop's Christian Experience Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1972. © 2004-2020 ReligionFacts. Whitefield's message was simple: "Repent and you will be saved." Neither they nor Whitefield's own admirers, however, could discourage the twenty-three-year-old Whitefield from setting out for Georgia on the first of seven voyages to America. He apologized for his youthful egotism, which had caused religious chaos and unjustified abuse of other ministers. "Peddlar in Divinity": George Whitefield and the Transatlantic Revivals, 1737–1770. . Born: December 16, 1714, in Gloucester, Gloucestershire, England. . Retrieved December 21, 2020 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/whitefield-george-0. At Oxford he met John and Charles Wesley (who founded Methodism), experienced conversion, and joined their pious circle. Whitefield had found his calling, and news of his remarkable speaking abilities reached churches in other cities. . It was part of the religious ferment that swept western Europe in the latter part of the 17th century and early 18th century. Any pious project that required broad support found George Whitefield either assisting or directing the effort. He toured the colonies from Georgia to New Hampshire several times, with the avowed purpose of raising money for his orphanage. (December 21, 2020). In contemporary accounts, he, not John Wesley, is spoken of as the supreme figure and even as the founder of Methodism. ." Word of all this reached America before his arrival, giving him the best preparation he could have asked. Following his ordination in 1736, he preached his first sermon and was amazed at the result, reporting that “I drove 15 mad.” He had found his calling, and news of Whitefield’s ability spread by word of mouth. He was a mediocre student but he excelled in drama, reportedly performing female roles in school productions. Gaustad, Edwin "Whitefield, George Nevertheless historians now recognize Whitefield as having made a significant impact on religion in the United States. Returning to America that year, he met William and Gilbert Tennent and Theodore Frelinghuysen, who were beginning a religious revival in the colonies. This tavern, of which his father was proprietor, located in a rough neighborhood, was his childhood home. 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