The Great Awakening Essay

The Great AwakeningDuring the 1730-40’s, evangelicalism swept Europe and America. Presbyterians,  Baptists and Methodists became the largest American Protestant denominations by the first decades of the nineteenth century. Opponents of the Awakening or those split by it–Anglicans, Quakers, and Congregationalists were left behind.

[] Logic was deemed unimportant next to biblical revelation.Preachers like John Edwards, a puritan, was an example of how fanatical people got during this time. He was utterly convinced that by god, “every mouth will be stopped” and that each sinner was sinner as a loathsome spider suspended by a slender thread over a pit of seething brimstone, according to one of his sermons, “Sinners in the Hand of an Angry God.

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“George Whitefield was another such man, though he wasn’t brought up into his faith. He was ordained by the Church of England, though he wasn’t faithful to it, as he helped lead a campaign to reform it. This ended in the founding of the Methodist Church.Like most of the holy men involved in the great awakening, George could really please a crowd.

As opposed to the Puritanical sermons, which tended to be long-winded and boring, these new preachers spent their time literally beating the pulpit, screaming towards the crowd about damnation and hellfire, and sometimes even openly sobbing. Though many preachers opposed this, saying it was too sensational. The number of people converted back to these churches, though, speak for how well their tactics worked.The First Great Awakening brought religion to the slaves. Though they still couldn’t read or write (it was against the law), they were finally allowed to worship.

It also disquieted many New England towns, causing tension between various religions that exists still today. The preachers of this new style, “New Lights” were constantly challenged by the old, the “Old Lights”. People began to read their bibles at home rather than exclusively at church, which allowed them to form their new ideas. This lead to a sweep of individualism years later, which brought numbers to the church down a notch, which I find ironic.

In a way, the revival ended itself like that.Sources Edwards, “The Great-Awakening: A Faithful Narrative…” 


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