Great Awakening: In Addition to Research Paper

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Using Tennents' strategy, the clergymen of Presbyterian, Puritan and Baptist churches were conducting revivals in their regions by the 1740s. Preachers such as Jonathan Edwards stirred up flamboyant and terrifying images of the absolute corruption of the human nature in their emotionally charged sermons. These preachers also described the terrors awaiting the unrepentant in hell in their powerful sermons.

Some of the converts from the early revivals in the northern colonies were inspired to become missionaries to the southern region of America. The great awakening continued to spread in the late 1740s when Presbyterian preachers from New York and New Jersey started proselytizing in the Virginia Piedmont. It also spread to central North Carolina and the surrounding colonies by the 1750s when some members of the Separate Baptists moved from New England. Notably, 10% of all southern churchgoers were evangelical converts by the eve of the American Revolution.

There were principle figures of the great awakening such as Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield. These principle figures were the people who enabled the awakening to gain momentum because of their contributions. For instance, the revival gained momentum from the widespread American travels of George Whitefield, an English preacher. Though he was an ordained minister in the Church of England, Whitefield later joined other Anglican clergymen who shared his evangelical bent. These Anglican clergymen included people like John and Charles Wesley among others. In their efforts to reform the Church of England, the Methodist Church was as a result founded in the 18th Century.

After 1739, George Whitefield managed to preach everywhere in the American colonies in his numerous trips across the Atlantic. Most of his meetings were characterized by large audiences and he was soon obliged to preach outdoors.
Nonetheless, although his sermons were largely centered on what other Calvinists had been preaching for centuries, Whitefield presented that message in narrative styles. Together with other American preachers who were eagerly imitating his style, Whitefield turned the sermon into a fascinating exaggerated performance.

Nevertheless, this style of preaching and the content of the sermons did not gain approval throughout the colonies, particularly with the conservative and moderate clergymen. These clergymen were concerned with the emotionalism of evangelicals and argued that confusion and disagreement accompanied the revivals. On the other hand, evangelical preachers and converts criticized the conservative clergymen as cold, uninspiring and lacking in piety and grace. Consequently, battles within congregations and denominations began because of this challenge to clerical authority and the evangelical approach to conversion (Heyrman 2008). Colonials were sharply divided along religious line as a result of the first Great Awakening.

Causes of the Great Awakening:

The Great Awakening in America was as a result of a number of factors which include:

Decline in Church Membership:

As mentioned earlier, this is one of the causes of the Great Awakening. Prior to the Great Awakening, America experienced a decline in church membership which created a great need for revival. This decline in church membership was because people were dependent on themselves for survival and earning a living. There was a growing concern for survival and earning a living in the hard and difficult land that resulted in the fading concern for theological and religious issues. As many people were getting involved in activities that could enhance their survival, they consequently avoided going to church......

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