Bruce Gore: George Whitefield and the Beginning of the Great Awakening

We’re getting closer to the American Revolution now.

Puritans have settled New England. Quakers have settled in Pennsylvania. Anglicans have settled in the Southern lowlands. Scot Presbyterians and Scot-Irish Presbyterians have settled in Pennsylvania and have begun to fan out across the backcountry and settle North Carolina.

As the American colonies have become more settled and prosperous, there has been a drift toward complacency in the established churches since around 1700. Settlers have dispersed to the frontier where there are no real established institutions. Enlightenment rationalism is at its peak. The Great Awakening swept through the colonies in the 1730s and 1740s and created the embryo of American identity illustrating once again how religion has been central to Protestant politics for the last two centuries both in Britain and Ireland and in the founding and settlement of the American colonies.

To recap:

Episode 1: Bruce Gore starts the series by asking why the descendants of Puritan colonists in New England and Scots-Irish Presbyterians in the backcountry played such a starring role in the American Revolution. The obvious answer is their religious and cultural background.

Episode 2: Bruce Gore traces the seeds of radical republicanism back to John Calvin’s theology.

Episode 3: Bruce Gore traces the spread of Calvinism from Geneva to England and Scotland and explains how John Knox and George Buchanan fleshed out a political edifice upon Calvin’s theology.

Episode 4: Bruce Gore explains how Puritan colonists in New England and Scots-Irish Presbyterians in the backcountry transplanted their culture to North America in the 17th century which was an age of major religious turmoil in England, Scotland and Ireland.

Episode 5: Bruce Gore focuses on the Scots and the persecution of Presbyterians in Scotland that followed the Stuart Restoration in the late 17th century. This sparked a wave of migration to the American colonies which began to change their religious demographics.

Episode 6: Bruce Gore focuses on three waves of Calvinists who settled in the American colonies in the 17th and 18th centuries – the New England Puritans, Scot Presbyterians and Scots-Irish Presbyterians – and how religious dissenters who rejected the Anglican Church who had a long history of clashing with the Anglican establishment became the demographic majority in colonial America.

Episode 7: Bruce Gore looks at Jonathan Edwards the years around 1730 and the background of the Great Awakening which transformed the religious landscape of the American colonies in the 18th century.

In this episode, Bruce Gore looks at George Whitefield and the Great Awakening and how the Great Awakening prepared the way for the American Revolution.

1 Comment

  1. There was no absolute human authority, be it King, Queen or Pope. This is what Whit(e)field preached, and this is what made him dangerous to monarchs and Popes.

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