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Archive for June, 2012

George Whitefield’s Christian Revival and its Influence on The Patriot Pastors of 1776

By Dr. Grady S. McMurtry

I am fascinated by the lives of our Founding Fathers, who lived during a time of great Christian revival and fervor. Their beliefs directly affected the framing of a nascent American state as federal republic guided by internal Christian self-governing principles. John Adams notably credited the Patriot Pastors of 1776, who the British parliament termed the “Black Regiment,” as the primary instigating force behind American independence.

The Patriot Pastors were directly linked to earlier teachings and religious movements led by Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield. Edwards instigated the revivalist spirit, coming of age during a time when church affiliation in the Colonies was high, but real faith was low. Many of the churches in New England were directed by the state-approved Church of England, with its emphasis on early baptism and church membership as the path to salvation.

However, Edwards encouraged the faithful to establish a personal relationship with God. In particular, he emphasized that membership in a state-run church could not ensure salvation. Edwards’ eloquence was renowned, and his 1741 sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” is considered archetypal of early American religious sermons.

The British evangelist George Whitefield continued Edwards’ work, leading an estimated 300,000 New Englanders to salvation. His revivalist message also emphasized creating a personal relationship with God, and many of his published sermons ended with exhortations such as “Come poor, lost, undone sinner, come just as you are to Christ.” Whitefield fanned flames on the hearth laid by Jonathan Edwards, leading the Great Awakening of 1740. This was a momentous and widespread social movement, having a direct impact on the framers of the Declaration of Independence. Benjamin Franklin was one of those highly impressed by Whitefield’s style, writing about the preacher at length in his autobiography. The Black Regiment, following in Whitefield’s footsteps, taught principles that the American political framework echoed: man was created equal in the eyes of God and man was endowed by his Creator with certain unalienable rights. According to the Black Regiment, the government’s function was to protecting God-given rights, creating a nation of, by, and for the Christian people.

About the Author: With a Doctor of Divinity in Christian Apologetics from the School of Theology in Columbus, Georgia, and a Doctor of Letters from Mid-Continent University, Mayfield, Kentucky, Dr. Grady S. McMurtry leads the evangelical organization Creation Worldview Ministries, Inc.

Dr. Grady S. McMurtry: The Purposes of Christian Missionary Work

As President and Founder of Creation Worldview Ministries, Inc., a nonprofit Christian educational ministry based in Orlando, Florida, Dr. Grady S. McMurtry serves as a traveling missionary to teach the fundamentals of the Bible in various parts of the world. Christian missionaries may attempt to fulfill a number of purposes through their efforts.

1. Christian missionaries attempt to educate by introducing Biblical teachings and the Gospel of Jesus Christ to individuals who may have never been exposed to them.

2. They invite people to atone for their sins through repentance and baptism, as well as to provide the opportunity to become “born again.” They encourage others to do a bit of “soul searching” in order to seek ways in which they may improve their situations. Missionaries may also help others discover their own purposes in life.

3. Some Christian missionaries may attempt to debunk what they view as untruthful or inaccurate views that others may have about the Christian religion.

4. Missionaries approach their role with the idea that every soul is worth saving and that their efforts can have a major positive impact on the world’s population. The goal is to help others enjoy eternal life through Jesus Christ.