george whitefield and jonathan edwards
Subscribe to CT magazine for full access to the. Here are the cover stories that online readers read most. This leads to another issue, and that is Edwards’ theologically bankrupt position in condemning the Transatlantic slave trade. If there are, what would they be? And though it is true, that they are brought in a wrong way from their own country, and it is a trade not to be approved of, yet as it will be carried on whether we will or not; I should think myself highly favoured if I could purchase a good number of them, in order to make their lives comfortable, and lay a foundation for breeding up their posterity in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” , Like Edwards, Whitfield’s thinking was plagued with morally entangled inconsistencies that cannot be unraveled or justified. Edwards disagreed. Help me out with my essay question please! It is actually logically consistent of Edwards to hold this because Calvinism holds that all the affairs of the world are predetermined by God. Strangely enough Edwards, the voice of America’s spiritual awakening, sought to defend America’s domestic slavery of Africans while at the same time denouncing the Transatlantic slave trade that was decimating many African countries in bringing slaves to America. Sadly such divine tenants are glaringly absent in Calvinist theology. Again–to give an event in the world your disapproval is to call into question, “Massachusetts, like many American colonies, had roots in a scrupulous fundamentalist Protestantism. Browse 60+ years of magazine archives and web exclusives. If that’s true, then we cannot attribute it to God, either. The world is the way it is because God predestined it so. And he came very close to denying that God’s creation of the world was free in any libertarian sense as if God could have done otherwise. It is not my intention to disparage Jonathan Edwards or smear his reputation. Free will, according to him, only means doing what you want to do–following the strongest inclination provided to the will by the affections. Perhaps it’s fitting to simply state: It takes a hypocrite to know a hypocrite. Whitefield's End One more note on Edward’s misgivings of the Transatlantic slave trade bears mentioning. Franklin and Whitefield knew one another. Without Whitefield the amazing phenomena of 1740–41 might never have come to pass. George Whitefield (/ ˈ w ɪ t f iː l d /; 27 December [O.S. For Edwards they are necessary for God’s full glorification. Few figures, bar his friends, Jonathan Edwards and John Wesley, loomed as large in the history of transatlantic evangelicalism in the age of the Enlightenment as that of George Whitefield (1714-1770). The single greatest flaw is the character of God. Whitefield’s defenders may counter that it is recorded that his slaves were devoted to him, or that Whitefield saw his role as their master as an opportunity to be their evangelist too. So did many of America’s founders, like Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. In addition, Edwards and Franklin may have been aware of each other’s work. 16 December] 1714 – 30 September 1770), also known as George Whitfield, was an Anglican cleric and evangelist who was one of the founders of Methodism and the evangelical movement. It is only fair to wonder if Edwards thought the same thing, for he did not own just one slave, he and his family owned numerous slaves. Yet … So why didn’t he later release Venus, his purchased Transatlantic-African slave girl, once his feelings on the African slave trade evolved? They greatly underplay his contributions to science and philosophy and wrongly stereotype him as nothing more than a fundamentalist, hell fire and brimstone preacher during the First Great Awakening (1720–1740s). Satan, Sin and Uncontrollable Blasphemous Thoughts This page in Portuguese. Jonathan Edwards, a brilliant preacher, pioneer in the Reformed Church, and major figure in the First Great Awakening, greatly influenced modern religion. So, sin and evil are necessary and serve God’s glory. Consequently if God didn’t want a Black person to be subjected to slavery pre-Civil War he would have sovereignly decreed for them to be White. But the substantive meat of the article is Olsen’s keen insight in skillfully dissecting Edwards theology and reveals his logical inconsistencies and tantamount theological blunders that make his underlying theology wholly untenable for Christian thinkers to embrace. A series of religious revivals swept through the colonies in the 1730s. We designed this site to foster conversation between educators, Hollywood professionals, students, business and faith leaders devoted to both spiritual formation and cultural engagement, both the Holy Spirit and the liberal arts: Anyone who aspires to be as ambidextrous in their leadership as Inigo Montoya was with his sword. It is speculative and dangerous. Is that the mark of a great mind? George Whitefield was an English Minster, evangelist, and preacher. Edward’s Calvinistic theology led him to believe that everything that occurs in the world is exactly as God predestined it to be–including slavery. It has already been highlighted how Edwards hypocritically approved of and supported the continuance of America’s domestic slave trade but was disenchanted with the Transatlantic merchant ship slave business–the same business that fathered America’s domestic slave trade of which he approved.  But to be fair to Edwards his purchase of Venus was made in 1731 and presumably before he deemed the Transatlantic slave trade to be wrong. It is uncertain if Venus was still a household slave in family’s possession upon his death. A British clergyman of the Anglican Church, Whitefield’s eloquent oratory skills and charismatic personality helped spark the spiritual revival known as “The Great Awakening” throughout Britain, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, and the North American colonies. It does not mean being able to do otherwise. George Whitefield: Evangelist for God and Empire, by Peter Y. Choi. Subscribers receive full access to the archives. get one year free. Posted in Calvinism, Edwards, Jonathan, Ethics, Holiness, Olson, Roger, StriderMTB. Fourth, he was a social phenomenon. Get the best from CT editors, delivered straight to your inbox! One observer wrote that when Whitefield spoke, one could feel authority, demonstration, life, and power in his voice. There is no doubt Edwards was a great man, a loving father, passionate pastor and a devoted follower of the Lord who faithfully served God in his generation. CTWeekly delivers the best content from ChristianityToday.com to your inbox each week. Subscribe to CT to continue reading this article from the archives. If one says “from his nature,” then, with the denial of libertarian free will, God becomes a machine. On a side note, many have pondered why Edwards, who zealously opposed Arminianism, would be willing to come to the aid of a minister who was suspected of having Arminian leanings. (See Edwards’ Treatise Concerning the End for Which God Created the World.) First, Whitefield was a Calvinist, and the strongest theological tradition in the American colonies was Calvinism. There is no denying that Edwards was a towering force of intellectual influence in his day. That is to say that God withdrew or withheld the grace creatures needed not to sin. As such the affairs in the world do not change until the time preordained for them to change. Apparently Edwards felt that such a change for the Black man in America was not yet upon the stage of the world, and therefore God’s predestination of the enslavement of the Black man was still in effect. Rev. George Whitefield (1714–1770) George Whitefield was a famous friend of Edwards. Should it really surprise us that Calvinist leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention defended slavery–and did so on Calvinist theological grounds, with telling title defenses like, “Slavery Ordained by God.”  Should it surprise us that White, Afrikaner Calvinists long used their Calvinist theology of unconditional election and God’s meticulous, sovereign predestination of all things as an aid in identifying themselves as God’s special elect in order to justify racial discrimination and eventual apartheid in South Africa?. George Whitefield and Jonathan Edwards were both two extreme zealous preachers and very different from each other but had a similar message. With that said, I find it somewhat troubling that Edwards has largely been given a pass on both his logical and biblical flaws in theology as well as his slave ownership. How is logically right for any Christian to seek to put to rights and redress the very evils God has sovereignly instituted should be part of the fabric of our world? This chapter provides an account of the interactions between Whitefield and the colonial American preacher and theologian Jonathan Edwards of Northampton, Massachusetts, first during Whitefield’s visit there in 1740 and especially during the virtually ignored visit of 1745, showing that there were initial points of friction between the two. Satan, Sin and Uncontrollable Blasphemous Thoughts This page in Portuguese With his contemporaries, John Wesley and Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield (1714-1770) completed the trio of men humanly responsible for the Great Awakening that turned both America and Britain back to God. And yet, Edwards insisted that God abhors sin and evil. It was said that Archbishop Cornwallis gave so many balls and social parties at Lambeth Palace that the King actually wrote Edwards was a pastor whose sermons and writings covered an array of subjects/ Whitfield stuck to the basic Gospel message. Historians agree that Whitefield’s pro-slavery campaigns and written pleas to the Georgia Trustees advocating for the necessity of slavery were instrumental in overturning the law of 1749, resulting in the enslavement of Blacks being reintroduced to Georgia in 1751. . But that aside it is additionally beyond bewildering that Edwards would attempt to condemn any practice as “wrong for the world” when his theology mandates the view that God sovereignly preordained and rendered certain all the social evils of that present world–such as the Transatlantic slave trade that he finds fault with and denounces. Whereas America’s public educational sector underplays Edwards legacy, I believe many Christians–particularly Calvinists–overplay his legacy as being the height of godly virtue and a figure whose. And punishes them with eternal suffering for doing what serves his glory and is necessary. "'Jonathan Edwards's Letter of Invitation to George Whitefield," ed. I’m only saying that he either didn’t seem to notice his own contradictions or he chose to overlook them while vehemently pointing out and condemning contradictions he thought he saw in Arminianism. While explicitly affirming God 's sole agency in salvation, Whitefield freely offered the Gospel , saying at the end of his sermons: "Come poor, lost, undone sinner , come just as you are to Christ ." But it is more likely the case that Edwards felt so strongly that a congregational threat to a fellow minister on the basis of lavish living and slave ownership was a threat against his own livelihood as a slave owning minister. George Whitefield 1739 It is not hyperbole to describe George Whitefield, the English clergyman who riveted colonists with his dramatic evangelical preaching, as a star Strangely enough Edwards attempted to argue that while all men, including African slaves, are our equal neighbors and possibly even our equal brothers and sisters in Christ in the Kingdom of God, it was not at all sinful to use one’s African “neighbors’s work without wages” in a slave context. While lesser known than Jonathan Edwards or George Whitefield, he also played a prominent role in the. April 20, 2020, posted by stridermtb . Truth be told, the mid-1700s were years of great spiritual awakening and as the movement began to spread critics of slavery began to draw upon it as a foretaste of the glorious Kingdom to come–a Kingdom in which slavery had no place. Continue Reading History. There is no denying that Edwards was a towering force of intellectual influence in his day. Well known Calvinist Puritan, Cotton Mather, certainly thought so for any Black slave that desired their (unordained) freedom, saying, “And it is pride that tempts slaves to desire the freedom God did not ordain for them.” . The Puritans regarded themselves as God’s Elect, and so they had no difficulty with slavery, which had the sanction of the Law of the God of Israel. Edwards purchased one of his slaves, a 14 year old girl named Venus, from the captain of an African slave trader ship in New England. How many white people have been destroyed for want of them…”, In contrast to Whitefield, John Wesley, who also lived in Georgia for a time always opposed slavery and called America’s enslavement of the Blacks, “that execrable sum of all villanies.” . However this is simply not true. We are reminded at that point of a statement of Perry Miller; I can’t remember where I read it now. 2 George Whitefield—Man of Grace As for the Bishops, the majority of them were also men of the world. See: http://www.umcmission.org/Find-Resources/Global-Worship-and-Spiritual-Growth/The-Wesleys-and-Their-Times/Thoughts-Upon-Slavery, http://www.slavenorth.com/massachusetts.htm, http://www.ccel.org/ccel/wesley/journal.vi.xvi.v.html, http://gbgm-umc.org/umw/wesley/wilber.stm, http://www.patheos.com/blogs/rogereolson/2012/07/why-is-jonathan-edwards-considered-so-great/, Remonstrance Minisode 31: The True Way of Keeping Christmas. B. Whitefield and Edwards both attempted to instill fear in their parishioners using images of hell fires. Unless God has raised you up for this very thing, you will be worn out by the opposition of men and devils. Writing from Northampton, Massachusetts on December 14, 1740, Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) told his fellow preacher of the gospel—George Whitefield (1714-1770) about the revival at Northampton and asked him to pray for him. Jonathan Edwards, (born October 5, 1703, East Windsor, Connecticut [U.S.]—died March 22, 1758, Princeton, New Jersey), greatest theologian and philosopher of British American Puritanism, stimulator of the religious revival known as the “ Great Awakening,” and one of the forerunners of the age of Protestant missionary expansion in the 19th century. God simply “left ‘em to themselves” so that sin and evil followed inevitably or necessarily. Sadly our public schools have not been kind or fair to him. CTWeekly delivers the best content from ChristianityToday.com to your inbox each week. May 3, 2012. , Recently Roger Olson wrote a critique of Edwards legacy. The cities were small: Boston and Philadelphia were only about 20,000 each. Edwards’ prayer request is noteworthy: Rev. I would say not. Yet in many ways, Whitefield has had greater lasting significance. What made Whitefield’s preaching tour so important was that it came during the height of several local revivals. This is not to say there did not exist any slave holder who espoused Arminian ideas–there undoubtedly were. Or, more charitably, Edwards saw the inconsistency of others more clearly than he saw his own in this case.”, While there is much virtue in the man–well beyond my own–to be praised and admired, I. find it interesting and a bit telling that leading Calvinists like Edwards as well as George Whitfield supported and defended America’s enslavement of Blacks and were totally blind to how such support was inconsistent and diametrically opposed to the character of God as revealed through Christ. Had Mr Henry been in America, I believe he would have seen the lawfulness and necessity of having negroes there. Mark Noll: Let me suggest a few factors, not necessarily in order of importance. Our picks for the books most likely to shape evangelical life, thought, and culture. Everything God does is necessary–including rendering sin and evil certain. Ordained as an Anglican minister, he has worked in university and parish settings, and is Director of the Jonathan Edwards Center Australia and Visiting Fellow at the Yale Divinity School. Christian preachers who attacked the state supported religion saying it got [Jonathan Edwards appears in church] 01:27 in the way of true faith the evangelical preachers said that religious experience 01:32 was all about being01:36 As such slavery ought now to be abolished from the Christian community. He asks, “Is it… a crime for men to hold men in a condition where they labor for another without their consent or contract?” Fuller emphatically argues no, stating, “the crime is not slaveholding, but cruelty.” Fuller then goes on to astonishingly declare that nothing in the NT (regarding the inauguration of the Kingdom of God) argues against holding a fellow human being in bondage against his will, because slavery is not the right to cruelly abuse another. George Whitefield And John Edwards Analysis Introduction Who are Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield? After acquiring his own plantation and buying numerous slaves Whitefield became one of the most vocal proponents to reintroduce slavery to Georgia after it was banned. Would it not be to put one’s self in the position of fighting against Almighty God? Benjamin Franklin, Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield all lived at the same time. Christianity was no barrier to slave-ownership, however. George Whitefield and Jonathan Edwards (part 1) November 4, 2009. Olson believes that Edwards has become the darling of Christian thought for many evangelicals due in no small part to receiving a “pass” on many of his unfortunate logical and theological blunders–not to mention his glaring hypocrisy in defending slave ownership. It could be that upon discussions with Doolittle, Edwards was satisfied that his theology was not suspect. Fallacies of Calvinist Apologetics Series, Piper Theology Critique Series by StriderMTB, Question and Answer Series by Ben Henshaw, Seven Minute Seminary: “Wesleyan-Arminianism is a God-Centered, Not Human-Centered Theology”, VIDEO: Understanding Salvation with Bruxy and Nina Cavey, Video by Seth Miller: “Ask An Arminian: Total Depravity”, Video: Seven Minute Seminary: Larry Wood, “John Wesley’s Place in the Protestant Reformation”, Video by Seth Miller: “Ask An Arminian: My Story with Arminianism”, Roger Olson Video Lecture: “Calvinism Part IV: Final Evaluation of Calvinism”, Roger Olson Video Lecture: “Calvinism Part III: The Young, Restless, and Reformed Movement, Roger Olson Video Lecture: “Calvinism Part II: Tenets of Calvinism”, Roger Olson Video Lecture: “Calvinism Part I: History of Calvinism Among Baptists”, Is Everything that Happens God’s Will? However it cannot be denied that the early, “trailblazing” abolitionists in the Church were by and large Arminians–men like Wesley, Asbury, Wilberforce and Finney. For example (and here you will have to trust me or look at my chapter on Edwards in The Story of Christian Theology and my many allusions to him and his theology in Against Calvinism): Edwards argued that God’s sovereignty requires that he create the entire universe and everything in it ex nihilo at every moment. . Key players were Theodore Frelinghuysen, William and Gilbert Tenant, Jonathan Edwards, and George Whitefield. All of those ideas can perhaps be dismissed as the speculations of a mind obsessed with God’s greatness, glory and sovereignty. On the other, evangelical heroes including George Whitefield and Jonathan Edwards have drawn a steady stream of visitors to their graves and other historical sites. The Calvinist doctrine of predestination easily supported the Puritans in a position that blacks were a people cursed and condemned by God to serve whites. How were they … While American revivalists such as Edwards and Gilbert Tennent … – Michael Brown, FWS Podcast: Revival in the Old Testament. Asking someone to define Jonathan Edwards’ historical and theological legacy can vary from person to person. There is no denying that Edwards was a towering force of intellectual influence in his day. If they are determined by his wisdom and necessary for his glory, why would he abhore them? As the conscience of North America became awakened to the evils of slavery and voices began to speak out against its insidious nature, Edwards strangely sought to defend it. Thoroughly bewildering –even in God Theodore Frelinghuysen, William and Gilbert Tenant, Jonathan Edwards theology... Their parishioners using images of hell fires many white people have been by. 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