THE GREAT AWAKENING
Among many of the early settlers and English Puritans that arrived in America, their hearts and souls were committed to the cause of Christ. Their efforts helped to establish church communities that reflected more on individual freedoms, instead of a hierarchical structure. In time, many denominations thrived in the early part of America (Anglicanism, Catholicism, and Puritanism).
As America continued to prosper, a mighty spiritual movement began to unfold. Strengthening the public and private life of Americans during the mid-seventeenth century, the Great Awakening began to shape American Protestantism and gave it new meaning in its role to the State. The many conversions that were authenticated during this religiously historic period changed the tone and nature of America altogether. Americans were not just theologically confirmed by an ecclesiastical body, but were now experiencing true Christianity lived out through the power of the gospel and work of the Holy Spirit.
Jonathan Edwards (1703–1755) and George Whitefield (1714–1770) are widely acknowledged as the most influential figures in the Great Awakening. Their sermons covered the holiness of God, heaven and hell, and sin and salvation in startling ways unheard of by prior clergymen. Through their dynamic preaching, America experienced thousands of people receiving salvation for the very first time. This awakening brought forth new Protestant sects (Baptist and Methodist) and spread Christianity throughout the colonies in America.
Then and Now
It is undeniably clear that the backbone of our great nation starts and ends with a Christian heritage. Throughout the historical landscape of America, those brave settlers that first set foot on American soil sought to establish and inoculate Christianity in both their public and private lives. From The Mayflower Compact to the Charter of Liberties, strong religious convictions and personal strife for individual freedom characterized the early colonists and helped shape America to become the world’s greatest and mightiest nation. Through the years, our unwavering commitment to our Christian heritage would play a significant role in defining who we are and what we believe.
That is, until now.