George Whitefield

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George Whitefield (December 16, 1714(O.S) – September 30, 1770(N.S)) was an Anglican Protestant minister who helped spread the Great Awakening in Britain and, especially, in the British North American colonies. He was one of the founders of Methodism and of the evangelical movement generally.[1] He became perhaps the best-known preacher in Britain and America in the 18th century, and because he traveled through all of the American colonies and drew great crowds and media coverage, he was one of the most widely recognized public figures in colonial America.


Early life

Whitefield was born at the Bell Inn, Southgate Street, Gloucester[2] in England.

Whitefield was the 5th son (6th child) of Thomas Whitfield and Elizabeth Jenks who kept an inn at Gloucester. At an early age, he found that he had a passion and talent for acting in the theatre, a passion that he would carry on through the very theatrical re-enactments of Bible stories that he told during his sermons. He was educated at the Crypt School, Gloucester, and Pembroke College, Oxford. Because Whitefield came from a poor background, he did not have the means to pay for his tuition. He therefore entered Oxford as a servitor, the lowest rank of students at Oxford. In return for free tuition, he was assigned as a servant to a number of higher ranked students. His duties included waking them in the morning, polishing their shoes, carrying their books and even assisting with required written assignments.[3] He was a part of the 'Holy Club' at Oxford University with the Wesley brothers, John and Charles. After reading Henry Scougal's The Life of God in the Soul of Man he became very religious. Following a religious conversion, he became very passionate for preaching his new-found faith. The Bishop of Gloucester ordained him before the canonical age.

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