Exploring Hope: Two biographies on First Great Awakening

I encourage every Christian to read and study church history because it is helpful to see the successes and failures of past generations. This fall, in particular, I would encourage you to pick up two biographies about two men during a remarkable period called the First Great Awakening, which was a revival of true gospel Christianity between 1720 and 1750.

The first biography I would recommend is “George Whitefield: God’s Anointed Servant in the Great Revival of the Eighteenth Century” by Arnold A. Dallimore. It’s a masterful treatment of one of the greatest preachers and evangelists of all time, George Whitfield. He preached to massive audiences on both sides of the Atlantic as one of the founders of Methodism. But he was also a committed Calvinist and a humble Christian who served the Lord with heart, soul, mind, and strength. As you read this biography, you will undoubtedly learn about the First Great Awakening. But you will also discover the challenge and encouragement of a life that is on fire for the gospel.

The second biography I would recommend is “Jonathan Edwards: A Life” by George M. Marsden. This book explores the life of one of the greatest theologians and philosophers in American history, Jonathan Edwards. As a personal friend of George Whitfield, he was a revivalist who helped spark the First Great Awakening in New England, serving as a pastor in Northampton, Massachusetts, and as a missionary to Native Americans in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. But he also was a scholarly Calvinist, committed to classic, Reformed Orthodoxy. In this way, he brought together a deep love for truth and a deep love for lost people created in the image of God.

As you read these two biographies, I would invite you to join me in sincere prayer for a third great awakening in our nation for the glory of God. May the Lord do even greater work in our age than he did in ages past.

About Will Stern

Originally from Colorado, Will Stern is the pastor of Hope Presbyterian Church in Garnet Valley. He majored in violin performance for his undergrad and taught violin for a number of years before being called into ministry. He studied theology at Duke University and Westminster Theological Seminary.

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