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Jonathan M. Yeager

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199916955

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199916955.001.0001

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George Whitefield’s Signature Sermon

George Whitefield’s Signature Sermon

(p.23) 4 George Whitefield’s Signature Sermon
Early Evangelicalism

George Whitefield

Oxford University Press

This chapter presents excerpts from George Whitefield's signature sermon, The Nature and Necessity of Our New Birth in Christ Jesus, in Order to Salvation (1737). A central theme in Whitfield's evangelicalism in general, and sermons in particular, was the importance of experiencing a “new birth.” In his sermon, Whitefield described the new birth as a life-changing conversion whereby a person is spiritually reborn as an authentic believer. Unlike many of his Anglican colleagues who taught that church attendance and a general moralism formed the crux of Christianity, Whitefield and other evangelicals rejected these outward manifestations as futile attempts to secure eternal salvation. Rather, they proposed that what a person needed was a spiritual transformation of the heart that could only be obtained by grace through the power of the Holy Spirit. Whitefield argued that anyone who cannot lay claim to the new birth is an “almost,” not yet an “altogether,” Christian.

Keywords:   sermon, George Whitefield, evangelicalism, new birth, conversion, Christianity, salvation, spiritual transformation, grace, Holy Spirit

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