While evangelical preachers in New England and America works remained private in the vicinity of their churches and parishes, George Whitefield’s methods sparked new interests and mass following in both England and America. Whitefield’s strategies of preaching and spreading the message on the new birth across America brought forth results that had not been seen before. While his predecessors had reported revivals in their locality and neighboring towns, the arrival of Whitefield in America in 1739 changed the traditional understanding of evangelical revivals (Lambert 223). Whitefield strategy fashioned the local awakenings into national revival movements through using the press as a public sphere to reach a national audience.
Prior to visiting a particular colony, Whitefield would print his messages on the necessity of a spiritual new birth in newspapers, pamphlets, broadsides and journals. This prepared people in far off (Lambert 224). Notably, Whitefield had a press agent who was also his travelling companion known as Mr. Seward (Lambert 234). His press agent assisted him in his preach and print strategy that prepared people for his sermon.
Besides his public press strategy, Whitefield introduced a reformed theology on the message of the spiritual rebirth. His interpretation of the gospel was different from other preaching taking place in the colonies. To him, spiritual rebirth was all about the condition of the heart, which was gained through a union of one’s soul with God (Lambert 228). He felt that spirituality among Christians had reduced due to falsely placed religion. This new interpretations were well received across England and America though he also received quit a number of criticisms from anti-revivalists. In spite of such criticism, his strategies transformed evangelical movements and brought many to salvation.
Lambert, Frank. The Great Awakening as Artifact: George Whitefield and the Construction of Intercolonial Revival, 1739-1745. American Society of Church History, 60. 2(1991): 1991:223-246. Print.