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George WhitefieldLife, Context, and Legacy$
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Geordan Hammond and David Ceri Jones

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198747079

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198747079.001.0001

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Whitefield’s Conversion and Early Theological Formation

Whitefield’s Conversion and Early Theological Formation

(p.29) 2 Whitefield’s Conversion and Early Theological Formation
George Whitefield

Mark K. Olson

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines George Whitefield’s early theological formation from when he experienced conversion as an Oxford Methodist in 1735 to when he became a Calvinistic Methodist in 1739/40. A better understanding of this period is important to appreciate the impact of his life and preaching, and his role as one of the early founders of the modern evangelical movement. Since the heart of Whitefield’s message centred on personal conversion (the new birth), the chapter concentrates on how Whitefield’s views of conversion developed over the six years. The chapter further explores Whitefield’s early proclivity toward Calvinism by examining his letters. It is shown that Whitefield’s embrace of Calvinism was primarily due to his reading of Calvinistic authors soon after his conversion and to the impact of his preaching.

Keywords:   conversion, new birth, justification, faith, election, free grace, Oxford Methodist, evangelical Calvinist, theological formation, John Wesley

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