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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 and the Church of England

Whitefield and the Church of England

(p.46) 3 Whitefield and the Church of England
George Whitefield

William Gibson

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the responses to George Whitefield from the bishops and clergy of the Church of England. Whitefield expressed his ambivalence to Anglicanism freely but this chapter identifies themes in the ways in which churchmen viewed him. Three key themes emerge: the nature of the Church’s authority over Whitefield—and his willingness to accept it; the related suggestion that Whitefield was antinomian in his perception of the divine origin of his commission to evangelize; and allegations that Whitefield and the Methodists were fronts for Catholicism and Jacobitism. Each of these claims about Whitefield related to particular political and social anxieties in the eighteenth century. But Whitefield seems to have been insensitive to the religious power of such anxieties. The chapter suggests that such insensitivity may have inhibited rather than supported Whitefield’s mission, especially in seeking to encourage evangelicalism in the Church.

Keywords:   bishops, clergy, evangelicalism, Anglicanism, antinomianism, authority, Catholicism, Jacobitism

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