African-American theology of worship arises out of a deep sense of oppression and a high anticipation of liberation. In worship, African-Americans experience the redeeming work of Jesus Christ, which liberates them from sin and the power of the Evil One.
Along with his brother Charles, the great hymnist whose music was a key attraction for many to the movement, Wesley did much to save England from the social convulsions that came later in France. Tens of thousands of persons became connected with the Methodist societies before John Wesley died. In America, they began to grow rapidly from the time Methodism started. Methodism was revolutionary in its conception of religious principles. In the Church of England, salvation was theoretically a spiritual process to be secured through worship and the sacraments of the Church. The evangelical preaching of Wesley called for definite repentance of sin, wrestling with God for forgiveness, and an experience of peace and assurance. Feeling and volition were stressed more than intellectual assent and conformity to ecclesiastical custom. Directly and indirectly, the Methodists contributed to the missionary and humanitarian enterprises of the nineteenth century.
The theory of the atonement of the junior Edwards became the accepted theory of the Congregational churches of New England, and thence spread to the Presbyterians and the Baptists.
The Great Awakening on the whole set in motion currents that affected deeply the future of American Christianity. It revived personal religion, prompted the Protestant missionary enterprise somewhat later, gave an impetus to education, and kindled a new humanitarian spirit.
George Whitefield (1714-1770) was one of the great names in evangelism. He was born in Gloucester, England, and entered Oxford in 1733.
Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) was an important figure in American church history. He was born in Connecticut to a renowned family of clergymen. He began reading Latin texts at the age of six and could read Greek and Hebrew by 13.