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The Accidental Revolutionary


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Table of Contents

  • 1. Beginnings
  • 2. Launching the Ministry
  • 3. A New Birth of Freedom
  • 4. A Revolutionary Message
  • 5. Controversy: ""I'm just getting started""
  • 6. Bishop Bashing
  • 7. New England: Overthrow or Unify?
  • 8. Between Two Extremes
  • 9. Good King, Bad King
  • 10. Church and State
  • 11. France, Rome, and Hell
  • 12. Reprisal from the Church of England
  • 13. The Deep Laid Plot
  • 14. Preaching Himself to Death
  • 15. Whitefield's Legacy
  • 16. A Political Man

About the Author

Jerome Dean Mahaffey (Ph.D. University of Memphis) is Lecturer in the School of Communication at Northern Arizona University and the author of (Baylor University Press, 2011).


"The revivalist George Whitefield was the best-known person in eighteenth-century America, yet he remains almost forgotten among Americans today. Mahaffey offers a readable and revealing introduction to the life of this brilliant preacher and friend of American liberty." --Thomas S. Kidd, Associate Professor of History, Baylor University, and author of God of Liberty: A Religious History of the American Revolution
"Mahaffey points out that Whitefield's preaching provided the template for a new way of viewing the world and for Americans to view themselves. ... Students of American history and students of the preaching art will benefit from this book." -- The Baptist Standard
"Mahaffey has put all students and scholars of the 18th-century transatlantic revivals--events that so hugely shaped both the British and the emerging American cultures--in his debt with this incisive and compelling work. His research will help all who seek to better understand this critically important period by providing new insights into the seminal importance of the too often neglected figure of George Whitefield." --Richard Land, President, The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, Southern Baptist Convention
"Mahaffey shows how Whitefield's bold challenge to settled religious doctrines and hierarchies helped coax the colonies in the direction of independence." -- Christianity Today (Oct. 2011)
"In this sparkling biography of the famed 18th century revivalist George Whitefield, Mahaffey argues that his enduring importance in American history lies in politics as much as in religion. A masterful stylist, Mahaffey brings fresh perspectives to old arguments and makes them live again in remarkably arresting ways." --Grant Wacker, Professor of Christian History, Duke Divinity School
"Mahaffey has written an insightful rhetorical genealogy showing how the interplay of religious and political themes of the Great Awakening fostered the birth of a distinctively American republican identity." --John Angus Campbell, Professor Emeritus, Department of Communication, University of Memphis
Well-grounded in scholarship and carefully executed, Gardner's method is also highly energetic, associative, and digressive. -- Angelica Alaimo O'Donnell, Fordham University -- Anglican Theological Review
Mahaffey's book represents a mature reflection on the long-range implications of religious ideals and their unexpected consequences. -- Peter Choi -- Books & Culture

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