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Theodore Jacobus Frelinghuysen was the forerunner of the Great Awakening in America's Middle Colonies. The great revivalists George Whitfield and William Tennant (Jr) both acknowledged his importance as a trailblazer and pioneer of the glorious work they were able to advance.
Frelinghuysen, a pastor's son, was born at Lingen, Germany and licensed to preach in 1717 but, learning that Dutch frontier congregations in New Jersey desired a pastor, Frelinghuysen left for America in 1719.
In scattered settlements Frelinghuysen taught and preached passionately that religious performance without 'new birth' was an abomination. His zeal appealed to the young and the poor, but alienated many Christian leaders. An eloquent and impassioned preacher, Frelinghuysen introduced prayer meetings and lay preaching, which had a reforming effect amongst the churches.
When revival broke out the movement spread to other denominations and Frelinghuysen (with the assistance of Gilbert Tennent and later, George Whitefield and Jonathan Edwards) had pioneered the series of revivals called the Great Awakening.
This well-documented overview of his life and ministry is an excellent memorial to this forgotten hero of the Great Awakening.