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Picture above: The persecution of the Baptists, the Methodists, and the Presbyteri- ans brought two men to their side that would shape religious freedom in America—Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson. At Fredericksburg, Virginia, in January 1777, a committee appointed by the General Assembly of Virginia approved a document authored by Thomas Jefferson that guaranteed religious freedom. How much we owe to two men—valiant for the truth—two men willing to stand for right when “right” was not “politically correct”! Dr. John Clarke Obadiah Holmes was ar- rested and beaten severely. The charge laid against him was that he re-baptized converts and rejected infant baptism. On February 4, 1774, other Baptist preachers were arrested. In Chesterfield, Virginia, David Tinsley was arrested and charged with “having assembled and preached to the people at sun- dry times and places” as a Baptist preacher. Baptists were arrested and charged with • disturbing the peace, • preaching without a license, • refusing to pay a religious tax to support the Congregational Church, and • being child abusers because they did not baptize their children as infants. Baptist marriages were not recognized as legal. Patrick Henry Thomas Jefferson The beating of Obadiah Holmes Congregational Church at Enfield, Connecticut – third building since Jonathan Edwards' sermon first American stop. But even the larg- est churches could not hold the 8,000 who came to see him, so he preached to them outdoors. It was upon this scene of religious oppression and spiritual indiffer- ence that God began to move in the Colonies. Jonathan Edwards launched the Great Awakening with his sermon at Enfield, Connecticut, in July 1741. But Edwards only tapped the great well of spiritual hunger. There were others. God was moving across the scene. As power- ful as Jonathan Edwards' message was at Enfield, it was not the driving force of the GREAT AWAKENING. The GREAT AWAKENING was propelled by the ministry of a man from England. The message of George Whitefield would shake the old foundations. He preached that men and women must ex- perience Christ and be born again. Whitefield made his first trip to North America in 1738, traveling to the newly established Colony of Savannah. In 1739 he set out for a preaching tour of the American colo- nies. He selected Philadelphia as his The man was so sincere, so intense, and so convinced of God that people who heard him knew he had to be real. As in England, his driving message was: “YOU CAN KNOW GOD—You can EXPERIENCE GOD.” White- field freely offered the Gospel, saying at the end of his sermons: “Come poor, lost, undone sinner, come just as you are to Christ.” He aimed for the heart. Thanks to the advent of printing, almost all of the colonists eventually heard about or read something written by Whitefield. George Whitefield printed hand- bills and leaflets announcing his com- ing and his sermon titles. Whitefield's advance team would distribute the an- nouncements throughout the upcoming city. His sermons also were published and distributed. NATIONS • 5