GILBERT TENNENT - a "SON OF THUNDER"-by David Smithers. It was upon the bed of affliction that Gilbert Tennent was taught to revere and love God. In approximately 1728 this young christian become extremely ill. Uncertain if he would recover, he entered into a deep vision of eternity and time of repentance. He writes, "I was then exceedingly grieved I had done so little for God . . . I therefore prayed to God that He would be pleased to give me one half year more. I was determined to promote His kingdom with all my might and at all adventures." Tennent's prayer was answered, and he was revived in both body and spirit. He labored as never before to, "Sound the trumpet of God's judgment and alarm the secure by the terrors of the Lord." He was a man literally consumed with a vision of the holiness of God... George Whitefield writes of him, "Hypocrites must soon be converted or enraged at his preaching. He is a son of thunder and does not regard the face of man. He is deeply sensible of the deadness and formality of the Christian church in these parts, and has given noble testimonies against it." Gilbert Tennent proclaimed as if "never sure to talk again, and as a dying man to dying men." A historian of the "Great Awakening" describes the average "minister's" methods, "The habit of the preachers was to address their people as though they were all pious and only needed instruction and confirmation. It was not a common thing to proclaim the terrors of a violated law and insist on the absolute necessity of regeneration." Tennent himself describes this kind of popular "preaching." "They often strengthened the hands of the wicked by promising them life. They comfort people before they convince them; sow before they plow: and are busy in raising a fabric before they lay a foundation. These foolish builders strengthen men's carnal security by their soft, selfish, cowardly discourses. They have not the courage or honesty to thrust the nail of terror into the sleeping souls!" From 1736 through the 1740's, Gilbert Tennent was greatly blessed in promoting revival among the middle colonies in America. It must be remembered that the American "church" in the 18th century would probably have died of dry rot without the Spirit-filled life of Gilbert Tennent. During one of Bostons most severe winters, people waded through the snow night and day for the benefit of hearing the fiery Tennent discuss Jesus and His Truths. "You could criticize him; you could praise him; but you could not ignore him!" No one slumbered peacefully when he was around; not even the "church." Gilbert Tennent was in truth, the voice of one crying in the wilderness - REPENT! He could boldly warn men of the wrath of God because he had boldly agonized and travailed for their souls, "Often his soul wept in secret for the pride and obstinacy of those who refused to be reclaimed." Throughout Tennent's remaining life he kept his zeal and love for Christ fervent through constant prayer. "He made prayer his chief and most delightful employment." ___________Just thought I would pass this along. be blessedmj
This is great. I never thought I would see Gilbert Tennent's name on the forum wall. You don't really hear much of him today - like Samuel Davies and Increase Mather - but God used men like these very mightily when America was still in her British cradle. Back when repentance was preached in every church on every Sunday and secular universities like Princeton and many other ivy-leagues were Bible-infused and wholly evangelistic. Good history to read up on. America's golden age of Whitefield tours and Asbury circuits.
_________________Paul Frederick West
Obviously this was a powerful servant of God. His words and example are to inspire current Sons of thunder.Who are the current Gilbert Tennents?Most churches and even some spirit filled christians will not except a Gilbert in this present time.I believe it was Spurgeon who said,(paraphrase) that the powerfull men of the past we admire cuz they are safely in the cage of the past. We can pick and choose neet things they say but if they were here in our present time we could not receive their message.This has been the norm each generations sons of thunder are usually rejected by the establish church.