Whitefield, Wesley, and the Puritans

An 11-part Video Lecture Series

Curated from a Lecture Series by Michael Haykin

Course Introduction

About the Course

This course is an 11-part video lecture series provided freely by The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary as an excerpt of their 2-part graduate level church history course. In this course, Michael Haykin provides insights into the era of the Puritans and the revivals under Whitefield, and the ministry of the Wesley brothers. Each lecture is an average of 32 minutes long.

About Michael Haykin

Michael A. G. Haykin is professor of church history and biblical spirituality at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Born in England of Irish and Kurdish parents, Haykin has a B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Toronto (1974), a Master of Religion from Wycliffe College, the University of Toronto (1977), and a Th.D. in Church History from Wycliffe College and the University of Toronto (1982). Haykin and his wife, Alison, have two grown children: Victoria and Nigel.

He is the author of a number of books, including The Spirit of God: The Exegesis of 1 and 2 Corinthians in the Pneumatomachian Controversy of the Fourth Century (E. J. Brill, 1994); One heart and one soul: John Sutcliff of Olney, his friends, and his times (Evangelical Press, 1994); Kiffin, Knollys and Keach: Rediscovering Our English Baptist Heritage (Reformation Today Trust, 1996); ‘At the Pure Fountain of Thy Word’: Andrew Fuller as an Apologist (Paternoster Press, 2004); Jonathan Edwards: The Holy Spirit in Revival (Evangelical Press, 2005); The God who draws near: An introduction to biblical spirituality (Evangelical Press, 2007); The Christian Lover: The Sweetness of Love and Marriage in the Letters of Believers (Reformation Trust, 2009); and Rediscovering the Church Fathers: Who They Were and How They Shaped the Church (Crossway, 2011).

Course curated by Phil Thompson

Puritans: From Rule to Imprisonment

Part 1

Study Questions
  • Why did the Puritans fail in Ireland? What does it teach us about blindspots?
  • What kinds of responses to Puritanism do we see in John Biddle, the Quakers, George Fox, James Nayler, and Margaret Fell.
  • How did John Owen and Oliver Cromwell view the use of the state to enforce religious behavior? What is the connection between Owen, Cromwell, and John Locke?
  • What does this period teach us about religious liberty?

Part 2

Study Questions
  • How did Charles II get invited back to England? How did his reign betray his claims?
  • What was the Clarendon Code? What kinds of laws did it include? How do these laws connect with the cemetery at Bunhill Fields?
  • Who were some of the Puritans and other dissenters who faced punishment during this time? What was found at John Owen’s home when it was searched?
  • How did Baptists modify their homes in order to facilitate Sunday gatherings?
  • What happened to Oliver Cromwell’s body?

Religious Declension and Spiritual Awakening

  • Part 1

Study Questions
  • How is Puritanism connected to later evangelicalism? How is it not connected to later evangelism?
  • What are some of the highlights from the life of John Owen? Richard Baxter?
  • Why did Puritanism decline?
  • What is the significance of the Act of Tolerance and the Edict of Nantes?
  • How does the history of the Huguenots shape the histories of France, England, and the United States? How does their history shape the rise of deism and atheism in France?

  • Part 2

Study Questions
  • What is the trajectory of denominations from the late-17th century through the mid-18th century? What doctrinal issues overtook the denominations during this period?
  • What moral and social changes begin with the rise of the House of Hanover?
  • How did the urbanization during the 18th century open the door for the gospel?
  • What sort of spiritual longings manifest themselves in this period of evangelical decline? What does Cotton Mather pray for toward the end of his life? How much time did he spend praying for it?

  • Part 3

Study Questions
  • What two key factors does Haykin list for the 18th century evangelical awakening?
  • Who was Nicolaus von Zinzendorf? What was Zinzendorf’s connection with religious refugees? What was the Moravian Pentecost?
  • How did the Moravian missionary movement get started? Who was David Zeisberger?
  • Who was George Thomson, vicar of St. Gennys? How is his life changed?
  • Who was Daniel Rowland? How was he impacted by the ministry of Griffith Jones?
  • What happened to Howell Harris?
  • Why was William Williams Pantycelyn so famous in Wales? How is his impact still felt in the church today?
  • How did the Welsh revival result in the spread of the gospel to Korea?

Related Books

George Whitefield and Evangelical Unity

Study Questions
  • What did Whitefield do as part of the “holy club”? When was he converted?
  • What famous commentator shaped the early preaching of George Whitfield? Who encouraged Whitefield to begin open-air preaching?
  • What group of workers did Whitefield begin preaching to in Bristol?
  • How many people came to hear Whitefield preach in Boston? Who hears Whitefield preach in Boston?
  • How many sermons did Whitefield preach? How many conversions were reported in New England under Whitefield’s preaching?
  • Where was Whitefield welcome? Where was he not welcome? How did Whitefield’s welcome shape the growth of the Great Awakening?
  • What are some unique features of his preaching?
  • What theological weakness of Whitefield does Haykin identify?

Related Video
  • Thomas Kidd – George Whitefield: Lessons from Eighteenth Century’s Greatest Evangelist

    A lecture from the Gheens Lecture series by Thomas Kidd, Professor of History at Baylor University. The topic for the lecture series was "Faith and Politics: From the Great Awakening to the American Revolution".

  • Steven Lawson – The Evangelistic Zeal of George Whitefield

John Wesley and Evangelical Origins

Part 1

Study Questions
  • Which brother does Haykin suggest has the largest impact in the present?
  • How did the people of the day connect the Methodist evangelical revivals with the Puritans?
  • What connection does David Bebbington draw between early evangelicals and rationalists and romanticists?
  • When and where does Bebbington believe evangelicalism started? What are Bebbington’s four commitments of evangelicals (the Bebbington Quadrilateral)? Which of the four commitments does Bebbington suggest distinguished early evangelicals from the Puritans? Why were Puritans not characterized by this commitment?
  • What evangelical efforts for activism arose during this era?

Part 2

Study Questions
  • What major Puritan did John Wesley’s paternal grandfather study under?
  • Why did John Wesley’s father likely rejoin the Church of England? What does this tell us about the decline of Puritans?
  • What tensions existed in the marriage of Samuel and Susanna Wesley?
  • How many diaries did John Wesley keep? How did they differ?
  • How did John Wesley and George Whitefield differ on the issue of slavery?
  • What event on the ship to Georgia impacted John Wesley? How did August Gottlieb Spangenberg set in motion a chain of events that would eventually lead to John Wesley’s conversion?
  • How did John Wesley’s ministry end in Georgia? How did Peter Böhler get connected with John Wesley?
  • What connection does John Wesley have with the Reformation?
  • Why does Haykin suggest that the conversion story of John Wesley is a true conversion story and not a “second blessing”?

Charles Wesley and Evangelical Hymnody

Part 1

Study Questions
  • What examples do Haykin give for changes and conflicts regarding worship in song? What was the fallout from some of these “worship wars”?
  • How long was Charles Wesley a Christian? How much did he write for each day of his Christian life? How much of Charles Wesley’s hymnody is still being sung today? How does this compare to Isaac Watts?
  • How was Charles Wesley connected to Arthur Wellesley? How might of Charles Wesley’s decision in his teenage years have affected world history and Methodist history? What does this event teach us about history and humanity?

Part 2

Study Questions
  • What was Charles Wesley’s first hymn? How does Charles use questions and Scripture in his first hymn?
  • How would you characterize Charles Wesley’s first recorded sermon? How did Charles feel about preaching? How does Charles’s preaching connect to the hymn “A Charge to Keep I Have“?
  • Why does John Wesley have reservations about Charles Wesley’s engagement? What arrangement did Charles make in order to have enough money to marry Sally? How did John Wesley work to delay Charles Wesley’s wedding? What does this demonstrate about the personalities of the two brothers?
  • How would you describe Charles’ relationship with his wife? His daughter?
  • How did Charles’ marriage to Sally differ from John’s marriage to Molly Vazeille? What can we learn from these two vastly different marriages?

Part 3

Study Questions
  • How much poetry did Charles Wesley produce? How much of it was for congregational singing?
  • What role did John Wesley play in the production of Charles’s hymns?
  • How and why did Charles Wesley include so much Scripture?
  • What theological themes does Charles Wesley emphasize? Does he water down Christian theology for the masses?
  • What people groups does Charles write prayerful hymns for?
  • How does Charles Wesley’s emotional bent show through in the lyrics of his hymns?
  • What significant themes appear in “And Can It Be”?
  • What examples does Haykin provide of the evangelistic use of hymnody? Did Charles Wesley intend for non-Christians to hear and respond to his hymns?
  • What connection do many of Charles Wesley’s hymns have with the subject of Heaven?
  • What theological emphasis of Wesley’s hymns provides doctrinal endurance to the Methodist, Holiness, and Pentecostal movements?

Related Books
Related Video

O Love divine, what has thou done!

The immortal God hath died for me!

The Father’s coeternal Son

bore all my sins upon the tree.

Th’ immortal God for me hath died:

My Lord, my Love, is crucified!


Is crucified for me and you,

to bring us rebels back to God.

Believe, believe the record true,

ye all are bought with Jesus’ blood.

Pardon for all flows from his side:

My Lord, my Love, is crucified!


Behold him, all ye that pass by,

the bleeding Prince of life and peace!

Come, sinners, see your Savior die,

and say, “Was ever grief like his?”

Come, feel with me his blood applied:

My Lord, my Love, is crucified!