George Whitefield intentionally stirred up controversy to generate publicity. During his first American preaching tour, he accomplished this by claiming that the New England clergy were in a defunct spiritual state. When he returned in 1744, he encountered the most organized onslaught of criticism he had or would ever face. But even more curious is the rapidity with which Whitefield's American critics stayed their pens after 1745, which can largely be attributed to Whitefield's recognition that the American context demanded a more moderate approach than the one he deployed in Britain, where he usually fanned the flames of controversy when answering his critics.

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