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Frelinghuysen, Theodore Jacobus


Dutch Reformed pastor, influential in the growth of pietism and the development of the great awakening in America; b. Hagen, Westphalia, Germany, Nov. 6, 1692; d. after May 1747. He was the son of a Reformed pastor, and he studied for the ministry in Germany and Holland. In 1717 he was ordained by the Coetus of Embden, Holland, and given a pastoral charge in East Fries-land. In 1719 he accepted a call to the Dutch congregations in the Raritan Valley of New Jersey.

From his arrival in 1720, Frelinghuysen sought to combat the formalism of worship and the laxity of his congregations. His sermons stressed personal conviction of sin, true repentance, faith, and the work of the Holy Spirit in regeneration. He encouraged private prayer meetings and lay preaching. His new approach and free use of excommunication led some parishioners to appeal to Henricus Boel, a conservative New York pastor, and involved Frelinghuysen in controversy from 1723 to 1732. He was active in the movement for greater autonomy for the Dutch Reformed churches in America beginning in 1737 and favored the wider use of English in services (see reformed churches, ii: north america). He cooperated closely with the Presbyterians, particularly Gilbert Tennent, and in 173940, George whitefield. His sermons were published in English translation by William Demarest (New York 1856).

Bibliography: p. h. b. frelinghuysen, Theodorus Jacobus Frelinghuysen (Princeton 1938). f. j. schrag, Pietism in Colonial America (Chicago 1948). c. h. maxson, The Great Awakening in the Middle Colonies (Chicago 1920).

[r. k. macmaster]

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