Gilbert Tennent

1703-1764. Presbyterian minister and revivalist. Eldest son of William Tennent,* he was born in Ireland, read theology under his father, and was licensed to preach in 1725. Next year he was ordained by Philadelphia Presbytery and became minister of the New Brunswick Presbyterian Church in New Jersey. Theodore Frelinghuysen* befriended him and guided him in his revivalistic ministry among the Scotch-Irish Presbyterians in what was the opening phase of the Great Awakening.* The New Brunswick Presbytery, founded by Tennent and graduates from his father's “Log College,” became the center of Presbyterian revival and controversy in the middle colonies. Tennent accompanied George Whitefield* through the colonies in 1740-41.

His famous sermon, “The Danger of an Unconverted Ministry” (1740), was a broadside against the Philadelphia Synod's opposition to ordaining graduates of the Log College and was a factor in causing the Old Side-New Side schism in 1741. From 1743 until his death Tennent pastored the Second Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia. He and Samuel Davies* visited Britain (1753-55) to raise money for the new College of New Jersey (Princeton).