Asahel Nettleton

A POPULAR AWAKENING PREACHER in the early 1800s was Asahel Nettleton (1783–1844) of Connecticut. Nettleton was a very successful evangelist, and saw as many as 30,000 conversions. In his meetings, the atmosphere was quiet, dignified, and solemn. He always involved local pastors in his awakening work, and emphasized the need to teach and nurture any who were converted. A bachelor, Nettleton lived simply, accumulated no property, and did not charge any fees. When Charles Finney began to become popular, Nettleton was the most outspoken in criticizing him for his innovations; he thought Finney’s informal approach was not as dignified and reverential as it should be. Nor did he like Finney’s method of pressing for immediate decisions. Nettleton suffered poor health for most of his life, and died at the age of 61.

By the Editors

[Christian History originally published this article in Christian History Issue #23 in 1989]

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