Two Colonial Presbyterian Birthdays in One

February 5th marks the birthday of two notable colonial American Presbyterian ministers: Gilbert Tennent (Feburary 5, 1703 - July 23, 1764) and John Witherspoon (February 5, 1722 - November 15, 1794)

Gilbert Tennent, known as the "Son of Thunder" (George Whitefield described him thus: "He is the son of thunder and does not regard the face of man”), was the son of William Tennent, the founder of the Log College, and brother of William Tennenet, Jr. Most famous for his sermon "The Danger of an Unconverted Ministry," he was a New Light Presbyterian who did much to challenge what he viewed to be the dead orthodoxy of the day, and he became one of the leaders of the Great Awakening. Be sure to visit his page, but also see Archibald Alexander's Biographical Sketches of the Founder and Principal Alumni of the Log College (1845) and his Sermons and Essays of the Tennents and Their Contemporaries (1855, published posthumously by his brother Samuel Davies Alexander) for biographical information and examples of his preaching.  

John Witherspoon was a Presbyterian minister, a teacher of Moral Philosophy, a President of the College of New Jersey (Princeton), and a signer of both the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation. He lived in tumultuous times, and played an important role in the founding of the United States of America. 

For more modern perspective on both men highlighted here, S. Donald Fortson, II, edited a volume on Colonial Presbyterianism: Old Faith in a New Land (2007), which contains helpful chapters on their lives and lasting influence - C.N. Wilborn wrote on "Gilbert Tennent: Pietist, Preacher, and Presbyterian"; and L. Gordon Tait wrote on "John Witherspoon's Prescription for a Nation Strong, Free, and Virtuous."