I, too, studied with Abeka books when I was home-schooled. They are pretty anti-Catholic and pretty much present Reformers like Luther as immaculate heroes with no flaws. Needless to say, as an adult reading church history books (and those written by Protestant historians!), I am very disillusioned now. Not that the Catholic side of the dispute didn’t have its own issues, but the Reformers were hardly flawless superheroes. Even scarier, my Abeka history books essentially said that the reason it was good for the Catholic side to win the crusades was so that Europe could later have the light of the Reformation, as if there weren’t any actual Christians in Europe already. Gag!
But more on topic, while I can’t give you a fully Catholic perspective on the Great Awakening, I can at least dispel the Abeka version. So the Abeka version says that people were believing their good works to save them, but that’s not really the case. You see, much of the colonists were Calvinists. Calvinists go through this funny cycle of antinomianism and revival, caused by either assuming they’re elect no matter what they do, or just shrugging their shoulders in uncertainty and slipping into fatalism. They need preachers in revivals to wake them up and make them question their election. Some repent, there is fervency in the Christian faith for a time, until the cycle repeats itself again. Even among those who aren’t Calvinists today but who believe in eternal security (influenced by one aspect Calvinism) fall into the same cycle.
Granted, this is just my opinion. I’m hardly a historian. But the Abeka version of the Great Awakening is rather lacking. Whitfield was hardly reprimanding people for trusting in their good works–there weren’t any good works to begin with! The same with Wesley.
Perhaps this is why Wesley said the following regarding Calvinism:
“Make it a matter of constant and earnest prayer, that God would stop the plague.”