As I've shared my research on Franklin's faith with more and more people, one particular quotation has consistently been presented as evidence that Franklin never became a Christian. This quotation is taken from Franklin's Autobiography in which he made the following statement about George Whitefield:
"He us’d indeed sometimes to pray for my Conversion, but never had the Satisfaction of believing that his Prayers were heard."
Here is what I have written about this quote in my upcoming book Franklin on Faith:
Many historians have taken this statement from Franklin to mean that he refused to become a Christian, but the conversion that Whitefield preached is not necessarily the same as becoming a Christian. Whitefield taught that the only true Christians are those who have experienced a great, all encompassing change as a result of the gospel. In a sermon entitled “Repentance and Conversion,” he once said:
"Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning." (Proverbs 9:9)