Review Details

The Evangelistic Zeal of George Whitfield (A Long Line of Godly Men)

Product Review (submitted on June 9, 2015):
In The Evangelistic Zeal of George Whitefield, author Steven J. Lawson gives us a brief, biography of the famous revival preacher, with a twist. This book is part of the Long Line of Godly Men series, which offers commentary on the particular contributions of great spiritual men throughout history. In this case, Lawson breaks down the reasons why Whitefield was such an effective communicator of the gospel.

The first quarter of this short book is amazing. Whitefield was truly a remarkable man, crisscrossing the Atlantic over a dozen times and tirelessly preaching to crowds numbering in the thousands. Especially inspiring is Whitefield’s attitude toward the adoration the crowds. He handled celebrity with an incredible amount of maturity and an eternal perspective that is humbling.

The rest of the book is well-written and insightful, but less interesting than the biographical portion. Some stories and quotes are repeated, and I wonder if there was limited biographical information available to the author.

There are a couple missteps here and there. At one point, Lawson seems to get caught up in talking about the “Calvinistic Zeal” of George Whitefield, as he plods through the five points of Calvinism and how Whitefield exemplified the ideals of each one. This became a little tedious.

Another concerning section highlighted Whitefield’s ministry to the slaves of the American South. He is painted as a progressive who crossed racial and social boundaries in the name of the gospel. While this is partially true, Whitefield was a slave owner who expounded the benefits of slave ownership for the slaves themselves. Whitefield shaped the religious identity of the colonies that would later become America. I wonder had Whitefield shared the abolitionist tendencies of his associates, John and George Wesley, could the blight of the slave trade in America ended simultaneously with Great Britain’s?

Simon Vance does a nice job on the narration of this book. I recommend this book for those who are interested in the historical roots of evangelicalism, and those who spend their energy in gospel preaching.

Please Note: This audiobook was gifted as a part of the Christianaudio Reviewers Program in exchange for my unbiased review of this work. This has in no way influenced my opinion or review of this work.