This fast-paced, inspirational, easy-to-read narrative reveals how God used one man of great courage, discipline, and humility to bring countless souls to Christ.
God’s accomplishments through George Whitefield are to this day virtually unparalleled. In an era when many ministers were timid and apologetic in their preaching, he preached the gospel with aggressive zeal and undaunted courage. In the wake of his fearless preaching, revival swept across the British Isles, and the Great Awakening transformed the American colonies.
The previous two-volume work George Whitefield: The Life and Times of the Great Evangelist of the Eighteenth-Century Revival is now condensed into this single volume filled with primary-source quotations from the eighteenth century, not only from Whitefield but also from such prominent figures as John and Charles Wesley, Benjamin Franklin, and William Cowper.
- Excellence in a Focused Mission
This book was, in my opinion, fair in its treatment of the memory of George Whitfield pointing out his weaknesses as well as his overwhelming strong points and mighty successes.
What I took away from this book primarily was a sense that George Whitfield was incredibly focused on his mission to a point seemingly unimaginable. Here is some of my reasoning on how I reached that conclusion.
Whitfield had ruled out marriage but then had second thoughts with respect to a particular woman he met. He wrote to her parents asking if they would approve sending a letter to give to her should they approve. In the letter he outlined all of the hardships she would face as the wife as an itinerant preacher. She married somebody else.
Whitfield and John Wesley had a blistering theological disagreement to which Whitfield implored Wesley to not let impede their overall goals. Whitfield for the most part let Wesley’s statements about him go unchallenged so as to not make a bad matter worse. Whitfield had a vision on reaching the lost and considered the difference between Calvin and Armenian theologies irrelevant to that goal. Because of that Whitfield’s place in history was greatly diminished in favor of Wesley, a legacy that remains with us today. After a period of years Wesley came around to Whitfield’s theological persuasion but the damage had been done.
Sadly, Whitfield never spoke against slavery and even had slaves in his Georgia orphanage. This is a hard pill to swallow in the twenty-first century but I think this ties in with Whitfield’s incredibly focused vision for the lost. Whitfield would not respond to Wesley’s accusations of blasphemy which must have been a massive loss of heart for Whitfield. Why then would he speak out on an issue unrelated to winning the lost to Christ? Winning the lost pervaded Whitfield’s every waking moment so I think it is understandable why he chose not to address the issue though the slaves at the orphanage were the envy of any and all plantation slaves. Remember, too, that Whitfield demanded he preach to any slaves wherever he traveled and that women and slaves in attendance had equal standing which was a bone of contention Whitfield had to battle and defend.