Archive for the ‘George Whitefield’ Category

Generosity to the poor

August 24, 2009

As Whitefield rode with a friend through the wild Border country…they met a widow woman whose goods were about to be distrained for debt, so George gave her five gold guineas. His friend remonstrated, saying it was more than he could afford – the reply, ‘When God brings a case of distress before us, it is that we may relieve it.’

They rode on into the hills. A highwayman sprang out at them, pistole cocked. They had no escape. The highwayman cantered off with the pockets of their pockets – was it not better that the widow had those five guineas than the thief? Then the highwayman returned demanding George’s coat in return for his tattered garment. Ten minutes later they heard hooves coming again but they fled reaching safety – inside the coat was a purse containing a hundred guineas!

John Pollock, George Whitefield, pp.185-186

Salvation through faith

August 17, 2009

As George Whitefield preached from John 3 – ‘As Moses lifted up the serpent…’ the wife of a jailed convict cried, ‘I believe! I believe! I shall not perish because I believe in him now! I’m born again, I’m saved!

Her husband gripped George’s hand as in pain, and cried, I’m on the brink of hell! But the next moment his face changed, I see it too! I’m saved! Oh joy! joy! joy! George was astonished. He’d tried so hard for a year, but these two sinners seemed to have been forgiven in a second.

George Whitefield, John Pollock, 1972, p.14

Whitefield the field preacher

August 7, 2009

George Whitefield often preached outdoors. After dark he arrived once at Marylebone Fields to preach at the fair. As he mounted a pulpit bare-fisted boxers left their booths and stalked with fury in their faces. They had not waited to put their shirts on. Cauliflower ears and broken noses were not a pretty sight to a man timid at heart. Hearing ferocious and horrid imprecations and menaces, his courage began to fail.

He felt a tug on his gown and looked down. His wife said, ‘George, play the man for God!’

George Whitefield, John Pollock, 1972, pp.198-199

The whole world is now my parish.

ibid., p.113

Wherever my master calls me, I am ready to go and preach his everlasting gospel.

Power of the Message of the Cross

August 5, 2009

The coalminers of Kingswood, Bristol caused violent affrays and respectable citizens were afraid of them. They shocked even hard-bitten sailors by digging up the corpse of a murderer whose suicide had cheated them of a public execution to hold high festival around it. They were totally illiterate. Their shacks, like the mines, lay on the far boundaries of four different parishes so they were ignored by the clergy of all. Gin-devils, wife beaters, sodomites – the Bristol world had not a good word for the colliers of Kingswood.

Whitefield stood on a little hill, Feb.17, 1739 and pitched his voice to a group moving towards him. He called out: ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for they shall see the kingdom of heaven’…By now quite a crowd had gathered…He spoke of the cross, and of the love of God, and brushed tears from his eyes.

Suddenly he noticed pale streaks forming on grimy faces, on that of a young man on his right, and an old bent miner on his left…tears down their black cheeks.

John Pollock, Whitefield, pp.81-83

Conversion – a Work of God

August 4, 2009

A drunk reeled up to George Whitefield and greeted him effusively by name, with a hiccup. George said, ‘I do not know you, sir.

‘Don’t know me? Why you converted me at ____ ten years ago.’

‘I should not wonder. You look like one of my converts. If the Lord had converted you you would have been a sober man.’

Whitefield, Pollock, p.250

Ben Franklin’s False Hopes

November 26, 2008

Franklin said

“I have no doubts that I shall enjoy as much of both as is proper for me. That Being who gave me Existence, and thro` almost threescore Years has been continually showering his Favours upon me, whose very Chastisements have been Blessings to me, can I doubt that he loves? And if he loves me, can I doubt that he will go on to take care of me not only here but hereafter?” This to some may seem presumption ; to me it appears the best grounded hope ; hope of the future built on experience of the past.

George Whitefield: The Life and Times of the Great Evangelist of the Eighteenth-Century Revival, Vol.2 by Arnold Dallimore, page 449

In other words, he mistook general providential care for being in a state of grace. He failed to realise that God causes His sun to rise on the evil and sends rain on the unjust (Matt. 5:45).

Franklin doubted the deity of Christ (though Jesus made it clear that failure to recognise who Jesus was would lead to eternal death – John 8:24) and the Bible as the Word of God.

He remained in unbelief

After Whitefield ’s death

“Mr Whitefield used to pray for my conversion, but never had the satisfaction of believing that his prayers were heard.”

Ibid 453

George Whitefield on Education

November 23, 2008

Whitefield on Education

(an exchange between the renowned deist Benjamin Franklin and the evangelist George Whitefield in 1749. Franklin planned to found an academy in Philadelphia, and to this end sought to enlist the support of his friend Whitefield.)

It is true you say “The youth are to be taught “”some public religion, and “the excellency of the Christian religion in particular”; “but methinks this is mentioned too late, and too soon passed over. ‘As we are all creatures of a day, as our whole life is but one small point between two eternities, it is reasonable to suppose that the grand end of every Christian institution for forming tender minds should be to convince them of their natural depravity, of the means of recovering out of it, and of the necessity of preparing for the enjoyment of the Supreme Being in a future state … Arts and sciences may be built on this, and serve to embellish and set off this superstructure, but without this, I think there cannot be any good foundation’.

George Whitefield: The Life and Times of the Great Evangelist of the Eighteenth-Century Revival, Vol.2 by Arnold Dallimore, page 445


October 13, 2008

Perfectionism was not the only error held to by the great John Wesley. John Cennick (one of the early Methodists with Whitefield and Wesley) bears witness that:

Mr Wesley and I disputed often, and chiefly it was because he said if we have no other righteousness than the righteousness imputed to us, we can’t be saved. Also that a soul justified by the blood of Christ, and having the assurance of forgiveness and the witness of God’s Spirit bearing witness with his spirit that he is a child of God, can finally and eternally perish. Also that a man can become so perfect in this world that he shall not only not commit sin, but he shall be without sin and be inherently as holy as God

Even great men, greatly used by the Lord, can hold to abberrant theology. This does not mean we should be indifferent to true doctrine, but to remember that we ourselves are mortal, sinful and that we are saved by grace, not by a perfect knowledge of the biblical system of theology.

Election and the Assurance it brings

October 10, 2008

No, this [doctrine of election], according to the sentiments of our church, “greatly confirms and establishes a true Christian’s faith of eternal salvation through Christ,” and is an anchor of hope, both sure and steadfast, when he walks in darkness and sees no light; as certainly he may, even after he hath received the witness of the Spirit, whatever you or others may unadvisedly assert to the contrary.
Then, to have respect to God’s everlasting covenant, and to throw himself upon the free distinguishing love of that God who changeth not, will make him lift up the hands that hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees.
But without the belief of the doctrine of election, and the immutability of the free love of God, I cannot see how it is possible that any should have a comfortable assurance of eternal salvation. What could it signify to a man whose conscience is thoroughly awakened, and who is warned in good earnest to seek deliverance from the wrath to come, though he should be assured that all his past sins be forgiven, and that he is now a child of God; if notwithstanding this, he may hereafter become a child of the devil, and be cast into hell at last? Could such an assurance yield any solid, lasting comfort to a person convinced of the corruption and treachery of his own heart, and of the malice, subtlety, and power of Satan? No! That which alone deserves the name of a full assurance of faith is such an assurance as emboldens the believer, under the sense of his interest in distinguishing love, to give the challenge to all his adversaries, whether men or devils, and that with regard to all their future, as well as present, attempts to destroy—saying with the Apostle,
Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect?

Bethesda in Georgia, Dec. 24, 1740

Humility – George Whitefield

October 5, 2008

“You need make no apology for your plain dealing. I love those best, who deal most sincerely with me. Whatever errors I have been, or shall be guilty of in my ministry, I hope the Lord will show me, and give me grace to amend.” George Whitefield

After his death Charles Wesley wrote An Elegy on the Late Rev. George Whitefield 1770 :

Though long by following multitudes admired,

No party for himself he e’er desired;

His one desire to make the Saviour known,

To magnify the name of Christ alone:

If others strove who should the greatest be,

No lover of preeminence was he,

Nor envied those his Lord vouchsafed to bless,

But joyed in theirs as in his own success.

His friends in honour to himself preferr’d

And least of all in his own eyes appear’d

George Whitefield: The Life and Times of the Great Evangelist of the Eighteenth-Century Revival, Vol.2 by Arnold Dallimore, page 518-9