Tuesday, June 29, 2010

George Whitefield - God's Anointed Servant in the Great Revival of the 18th Century

George Whitefield
God's Anointed Servant in the Great Revival of the Eighteenth Century

by Arnold A. Dallimore

Dallimore wrote a 2 volume set about the life and times of George Whitefield. Thankfully, this work was condensed into a 201 page book. It is well researched, giving an accurate picture of this great man of God and what accomplished through him.

Here are some quotes from the condensed version.:

1. p. 69
"The doctrines of our election and free justification in Christ Jesus...fill my soul with a holy fire and afford me great confidence in God my Saviour."
- Whitefield

2. p. 117
Speaking about the preachers of the revivals: "They declared with new fervor the holiness of God and the sinfulness of man, the atonement of Christ, and the need of the new birth."

3. p. 154
Whitefield renounced his position as leader of the Calvinistic Methodists. This was an effort to bring unity to what at that time was a movement divided over the leadership of the Wesleys and Whitefield. Whitefield spent many hours and wrote many letters in an effort to bring unity to the Methodists. Here is what W. said about his own leadership.:

"Let the name of Whitefield perish, but Christ be glorified."
"I am content to wait till the judgment day for the clearing up of my reputation; and after I am dead I desire no other epitaph than this, 'Here lies G.W. What sort of man he was the great day will discover."

4. p. 194
"Lord Jesus, I am weary in thy work, but not weary of it. If I have not yet finished my course, let me go and speak for thee once more in the fields, seal they truth, and come home and die."

5. p. 194,195
Here is what G.W. did on the last day of his life.:

a. He preached for 2 hours to a large crowd. Many said that it was the best sermon they had ever heard from him. He said, "He then delivered, perhaps, one of his best sermons. 'I go,' he cried, 'I go to a rest prepared; my sun has arisen and by aid from Heaven has given light to many. It is now about to set - no, it is about to rise to the zenith of eternal glory. Many may outlive me on earth, but they cannot outlive me in Heaven.

'Oh thought divine! I shall soon be in a world where time, age, pain, and sorrow are unknown. My body fails, my spirit expands. How willingly would I live to preach Christ! But I die to be with Him!"

b. "Following this tremendous effort, W. went on to the home of the Rev. Jonathan Parsons..."

The biographer goes on to tell how there was a group outside the house that wanted to hear W. preach. So, "He paused, candle in hand, and preached Christ till the candle burned out in its socket and died away. That candle was symbolic of his life, which was also burned out and speedily dying away."

He passed away 7 AM, the morning of Sunday, September 30, 1770.

6. p. 201
"Among his accomplishments there must be recognized the host of men and women he led to Jesus Christ and the large part he played in this great work of revival on both sides of the Atlantic."

7. The one dark blot on W.'s record is the fact that he did not oppose slavery. Early on he wrote one tract against the evils of slavery. He also preached to the slaves, and many turned to Christ. He could have done more to actually help end the ownership of human beings by other human beings. Even so, the great revivals of the 18th century certainly played a part in the eventual cessation of this terrible evil of the trans Atlantic slave trade.

8. p. 199
Bishop Ryle said the following.:

"Whitefield never turned again to asceticism, legalism, mysticism or strange views of Christian Perfection...Of all the little band of Oxford Methodists, none seems to have got hold so soon of clear views of Christ's gospel and none kept them so unwaveringly to the end."