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I am reading Arnold Dallimore’s great biography of George Whitefield. The subtitle reads, “The Life and Times of the Great Evangelist of the Eighteenth Evangelist.”

Whitefield, like Spurgeon, was in a class by himself. He preached about 1000 times a year, for 30 years! For months on end, he would spend more time preaching than sleeping!

A friend of Whitefield’s recorded that many weeks he was actually speaking (not preparing to speak, which he had virtually no time to do) for 60 hours.

That’s almost 6 hours a day, 7 days a week, on the slower weeks, and over 8 hours a day, 7 days a week on the heavier weeks.

He crossed the Atlantic 13 times in his life. The trips across the Atlantic took 8-10 weeks each. He preached virtually every day on the ship

The crowds came – thousands heard him gladly – most of the time, in the open air (since the churches were closed to him – he was too radical).

On several occasions, he preached to 20,000 people at a time – without microphones and sound amplification. Benjamin Franklin said his voice could be heard 2 miles away.

One biographer writes…

He regularly traveled and spoke throughout Wales. He visited Ireland twice, where he was almost killed by a mob from which he carried a scar on his forehead for the rest of his life. He traveled 14 times to Scotland and came to America 7 times, stopping once in Bermuda for 11 weeks—all for preaching, not resting. He preached in virtually every major town on the Eastern Seaboard of America. Michael Haykin reminds us, “What is so remarkable about all of this is Whitefield lived at a time when travel to a town but 20 miles away was a significant undertaking.”

With all his natural ability, the key to his life and ministry and effectiveness (multiplied thousands converted!) was the strong gospel he preached, the doctrine he believed, the anointing of the Spirit, and his whole-hearted surrender to Jesus.

Whitefield once said…

I know no other reason why Jesus has put me into the ministry, than because I am the chief of sinners, and therefore fittest to preach free grace to a world lying in the wicked one.

Let me whet your appetite.

To read the wonderful story of his life is to be reminded again of what is possible to a truly consecrated Christian, and how even in the darkest and most sinful ages God in his sovereign power is able to revive his work and shower blessings upon his People.

May the reading of this book produce in us the same spirit of utter submission, ready obedience, and unshakeable reliance upon the power of the Holy Spirit that characterized his life and ministry. Whitefield never drew attention to himself, but always pointed people to his God….(from the forward – by Martin Lloyd-Jones

Lord, do it again!

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One Comment

  1. He’s pretty cool.

    I read once that after a few years of preaching, he often coughed up blood from the strain of projecting his voice so much, yet he refused to stop preaching. There were times when sickness or weather would seem to prevent him from preaching, and yet he would!

    In today’s world, where so many people calling themselves Christians say that we have evolved beyond needing preaching, I think we need more men like Whitefield. We need men who will preach and preach until they literally cannot preach any more (because they are dead).


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