18th C Great Awakening: The Wisdom of Whitefield

Why is John Wesley more well known than George Whitefield?

Whitefield was 10 years younger than Wesley and only a member of Wesley’s Holy Club at Oxford. Yet at key points Whitefield shows more spiritual wisdom and theological insight than Wesley.

Whitefield’s growth into gospel maturity is straightforward, though he is self-disciplined in confessing and mortifying personal sin, he is always remained objectively grounded in Scripture along the way, but Wesley is constantly caught up in subjective introspection (the Moravians both help and hinder him). Whitefield has a wonderfully positive ministry experience in the USA, whereas Wesley fails in his first visit. Whitefield is creative and productive in his ship ministry on the trip to and from Georgia, whereas Wesley is having personal crisis. Whitefield is the first to begin the open air preaching and draws Wesley into this ministry. Whitefield is more loyally a church of England man, with a high view of the public office, whereas Wesley seems to have more of a rebellious spirit. Young Wesley is more focussed on Christian company and Whitefield seems more to get on with the job of evangelistic preaching and orphanage fund-raising.

(I’m reading Dallimore’s “George Whitefield – The life and times of the great evangelist of the 18th century revival”)

One thought on “18th C Great Awakening: The Wisdom of Whitefield”

  1. A few ideas. Weslian Methodists (his name hangs around longer), also Wesley’s more distinctive teachings on holiness. Arminians mght look to Wesley for inspiration, though Calvinsists might have a greater range of people to look to for inspiration

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