George Whitefield - (1714 - 1770)
George Whitefield was born (the youngest of seven children), on December 16, 1714, in Gloucester, England. He was born at the Bell Inn, where his father, Thomas, was a wine merchant and innkeeper. His father died when George was two and his widowed mother, Elizabeth, struggled to support her family. By the age of fifteen, George persuaded his mother to let him leave school and work at the inn because he felt he would never make much use of his education.
At an early age, he discovered that he had a passion and talent for acting in the theatre; a passion that he continued with him in his theatrical reenactments of the Bible stories during his sermons. He was educated at The School of Crypt, Gloucester, and Pembroke College, Oxford. As Whitefield came from a poor family, he did not have the means to pay his tuition. Therefore he entered Oxford as a servant: the lowest grade of Oxford students. In exchange for free education, he was assigned to serve the senior registered students. His duties included waking them up in the morning, polishing their shoes, carrying their books, and even taking their course. He was part of the "Holy Club" at Oxford University with the Wesley brothers, John and Charles.
This, however, did not prevent him from feeling ever more distant from God until his conversion in 1735. In his own words, it was as if a "heavy burden" had been removed. He gave his first sermon in the church where he had been baptized. His fervor was evident; some mocked, but others were impressed. There were complaints that fifteen of their listeners "went mad" (converted)! After this he preached the message of the new birth and justification by faith to large crowds in London, but others began to refuse him the pulpit and to oppose him strongly.
On the eve of his consecration to the ministry, he spent the day in fasting and prayer. After being ordained a deacon and graduating, he left for Georgia, United States, at the invitation of John Wesley, where he helped found an orphanage. He returned to England three months later to be received into the priesthood of the Anglican Church. Realizing that many pulpits were still closed to him, he broke with tradition and began to preach in the open air. It is said that he almost never preached without crying and that he used to read the Bible on his knees. Having consecrated the life to Christ, he often prayed.
The size of the crowds that came to hear Whitfield impressed John Wesley who then began to use the same method of preaching in the open air. When he returned to missionary service in America in 1739, he began a period of activity as a Congregational minister. With Jonathan Edwards he held a series of preaching events in New England for more than a month, speaking to crowds of up to eight thousand people almost every day. This missionary activity was probably the event that triggered the revival movement known as the Great Awakening. His work also laid the foundation for the founding of approximately 50 American colleges and universities, including Princeton University and Pennsylvania University. Whitefield became the focus of the revival in America, visiting seven times, but his work in the Old World was also quite vigorous: on one occasion in Scotland he preached to 100,000 listeners and 10,000 converted.
As a firm defender of Calvinism, Whitfield broke with John Wesley's Arminianism in 1741, but they remained friends. Because of this, he became known as the leader of the Calvinist Methodists. Whitefield continued to preach extensively in the United States and throughout Great Britain and Ireland. He is believed to have preached more than 18,000 sermons throughout his life.
Whitefield was an astonishing preacher from the outset. It was said that "his voice startled England like a trumpet blast." At a time when London had a population of less than 700,000, he would receive up to 20,000 people at the same time in Moorfields and Kennington Common. For thirty-four years his preaching resounded throughout England and America. He was a firm Calvinist in his theology, but unequaled as an aggressive evangelist. Though he was lean in build, he invaded the pulpit as if he were a giant. Although he was a clergyman of the Church of England, he cooperated and had a profound impact on people and churches of many traditions - Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Baptists and, along with the Wesleys, inspired the movement that became known as Methodists. In his preaching ministry, he crossed the Atlantic thirteen times and became known as the 'apostle of the British empire'. A century later, the great Baptist preacher, CH Spurgeon, wrote of Whitefield: "Often, as I read your life, I am aware of a distinct vivacity whenever I turn to it. Other men seemed only half alive; My own model, if I can have such a thing in due subordination to my Lord, is George Whitefield, but with unequal steps I must follow on his glorious path.
George Whitefield died in the United States in 1770, as he had wished: in the midst of a preaching series. At his funeral, John Wesley honored him as a great man of God. He is buried in Old South Presbyterian Church, Newburyport, Essex County, Massachusetts in the United States.
REVIVAL IS NOT:
Note: Some items related here may even happen during the revival, but isolated is not revival.
. It is not a movement...
WHAT PRECEDES REVIVAL:
. A time of darkness in society
. Hopelessness in people’s hearts
. Coldness in the churches
PURPOSE OF REVIVAL
To carry out Great Commission
The Great Commission is carried out as the fruit of the revival...
WHAT HAPPENS DURING REVIVAL:
. The Holy Spirit of God is always in control.
. The fear of the Lord come to rests upon all.
. A state of brokenness.
. Unlimited Worship.
. A Strong conviction of sins with confessions
. A State of Repentance.
. A Deep desire for Holiness.
. Many miracles, signs and wonders.
. End to social injustice, violence and crimes.
. Profound impact on society...
RESULTS OF REVIVAL:
- The Church arises (for the Great Commission) in boldness to speak of the love of God to the lost.
- There is extraordinary numerical growth in the Church, membership multiplies supernaturally.
- Society now respects the Church as the Divine Institution it is.
- This revival does not come to liberals, mystics, syncretists and the merely religious, but to a people desperately longing for the presence of God.
- The final phase of revival is the restoration of society to the standards of the Word of God, bringing justice, righteousness, compassion and blessing that should continue through generations.
Revivals, Great Awakenings and visitations from God in the United Kingdom over time
This timeline is to help you get to know and understand God's moves within the UK from when God used a humble man in Ireland (in the 5th Century), Saint Patrick, through many other men and events up until modern times. These men defied the circumstances of their times and made history, being hungry and desperate for the presence of God. Many of them were not understood in their day, but today are examples of people who dared to obey God and in doing so, changed the course of history. Here in the United Kingdom, there were many visitations from the Lord which touched generations both here and around the world, writing chapters of the history of the Church. These amazing accounts demonstrate God's great love for Britain. You will know all or some of the following ‘brave hearts’ for God. We believe that there were many others whom history did not recognise, but they are eternally recorded by the Lord.
We are the next generation that will make history in the UK; WE who are here now on this site, wanting to know more about revivals and about God's next move in the nations of Great Britain.
... If you agree, say Amen!!
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