Happy 300th Birthday George Whitefield!
December 16, 2014
George Whitefield, the great Anglican Evangelical evangelist of the 18th century, was born on 16th December 1714 (Old Style -- which means we can celebrate again in 11 days time too). So buy a cake, get 300 candles and a box of matches, and sing a happy song for the old guy!
I've spent the last year writing and talking about Whitefield in various places, from Cape Town to Carlisle, from Athens to America. So I thought this would be a good time to share some of those things here, to aid your celebrations.
First up, read the man himself: The Sermons of George Whitefield in a new, two-volume set with annotations and a historical-theological introduction:
Last week, the 2014 St Antholin's Lecture was on Whitefield, Toplady, Simeon, and Wesley's Arminian Campaigns. It was called "Strangely Warmed", or perhaps an alternative title might be "Celebrity pastors in Calvinist cover-ups." The audio has just been made available here
A whole issue of the excellent Credo magazine was on Whitefield
There was also a great conference at THE Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (which I may have blogged about already on Ref21...), the material from which is available online. E.g.
THE Southern Baptist Theological Journal also did an issue on him
Obviously, we can't get a Ref21 post go by without mentioning the celebrity historian Dr Carl Trueman, who also got in on the act by lecturing on Whitefield here. Carl, George, and myself all went to school in Gloucester. Though I was at the comprehensive school.
And if, as well as Whitefield's sermons, above, you want to read something (or get something for Christmas) on the great man (Whitefield, not Trueman...), you could do a lot worse than the brand new blockbuster by Thomas Kidd.
So, happy birthday George. Thanks for being a great confessional Anglican, and thinking the 39 Articles were cool. Thanks for being into covenant theology before that became a naughty thing to talk about in the UK. Thanks for repenting of being too rash and hasty in your attitude towards certain American presbyterians, and repenting of your "too apostolical" way of speaking and judging people when you were in your 20s. Thanks for showing that one really can believe in predestination and limited atonement at the same time as being a barnstormer of an evangelist. And thanks for winning many people for Christ.
Now, "let the name of Whitefield perish, but Christ be glorified."