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  • Writer's pictureBrittany Proffitt

Podcast: Awakening and George Whitfield with Terry Feix and Cliff Sanders



Check out the So We Speak podcast on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.



This is the second podcast in a series on The Great Awakening. The first podcast overview can be found here.


Whitfield’s ministry left an indelible mark on heart religion, where the Christian faith had moved from the academic sphere to a real heart-felt religion in relationship with Christ. Reawakening necessitates a change in the heart.


Whitfield’s Context

While Whitfield was in America numerous times throughout his life, his main ministry was to the people of Bristol, England, although he became well-known in both places.


The spiritual climate of England was very dark, and bishops in church leadership were very worldly. This was not an easy time to be a Christian as there were no doctrinal convictions or desire to live in holiness.


Friendships

As a child, Whitfield would write sermons and often stay up reading Scripture. This flame for the Word of God was almost extinguished as a teenager when he had to leave school and work to provide for his mother and siblings. The friendship of Charles Wesley played a huge role in Whitfield’s life and helped rekindle his passion for God. Wesley introduced Whitfield with other followers of Christ and introduced him to Henry Scougal’s book, The Life of God in the Soul of Man. This was a turning point for him. Although they differed theologically on some points, Whitfield remained connected to Charles Welsey and his brother John Wesley throughout his life.


We can learn much from Whitfield about the power of friends and mentors. He was constantly learning from and being encouraged by others who were further along in their faith. When he compared himself to one of his mentors, he said, “I am a baby and a novice in the things of God.” Whitfield owed much spiritual growth to these relationships.


Ministry in America

Whitfield began preaching on regeneration shortly after his ordination at age twenty-two. Many were offended by his preaching because of his views on regeneration. They wanted to be considered Christians but refused to make a public profession of faith. Because of this pushback, Whitfield sailed to America, hoping for greater fruit. The Wesley brothers invited him to oversee an orphanage and preach in Georgia. This began the spiritual awakening in and around the East Coast.


Revival

There is no cut-and-dry method for bringing about revival. Each generation of individuals is different. The means of communicating the message may change, but the message of the gospel is eternal and never changes. A particular means of communication does not create revival. The message of the gospel changes hearts. This is something Whitfield grew to understand as he preached the gospel, and it led him to become bolder in proclaiming the power of Christ to save sinners.


Both Whitfield and Charles Wesley began their ministries with a deep sense of being under the conviction of sin and judgment of God. The freedom found in Christ compelled them to share this message of hope and salvation with those who were perishing.


Whitfield’s Impact

Whitfield often preached to very large crowds. He was gifted with a voice that traveled long distances so thousands of people could hear his message.


He travailed through great difficulties and suffering. His passion for preaching the gospel was so strong that it overcame the obstacles and allowed him to continue preaching – often preaching to crowds between 7,000 to 20,000 people.


Following a time of prayer with Whitfield, one clergy wrote, “I have been a scholar and have preached the doctrines of grace for a long time. But until then, I believe I had never felt the power of them in my own soul.”


This boldness and passion for the gospel is available to all believers and ought not be left to “The Greats” of The Great Awakening era. God never changes, and he delights to work through feeble, weak, yet willing vessels.



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Brittany Proffitt lives in Dallas and is a writer and content manager for So We Speak.

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