Saturday, April 15, 2017

Simple Book Review: "Select Sermons of George Whitefield" (1958)

Select Sermons of George Whitefield (first published 1958) 
by The Banner of Truth Trust

I borrowed this book after church last week, and I finished reading it in one sitting (maybe not all, I skipped two sermon chapters). Today’s sermon at Methodist Trinity Church Kuching and Whitefield’s sermon texts complimenting one another. It was about why and how Jesus died for us and changed people’s lives, including George Whitefield’s life, an English Anglican cleric who was one of the founders of Methodism and the evangelical movement. I loves this book because the foreword is written by Martyn Lloyd-Jones, short account of Whitefield’s life by J. C. Ryle, and summary of Whitefield’s doctrine by R. Elliot.

Lloyd-Jones writes, “Of all the men of the 18th century who God raised up to do that marvellous work called ‘the Evangelical Awakening,’ none was more remarkable than George Whitefield… [He] was not only the greatest preacher and orator of the 18th century, he was also one of its most saintly characters, if not the saintliest of all.” I personally think Charles Spurgeon is the greatest among all the preachers after the apostles’ era. But nevertheless, George Whitefield is also great in his time [I suggests you listen to John Piper’s 2009 sermon on the life and ministry of Whitefield entitled I Will Not Be a Velvet-Mouthed Preacher! at if you cannot find this book]

I like how Ryle describes Whitefield’s success in ministry: “He wrote no book for the million, of world-wide fame, like Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress. He headed no crusade against an apostate Church with a nation at his back, and princes on his side, like Martin Luther. He founded no religious denomination, which pinned its faith on his writings and carefully embalmed his best acts and words, like John Wesley. There are Lutherans and Wesleyans in the present day, but there are no Whitefieldites. No! The great evangelist of last century was a simple, guileless man, who lived for one thing only, and that was to preach Christ.” Wow!

As for his doctrines, R. Elliot, listed out 5 George’s most crucial doctrines, namely:
#1 Original Sin,
#2 The New Birth;
#3 Justification by Faith in Christ;
#4 The Final Perseverance of the Saints;
#5 Eternal and Unconditional Election.

If you like Martyn Lloyn-Jones or even Charles H. Spurgeon, this book will make you happy, dear theological geek! After you hear many modern-day sermons with shallow theological stuffs, if you read Whitefield’s sermons, I bet you will breathe fresh air!

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