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Glenn Beck–A Forgotten Founding Father–George Whitefield–Videos

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George Whitefield – On the Method of Grace

George Whitefield – (1714-1770), Methodist evangelist

George Whitefield was born on December 16, 1714, in Gloucester, England. The youngest of seven children, he was born in 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 provide for her family. Because he thought he would never make much use of his education, at about age 15 George persuaded his mother to let him leave school and work in the inn. However, sitting up late at night, George became a diligent student of the Bible. A visit to his Mother by an Oxford student who worked his way through college encouraged George to pursue a university education. He returned to grammar school to finish his preparation to enter Oxford, losing only about one year of school.

In 1732 at age 17, George entered Pembroke College at Oxford. He was gradually drawn into a group called the “Holy Club” where he met John and Charles Wesley. Charles Wesley loaned him the book, The Life of God in the Soul of Man. The reading of this book, after a long and painful struggle which even affected him physically, finally resulted in George’s conversion in 1735. He said many years later: “I know the place…. Whenever I go to Oxford, I cannot help running to the spot where Jesus Christ first revealed himself to me and gave me the new birth.”

Forced to leave school because of poor health, George returned home for nine months of recuperation. Far from idle, his activity attracted the attention of the bishop of Gloucester, who ordained Whitefield as a deacon, and later as a priest, in the Church of England. Whitefield finished his degree at Oxford and on June 20, 1736, Bishop Benson ordained him. The Bishop, placing his hands upon George’s head, resulted in George’s later declaration that “My heart was melted down and I offered my whole spirit, soul, and body to the service of God’s sanctuary.”

Whitefield was an astounding preacher from the beginning. Though he was slender in build, he stormed in the pulpit as if he were a giant. Within a year 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 could hold spellbound 20,000 people at a time at Moorfields and Kennington Common. For thirty-four years his preaching resounded throughout England and America. In his preaching ministry he crossed the Atlantic thirteen times and became known as the ‘apostle of the British empire.’

He was a firm Calvinist in his theology yet unrivaled as an aggressive evangelist. Though a clergyman of the Church of England, he cooperated with and had a profound impact on people and churches of many traditions, including Presbyterians, Congregationalists, and Baptists. Whitefield, along with the Wesleys, inspired the movement that became known as the Methodists. Whitefield preached more than 18,000 sermons in his lifetime, an average of 500 a year or ten a week. Many of them were given over and over again. Fewer than 90 have survived in any form.

The Story of Amazing Grace

Amazing Grace – Judy Collins and the choir

Amazing Grace Movie Trailer

Hayley Westenra – Amazing Grace (Live)

Background Articles and Videos

George Whitefield

“…George Whitefield (pronounced /ˈhwɪtfiːld/) (December 16, 1714 – September 30, 1770), also known as George Whitfield, was an Anglican itinerant minister who helped spread the Great Awakening in Great Britain and, especially, in the British North American colonies.

Early life

Whitefield was born at the bell Inn, Southgate Street, Gloucester[1] in England. An influential figure in the establishment of Methodism, Whitefield was famous for his preaching in British North America, which was a significant factor in an 18th-century movement of Christian revivals there sometimes called “The Great Awakening.”

Whitefield was the son of a widow who kept an inn at Gloucester. At an early age, he found that he had a passion and talent for acting in the theatre, a passion that he would carry on through the very theatrical re-enactments of Bible stories that he told during his sermons. He was educated at the Crypt School, Gloucester, and Pembroke College, Oxford. Because Whitefield came from a poor background, he did not have the means to pay for his tuition. He therefore entered Oxford as a servitor, the lowest rank of students at Oxford. In return for free tuition, he was assigned as a servant to a number of higher ranked students. His duties included waking them in the morning, polishing their shoes, carrying their books and even assisting with required written assignments.[2] He was a part of the ‘Holy Club’ at Oxford University with the Wesley brothers, John and Charles. After reading Henry Scougal’s The Life of God in the Soul of Man he became very religious. Following a religious conversion, he became very passionate for preaching his new-found faith. The Bishop of Gloucester ordained him before the canonical age.

Travels and evangelism

“Whitefield was a celebrity in his time and is considered by many to be the founder of the evangelical movement.”[3] Whitefield preached his first sermon in the Crypt Church in his home town of Gloucester a week after his ordination. He had earlier become the leader of the Holy Club at Oxford when the Wesley brothers departed for Georgia. He adopted the practice of Howell Harris of preaching in the open-air at Hanham Mount, near Kingswood, Bristol. In 1738, before going to America, where he became parish priest of Savannah, Georgia he invited John Wesley to preach in the open-air for the first time at Kingswood and then Blackheath, London. After a short stay in Georgia he returned home in the following year to receive priest’s orders, resuming his open-air evangelistic activities.

Whitefield accepted the Church of England doctrine of predestination but disagreed with the Wesley brothers views on slavery and of the doctrine of Arminianism. As a result the Wesley brothers pursued their own religious movement.[citation needed] Whitefield formed and was the president of the first Methodist conference. At an early date Whitefield decided to concentrate on evangelistic work and relinquished the position.

Three churches were established in England in his name: one in Bristol and two others, the “Moorfields Tabernacle” and the “Tottenham Court Road Chapel”, in London. Later the society meeting at the second Kingswood School at Kingswood, a town on the eastern edge of Bristol, was also called Whitefield’s Tabernacle. Whitefield acted as chaplain to Selina, Countess of Huntingdon and some of his followers joined the Countess of Huntingdon’s Connexion, whose chapels were paid for at her sole expense and where a form of Calvinistic Methodism similar to Whitefield’s could be spread. Many of these chapels were built in the English counties and Wales, and one was erected in London — the Spa Fields Chapel.

In 1739 Whitefield returned to England to raise funds to establish the Bethesda Orphanage, which is the oldest extant charity in North America. On returning to North America he preached a series of revivals that came to be known as the Great Awakening of 1740. He preached nearly every day for months to large crowds of sometimes several thousand people as he travelled throughout the colonies, especially New England. His journey on horseback from New York City to Charleston was the longest then undertaken in North America by a white man.

Like his contemporary and acquaintance, Jonathan Edwards, Whitefield preached with a staunchly Calvinist theology that was in line with the “moderate Calvinism” of the Thirty-nine Articles.[4] While explicitly affirming God’s sole agency in salvation, Whitefield would freely offer the Gospel, saying near the end of most of his published sermons something like: “Come poor, lost, undone sinner, come just as you are to Christ.”[5] …”

J.C. Ryle – Biography of George Whitefield (1 of 10)

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