Thundering The Word: The Awakening Ministry of George Whitefield
I feel inadequate and unskilled to be able to offer you this humble book review. I am so privileged and blessed of God, in His unmistakable providence, to have read Kurt M. Smith’s new book, “Thundering The Word: The Awakening Ministry of George Whitefield” (Free Grace Press). This book arrived only last week and I could not help but to lay my current seminary reading (Lectures on Revivals of Religion by William B. Sprague) aside for the last few days. I could not put Smith’s book down, most likely due to my love of Whitefield, and most certainly the beautiful timing within my current reading and especially in this season of my intimate walk with the Lord. It is always amazing to me how God can so orchestrate such divine and powerful work of His Spirit.
Smith’s writing brings a well-spring of historical ‘golden-nuggets’ mixed with his own passion for Whitefield and the deeply rich research of Whitefield’s overall past and brings them all to light for today’s Christian. He weaves a basket using the Scriptures, Whitefield’s life, historical context and personal application and contemplation that is full of truth and the centrality of Christ, so much so that the reader cannot help to be personally edified and left desirous of wanting more.
Smith’s usage of Scripture and his demonstration of both, Whitefield’s obedience and failures, brings a wonderful balance, whereby, challenging us to rightly respond to Whitefield’s and our own fallibilities and failures. With such historical retrospect for us to glean, we cannot help to be amazed at the vigor, energy and resolve of Whitefield’s life. Even in areas his eyes were blinded by the culture and political evils of the day, Smith reminds us,
“…when we look at Whitefield’s weaknesses and the sins he battled as a Christian, we should be humble enough to see ourselves in him.” He goes on,
“As Christians, we are really that different from Whitefield? Though we may not share the same weaknesses, inconsistencies, imperfections, and besetting sins as Whitefield did, are we not plagued just as equally with remaining sin?” Continuing,
“…the truth is, like George Whitefield and all other Christians in every generation of the church, our greatest battle is the war within our own members where the law of sin is ever seeking to take us captive and lead us astray from our most heartfelt ambitions to obey God (Rom. 7:14-25). This was Whitefield’s battle preceding glory, and it is no different for any one of us in our own Christian life.”
Without a doubt, the Lord has encouraged and convicted me through Smith’s work. I have lived in and with “Whitefield’s Journals” (and more works by or about Whitefield) to such the degree that my book was all but destroyed a few years ago (check out the rebind). Often through his journals, my heart has melted to tears and sent me to the Lord in much prayer. I have continued to read and study Whitefield, possibly because the Lord has used him more than most other men of the past in my life. I say these things in order to state clearly, if you have never heard of the name, George Whitefield, or you are a novice regarding his biography, I cannot help but encourage you to add this to your library and devour it’s pages. This is one book which will be on my re-read list and possibly several times over. The links contained within are pure gold and the reference notes are surely not to be sidelined.
I urge of you to seriously consider Smith’s work of the late 17th century laborer and preaching evangelist, who for the glory of God’s name and the grace so powerfully bestowed upon him, was the spark lit by God for the revival and awakening of millions of souls. God so powerfully, yet not in any good works or earnings of Whitefield himself, reconstructed this man’s heart and built him into being humble, resolved, empowered and used to cause a blazing fire, which jumped the seas, and swept through the lives of so many. And it continues, by God’s grace, love and providence, still to this day.
May our Lord and Savior receive all the glory and credit due His holy name. Amen.
Purchase at Grace and Truth Books.
Jeremy B. Strang
Christian. Husband. Father. Author and more.
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