Who Is The Greatest Preacher? The Life And Legacy Of George Whitefield -- By: Digby L. James

Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 18:2 (Summer 2014)
Article: Who Is The Greatest Preacher? The Life And Legacy Of George Whitefield
Author: Digby L. James


Who Is The Greatest Preacher?
The Life And Legacy Of George Whitefield

Digby L. James

Digby L. James is Pastor of Quinta Independent Evangelical Church, Shropshire, United Kingdom, where he has served since 1990. Dr. James became interested in the life and ministry of George Whitefield in 1977 and began working on reprinting Whitefield’s works. He published a CD-ROM of Whitefield’s Works in 2000, and presently, he is editing a new, more complete edition of Whitefield’s Journals. In addition, Dr. James spends time resetting old works and publishing them through Quinta Press at www.quintapress.com.

If asked who is or was the greatest preacher since the time of the apostles it is likely that most people would choose someone from the last hundred years, perhaps Billy Graham or Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. Those with a greater sense of history might choose Charles Haddon Spurgeon, widely known as “the prince of preachers.” It is possible that some would choose George Whitefield (though such an exercise would be futile, as there are many preachers in different times and countries that most will never hear of—sound recording is a relatively recent invention in the history of the church, and it is only really possible to compare recorded preachers). If we go on the basis of reports or the power and effects of preaching, Whitefield would certainly have to be considered in a list of “greats” (though such an exercise would be futile, as there are many preachers in different times and countries that most will never hear of—sound recording is a relatively recent invention in the history of the church, and it is only really possible to compare recorded preachers).

Spurgeon said of Whitefield, “There is no end to the interest that attaches

to such a man as George Whitefield. Often as I have read his life, I am conscious of a distinct quickening whenever I turn to it. He lived, other men seem only to be half alive; but Whitefield was all life, fire, wing, force. My own model, if I may have such a thing in due subordination to my Lord, is George Whitefield; but with unequal footsteps must I follow his glorious track.”1

In a short article it impossible to cover everything about Whitefield’s life. This will be more “edited highlights.”2

Birth And Early Life3

George Whitefield was born on December 16, 17144 in the city of Gloucester at the Bell Inn, Southgate Str...

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