Tolle Lege: George Whitefield

George Whitefield

Readability (1-3):  2

Length:   1128 pgs

Author:  Arnold Dallimore

D.A. Carson in a talk “The Scholar as Pastor” said the following about the author of this work,

This is the time, I think, to recognize that God assigns hugely different gifts, so that one of the things this evening must not do is give the impression that there is only one legitimate path to working out pastoral and scholarly vocations. Arnold Dallimore was a Baptist pastor who took theological training with my Dad. His only degree, his terminal degree, was a B.Th. For forty years he served one church in the small Ontario town of Cottam. Nevertheless he also set himself the task of mastering material on George Whitefield. It became a hobby, a summer challenge, a life goal. He traveled frequently to England, ransacked archives, found material that no one had ever used before, and wrote his magnificent two-volume biography of Whitefield. Few books make me weep, but on occasion that biography did. For all of its technical competence and heavy documentation, it made me pray, more than once, “O God, do it again!” But no one insists that every pastor has the intellectual gift and long-term stamina to do the research and writing that that magnificent project entailed.

I thank God for Dallimore’s years of quiet toil over this masterful biography.  And I hope his prayer concerning the book be heard by our Almighty God.

Nevertheless, this book goes forth with a mission. It is written with the profound conviction that the paramount need of the twentieth century is a mighty evangelical revival such as that which was experienced two hundred years ago. Thus, I have sought to show what were the doctrines used of God in the eighteenth-century Revival, and to display the extraordinary fervour which characterized the men whom God raised up in that blessed work. Yea, this book is written in the desire—perhaps in a measure of inner certainty—that we shall see the great Head of the Church once more bring into being His special instruments of revival, that He will again raise up unto Himself certain young men whom He may use in this glorious employ. And what manner of men will they be? Men mighty in the Scriptures, their lives dominated by a sense of the greatness, the majesty and holiness of God, and their minds and hearts aglow with the great truths of the doctrines of grace. They will be men who have learned what it is to die to self, to human aims and personal ambitions; men who are willing to be ‘fools for Christ’s sake’, who will bear reproach and falsehood, who will labour and suffer, and whose supreme desire will be, not to gain earth’s accolades, but to win the Master’s approbation when they appear before His awesome judgment seat. They will be men who will preach with broken hearts and tear-filled eyes, and upon whose ministries God will grant an extraordinary effusion of the Holy Spirit, and who will witness ‘signs and wonders following’ in the transformation of multitudes of human lives.

Indeed, this book goes forth with the earnest prayer that, amidst the rampant iniquity and glaring apostasy of the twentieth century God will use it toward the raising up of such men and toward the granting of a mighty revival such as was witnessed two hundred years ago.

In hopes that your appetite may be whetted to know the great evangelist I offer you only one quotation from his own lips that should be sufficient to stir affection toward this humble servant.  In response to requests to start his own party or denomination he replied:

Let my name be forgotten, let me be trodden under the feet of all men, if Jesus may thereby be glorified. I care not who is uppermost. I know my place, even to be servant of all.

Let my name die everywhere, let even my friends forget me, if by that means the cause of the blessed Jesus may be promoted.

I want to bring souls, not to a party… but to a sense of their undone condition by nature, and to true faith in Jesus Christ.

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