Whitefield – the heart of an evangelist

Published: ‘Whitefield – the heart of an evangelist’, Reformed Theological Review 69, Issue 3, Dec. 2010, 164-179.

Who is the real George Whitefield? The prince of preachers is perennially caught between the binaries proclaimed by Mark Antony: reviewers come to either bury or praise him. Some celebrate the colour of his eyes, the resonance of his voice, and the shape of his skull, giving too literal a form to Antony’s words that the good that men do ‘is oft interred with their bones’. Today, though, the trend it to ensure that ‘the evil that men do lives after them’. Whitefield had a ministry too manipulative of public opinion. ‘Brutus says he was ambitious’.

Whitefield is thus cast as a salesman, a media executive, or a Hollywood star. Frank Lambert, in Pedlar in Divinity, focuses on the methods Whitefield used to promote his religion: he is a salesman in an increasingly consumerist society. Harry Stout has him as ‘The Divine Dramatist’: the consummate actor and America’s first celebrity.[1] The approach need not be pejorative, but in response to the hagiographic approach, a reactionary harmatiology does occasionally seep through (despite protestations to the contrary). Thus, Stout speaks of Whitefield’s ‘shameless pathos’ and ‘shameless self-promotion’. The psychological profile also overreaches, with Whitefield said to be a man desperate to gain the approval of the masses, in an attempt to fill the void created when at the age of two his father died.[2]

Is there a way to bridge this somewhat artificial divide between Church History done from above (by faith, looking for the hand of God) and from below (the sociological approach, looking at Whitefield as a man of his times)? The contention of this paper is that something about the man can be discerned not from the tally of converts or the tally of newspaper articles, but from his theology.

What is the centre of his theology? What doctrine most captivated him and informed his theologizing? In the case of Whitefield, this is also to ask, what drove him, in both his piety and ministry, and what was the dominant theme of his preaching?

  1. The New Birth
  • The consensus

There is almost universal agreement that the heart of Whitefield’s theology is the doctrine of the new birth.[3] His most widely circulated sermon was The Nature and Necessity of the New Birth. The new birth is said to be the ‘chief product’.[4] Whitefield ‘was convinced that “true” Christianity was a matter of the heart and centered on just one question: “What must I do to be saved?” Only the condition of one’s soul mattered.’[5] What is the evidence for this?

  • Why say the new birth is central?

First, the new birth is necessary in Whitefield’s mind,[6] and there are at least four reasons why one might think it is his central and dominant doctrine.

  • The new birth is not Reformational

First, the new birth looks to be his central teaching, because it looks so different to the Reformers of the 16th century. The Reformers spoke about justification and covenant, but Whitefield spoke incessantly about the new birth. That sense of dissonance with the past makes this appear to be his chief focus and defining point.

(a) In response, first, the new birth is a Reformational doctrine. It is not an orphan child, more at home in Arminianism than Calvinism. Luther’s great ‘discovery’ was not of the centrality of faith, which was already well known by the theologians of the via moderna in the 14th century onwards. His realization was that faith was a gift. God thus needed to change the heart in order that we might believe. The Protestant Reformation was about the new birth, even though this is more frequently expressed in the terms, sola fide and sola gratia.

(b) Whitefield stressed the doctrine of the new birth more than anyone preceding did, but that does not place him at odds with the Reformed tradition, but paradoxically indicates his conformity with it. Whitefield’s use of the doctrine was largely conditioned by the day in which he was ministering. He was working in an environment previously unknown in Protestantism, which was an environment of Protestant formalism. Previously, the concern had been to assert the necessity of faith in Christ alone for salvation, overagainst the errors of the Roman Catholic Church. How, though, should the situation be addressed in which that Protestant doctrine is officially adhered to in the Articles of the Church, but denied in practice, chiefly through moralism and formalism?[7] The opposition to self-righteousness is present in the Reformers and the Puritans, but the problem in the 18th century is not so much one of ignorance and superstition, but of apathy. Whitefield understood this new difficulty, and so gave emphasis to this particular aspect of Reformed belief, casting it with particular vocabulary for the sake of clarity and incisiveness, as is the manner of all theologizing. The new birth is a battle doctrine, taken from the Reformed arsenal, and leading back to a traditional Reformed soteriology. The doctrine is very useful to Whitefield, then, in undertaking his Reformed theological programme, but useful is not central.[8]

(c) That the new birth for Whitefield was seen to be typical Reformed teaching is evidenced by both the partner and the synonym for the term that Whitefield frequently employed.

First, the partner of the term is typically ‘justification’. In his Journals, he places the ‘doctrine of the New Birth and Justification by Faith’ on a par, as the twin doctrines essential to the early revival.[9] Whitefield, on the new birth, must be understood in that context. The new birth is about receiving the faith instrumental in justification.

Secondly, the synonym to the term is ‘regeneration’. This is the word that Whitefield uses in the title of his later publications of his most famous sermon, The Nature and Necessity of the New Birth (not that ‘later’ means ‘late’, for it was receiving the alternate title within two years of it having been preached in 1736).

(d) What is the origin of the term, new birth, for Whitefield? The language is probably seen as entirely traditional, as far as Whitefield was concerned,[10] for he had read article 27 of the Thirty Nine Articles, which, speaking about baptism, says that it is ‘a sign of regeneration or new birth’.

  • The new birth is the most mentioned theme

Secondly, the new birth appears to some to be his most mentioned theme. However, at the level of empirical data, Whitefield speaks just as frequently about those things that would be recognised as the usual Reformed distinctives. Justification by faith and the righteousness of Christ, as well as original sin, all receive considerable attention in the material currently available.

 Across his collected works, Whitefield speaks of:

  • ‘new birth’ 121 times; ‘born again’ 106 times; ‘born from above’ 8 times; ‘regeneration’ 47 times; ‘regenerated’ 8 times; ‘regenerate’ 15 times (once as a verb); and ‘new life’ 15 times. Total: 320
  • ‘imputed’ righteousness 115 times; ‘justification’ 164 times; ‘justified’ 166 times; ‘justify’ 35 times. Total: 480
  • ‘sin’ over 800 times
  • ‘Faith’ over 1,200 times, including the use of ‘faith alone’ 40 times; ‘believe’ approximately 700 times (in the context of a religious commitment); ‘believing’ 103 times. Total: 2003+

 For what those data are worth, his dominant themes actually appear to be sin and faith, followed closely by justification.

It can be added that at least one third of his preaching is on practical themes of puritanical living, such as the need for family devotions, abstinence from worldly indulgence, and joining together in religious societies.

  • The new birth is what the Wesleys taught

Thirdly, it has often been the case that Whitefield is not seen as an independent entity. Both in his day and in the present, that there is a tendency to collapse Whitefield and the Wesleys into an indistinguishable, evangelical unity. Both spoke about the new birth; therefore, they must be the same. However, there is a difference of ‘flavour’ between John Wesley and George Whitefield on the matter of the new birth. To put the difference into its broadest context, Wesley was an Arminian who believed that election took place on the basis of God’s foresight of human faith (conditional election, or a foreknowledge not of His own will but of contingent events), whereas Whitefield was a Calvinist, who, with the Thirty Nine Articles, made no such qualification. Wesley did not intend to turn faith into a work that would merit blessing from God, but the teaching of the Remonstrants does place the exact nature of faith in doubt.

For both Wesley and Whitefield, the difference is most plainly seen in their conversion experiences. Dallimore puts it that for the Wesleys, faith was an experience to be possessed.[11] Charles had seized upon Luther’s commentary on Galatians, and John upon Luther’s commentary on Romans, and learning of the sola fide principle, went in search of the emotional experience of possessing that faith. Both John and Charles speak of their conversions in that way, as emotional experiences—of what they felt.[12] They found the faith-feeling for which they were looking.

For Whitefield, however, the focus was more clearly elsewhere.

  • Whitefield said it was central

Fourthly, Whitefield seems to say that the new birth was central. Of his early preaching ministry, before leaving for Georgia at the end of 1737, Whitefield wrote the following:

The doctrine of the New Birth and justification by Faith in Jesus Christ (though I was not so clear in it as afterwards) made its way like lightning into the hearers’ consciences. The arrows of conviction stuck fast; and my whole time, between one lecture and another, except what was spent in necessary refreshment, was wholly occupied in talking with people under religious concern.[13]

This statement seems to subvert what has been said, but on the other hand, in certain respects it confirms the above argument. First, it is stated that the new birth in conjunction with justification is central, not the new birth by itself. Secondly, to be pedantic, the above is a comment of what aspects of his preaching ‘made its way like lightning into the hearers’ consciences’. It was that doctrine that had the impact upon the audience. That does not mean that that is what was central to his thought, the most repeated note of his preaching, or his inspiration in ministry.

  1. That which is central

What was central, then, if not the new birth? Whitefield’s conversion experience defined and best illustrates the centre of his thought. His conversion came at the age of 20, ‘about seven weeks after Easter, 1735’,[14] and came after a period of intense spiritual struggle. He recounts it thus:

After having undergone innumerable buffetings of Satan, and many months inexpressible trials by night and day under the spirit of bondage, God was pleased at length to remove the heavy load, to enable me to lay hold on His dear Son by a living faith, and, by giving me the spirit of adoption, to seal me, as I humbly hope, even to the day of everlasting redemption.[15]

Whitefield had originally expressed the experience in this way (in the original text of A Short Account, written at the time of his second voyage to America in 1739, and published in 1740[16]): 

…God was pleased to set me free in the following manner. One day, perceiving an uncommon drought and a disagreeable clamminess in my mouth and using things to allay my thirst, but in vain, it was suggested to me, that when Jesus Christ cried out, “I thirst,” His sufferings were near at an end. Upon which I cast myself down on the bed, crying out, “I thirst! I thirst!” Soon after this, I found and felt in myself that I was delivered from the burden that had so heavily oppressed me. The spirit of mourning was taken from me, and I knew what it was truly to rejoice in God my Saviour; and, for some time, could not avoid singing psalms wherever I was; but my joy gradually became more settled, and, blessed be God, has abode and increased in my soul, saving a few casual intermissions, ever since.

Thus were the days of my mourning ended. After a long night of desertion and temptation, the Star, which I had seen at a distance before, began to appear again, and the Day Star arose in my heart. Now did the Spirit of God take possession of my soul, and, as I humbly hope, seal me unto the day of redemption.[17]

Both accounts (with the later version removing the mystical ‘I thirst’ comments) overlap, revealing two essential elements. First, there is the awareness of the pardon of sins, which is experienced as the lifting of the burden. This correlates to Whitefield’s emphasis in preaching on the doctrine of justification.

The other element, which we would expect to be the new birth doctrine, is expressed in this language: he was enabled ‘to lay hold on His dear Son…giving me the spirit of adoption’, and ‘the Day Star arose in my heart. Now did the Spirit of God take possession of my soul…’ This corresponds to Whitefield’s emphasis on the new birth, but the new birth expressed in the manner that Whitefield understood that, as the moment of entering into union with Christ.

This is the key. The new birth is not about an existential experience that must be attained for salvation, but an enabling from God to lay hold of Christ, and so an entering into a spiritual bond with the Day Star. In short, this is union with Christ.

Later in his life, Whitefield reflected on the importance of the conversion moment for him. ‘I know the place: it may be superstitious, perhaps, but whenever I go to Oxford, I cannot help running to that place where JESUS CHRIST first revealed himself to me, and gave me the new birth.’[18] The two statements in the latter part of the sentence may be taken co-ordinately, to indicate that there is synonymity between the new birth and the revelation of the person of Jesus. In fact, the new birth appears in a logically subordinate position, for it follows as a gift from the one who has revealed Himself. The place at Oxford was not tied in Whitefield’s mind to a moment of solely existential fulfilment (far less, apparently, to the mere lifting of the burden of sin, which is not mentioned in this statement), but to a moment of divine encounter.

To press the case, the comment immediately preceding the one cited above, about the significance of Oxford, reads thus: ‘I must bear testimony to my old friend, Mr Charles Wesley, he put a book into my hands, called, The Life of GOD in the Soul of Man, whereby GOD showed me, that I must be born again, or be damned.’[19] In A Short Account, Whitefield expresses it thus:

In a short time he let me have another book, entitled, The Life of God in the Soul of Man; [and, though I had fasted, watched and prayed, and received the Sacrament so long, yet I never knew what true religion was, till God sent me that excellent treatise by the hands of my never-to-be-forgotten friend.] At my first reading it, I wondered what the author meant by saying, “That some falsely placed religion in going to church, doing hurt to no one, being constant in the duties of the closet, and now and then reaching out their hands to give alms to their poor neighbours,” “Alas!” thought I, “if this be not true religion, what is?” God soon showed me; for in reading a few lines further that “true religion was union of the soul with God, and Christ formed within us,” a ray of Divine light was instantaneously darted in upon my soul, and from that moment, but not till then, did I know that I must be a new creature.[20]

The new birth as Divine encounter theme can again be seen. The young scholar’s thought has been captivated by the theological programme of Henry Scougal (1650—1678), professor of divinity at King’s College, Aberdeen.[21] This is so significant, that the first edition of the Account went so far as to say, ‘yet I never knew what true religion was, till God sent me that excellent treatise’ (perhaps too partisan a comment to be retained in the revised edition?). It was Scougal alone who taught him that salvation could not be attained by human efforts, but came as a gift.

Scougal speaks about the ‘divine life’ in this way: ‘…true religion is a union of the soul with God, a real participation of the divine nature, the very image of God drawn upon the soul, or, in the apostle’s phrase, “It is Christ formed within us.” ’[22] He adds the following:

The love of God is a delightful and affectionate sense of the divine perfections, which makes the soul resign and sacrifice itself wholly unto him, desiring above all things to please him, and delighting in nothing so much as in fellowship and communion with him, and being ready to do or suffer any thing for his sake, or at his pleasure.[23]

He continues to speak about purity, humility, and delight in prayer, themes that are paralleled in Whitefield’s vision of piety. Later, he expresses the nature of religion in this way:

It is true, religion in the souls of men is the immediate work of God, and all our natural endeavours can neither produce it alone, nor merit those supernatural aids by which it must be wrought. The Holy Ghost must come upon us, and the power of the Highest must overthrow us, before that holy thing can be begotten, and Christ be formed in us. But yet we must not expect that this whole work should be done without any concurring endeavours of our own. We must not lie loitering in the ditch, and wait till Omnipotence pull us from thence. No, no: we must bestir ourselves, and actuate those powers which we have already received.[24]

Whitefield turns again to the significance of Scougal in his life, in a sermon preached in 1741. He says:

When I was reading a book, entitled The Life of GOD in the Soul of Man, and reading that a man may read, pray, and go to church, and be constant in the duties of the Sabbath, and yet not be a Christian, I wondered what the man would be at; I was ready to throw it from me, till at last he told me, that religion was an union of the soul with GOD—the image of GOD wrought upon the heart, or CHRIST JESUS formed in us. Then GOD was pleased with these words to cast a ray of light into my soul; with the light there came a power, and from that very moment I knew I must be a new creature.[25]

He quotes there from the opening pages of Scougal’s work, and says that religion is ‘an union of the soul with God…Christ Jesus formed in us’. That is what it means to be a new creature.

The impact of Scougal upon Whitefield’s thought can scarcely be overestimated. It gave him a new orientation in life. Scougal is for Whitefield a spiritual, theological and ministerial manifesto. Although some might criticize Whitefield for bringing the Church into an overly emotional form of evangelicalism, and for departing from the more academically rigorous Reformed Protestantism of the 17th century, it must be acknowledged that the evangelicalism that sprung up through Whitefield and has persisted through to the present was seeking to follow a Puritan (Scottish Presbyterian) vision of true religion.[26]

Indeed, the reading of Scougal even accounts for what is alleged to be one of the more palpable differences between Puritanism and evangelicalism. Bebbington discusses the shift in the doctrine of assurance that occurred from Puritanism to evangelicalism, that in the 18th century assurance became more a common property for all believers than it had been in the past.[27] Whitefield speaks of his conversion experience as intrinsically an experience of assurance: ‘joy unspeakable… a full assurance of faith broke in upon my disconsolate soul.’[28] Some of the Puritans may well have tended to separate assurance from conversion, but from reading Scougal, there is no thought of a doubtable salvation. Whitefield has not engineered a fundamental shift from Puritanism, but has brought one strain of Puritanism into dominance (a strain that T. F. Torrance would trace back to Calvin).

Considering the significance of Whitefield on evangelicalism over the last three centuries, and the significance of Scougal in Whitefield’s experience, one could almost conclude that Scougal, short as his life was and few as his extant writings are, is the orchestrator of the evangelical movement. If Whitefield is the father of evangelicalism (and he is[29]), then Scougal is the grand-father. Scougal’s words quoted above are the most significant words in the formation of the British and American Protestantism of the modern era.

Looking at Whitefield from this perspective, it can be seen just how pervasive and central (both those things) the theme of union with Christ is. Soon after his conversion, and before his ordination, he rapturously expressed his joy, writing, ‘How assuredly have I felt that Christ dwelt in me, and I in Him! and how did I daily walk in the comforts of the Holy Ghost, and was edified and refreshed in the multitude of Peace… and I knew it was Jesus Christ that revealed Himself to my soul.’[30] Of his entire ministry, he said, ‘My one design is to bring poor souls to JESUS CHRIST. I desire to avoid extremes, so as not to be a bigot on the one hand, or confound order and decency on the other.’[31]

To demonstrate the centrality of union with Christ in Whitefield’s theology, consider the following:

For though we may exist by CHRIST, yet we cannot be said to exist in him, till we are united to him by one spirit, and enter into a new state of things, as certainly as he entered into a new state of things after that he rose from the dead. We may throng and crowd round about CHRIST, and call him “LORD, LORD,” when we come to worship before his footstool; but we have not effectually touched him, till, by a lively faith in his resurrection, we perceive a divine virtue coming out of him, to renew and purify our souls.[32]

The ensuing union is intensely relational. This counterbalances the theory of Whitefield the pedlar—that his religion and ministry is to be seen as a commercial activity, with salvation as the product. At its core, Christianity for Whitefield was not commercial. It requires the involvement of the whole person, with thoughts, feelings and actions, in a veritable love relationship with Christ. Elsewhere, Whitefield speaks of Christ as the believer’s lover. In love for Christ, believers commit themselves to pursuing holiness and good works (which, in fact flow from Christ. The above quote indicates that this renewing and purifying of the soul flows from the virtue of the one to whom the believer has been united).

This relational motivation is more dominant in Whitefield’s mind than even the concept of glorifying God. The latter is also frequently mentioned, and is the logical end point of all of theology and life, but it does not have the same insistent dominance that it has in Calvin’s thought.[33] Inherent in Deo Gloria language is the conception of a king-servant relationship, but Whitefield is more inclined to think in terms of a husband-wife relationship (accounting for his own ambivalence towards human marriage). This is not to draw a deep-seated division between Calvin and Whitefield, for in Calvin, glorifying God is accomplished within a love relationship. It is to say that Whitefield, perhaps in part because of the need to confront the eighteenth century religious climate of cold orthodoxy, has moved further along the Calvinist trajectory in emphasising the experiential and emotional aspects of union with Christ, and has moved away from the fearsome, inscrutable God of Calvin.

Returning to the doctrine of justification, this also finds its realization in union with Christ. Again, this is dramatically illustrated in Whitefield’s conversion. Prior to his conversion, he spoke about the burden of guilt that he was carrying. At his conversion, he speaks about being ‘delivered from the burden that had so heavily oppressed me.’ Interestingly, though, he does not speak about a confession of sin, or the comprehension of the forgiveness of sins through faith in the death of Christ. The solution to the problem came by way of union with Christ. His ‘I thirst! I thirst!’ statement must be understood in the context of his reading of Scougal, so it was a thirst for the divine life. Having attained that, the subsidiary quest for justification is so fully resolved that it only needs passing elucidation.

It is Christ, then, who, by His presence, imparts the assurance of the forgiveness of sins, and abolishes guilty fear, since it is at the time of union with Christ, and by that Christ, that one is justified. This is the righteousness of Christ imputed. Justification is declaratory, and concerns that which is the case ‘in the sight of God’, as Whitefield says numerous times, but it is so ‘in Christ’.[34] ‘[F]allen man had no righteousness of his own, yet upon believing in GOD’S Son, he should find a perfect righteousness in him.’[35]

Christ is the provider of justification: ‘[M]y sisters, put on the white raiment, and clean garments, which CHRIST hath provided for you, the robes of his righteousness; in these garments you shall be beautiful; and in these garments you shall be accepted’.[36]

He never discusses the intricacies of this, such as the relationship between atonement accomplished and applied, but he knows that Christ is none other than ‘the Lord our righteousness’.[37] Neither does he discuss the age-old problem of the relationship between justification and sanctification,[38] and whilst avoiding the tensions of the Reformed ordo salutis, he has, almost instinctively, offered the same solution that Calvin did.[39]

  1. Conclusion

Whitefield placed union with Christ at the centre of his piety, theology and ministry. It is difficult to reconcile that with the image of Whitefield the self-promoter and door-to-door salesman. His religion was fundamentally relational, not commercial, and other-centred, not self-centred. It might be difficult for us today, as with Whitefield’s contemporaries, to find a way to comprehend the man—to locate him on the sociological grid—but a fair reading of Whitefield indicates that for him, Christ really was the believer’s husband.



[1]         Frank Lambert, Pedlar in Divinity: George Whitefield and the Transatlantic Revivals, 1737-1770 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994); Harry S. Stout, The Divine Dramatist: George Whitefield and the Rise of Modern Evangelicalism (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1991).

[2]         Harry S. Stout, ‘George Whitefield in Three Countries’, Evangelicalism: Comparative Studies of Popular Protestantism in North America, the British Isles, and Beyond, 1700-1990, eds Mark A. Noll, David W. Bebbington and George A. Rawlyk (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994) 58.   

[3]         George Whitefield, Samuel Drew and Joseph Smith, ‘Sermons on Important Subjects’, Commendations by Notable Preachers, the Works of George Whitefield (Shropshire: Quinta Press, 2000) 31; Arnold A. Dallimore, George Whitefield: The Life and Times of the Great Evangelist of the 18th Century Revival, 2 vols, Vol. 1 (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1970) 345.

[4]         Stout, ‘Whitefield in Three Countries’, 58–59.

[5]         Frank Lambert, ‘The Great Awakening as Artifact: George Whitefield and the Construction of Intercolonial Revival, 1739-1745’, Church History, Vol. 60 (1991) 230–231.

[6]         Indeed, the new birth is the solution to all of humankind’s ills. It is the solution to the problem of slavery. William A. Sloat, II, ‘George Whitefield, African-Americans, and Slavery’, Methodist History, Vol. 33 (1994) 13.

[7]         The ‘English theologians had accepted, and suppressed, many of the vital elements of the Christian creed.’ A. W. Ward, A. R.  Waller, W. P. Trent, J. Erskine, S. P.  Sherman and C. Van Doren (eds), Cambridge History of English and American Literature (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1907–1921) 15.

[8]         Whitefield said his ‘favourite tenets’ were ‘the great doctrines of the reformation, homilies and articles of the church’, and that the Methodists ‘preaching up the doctrine of justification by faith alone’. George Whitefield, Controversial Writings and Tracts, 6 vols, Vol. IV (Shropshire: Quinta Press, 2000), A Second Letter to the Right Reverend the Bishop of London, 161, 169–170, August 25, 1744.

[9]         George Whitefield, Journals (Shropshire: Quinta Press, 2000) 92.

[10]       Cf. John F. Thornbury, ‘Another Look at the First Great Awakening’, Reformation & Revival, Vol. 4 (1995) 20; Timothy L. Smith, Whitefield and Wesley on the New Birth (Grand Rapids: Francis Asbury Press, 1986) 63.

[11]       Dallimore, Whitefield, Vol. 1, 181.

[12]       Taking the Aldersgate Street experience in the way that John took it at the time, as a conversion.

[13]       Whitefield, Journals, 92. 

[14]       Ibid., 23.

[15]       Ibid., 63, f.n. 2. This is from A Short Account of God’s Dealings with the Reverend Mr George Whitefield…, published together with the seven journals in 1756.

[16]       Ibid., 15.

[17]       Ibid., 64.

[18]       George Whitefield, Additional Sermons (Shropshire: Quinta Press, 2000), Sermon LXXII, 204.

[19]       Ibid., Sermon LXXII, 204.

[20]       Whitefield, Journals, 51. The writing enclosed in brackets belongs to the original 1740 edition, and was omitted in the 1756 edition.

[21]       The Life of God in the Soul of Man was first published in 1677, and went through five editions (with corrections and other discourses added) and printings until the time of Whitefield’s conversion (1691, 1700, 1702, 1707, 1726).

[22]       Henry Scougal, The Life of God in the Soul of Man (Christian Classics Ethereal Library, 2003). Available from http://www.ccel.org/ccel/scougal/life.html., 2–3.

[23]       Ibid., 10.

[24]       Ibid., 24.

[25]       Whitefield, Additional Sermons, Sermon 78, The Kingdom of God, 299–300.

[26]       On the apparent shift from a Puritan communal focus to an evangelical individual focus, see Mark A. Peterson, The Price of Redemption: The Spiritual Economy of Puritan New England (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1997) 219–239; Michael J. Crawford, Seasons of Grace: Colonial New England’s Revival Tradition in Its British Context (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991) 180. More broadly, see Mark A. Noll, The Rise of Evangelicalism: The Age of Edwards, Whitefield and the Wesleys (Downers Grove: Inter-Varsity Press, 2003) 65; D. W. Bebbington, Evangelicalism in Modern Britain: A History from the 1730s to the 1980s (London: Unwin Hyman, 1989) 34–42; Thomas S. Kidd, The Protestant Interest: New England after Puritanism (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2004); James I. Packer, ‘The Spirit with the Word: The Reformational Revivalism of George Whitefield’, The Bible, the Reformation and the Church: Essays in Honour of James Atkinson, ed. Stanley E. Porter (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1995) 175–176; George Whitefield and Michael A. G. Haykin, The Revived Puritan: The Spirituality of George Whitefield (Dundas, Ont.: Joshua Press, 2000).

[27]       Bebbington, Evangelicalism, 42-50.

[28]       Whitefield, Journals, 63.

[29]       Some credit John Wesley as the founder of evangelicalism (G. R. Balleine, A History of the Evangelical Party (London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1908) 22–145; Leonard Elliott Binns, The Evangelical Movement in the English Church (London: Methuen and Co., 1928) 6). See, though, Kenneth E. Lawson, ‘Who Founded Methodism? Wesley’s Dependence upon Whitefield in the Eighteenth-Century English Revival’, Reformation & Revival, Vol. 4 (1995) 39–57; Kenneth Hylson-Smith, Evangelicals in the Church of England, 1734-1984 (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1988) 10; J. S. Reynolds, The Evangelicals at Oxford, 1735-1871 (Oxford: Marcham Manor Press, 1975) 5; S. M. Houghton, ‘George Whitefield and Welsh Methodism’, Evangelical Quarterly, Vol. 22 (1950) 276–289; John H. Armstrong, ‘Revival: The First Great Awakening’, Reformation & Revival, Vol. 4 (1995) 9–10. Cf. Peter J. Wosh, Spreading the Word: The Bible Business in Nineteenth-Century America (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1994); Robert Laurence Moore, Selling God: American Religion in the Marketplace of Culture (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994); Allen C. Guelzo, ‘Selling God in America: How Christians Have Befriended Mammon’, Christianity Today, Vol. 39 (1995) 27–30. No one person alone can be given the credit for establishing evangelicalism, though. Marilyn J. Westerkamp, Triumph of the Laity: Scots-Irish Piety and the Great Awakening, 1625-1760 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1988) 187; Henry D. Rack, ‘Religious Societies and the Origin of Methodism’, Journal of Ecclesiastical History, Vol. 38 (1987) 582–595.   

[30]       Whitefield, Journals, 67, indicates that these words belong only to Whitefield’s original edition.

[31]       A Letter to Some Church-Members of the Presbyterian Persuasion…, Whitefield, Works, Vol. IV, 59.

[32]       George Whitefield, Sermons, 6 vols, Vol. VI (Shropshire: Quinta Press, 2000), Sermon LIII, 320, ‘The Power of Christ’s Resurrection’.

[33]       Often, when Whitefield does speak of the glory of God, he couples it with the salvation of people, or the ‘good of immortal souls’, or ‘your good’. George Whitefield, Additional Letters (Shropshire: Quinta Press, 2000), Letter 109, p. 122. He also speaks profusely of happiness—eternal happiness, the happiness of knowing Jesus, etc.—and even more profusely of enjoying God. This may reflect the influence of William Law’s Serious Call, which was the product of a person committed ‘to seek for eternal happiness by doing the will of God’,  C. Bigg, ‘Appendix A’, A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life, by William Law (Grand Rapids: Christian Classics Ethereal Library, 2000) 205.

[34]       Whitefield, Works, Vol. I, Letter LXXXII, 95, November 10, 1739. Cf. George Whitefield, Sermons, 6 vols, Vol. V (Shropshire: Quinta Press, 2000) Sermon X, 169; Whitefield, Works, Vol. VI, Sermon XL, 147.

[35]       Whitefield, Works, Vol. I, Letter CLXXXIII, 197, May 21, 1740.

[36]       Whitefield, Works, Vol. V, Sermon V, 88.

[37]       Whitefield, Journals391, November 25, 1739, drawn from Jeremiah 23, and ‘illustrated’ by the Articles, according to Whitefield; Whitefield, Works, Vol. V, Sermon III, 59; Sermon XIV, 230, entitled, ‘The Lord our Righteousness’; and numerous other places.

[38]       Sometimes logically prioritizing justification over sanctification. See his journal entry of September 30, 1739 (Whitefield, Journals, 368).

[39]       ‘Christ grants them both together, and never the one without the other’ (Institutes III.16.1).