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45 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars God's Anointed Servant Indeed!
This book is a 224 page condensation of the much longer, two-volume "George Whitefield: The Life and Times of the Great Evangelist of the Eighteenth-Century Revival". I purchased this shorter volume for our church library and am already saving up the $66 to purchase the longer work for my private library. I eagerly anticipate obtaining Dallimore's more exhaustive look...
Published on June 13, 2005 by Jonathan A Blevins

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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational account of Whitefield, shameless treatment of Wesley
I have mixed feelings about this work. On the one hand it is a pleasant to read account of an amazing man of God. On the other hand the author needlessly includes attacks on John Wesley in a manner that would not have been acceptable to Whitefield. It offers only a few words about Whitefield's serious flaws, such as his passionate support of black slavery. It reads like a...
Published on February 22, 2010 by James K. Hurd


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45 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars God's Anointed Servant Indeed!, June 13, 2005
This book is a 224 page condensation of the much longer, two-volume "George Whitefield: The Life and Times of the Great Evangelist of the Eighteenth-Century Revival". I purchased this shorter volume for our church library and am already saving up the $66 to purchase the longer work for my private library. I eagerly anticipate obtaining Dallimore's more exhaustive look at the life of this great evangelist.

This Volume: First of all, the editing and reworking of the original for this edition was done by the author--Arnold Dallimore. This is important due to the terrible chop-jobs professional editors are prone to perform on works such as this one. But since I've yet to read the longer edition of which this volume is a condensation, I cannot draw any helpful comparisons between the two. I can, however, say unreservedly that this is an amazing biography in itself. Most modern readers aren't interested in wading through 1200 pages of historical details, even for a man as great as Whitefield. Far more would be willing to pick up a well-written 200 page paperback concerning a name they might have heard mentioned, but know little about. All in all, I very highly recommend this volume for this sort of reader. But if you are an evangelical Christian (particularly of the "Calvinist" doctrinal persuasion) or a Church-history buff, then I feel compelled to recommend springing for the full edition. With what this tiny volume contained I cannot but expect great things from the lengthier original work.

The Subject Matter: Wow. Simply wow. I mean--who knew? I'd always heard that John Wesley was the sole founder of Methodism. In fact, the only thing I knew about George Whitefield was that he was attributed with a few neat quotes (ie. "Let the name of Whitefield perish, but Christ be glorified!", "I am weary in Thy work, but not weary of it", etc.) and that he once spoke at Jonathan Edwards' Northhampton church (at which time he left Edwards in tears). I fully expect that if it were not for this work of Dallimore, the name of Whitefield truly would be lost to persons such as myself. What I expected was another (Calvinistic) Wesley. What I found was a man whose zeal, love, holiness of life and passion for Christ seemed to equal even those I hold in highest regard (among whom are Martin Luther and Charles Spurgeon). Whitefield was a tireless worker for God and his zeal for the gospel was only matched by his selfless compassion for his fellow man. He was the first of the great open-air preachers and nudged both John and Charles Wesley into evangelistic ministry. Whitefield's life is a beautiful illustration of Christian ministry and evangelistic zeal. I cannot recommend this man highly enough.

The Author: Dallimore was a Baptist pastor and semi-prolific biographer. The only lack that I see in this work compared with his biography "Spurgeon" is that it is more lacking in anecdotal stories and pastoral application. This is likely due to the scope of the abbreviated work rather than to a change in style of the author. It is a fast-moving biography and takes you quickly from Whitefield's earliest days into the midst of his phenomenal ministry. Dallimore has done a superb job in this work.

The Reader: Who should read this book? I would recommend it most highly to pastors and other evangelical Christians whose zeal for God and spiritual wells have begun to run dry. Evangelical Calvinistic Christians will get the greatest benefit from this read. But it may also prove of great interest to those of the Methodist heritage. Also, all who are called to the ministry of evangelism (teaching and preaching) could not but benefit from this work. Whitefield's zeal is contagious and his meekness humbling. The mere historian might enjoy the factual aspects of the book, but it was written from a distinctively evangelical Christian perspective.

"Weary in Thy work, but not weary of it." -G. Whitefield
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring Biography, May 16, 2009
In George Whitefield: God's Anointed Servant in the Great Revival of the Eighteenth Century, Arnold Dallimore gives us a fast moving 200 page version of his 1200 page, two-volume biography of Whitefield.

George Whitefield grew up in England and attended Oxford with his friends John and Charles Wesley. These young men shared a passion for the Lord and for Evangelism, but differences in doctrine drove them apart. Whitefield held to the doctrines of grace: "I embrace the Calvinistic scheme, not because Calvin, but Jesus Christ has taught it to me." John Wesley, on the other hand, viewed Calvinism as heresy. Despite this, the three maintained a love for each other throughout their lives. Even after bitter controversy, John Wesley preached Whitefield's funeral.

Whitefield began preaching in the open air--sometimes to crowds estimated at near 80,000--while still in England. He continued this in North America, where he served as a missionary. While there, he became friends with Benjamin Franklin, and his preaching, along with that of Jonathan Edwards, was instrumental in bringing about the Great Awakening.

Dr. Dallimore calls Whitefield "the greatest evangelist since the apostle Paul." There is no doubt that he had an extraordinary love and burden for sinners; tears often streamed down his face while he pleaded with them to come to Christ, and he considered himself "the servant of all." When he died at 55, he had preached 30,000 sermons. Even when his doctor told him that he had to quit preaching and rest, he kept on. The night of his death, while on his way upstairs to bed, he paused to preach to a small group that had come to the door begging him to share the gospel. He preached until the candle in his hand burned out, and then he went to his final rest.

Biographies are often the most interesting, encouraging, and edifying books that I read. I consider this one of the best. It is hard to put down, and it's hard to read without being changed.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Swift Survey of George Whitefield's Life, October 23, 2006
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I read the first few hundred pages of Dallimore's mammoth two volume tour of Whitefield's life and times, and I was loving it. But I got sidetracked and didn't get back to it right away.

So I decided to read through this condensation of the two volume set. This little book has a lot of power because it is a tight presentation of the most telling moments in the great evangelist's life. You see his early days at the Bell Inn which was run by his parents. You read briefly of his involvement with the Oxford Holy Club, and his shattering conversion to Christ.

After his ordination, he is introduced to field preaching by Howell Harris, and the rest, as we say, is history. He preaches to thousands of miners and workers in the open air in England, then in October of 1739, he sails for the second time to the American colonies, where his powerful preaching wins thousands of people to Christ.

You also read of Whitefield's unfortunate doctrinal divisions with John and Charles Wesley involving Calvinism and Arminianism. You will meet Whitefield's wife, and how they spent more time apart than together on account of his itinerant ministry.

You also read of his friendship with Benjamin Franklin and of his meeting with Jonathan Edwards.

You also read of Whitefield's constant health problems and how his persistent preaching eventually wore him out, and he died early one morning in 1770 of a severe case of asthma.

He is quite simply the greatest evangelist since the apostle Paul, and Dallimore's little book catches the highlights of his ministry. Highly recommended.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational account of Whitefield, shameless treatment of Wesley, February 22, 2010
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I have mixed feelings about this work. On the one hand it is a pleasant to read account of an amazing man of God. On the other hand the author needlessly includes attacks on John Wesley in a manner that would not have been acceptable to Whitefield. It offers only a few words about Whitefield's serious flaws, such as his passionate support of black slavery. It reads like a polemic in praise of Whitefield and attacking those whom the author feels disagreed with Whitefield. It does not read like history; the author's theory of Wesley's supposed selfish ambition does not ring true with more serious works of history and Whitefield's own published material. In support of these extraordinary accusations the reader is offered only casual and often curious references. For example he invokes the lightly regarded bibliography by Southey in support of his thesis, but neglects to mention that Southey later recanted his opinion in this regard. In short I am left with a deeper admiration of Whitefield, but the nagging feeling that Whitefield himself would not have appreciated being lionized in this manner, nor would he have appreciated the character assassination of his good friend John Wesley.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a dedicated Christian!, February 21, 2010
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I was impressed with the devotion and energy of George Whitefield. He was the driving force for the early Methodist movement, but his name is lost to most people as John Wesely is now identified as the founder of the church.

It is a story telling of the work of the Holy Spirit in a human being, and how it motivated him to tell the story of Jesus in a way that captivated the hearts of people.
I was astounded to read of the vast number of people who stood outside to listen to George preach, without the aid of voice amplification.

Read it and gain a new sense of history in the Christian faith.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One Of The Greatest Preachers!, February 7, 2009
This book was my introduction to George Whitefield. All I can say about his life is..."absolutely amazing"! Dallimore does a superb job of relating Whitefield's life. I understand this is a condensed version of his two-volume set, however this work is marvelous. I would not hesitate to pick up the two-volume set, even after reading this compact version. This book is so good you leave it wanting to read more of Whitefield!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Commendable Hagiography that Needs to Be Supplemented with Critical Biographies, January 11, 2013
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This review is from: George Whitefield: God's Anointed Servant in the Great Revival of the Eighteenth Century (Paperback)
The 18th Century produced evangelicalism's greatest theologian (Jonathan Edwards), evangelist (George Whitefield), organizer (John Wesley), and songwriter (Charles Wesley). These four represent evangelicalism at its best: trans-Atlantic cooperation across theological lines, a burning zeal for evangelism, and a concomitant commitment to social reform (especially in John Wesley's case). But they also evince the deepest theological fault line within evangelicalism, between Calvinists and Arminians, and demonstrate the ongoing tensions between the church and parachurch ministries.

Edwards, being dead, still speaks through reprints of his works and the veritable cottage industry of explaining and applying them to today's concerns. John Wesley lives on through numerous denominations--Methodist, Wesleyan, Holiness--that trace their origins, in one way or another, to his labors, and through Christian small groups that, wittingly or not, perpetuate aspects of his societies, bands, and classes. And we sing Charles Wesley's hymns, though not often enough--at least for my taste.

Whitefield, on the other hand, has been largely neglected. This is odd, for Whitefield arguably did more to promote trans-Atlantic evangelicalism than any of his peers, working with an ecumenical cast of Anglicans, Baptists, Congregationalists, Independents, and Presbyterians. Though a Calvinist--and for a period of time in deep dispute with the Wesleys over their Arminianism--he worked with Arminian evangelicals. He preached as often--if not more often--than John Wesley, and to larger crowds. He pioneered many of the techniques that Wesley perfected--e.g., open-air preaching, circuit riding, religious societies. Indeed, in his own time, he was often referred to as "the Founder of Methodism."

Over the course of three decades, Arnold A. Dallimore sought to rectify this neglect of Whitefield. In 1970, he published the first volume of George Whitefield: The Life and Times of the Great Evangelist of the Eighteenth-Century (Banner of Truth). He published the second volume in 1980. In 1990, Crossway published the one-volume abridgement of the biography under review here. It was reprinted in 2010 with a new cover. Crossway also published The Sermons of George Whitefield in 2012.

I hope to review The Sermons soon, but for now let me say something about Dallimore's abridged biography. It is a self-conscious hagiography of the great evangelist. I use the word hagiography literally, for after reviewing Whitefield's life and labors, Dallimore writes: "George Whitefield was a holy man" (p. 200). A Christian reader of George Whitefield--at least an evangelical Protestant reader--will likely come to the same conclusion. Whitefield's zeal for evangelism, concern for the poor, personal philanthropy, and courage in the face of mobs mark him out as a deeply Christian man. By outlining the course of his life and ministry, Dallimore has performed a signal service for evangelical readers.

By nature, hagiographies are not critical biographies, however. They describe a life in order to inspire emulation. But this description has an apologetic cast to it. Throughout this book, for example, Dallimore compares and contrasts Whitefield and John Wesley, often to the latter's detriment. (Charles Wesley comes out better because he was personally closer to Whitefield than his brother John.) His treatment of Whitefield is defensive, as if he mourns the spotlight historians have shown on John rather than George. He sees faults in Whitefield: emotionalism in his early ministry, not to mention a critique of Christian ministers whom he felt were not personally born again or whose ministries were insufficiently evangelical. "His chief fault," Dallimore avers, "was his condoning the practice of slavery, the one dark blot on his otherwise spotless record." A critical biography would examine these topics in more detail. If Dallimore does examine them more closely in his two-volume biography, he has chosen not to include the results of that examination here.

And there are topics that might interest modern readers. In The Divine Dramatist, Harry S. Stout explores Whitefield's self-promotion and theatricality. In The Accidental Revolutionary, Jerome Dean Mahaffey explores the political effects of Whitefield's ministry in the American colonies. How Whitefield innovated the practice of evangelism and what effect those innovations have on contemporary evangelicals is interesting to me, as a church leader. And as an American, I'm interested in the ways religion influenced the cause of revolution. But these topics go unremarked upon (at least in the abridgement).

I make these critical remarks of George Whitefield not because I didn't enjoy the book or wouldn't recommend it. I did, and I would. Rather, I make them because readers should know what to expect from Dallimore's work. It will give them a good outline of the chronology and major events in Whitefield's life. And it should inspire readers--at least if they are evangelical--to greater personal holiness, zeal for the lost, and desire to do as much good in this life as God enables one to do. If you profit from this book, by all means read the two-volume version, which explores issues in greater depth. Nonetheless, Dallimore's biography is not the whole picture. If your interest is more broadly historical, you'll need to supplement your reading with critical biographies such as the ones I've mentioned above.

P.S. Historian John Fea recommends Frank Lambert's "Pedlar in Divinity", and Thomas Kidd's forthcoming biography of Whitefield, to be published by Yale University Press.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Truly a man of God and the people, June 20, 2010
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This review is from: George Whitefield: God's Anointed Servant in the Great Revival of the Eighteenth Century (Paperback)
It was amazing to read about George Whitefield and how he taught the masses that God is personal. I like the quote from Mrs. Edwards to the Rev. James Pierrepont "...very many persons in Northampton date the beginning of new thoughts, new desires, new purposes and a new life from the day they heard him preach..."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great, Fast-Paced, Introduction to George Whitefield, September 3, 2010
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This review is from: George Whitefield: God's Anointed Servant in the Great Revival of the Eighteenth Century (Paperback)
After reading some of the reviews of this book and knowing of the larger two volume work out there I decided to go for this one first. And I was not let down.

There are many great things about this book. It is short, accessible, and cheap! There is a ton of information packed into this volume, but don't let that fool you. It is also a great story. I could hardly put this book down! I learned so many things about Whitfield: his amazing work ethic, his unique relationships (Ben Franklin, John Wesley, etc) and his incredible importance in the First Great Awakening. The fact that he was the first real founder of methodism. It really is amazing how little is known of George Whitfield and how helpful this little volume is in shedding light on his life.

Second, this is, as I said, an abridged version of the larger two volume work. The great thing about this one is that the author himself did the abridging. So we get a much more accessible volume from the man who has done all the research and hard work and knows whats most important and how to keep the story flowing.

I would highly recommend this book! George Whitfield's life was unique and amazing and God's grace was quite evident in all of it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Important read!, August 5, 2010
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This review is from: George Whitefield: God's Anointed Servant in the Great Revival of the Eighteenth Century (Paperback)
At one time the most famous man in America, now all but forgotten. Without Whitefield, we may not have had the American Revolution. This is the condensed version of the original book and is written in an interesting style that lets you know about this important and amazing man. This book should be required reading in our schools.
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