Today’s quest blogger is my friend Lex who blogs short, inspirational stories and illustrations from church history over at
Lex is an elder at Jubilee Community Church, Cape Town and travels throughout the world as an evangelist.
I recently completed an article for a Christian magazine. As part of the ‘get to know the author’ section, I had to answer several questions including ‘What is your favourite quote?’
I must admit that I’m not certain I have a favourite quote as such, although several zingers from Winston Churchill immediately come to mind.
In the end I settled for something that impacted me when I first read it, and which I have quoted so often I probably know it by heart, but which is surely too long to be added in the magazine’s ‘get to know the author’ column. So I thought you, Warnie’s faithful readers, might like it. It is actually two statements by George Whitefield describing the same incident.
Why do I love these words so much? Because they describe the heroism of the Evangelist, the compassion of a merciful Saviour, the power of the Holy Spirit to turn the hearts of those outside the Christian faith to Him, and the appeal of the gospel to ordinary people when it is presented simply and honestly.
Whitefield describes his fourth visit to the coal-miners of Kingswood in Bristol in 1739. His first visit, and his first attempt at preaching in a field, was attended by around 200. Over the next few days the crowds grew steadily until eight days after his first visit Whitefield could write:
‘At four I hastened to Kingswood. At a moderate computation there were about ten thousand people.
‘The trees and hedges were full. All was hush when I began; the sun shone bright, and God enabled me to preach for an hour with great power, and so loudly that all, I was told, could hear me.’
‘Having no righteousness of their own to renounce, they were glad to hear of a Jesus who was a friend of publicans and sinners, and came not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.
‘The first discovery of their being affected was to see the white gutters made by their tears which plentifully fell down their black cheeks, as they came out of their coal pits. Hundreds and hundreds of them were soon brought under deep convictions, which, as the event proved, happily ended in a sound and thorough conversion.’
(From George Whitefield’s Journals, Banner of Truth edition, p.223 and ‘Memoirs of the Life of the Reverend George Whitefield, MA’, John Gillies, 1772 edition, p.28)
As we seek to bring the message of God’s grace to our generation my hope is that, whilst being eager to learn all we can from the various methods that are accompanying church growth at the moment, we would never forget our dependence on the power of the Holy Spirit through the simple, humble, Christ-centred preaching of the gospel to reach those who don’t yet know Jesus Christ.