Talk:George Whitefield

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What was Geroge Whitefields most famous sermon ? he sucked hairy balls too

This should really be divided into categories.

"It is difficult to say wherein the effect of his preaching lay; certainly not in his language or logic, for his printed sermons contain nothing remarkable; it must have been by earnestness and charm of voice that he could attract to him the rich as well as the poor."

This is too subjective for an encyclopedia. Certainly Whitefield himself would argue that it was not the neither 'his language or logic' nor 'charm of voice' that affected the crowds, but the biblically faithful content of his sermons and the unction of the Holy Spirit. Perhaps it is better to simply describe Whitefield's influence and to leave the cause behind it to the personal opinion of students and scholars of Whitefield.

I agree that Whitfield would have asserted that his biblical content was the key, but he also recognized the value of his education and vocal training, telilng Ben Franklin that ministry students should practice declamation for an hour per day. At Oxford, Whitefield was trained in the art of rhetoric, as were all undergrads at the time. A central difference in his sermons was his use of "topical logics" as a method of constructing an argument, rather than the dialectic methods of scholasticism that had dominated European academics since the middle ages. Whitefield's sermons abound with arguments drawn from Aristotelian argument formulas and based on "truths" that people already believed. --Mahaffey


"...which at that time was a center of vice in all its worst forms..."

Since "worst forms" of vice is a subjective statement, this may need a reword. Actually, some of the peculiar description of tears, etc. needs citation. 00:46, 11 January 2007 (UTC)


Rating: Useful information. Several uncited statements. Poorly written with phrases or sentences possibly copied from sources (this is unverified). Writing needs cleanup and a citation frisking. 00:52, 11 January 2007 (UTC)


the image of Wesley on a page dedicated to Whitefield seems out of place. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 04:09, 18 February 2007 (UTC).

It's part of the Methodism template and is appropriate, however, I agree an image of Whitefield should be added. --Flex (talk|contribs) 15:00, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

Loaded Phrases[edit]

There are a few sentences in here that affect the readers view of White ield and events described in the article but are completely opinionated and have no factual evidence. Would someone please rephrase or delete these?

Some that I found:

"...which at that time was a center of vice in all its worst forms..."

"...he was the first to provide spiritual privileges for the colliers who lived like heathens near that city."

"...the white gutters caused by the tears which ran down their black cheeks showed how visibly they were affected..."

As a matter of fact, I found only one statement with a source attached to it at all: "...he preached more than 18,000 formal sermons.[1]"

Can anyone fix this or flag the article? Thank you. 04:13, 13 September 2007 (UTC)Michael S. Guccione

The first statement is supported in an early chapter of Stephen Mansfield's book. The second and third come from John Gillies' "Memoirs of the Life of GW" p 41-42. The best and closest source for biographical information is Gillies, who travelled with GW. Any serious Whitefield scholar should purchas the Works of Whitefield from Quinta Press. Here you will find Gillies work and much more. You will be able to "word-search" any of the multiple publications on the CD. But many of the stories, such as the "white gutters," are common knowledge by this time and probably don't need to be cited in scholarly work. If someone digs up a new fact about whitefiled, we would all appreciate the citation, whether from a letter, memoirs, or newspaper article. There is a wealth of references about him in the Boston Papers 1739 to 1741. I have not had the privelege to read any London or Edinburgh papers, but I suspect there is much info there as well. Many old newspapers are being put online and will soon be easily available--Jerome Mahaffey Ph.D. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:04, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

I slot this in as an addendum: I would have liked citations after the sentence, "His methods were controversial and he engaged in numerous debates and disputes with other clergymen." — Preceding unsigned comment added by John Allman (talkcontribs) 14:54, 31 March 2018 (UTC)

Proposed Methodist work group[edit]

There is now a proposal for a WikiProject group, possibly initially a subproject of Wikipedia:WikiProject Christianity, to deal with articles relating to the Methodist churches at Wikipedia:WikiProject Council/Proposals#Methodism. Anyone interested in taking part in such a group should indicate their interest there. Thank you. John Carter (talk) 15:23, 6 March 2008 (UTC)


How was Whitefield a "moderate" Calvinist? Whatever this is supposed to mean, his beliefs were far from many would call "moderate Calvinism" today. I think this is very confusing. Unless there is objection I will change that to reflect reality: that he was a straightforward Calvinist. The idea that Calvinism is inimical to a free gospel call is a myth. Fool4jesus (talk) 22:38, 31 March 2009 (UTC)

Perhaps, I don't know, that's meant to say that his beliefs fell in the "moderate" wing of then-current Calvinism. Maybe, I dunno. I might hold off on the removal until we get some further clarification of what it's supposed to mean, though. John Carter (talk) 22:58, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
The paragraph in question is this:
Like his contemporary and acquaintance, Jonathan Edwards, Whitefield preached with a staunchly Calvinist theology (Reisinger) that was in line with the "moderate Calvinism" of the Thirty-nine Articles (Works, 3:383). While explicitly affirming God’s sole agency in salvation, Whitefield would freely offer the Gospel, saying near the end of most of his published sermons something like: "Come poor, lost, undone sinner, come just as you are to Christ" (Borman, 73).
It seems clear enough to me that he was a "staunch Calvinist" and aligned with the moderate Calvinism of the 39 Articles, which is contrast to Hyper-Calvinism (cf. free offer of the gospel) and not to be confused with today's moderate Calvinism. It has citations and qualifies the term of "moderate Calvinism". What more do you want? --Flex (talk/contribs) 14:16, 1 April 2009 (UTC)

A "staunch Calvinist?" Whitefield indeed called himself a "moderate Calvinist." This was not a term inserted by a biographer, but his own. There is a disconnect between Whitefield's stated theology and his practice. This is where I believe his self-understanding of "moderate Calvinism" comes into focus. Of the 5 canons of Calvinism (TULIP), Whitefield deviated on predestination with his invitations to sinners. He placed agency for salvation, at least partially, in the hands of the audience members. In one sermon, he likened the salvation process to the story of Ester, where the King extends the scepter (God's sovereignty) but the one approaching the throne had to reach out and touch the scepter before speaking. As I understand the pure Calvinism of the Puritan revivals that began in 1727, there was nothing you could do to help the salvation process. Agency was entirely in God's hands. Hence, people whose consciences were touched kept lengthy journals describing their period of agony waiting for some evidence that God had indeed predestined them. --Jerome Mahaffey —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:29, 21 March 2010 (UTC)


I have a batch of photos relating to Whitefield (at What are people's opinions about which ones are worth adding? I thought perhaps the Bell Inn and the grave. DigbyJames (talk) 00:30, 29 May 2009 (UTC)


I plan to add a short section about his marriage, which is not what one could describe at normal! DigbyJames (talk) 00:30, 29 May 2009 (UTC)

Yes! his marriage story would be a wonderful addition--Mahaffey

Hywel Harris[edit]

Where is the associated article on HYWEL HARRIS? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:15, 17 December 2009 (UTC)

It's under Howell Harris. This might offend Welsh language purists, but I've changed the spelling and made it a link.DigbyJames (talk) 20:44, 5 February 2010 (UTC)

Article is too biased[edit]

This article is poorly written and very biased. It does not live up to the wikipedia standard of Neutral Point of View. It is clear that whoever wrote this article is personally fond of Whitefield and that bias creeps in a not so subtle fashion into the article, thus weakening its credibility. Someone please rewrite it to be more objective. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:32, 28 February 2010 (UTC)

Date of Death[edit]

Someone appears to have changed his date of death to 29 September 1770 when it was the following morning at about 6am according to Gillies' biography (and others). The correct date was further down the article. I have also added O.S. (Old Style) and N.S. (New Style) to the dates as the switch to the Gregorian calendar took place in 1752 in Britain and its colonies. I have come across many web-sites that make Whitefield's life 11 days longer because they fail to be aware of this. DigbyJames (talk) 12:20, 30 December 2010 (UTC)

I added the {{OldStyleDate}} template to both occurrences of the date of birth. --DetectiveFuller (talk) 05:12, 2 April 2012 (UTC)


I just noticed that the first paragraph under "Evangelism" has Whitefield inviting Wesley to preach in Bristol in 1738 before he went to Savannah. Whitefield was in Savannah in 1738 and returned at the end of the year. It was in 1739 that he began open air preaching at Kingswood, and that is when Wesley was invited to come and take over. I have corrected this, but am unhappy with the construction of it. I don't have the time at the moment to make it read better. Perhaps someone else can tidy it up?DigbyJames (talk) 10:18, 28 September 2012 (UTC)

Article Vandalism[edit]

I removed the text "He had huge package and slayed many Native American women known as wenches." from the introduction. I searched the change logs in attempt to determine who/when the text was added. It was a user who was not logged in. FYI. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:12, 10 January 2013 (UTC)

Faulty Citation[edit]

Citation #11 does not backup the claim- the speech in the link does not even mention the sparrows or god, not to mention the questionable relavence of Benjamin Franklin's religious beliefs in the first place. (talk) 18:16, 10 May 2014 (UTC)

Calling It "Democracy" is highly interpretive & opinionated.[edit]

I deleted the statement about democracy, which is an opinion, very interpretive, and probably wrong. If a religious leader stands up & moves the crowd to emotional outbursts, that is not democracy. If it were democracy, everyone would have access to the platform. I see no sign that the masses had the authority as opposed to the leaders in this movement. Methodists are well-known for having bishops, as opposed to Plymouth Brethren where no one may be officially named even an elder and anyone may grab the platform -- nor is it like baptists where the people are voting on things so far as I know in this Great Awakening. I take it that the preacher stands as a Man of God proclaiming God's word which is to be obeyed by the hearers. (EnochBethany (talk) 22:55, 20 February 2015 (UTC))

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Quotation from Mark Galli[edit]

An edit has been made (which I have reverted twice) which changes a word in a direct attributed quotation from Mark Galli from "hearers" to "listeners". Mark Galli is only 66 and is still the editor in chief of a magazine with a very large circulation. Oxford English Dictionary does not show "hearer" as obsolete, and a search on Google News shows the word still in use; even if it was obsolete, a direct quotation should not be edited in this way.--PeterR2 (talk) 12:24, 12 March 2018 (UTC)

James Moore painting[edit]

The caption said painted after 1951. A typo, I think. Have changed to 1751. Also changed "after" to "before". Round about this time Whitefield became corpulent (as a result of heart failure?). The painting looks more like the one found in James Paterson Gledstone's "George Whitefield M.A., Field-Preacher" (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1900) which says it was of Whitefield at 29. A colour copy of that portrait is located at John Street United Methodist Church, New York City and is on public display. A copy (of a copy of a copy?, the artwork is not the same) can be viewed here:— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:21, 2 April 2018 (UTC)