Would You Take the Whitefield Challenge?

We all know the story of Benjamin Franklin.

We know about the kite, string, key, and electricity. We also should know much more about Ben Franklin.

He was an inventor, intellectual, diplomat, and scientist. He invented bifocals.

He served as our ambassador to France when France was the main ally of our new country.

There’s another man from that era as famous and important as Benjamin Franklin. That man was George Whitefield, a preacher of the gospel and leader in the First Great Awakening (a religious revival that set the tone for America as a Christian nation).

Whitefield was born in England but spent a large amount of time preaching in the colonies. Though he died shortly before the Declaration of Independence, he had helped set the character of our country.

Whitefield was called the greatest preacher that England has ever produced. During a 34 year ministry, he preached an incredible 40-60 hours a week, totaling more than 18,000 sermons! Even as astounding is the fact he preached in the open air to crowds of 30,000 people.

This great man of God wrote a letter to Benjamin Franklin. In it he commended Franklin for his interest in learning and being a leader. Then he challenged the great Benjamin Franklin.

“I find that you grow more and more famous in the learned world. As you have made such progress in investigating the mysteries of electricity, I now humbly urge you to give diligent heed to the mystery of the new birth. It is a most important and interesting study and , when mastered, will richly repay you for your pains.”

Could I encourage you to take the Whitefield challenge? Shouldn’t this be a subject we all seek to master? After all, Jesus said: “You must be born again.”

Reading John 3 and 4 will help you begin your study of the mystery of the new birth.

Would you please pass this along to your friends as my humble request that they seek to understand God’s desire for them to receive Him in their lives? God wants us to know Him by being born of His Spirit. You will find this well worth the effort.

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3 Comments


  1. dr. james willingham
    Aug 20, 2014

    I have a family history in my library, given to me by a member of that family, and it tells of the conversion of two brothers and their mother under the preaching of George Whitefield. First, one brother and the mother were converted. The other brother arrived a year or so later, and they encouraged him to hear Whitefield, too. He was likewise converted. Somehow the descendants of the brothers wound up in different denominations. The brother who came to America later and who followed French Infidelity as it was then called experienced the New Birth. He joined the Presbyterians, The descendants of the other brother became Baptists. One of them was a Baptist preacher and a personal friend. He died about two years ago. It was a descendant of the Presbyterian who gave me the family history (and that branch of the family produced Adlai Stevenson, one time presidential candidate and ambassador to the United Nations.. The Presbyterian was often called on to pray in church, and the other members called him Gabe, short for Gabriel, as they thought that must be the way Gabriel would sound, if he prayed, I had the privilege of standing in the pulpit where Whitefield stood on Bermuda, when he preached an Awakening there during a time of rest from his many labors. You might want to read Dr. Thomas Kidd’s work, The Great Awakening, which tells one of the most interesting bits of information about Whitefield that I have ever read. He simply pointed his finger at a person who had come into the assembly and quoted his text, “Prepare to meet thy God, O Israel, and the man was propelled backwards like the soldiers who were sent to take our Lord in the Garden (John 18:6). The fellow fell to the ground and passed out. Whitefield appointed the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Charleston, Rev. Oliver Hart, to see to the man, and a few days later he led him to Christ.


    • Waylon
      Aug 20, 2014

      Thanks. What interesting stories. I just learned there is a county in Georgia named after George Whitefield which shows his profound impact on America.


  2. dr. james willingham
    Aug 23, 2014

    Did you know that the orphanage he established is still standing and in use in Savannah? There is a chapel on the campus of that orphanage, a church where Whitefield use to preach in England? It was brought over brick by brick, so to speak, and rebuilt there. It has a pulpit from which Whitefield preached. And the one in Bermuda is still existence, from my last knowledge of it, in a Presbyterian church. They do not use it, but it is near the pulpit where the pastor now preaches.

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I am the senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Covington, Louisiana, a position that I have held since 1989.

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Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. — Philippians 4:8 (NIV)