I told someone I am reading about George Whitfield and he replied 'Who's he?'
When you are planning and praying for a church plant and only have but a handful of faithful Saints gathering, you look out over the harvest fields of your parish for whom you have the responsibility of 'Cure of Souls' and, if you are me, ask the Lord "How can they be won?"
Do pray for me.
The one thing about the Parish system is you get given a plot of land, a field, some soil and it's yours, with God's help, to till. Believing in the new birth (Dallimore p 124) makes me a bit unique and something of a theological odd ball, I think in my part of the city. Many may think my oddball-ness is not only theological:) There are indeed other plots of land around and about but the truth is the one I will give account to Jesus for is my few acres of Barnes. The tilling we have been doing thus far has been prayer. But any cursory reading of the NT does not leave me wondering if it matters if people believe in Jesus. It surely matters like nothing else on earth.
One of the things I am doing as I mull on this challenge and think and pray is to start by learning from people who have seen the harvest reaped. It tells me it's possible, offers me hope and pours loving fire on my heart. It's time friends for this to happen again in the parishes of this land.
The subtitle of Arnold Dallimore's biography tells us what he did:
....'The life and times of the great evangelist of the 18th century revival...'
Whitfield was an Anglican clergyman and arguably the finest preacher who has ever lived. He was a man who shook the foundations of the dead soul of this land and literally preached it back into life.
As we plan to close churches up and down the country (circa fifty posts to go apparently by 2015 in my own Diocese) while witnessing simultaneously the pain, addiction, family breakdown, licentiousness, poverty of spirit, child poverty, hopelessness and greed all around, would it not be a good time to see his like again? May there please be a young preacher on his knees somewhere around earnestly praying as 19 year old George did. He pleaded day after day after day after day to be filled with the Spirits power. And he was.....
Here is a Spurgeon quote that jumped off the page at me.
'Every man (or woman: my addition) who is rightly in the ministry must have been moved thereto of the Holy Ghost. He must feel an irresistible desire to spend his life in his Master's cause. No college, no bishop, no human ordination, can make a man a minister; but he who can feel, as did Bunyan, Whitfield, Berridge or Rowland Hill, the struggling of an impassioned longing to win souls of men, may hear in the air the voice of God saying, 'Son of man, I have made thee a watchman'
C H Spurgeon 1854, Page 78, Dallimore's George Whitfield