Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Live Cross from London - Wesley and Whitefield's Stomping Ground

Yes I'm actually in London. I have the great priveledge of being invited onto Revelation TV in the UK to discuss open air preaching.

Today has been a special blessing on the food front. I got to eat a meat pie, some nando's chicken, and a Crunchie bar for the first time in 2 years. Hardly suffering like Wesley and Whitefield did.

I will be appearing with Londoner Rob Hughes (from operation513.com) who is an avid open air preacher and reformed theologian. The program is called "Word in Focus" and can be streamed live at 9pm (UK time) at this site www.revelationtv.com

How appropriate to talk about open air preaching in the heartland of Wesley, Whitefield, Spurgeon, and William Booth. It was the field preaching of the "Great Awakening" that transformed England from a moral cesspool to the high point of world culture. Not only that but countless hell bound souls were saved through their preaching. Our agenda is, of course, to follow in their footsteps and faithfully proclaim the Once For All Delivered Glorious Gospel to a culture in decline.

It is foolish to think that open air preaching is no longer relevant. As a Christian our relevance lies in our difference. What could be more relevant than bringing to men's attention the certainty of death and judgement that awaits. It is also foolish to think that it was somehow easier in the days of the Great Awakening. Wesley and Whitefield were men who were shot at and stoned for their labor. And labor they did preaching ceaselessly from town to town on horseback spending and being spent on the cause of Christ. These men preached themselves to the grave. We have lot to thank them for and a responsibility to continue in their vein.

Here is an excerpt from George Whitefield's life:

Whitefield preached a schedule that would have destroyed even a healthy man, and Whitefield was far from healthy. He preached usually thirteen sermons a week, each lasting one to two hours or more. It is estimated that he preached 18,000 sermons in his lifetime. Even when he tried to rest, the crowds forced him to continue.

Although thousands found faith and hope through Whitefield’s work, he also had tormentors and enemies. He was jeered and ridiculed, pelted with stones and dead cats, and even attacked and beaten by a man with a gold-headed cane. Nothing deterred or even delayed his preaching. He was fearless in his work and frequently proclaimed, “We are immortal till our work is done.”

Although suffering continually from asthma, Whitefield refused to give up his daily sermons. In 1769 he made his final trip to America, arriving in Savannah to work on converting his orphanage to a college. He traveled up the Atlantic coast with crowds at every stop. By the time he reached Boston, he was too ill to speak and spent three days in bed. On September 29, he was carried to Exeter, New Hampshire, where he prayed, “Lord Jesus, I am weary in your work, but not of your work. If I have not yet finished my course, let me go and speak for you once more in the fields, seal your truth, and come home to die.” Barely able to stand, Whitefield preached for two hours on “Faith and Works”, and then went to his friend’s house in Newburyport for supper and bed. But when he tried to walk up the stairs to bed, dozens of people appeared at the parsonage and begged for just a short message. Whitefield stood on the steps and spoke until the candle he was holding in his hand burned down to his palm. He told a companion that his asthma was returning and, “I am dying.” At 6:00 the next morning he died. He was 55 years old.

In light of his life it is heavily convicting and reduces me to tears when I read these words by Whitefield: Had I a hundred hands, I could employ them all. The harvest is very great. I am ashamed I can do no more for him who has done so much for me.

Who am I to talk about open air preaching in the land of these great Christian pioneers? May God be glorified in my human weakness! Please pray for us.

1 comment:

Cameron Buettel said...

Interview can be viewed here: