Generalul Von Steuben – E totul în ordine cu tine? Esti OK ?

Totul în ordine? Americanul întreabă simplu: „Okay?”, care prescurtat este: „O.K.”. Această expresie, precis ai auzit-o şi tu de multe ori, căci cuvîntul nu se foloseşte numai în S.U.A., ci şi în multe alte ţări. Te-ai întrebat vreodată de unde vine această expresie cu prescurtare specifică O.K.? Nu este chiar aşa de simplu să răspunzi la această întrebare. Există mai multe explicaţii despre cum a luat naştere acest „okay”.

Doresc să povestesc aici cea mai verosimilă istorie a genezei acestui cuvînt. Oricum, un cuvînt englezesc care să sune aşa, nu există. De asemeni în vocabularele foarte vechi precum şi în scrierile limbii engleze nu se poate găsi acest cuvînt. El apare prima dată în S.U.A., nu în Anglia sau în posesiunile engleze. Prin urmare, acest cuvînt nu poate fi mai vechi decît însăşi Statele Unite, iar S.U.A. există ca stat din 4 iulie 1776, cînd s-a despărţit de ţara mamă Anglia, prin renumita declaraţie de independenţă. Probabil că această expresie deosebită a fost folosită pentru prima oară în timpul războiului american de independenţă, fără nici o intenţie şi totuşi într-un mod foarte original de către un ofiţer german.

Acest german nu este nimeni altul decît cunoscutul general Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben (1730 – 1794). Înainte de-a reuşi să devină general, el a avut o viaţă agitată. Ca fiu al unui ofiţer prusac, o mare parte din copilăria lui a fost nevoit s-o petreacă în tabăra de companie. La vîrsta de 17 ani intră în armata prusacă şi curînd devine sublocotenent, luptînd curajos în bătăliile războiului de şapte ani. Curînd după aceea, Frederic „cel Mare” îl aduce ca aghiotant în statul său major, lai tîrziu, îl vedem ca mareşal al curţii prinţului de Hohenzollern -Hechingen, iar în cele din urmă drept colonel în armata din Baden.

Curînd însă se scîrbeşte de intrigile de curte, şi mai ales propria-i nelinişte îl împinge la noi acţiuni, în felul acesta el urmează sfatul unor prieteni, înalţi politicieni, şi călătoreşte peste marele ocean spre America de Nord, ţara viitorului, care tocmai se dezbăra de dominaţia Angliei, pregătindu-se pentru lupte grele. Steuben era omul de care America avea nevoie mai mult decît de praful de puşcă şi tunuri.

Miliţia americană este nedisciplinată, decăzută, fără nici o pregătire. Ofiţerii ei nu cunosc nici tactica, nici strategia de luptă. Pe timp îndelungat ei nu pot ţine piept trupelor engleze care atacă, acestea fiind solidare şi bine instruite. Steuben însă, care în anul 1778 este numit inspectorul general al armatei de către Congresul S.U.A., face ordine temeinică. El elaborează instrucţiuni practice pentru serviciul de instruire şi are grijă ca aceste instrucţiuni să fie şi executate. Chiar în calitate de conducător activ de trupe cîştiga rapid succese importante. După ce independenţa este asigurată şi pacea este încheiată, la recomandarea primului preşedinte George Washington, pentru meritele avute faţă de S.U.A., Congresul îi acordă o importantă proprietate de pămînt împreună cu o pensie substanţială. Şi astăzi încă, în luna septembrie a fiecărui an, societatea germano – americană „Steuben” face cunoscuta paradă Steuben în New York.

Însă cum se face că expresia „okay” i se atribuie generalului Steuben? Steuben a fost un general de ispravă, însă cînd a mers la vîrsta de 57 de ani în America, n-a mai avut chef să înveţe limba engleză. Totuşi, silit de împrejurări, el trebuia să-şi însuşească cuvintele cele mai importante, cu toate că-i venea foarte greu. Îndeosebi ortografia lui se orienta mai mult după fonetica germană. Subalternii săi trebuiau uneori să ghicească despre ce era vorba, ceea ce de multe ori era şi un motiv de haz. În felul acesta s-au răspîndit cu repeziciune printre soldaţii americani cele mai noi greşeli gramaticale ale şefului lor. Documentele oficiale pe care le avea de controlat şi semnat trebuiau să poarte însemnarea „all correct: Steuben” ceea ce înseamnă „perfect, în regulă: Steuben”. Ca de obicei însă, generalul Steuben a transcris pronunţia engleză în ortografia germană şi scrie în loc de prescurtarea „a.c.” pentru „all correct”, simplu „O.K.”. Soldaţii săi au găsit această prescurtare foarte hazlie şi aşa a ajuns „okay-ul” foarte curînd de pomină, rămînînd astfel pînă în zilele noastre.

Acum te rog, aruncă din nou privirea asupra titlului. Cum îţi merge ţie? Este totul „okay”, totul în ordine? Nu, nu mă refer la exteriorul tău, ci la omul dinăuntru. Tu spui: „Dar la mine totul este în ordine. M-am orientat totdeauna după cele zece porunci, n-am furat doar de la nimeni nimic şi n-am nici o crimă pe conştiinţă”. Ei, poate fi adevărat, dar cum stai tu de pildă cu porunca a noua? Încă n-ai spus niciodată vreun neadevăr? Sau cum este cu porunca „Să iubeşti pe Dumnezeul tău din toată inima ta”…? Nu-i aşa că examinat la lumină trebuie să recunoşti că la tine nu este totul în ordine cum ar trebui să fie? Şi dacă eşti foarte sincer, îţi aduci aminte şi mai bine cît ai necinstit sfintele porunci ale lui Dumnezeu!

Dar să presupunem că în toată viaţa ta ai păcătuit numai o singură dată faţă de porunca dumnezeiască; să zicem că ai spus numai o singură dată o minciună, ceea ce este tot aşa de rău de parcă ai spune adevărul pe jumătate. Pentru aceasta eşti supus întregii judecăţi a Sfîntului Dumnezeu, căci El mărturiseşte în Cuvîntul Său: „Căci, cine păzeşte toată Legea şi greşeşte într-o singură poruncă, se face vinovat de toate” (Iacov 2:10). Atunci vei avea pe buze întrebarea cine va putea sta în faţa lui Dumnezeu şi cine va putea intra în împărăţia cerului?” Această întrebare este uşor de înţeles. Ea face destul de clar cît de tristă şi deznădăjduită este situaţia întregului neam omenesc. Totuşi fraza de mai sus se poate numi falsă. Corect ar trebui spus: „Această întrebare face destul de clar cît de tristă şi deznădăjduită ar fi situaţia întregului neam omenesc, dacă Dumnezeu n-ar avea o iubire, o veste bună pentru omenire ca şi pentru tine. Această veste se numeşte: Dumnezeu te iubeşte! Dumnezeu te caută! Da, Dumnezeu L-a jertfit pe Fiul Său, Isus Cristos, pe care-L iubea nespus de mult, drept cel care n-a călcat nici o poruncă, care n-a făcut nici un păcat. Pe El L-a judecat în locul tău. Pedeapsa care ţi se cuvenea ţie, a aruncat-o asupra Lui. Şi s-a întîmplat o minune a harului: Domnul Isus, de bună voie, din dragoste pentru Tatăl Său, din dragoste pentru tine, S-a lăsat răstignit pe crucea de pe Golgota!

Nu este aceasta o veste bună pentru un suflet condamnat la moarte, cînd un altul îşi asumă vina, iar el este graţiat? Această graţiere însă n-o primeşti automat. Prin poarta strîmtă nu poţi mărşălui în coloană. Pe aici trebuie să se treacă unul cîte unul. De aceea hotărăşte-te! De tine este vorba! Domnul Isus Cristos îţi spune: „… cine ascultă cuvintele Mele şi crede în Cel ce M-a trimis, are viaţa veşnică şi nu vine la judecată, ci a trecut din moarte la viaţă” (Ev. Ioan 5:24). O, de ai auzi Cuvîntul Său şi de I-ai da crezare! Atunci cu adevărat este „okay”, totul este în ordine cu tine!
Friedhelm König

Reclame

De ce ne „dezbraca” Dumnezeu? (1)

Galateni 5:1 Rămîneţi dar tari, şi nu vă plecaţi iarăş supt jugul robiei. photo credit dwellingintheword.wordpress.com

In Biserica Lui, Dumnezeu vrea ca noi sa facem lucrarea de slujire folosind mijloacele si resursele pe care El ni le-a dat … si nu cele cu care noi putem contribui la zidirea si cresterea Trupului. De fapt cineva a spus, ca „daca poti ajuta lucrarea, atunci nu-i poti fi de folos”. Pentru lucrare de slujire El a randuit niste resurse cu care El ne inzestreaza.

In Biserica, „Atelierul Sau” de desavarsire a oamenilor, sa folosim „uneltele” pe care El ni le-a pus la dispozitie, daruri, slujbe, lucrari de slujire, si sa slujim cu puterea pe care El ne-a dat-o. Ca si lucratori impreuna cu Dumnezeu (1Cor.3:9 „Caci noi suntem impreuna lucratori cu Dumnezeu”), in Via Lui este logic sa folosim uneltele pe care El ni le da si resursele pe care El ni le pune la dispozitie. Si va spun nu a fost zgarcit cu acestea! Dumnezeu are o magazie foarte mare de unelte!!

– Doar atunci …noi putem fi destoinici (2Tim.3:16,17) in lucrarea de slujire a Trupului Sau. In felul acesta se creeaza competenta noastra care sa ne faca utili. Slujim adecvat in Trupul Sau, doar daca folosim „mijloacele” pe care El le-a pregatit. Care sunt cateva dintre acestea?

– Cum ne-a pregatit El pentru lucrarea de slujire a Trupului lui Hristos? Ce ne-a dat Dumnezeu pentru a ne face in stare sa slujim, in mod adecvat si cu eficienta?

CU CE NE-A „ECHIPAT” DUMNEZEU ?

– Dumnezeu ne-a „echipat” la fel cum se echipeaza tinerii recruti ce merg in armata, cu efectele si mijloacele cu care sa acestia sa duca la indeplinire serviciul militar, fata de tara. Imi amintesc cum ne-au dezbracat de tot ceea ce insemna civilie, ne-au bagat in dusuri, uneori reci, alteori prea fierbinti, ne-au tuns, apoi ne-au dus la plutonierul de companie si au inceput sa ne imparta efectele militare, care evident nu ni se potriveau, unele fiind prea mici, altele prea mari. Ilustratia este de-a dreptul savuroasa !. Asemanarea cu intrarea noastra in lucrarea lui Dumnezeu este uluitor de identica !!.

– Dumnezeu ne „dezbraca”, ne „dezvata”, ne „dezbara” de multe din lucrurile lumii si firii cu care am venit la El. Apoi, ne echipeaza cu „efectele” (mijloacele) necesare indeplinirii scopului Sau in Biserica si-n lume ! . Amin.

Care sunt cateva dintre lucrurile de care ne „dezbraca” ?. Sa privim pentru putin la acestea :

VICLESUG, INVIDIE, CLEVETIRE

2Cor 4:2 Ca unii, cari am lepadat mestesugirile rusinoase si ascunse, nu umblam cu viclesug si nu stricam Cuvantul lui Dumnezeu. Ci, prin aratarea adevarului, ne facem vrednici sa fim primiti de orice cuget omenesc, inaintea lui Dumnezeu.

RAUTATE, INVIDIE

1Pe 2:1 Lepadati dar orice rautate, orice viclesug, orice fel de prefacatorie, de pizma si de clevetire;

1Tes 4:6 Nimeni sa nu fie cu viclesug si cu nedreptate in treburi fata de fratele sau; pentru ca Domnul pedepseste toate aceste lucruri, dupa cum v-am spus si v-am adeverit.

VICLENIE, SIRETENIE, METODE DE INSELARE

Efes.4:14 …ca sa nu mai fim copii, plutind incoace si incolo, purtati de orice vant de invatatura, prin viclenia oamenilor si prin siretenia lor in mijloacele de amagire;

PREFACATORIE

2Cor 11:13 Oamenii acestia sunt niste apostoli mincinosi, niste lucratori inselatori, cari se prefac in apostoli ai lui Hristos.

EGOISM, VORBIRI DULCI SI AMAGITOARE

Ro 16:18 Caci astfel de oameni nu slujesc lui Hristos, Domnul nostru, ci pantecelui lor; si, prin vorbiri dulci si amagitoare, ei insala inimile celor lesne crezatori.

photo credit preciouswomenofworth.blogspot.com

2Co 11:3 Dar ma tem ca, dupa cum sarpele a amagit pe Eva cu siretlicul lui, tot asa si gandurile voastre sa nu se strice de la curatia si credinciosia care este fata de Hristos. In adevar, daca vine cineva sa va propovaduiasca un alt Isus pe care noi nu l-am propovaduit, sau daca este vorba sa primiti un alt duh pe care nu l-ati primit, sau o alta Evanghelie, pe care n-ati primit-o, oh, cum il ingaduiti de bine!

CUVANTARI AMAGITOARE

Col 2:4 Spun lucrul acesta, pentru ca nimeni sa nu va insele prin vorbiri amagitoare.

FILOZOFIA LUMII, TRADITII OMENESTI

Col 2:8 Luati seama ca nimeni sa nu va fure cu filosofia si cu o amagire desarta, dupa datina oamenilor, dupa invataturile incepatoare ale lumii, si nu dupa Hristos.

BASME LUMESTI SI BABESTI

1Tim 4:7 Fereste-te de basmele lumesti si babesti. Cauta sa fii evlavios.

ADEMENIRE

2Tim 3:6-7 Sunt printre ei unii, cari se vara prin case, si momesc pe femeile usuratice ingreuiate de pacate si framantate de felurite pofte, cari invata intotdeauna si nu pot ajunge niciodata la deplina cunostinta a adevarului.

AMAGIRE

2Ti 3:13 Dar oamenii rai si inselatori vor merge din rau in mai rau, vor amagi pe altii, si se vor amagi si pe ei insisi.

INVATATURI STRAINE

2Tim 4:3 Caci va veni vremea cand oamenii nu vor putea sa sufere invatatura sanatoasa; ci ii vor gadila urechile sa auda lucruri placute, si isi vor da invatatori dupa poftele lor.

Heb 13:9 Sa nu va lasati amagiti de orice fel de invataturi straine; caci este bine ca inima sa fie intarita prin har, nu prin mancari, cari n-au slujit la nimic celor ce le-au pazit. –

CUVANTARI INSELATOARE

2Pe 2:1-3 In norod s-au ridicat si prooroci mincinosi, cum si intre voi vor fi invatatori mincinosi, cari vor strecura pe furis erezii nimicitoare, se vor lepada de Stapanul, care i-a rascumparat, si vor face sa cada asupra lor o pierzare napraznica. Multi ii vor urma in destrabalarile lor. Si, din pricina lor, calea adevarului va fi vorbita de rau. In lacomia lor vor cauta ca, prin cuvantari inselatoare, sa aiba un castig de la voi. Dar osanda ii paste de multa vreme, si pierzarea lor nu dormiteaza.

IDOLATRIE

1 Cor 12:2 Cand erati pagani, stiti ca va duceati la idolii cei muti, dupa cum erati calauziti.

Tot pasajul de la Efeseni 4:17-25!!

Cititi Partea 2 – Cu ce ne „imbraca Dumnezeu”? aici.

Vladimir Pustan – ‘Decizia care conteaza’ Biserica Betel Bucuresti-Crangasi

Vladimir Pustan Stefan Ivan

Luca 23:32-43

32 Împreună cu El duceau şi pe doi făcători de rele, cari trebuiau omorîţi împreună cu Isus.
33 Cînd au ajuns la locul, numit ,,Căpăţîna„, L-au răstignit acolo, pe El şi pe făcătorii de rele: unul la dreapta şi altul la stînga.
34 Isus zicea: ,,Tată, iartă -i, căci nu ştiu ce fac!„ Ei şi-au împărţit hainele Lui între ei, trăgînd la sorţi.
35 Norodul stătea acolo şi privea. Fruntaşii îşi băteau joc de Isus, şi ziceau: ,,Pe alţii i -a mîntuit; să Se mîntuiască pe Sine însuş, dacă este El Hristosul, Alesul lui Dumnezeu.„
36 Ostaşii de asemenea îşi băteau joc de El; se apropiau, Îi dădeau oţet,
37 şi -I ziceau: ,,Dacă eşti Tu Împăratul Iudeilor, mîntuieşte-Te pe Tine însuţi!„
38 Deasupra Lui era scris cu slove greceşti, latineşti şi evreeşti: ,,Acesta este Împăratul Iudeilor.„
39 Unul din tîlharii răstigniţi Îl batjocorea, şi zicea: ,,Nu eşti Tu Hristosul? Mîntuieşte-Te pe Tine însuţi, şi mîntuieşte-ne şi pe noi!„
40 Dar celalt l -a înfruntat, şi i -a zis: ,,Nu te temi tu de Dumnezeu, tu, care eşti supt aceeaş osîndă?
41 Pentru noi este drept, căci primim răsplata cuvenită pentru fărădelegile noastre; dar omul acesta n’a făcut nici un rău.„
42 Şi a zis lui Isus: ,,Doamne, adu-Ţi aminte de mine, cînd vei veni în Împărăţia Ta!„
43 Isus a răspuns: ,,Adevărat îţi spun că astăzi vei fi cu Mine în rai.„

In seara aceasta vom invata cateva lucruri simple de la oameni de la care nu prea ai ce invata. De la talhari. Astia numai profesori nu pot sa fie, dar ne gandim in viata noastra ca trebuie sa invatam de la toata lumea cate ceva. Tatal meu lucra in politie si pana la urma  s-a intamplat ceva cu el si a trebuit sa plece din politie. El n-a vrut sa se faca membru de partid si din politie a ajuns sa lucreze intr=un spital de neuropsihiatrie. Ma ducea acolo si partea copilariei mele am petrecut-o intre oamenii aceia ciudati. Si parca ii dispretuiau toti zi mi-a zis tata, „Vezi ca trebuie sa inveti ceva si de la ei.” Intotdeauna gasim cate ceva de invatat de la fiecare. Poti sa inveti de la o floare, poti sa inveti de la o frunza, poti sa inveti de la un om fara adapost sa-i multumesti lui Dumnezeu ca tu ai o casa. Poti sa inveti de la fiecare om pentru ca viata asta e o continua scoala. Lectia se schimba, dar de scolit, trebuie sa ne scolim toata viata.

Si invatam de la talhari in seara aceasta. Primul lucru pe care vreau sa-l pricepem foarte bine si e un lucru fundamental, este ca in viata, fiecare decizie care o luam, cu privire la Dumnezeu, ne desparte de cineva sau de ceva. Ganditi-va la acesti doi oameni, amandoi sub aceeasi osanda, pentru ca au trait acelasi pacat. Oamenii acestia au fost pacatosi, facand aceleasi pacateau fost prinsi de acelasi sistem, au fost condamnati  de acelasi sistem, la acelasi fel de pedeapsa capitala: moartea. Dar inainte de a muri, cu cateva minute inainte, drumurile lor se despart pentru vesnicie. Stiti pana cand suntem impreuna, cei mai multi dintre noi? Pana ne intalnim cu Isus. Dupa ce ne-am intalnit cu Isus se intampla ceva. Isus Hristos, inainte de a duce pacea, aduce sabia. Pentru ca in momentul in care vine intr-o familie, desparte pe sot de sotie, parinti de copii, desparte pe mama de tata, desparte prieteni, desparte obiceiuri, locuri, lucruri, exact cum Avram, in locul in care a primit de la Dumnezeu confirmare ca trebuie sa plece, a spus, „Iesi din casa tatalui tau.” Ce a facut Avram s-a compromis, cand l-a luat pe tatal sau cu el. Ca sangele din noi striga, „Si tata!” Daca ma pocaiesc, nu cumva imi dezbin familia? Daca ma apropii de Isus Hristos, nu cumva o sa am probleme cu cei din casa mea? O sa ma mai inteleg cu copiii mei,  o sa ma mai inteleg cu prietenii mei? Nu se intampla ceva dureros, in momentul in care te intorci spre Dumnezeu, iti dai seama ca s-ar putea sa-ti pierzi anturajul pe care-l ai, la care tii. Oameni cu care ai baut atatea cafele, oameni cu care ai umblat pe atatea drumuri in viata si ti-s dragi.

Ne gandin ca Isus Hristos e cel care vrea sa ne uneasca. Fratilor, inainte de a ne unii ca frati, ne desparte de multi prieteni. Am vrea sa ne pastram si lumea aceea [veche] si sa ne-o pastram si pe aceasta. Am vrea si anturajul vechi si fratii de astazi, sa-i avem impreuna. Nu se poate. In momentul cand cei doi [talhari] s-au intalnit cu Isus, Isus a venit intre ei si i-a despartit. Destinatiile lor s-au schimbat dramatic. Drumurile lor pentru eternitate s-au schimbat, pentru ca cine se intalneste cu Isus Hristos pierde inainte de a castiga.

In momentul in care noi ne-am intors la Hristos, amandoi ne-am botezat in aceeasi zi, in momentul in care ne-am intors la Hristos au venit la mine prietenii mei din comuna, imbracati in negru. M-am speriat. Am zis, „Cine a murit?” „Tu. Am venit la slujba de inmormantare. Noi cu tine nu mai umblam astazi.” Au plecat de la mine si am ramas singur. Ma uitam in drum. Nu mai am prieteni? Nu mai am. Stiti ce este frumos? Ca in anii in care au trecut, Dumnezeu i-a adus unul cate unul [la biserica]. Nu mai sunt multi. Acum vin eu imbracat in negru sa asist la inmormantarile lor, pentru ca cine se intalneste cu Isus Hristos, de obicei se desparte intai, ne separam. Talharii, amandoi l-au acsultat pe Domnul Isus, dar numai unul l-a crezut, pentru ca putem sa ascultam o gramada de predici si sa nu le credem. Spunem ca-s pentru vecini, pentru ceilalti. Noi trebuie sa pricepem in aceasta seara ca Dumnezeu vrea sa ne spuna noua ca El a venit sa aduca la inceput sabia. (Din primele 10 minute, mai sunt 37 de minute din mesaj)

Biserica Betel Bucuresti, Crangasi (16.02.2014)
Predici pentru vremuri grele – http://www.fiti-oameni.ro

Ce e NOU la PAGINA Vladimir Pustan

Vladimir Pustan Comunicat

COMUNICAT – Pastor
Vladimir Pustan

Pustan 19 1 14De mai bine de un an de zile sunt împreună cu familia și cu Fundația Cireșarii ținta unor atacuri calomnioase, care vor să distrugă viața mea personală și a familiei mele, precum și lucrarea pe care o facem de ani de zile spre beneficiul credincioșilor români.

Punctul culminant al acestor acuze au fost scrisorile pe care numitul Ioan Pop, cunoscut ca un om fără discernământ și care este folosit de multă vreme în a ataca slujitorii evanghelici, le-a postat pe conturile personale de socializare împrăștiindu-le în toată lumea. Deși mi-a promis drept la replică – pe care i l-am și trimis imediat – nu l-a publicat, nedându-mi posibilitatea să mă apar. Din contră, astăzi postând o falsă şi nereală situaţie a averii mele personale, continuând acelaşi scop iniţial.

Toate acuzațiile menționate în acele articole sunt false, părtinitoare și generatoare de confuzie.
Familia, colegii din Fundația Cireșarii precum și Biserica îmi sunt alături în aceste momente dificile.
Vă mulțumim pentru sprijinul în rugăciune!

Președinte,
Vladimir Pustan

Vicepreședinte,
Florin Ianovici

Vicepreședinte,
Ciprian Sabău

Secretar general,
Daniel-Silviu Coste

Ateismul – De ce nu alege Dumnezeu pur şi simplu să Se descopere oamenilor dovedind astfel că El există?

photo credit Facebook

Poza de la Iuliana Ene, SURSA aici:

Ateismul este punctul de vedere potrivit căruia Dumnezeu nu există. Ateismul nu este deloc ceva nou. Psalmul 14:1, scris de David aproape de anul 1000 înainte de Hristos, face referire la atei – “Nebunul zice în inima lui ‘Nu este Dumnezeu’”. Statisticile recente arată o creştere a numărului persoanelor care devin atei, aproape 10% din populaţia lumii declarându-se atei. Aşadar, de ce sunt tot mai mulţi cei care devin atei? Este ateismul cu adevărat punctul de vedere care are logică aşa cum pretind ateii?

De ce există ateismul? De ce nu alege Dumnezeu pur şi simplu să Se descopere oamenilor dovedind astfel că El există? Sigur că dacă Dumnezeu S-ar arăta oamenilor, toţi ar crede în El ! Problema acestei idei este că aceasta nu este dorinţa lui Dumnezeu doar de a-i convinge pe oameni că El există. Dorinţa lui Dumnezeu este ca oamenii să creadă în El prin credinţă (2 Petru 3:9) şi să accepte darul Său al mântuirii (Ioan 3:16). Da, Dumnezeu ar putea apare înaintea oamenilor şi să demonstreze tuturor şi pentru totdeauna că El există. Problema este că Dumnezeu a demonstrat existenţa Sa de multe ori în Vechiul Testament (Geneza capitolele 6-9; Exod 14:21-22; 1 Regi 18:19-31). Au crezut oamenii că Dumnezeu există? Da! S-au întors ei de la căile lor rele şi au ascultat ei de Dumnezeu? Nu! Dacă o persoană nu este dornică să accepte existenţa lui Dumnezeu prin credinţă, atunci nici nu este gata să accepte pe Iisus Hristos prin credinţă ca Mântuitor (Efeseni 2:8-9). Aceasta este dorinţa lui Dumnezeu – ca oamenii să devină creştini, nu doar să creadă că Dumnezeu există.

Biblia ne spune că existenţa lui Dumnezeu trebuie acceptată prin credinţă. Evrei 11:6 declară: “Şi fără credinţă este cu neputinţă să fim plăcuţi Lui! Căci cine se apropie de Dumnezeu, trebuie să creadă că El este, şi că răsplăteşte pe cei ce-l caută.” Biblia ne reaminteşte că noi suntem binecuvântaţi când avem credinţă în Dumnezeu: “i-a zis Isus, „pentrucă M-ai văzut, ai crezut. Ferice de cei ce n-au văzut, şi au crezut.”’” (Ioan 20:29).

Faptul că existenţa lui Dumnezeu trebuie acceptată prin credinţă nu înseamnă că a crede în Dumnezeu este un lucru ilogic. Există multe argumente pentru existenţa lui Dumnezeu. Te rugăm să vizitezi pagina noastră de internet “Există Dumnezeu?”. Biblia ne învaţă că dovezi ale existenţei lui Dumnezeu pot fi găsite cu claritate oriunde în univers (Psalmul 19:1-4), în natură (Romani 1:18-22), şi chiar şi în inimile noastre (Eclesiastul 3:11). Acestea fiind spuse, din nou, existenţa lui Dumnezeu nu poate fi probată, ci ea trebuie acceptată prin credinţă.

În acelaşi timp, a crede în ateism este din nou un exerciţiu de credinţă. Pentru a face o declaraţie absolută de genul “Dumnezeu nu există!” presupune că ai o cunoaştere completă despre absolut toate lucrurile – presupune a fi oriunde în univers – şi presupune a fi văzut şi cunoscut toate lucrurile din univers. Sigur, nici un ateu nu ar putea pretinde cu exactitate aceste lucruri. Cu toate acestea, aceasta este ceea ce în fond pretind cei care spun că Dumnezeu nu există. Ateii nu pot proba, de exemplu, că Dumnezeu nu trăieşte în centrul soarelui sau sub norii de pe Jupiter sau într-o galaxie îndepărtată. Acest lucru nu poate fi dovedit, aşa încât nu se poate dovedi că Dumnezeu nu există. Prin urmare, a adopta pretenţiile ateului presupune un exerciţiu de credinţă.

Aşadar, înapoi pe prima treaptă. Ateismul nu poate fi dovedit iar existenţa lui Dumnezeu trebuie acceptată prin credinţă. Cred cu tărie că Dumnezeu există. De asemenea, recunosc că fac acest lucru prin credinţă. În acelaşi timp, resping cu tărie ideea că a fi credincios în Dumnezeu ar fi un lucru ilogic. Cred că existenţa lui Dumnezeu poate fi văzută clar, simţită clar şi probată filosofic. Pentru mai multe informaţii, vizitează pagina de internet “Există Dumnezeu?”. “Cerurile spun slava lui Dumnezeu, şi întinderea lor vesteşte lucrarea mâinilor Lui. O zi istoriseşte alteia acest lucru, o noapte dă de ştire alteia despre El. Şi aceasta, fără vorbe, fără cuvinte, al căror sunet să fie auzit: dar răsunetul lor străbate tot pământul, şi glasul lor merge până la marginile lumii.” (Psalmul 19:1-4).

Poza de la Iuliana Ene, SURSA aici:

Simion Cure – De ce-i asa, o stie El

photo credit Facebook

George Whitefield Sermons –

George Whitefield Awakening in America 1730′s – 1740′s in America (Video & tour of his church in Georgia)

The life of the Rev. George Whitefield,

„God forbid that I should travel with anybody a quarter of an hour without speaking of Christ to them”.

Travel back in time to the life of George Whitefield during The Great Awakening. Take a tour of Christ church and learn the amazing history that shaped a nation.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

VIDEO by The Story of Liberty

Table of Contents
  1. The Seed of the Woman, and the Seed of the Serpent
  2. Walking with God
  3. Abraham’s Offering Up His Son Isaac
  4. The Great Duty of Family Religion
  5. Christ the Best Husband: Or an Earnest Invitation to Young Women to Come and See Christ Preached to a Society of Young Women, in Fetter-Lane
  6. Britain’s Mercies, and Britain’s Duty Preached at Philadelphia, on Sunday,August 14, 1746 and Occasioned by the Suppression of the Late Unnatural Rebellion
  7. Thankfulness for Mercies Received, a Necessary Duty
  8. The Necessity and Benefits of Religious Society
  9. The Folly and Danger of Being Not Righteous Enough
  10. A Preservative Against Unsettled Notions, and Want of Principles, in Regard to Righteousness and Christian Perfection Being a More ParticularAnswer to Doctor Trapp’s Four Sermons Upon the Same Text
  11. The Benefits of an Early Piety
  12. Christ the Believer’s Husband
  13. The Potter and the Clay
  14. The Lord Our Righteousness
  15. The Righteousness of Christ, an Everlasting Righteousness
  16. The Observation of the Birth of Christ, the Duty of All Christians; Or theTrue Way of Keeping Christmas
  17. The Temptation of Christ
  18. The Heinous Sin of Profane Cursing and Swearing
  19. Christ the Support of the Tempted
  20. Worldly Business No Plea for the Neglect of Religion
  21. Christ the Only Rest for the Weary and Heavy-Laden
  22. The Folly and Danger of Parting with Christ for the Pleasures and Profits of Life
  23. Marks of a True Conversion
  24. What Think Ye of Christ?
  25. The Wise and Foolish Virgins
  26. “The Eternity of Hell-Torments”
  27. Blind Bartimeus
  28. Directions How to Hear Sermons
  29. The Extent and Reasonableness of Self-Denial
  30. Christ’s Transfiguration
  31. The Care of the Soul Urged as the One Thing Needful
  32. A Penitent Heart, the Best New Year’s Gift
  33. The Gospel Supper
  34. The Pharisee and Publican
  35. The Conversion of Zaccheus
  36. The Marriage of Cana
  37. The Duty of Searching the Scriptures
  38. The Indwelling of the Spirit, the Common Privilege of All Believers
  39. The Resurrection of Lazarus
  40. The Holy Spirit Convincing the World of Sin, Righteousness, andJudgment
  41. Saul’s Conversion
  42. Marks of Having Received the Holy Ghost
  43. The Almost Christian
  44. Christ, the Believer’s Wisdom, Righteousness, Sanctification andRedemption
  45. The Knowledge of Jesus Christ the Best Knowledge
  46. Of Justification by Christ
  47. The Great Duty of Charity Recommended
  48. Satan’s Devices
  49. On Regeneration
  50. Christians, Temples of the Living God
  51. Christ the Only Preservative Against a Reprobate Spirit
  52. The Heinous Sin of Drunkenness
  53. The Power of Christ’s Resurrection
  54. Intercession Every Christian’s Duty
  55. Persecution Every Christian’s Lot
  56. An Exhortation to the People of God Not to Be Discouraged in Their Way, by the Scoffs and Contempt of Wicked Men
  57. Preached Before the Governor, and Council, and the House of Assembly, in Georgia, on January 28, 1770
  58. The Method of Grace
  59. The Good Shepherd: A Farewell Sermon

View this document on Scribd

further reading

Martyn Lloyd Jones documentary on George Whitefield- England’s open air preacher, friend of Wesley

Fourteen minute documentary, narrated by Martyn Lloyd Jones:

George Whitefield –  (1714-1770), Methodist  Evangelist, among first to ignite Great Awakening in England’s 18th century

George Whitefield was born on December 16, 1714, in Gloucester, England. The youngest of seven children, he was born in the Bell Inn where his father, Thomas, was a wine merchant and innkeeper. His father died when George was two and his widowed mother Elizabeth struggled to provide for her family. Because he thought he would never make much use of his education, at about age 15 George persuaded his mother to let him leave school and work in the inn. However, sitting up late at night, George became a diligent student of the Bible. A visit to his Mother by an Oxford student who worked his way through college encouraged George to pursue a university education. He returned to grammar school to finish his preparation to enter Oxford, losing only about one year of school.

In 1732 at age 17, George entered Pembroke College at Oxford. He was

Whitefield preached in open air

gradually drawn into a group called the „Holy Club” where he met John and Charles Wesley. Charles Wesley loaned him the book, The Life of God in the Soul of Man. The reading of this book, after a long and painful struggle which even affected him physically, finally resulted in George’s conversion in 1735. He said many years later: „I know the place…. Whenever I go to Oxford, I cannot help running to the spot where Jesus Christ first revealed himself to me and gave me the new birth.”

Forced to leave school because of poor health, George returned home for nine months of recuperation. Far from idle, his activity attracted the attention of the bishop of Gloucester, who ordained Whitefield as a deacon, and later as a priest, in the Church of England. Whitefield finished his degree at Oxford and on June 20, 1736, Bishop Benson ordained him. The Bishop, placing his hands upon George’s head, resulted in George’s later declaration that „My heart was melted down and I offered my whole spirit, soul, and body to the service of God’s sanctuary.”

Whitefield was an astounding preacher from the beginning. Though he was slender in build, he stormed in the pulpit as if he were a giant. Within a year it was said that „his voice startled England like a trumpet blast.” At a time when London had a population of less than 700,000, he could hold spellbound 20,000 people at a time at Moorfields and Kennington Common. For thirty-four years his preaching resounded throughout England and America. In his preaching ministry he crossed the Atlantic thirteen times and became known as the ‘apostle of the British empire.’

Click to read

He was a firm Calvinist in his theology (but retained a deep friendship with John Wesley, none the less)yet unrivaled as an aggressive evangelist. Though a clergyman of the Church of England, he cooperated with and had a profound impact on people and churches of many traditions, including Presbyterians, Congregationalists, and Baptists. Whitefield, along with the Wesleys, inspired the movement that became known as the Methodists. Whitefield preached more than 18,000 sermons in his lifetime, an average of 500 a year or ten a week. Many of them were given over and over again. Fewer than 90 have survived in any form. (VIA). Click here – If you would like to read more on Whitefield.

George Whitefield’s impact in the U.S.A.

English evangelist, prominent figure in America’s Great Awakening, was born in Gloucester, England to an innkeeper’s family.  The family’s limited means led a family friend to step forward to provide Whitefield enough money to begin his education at Oxford University’s Pembroke College.  There Whitefield came into contact with a small band of pious students lampooned by their fellows as the “Holy Club.”  He was greatly influenced by the group’s leader, John Wesley, and eventually underwent a profound religious awakening that convinced him of his need to reach others with the necessity of the New Birth.  Although he would stay on friendly and supportive terms with Wesley, Whitefield remained a Calvinist on such issues as free will and predestination.

In 1737 he was ordained a preaching deacon in the Church of England and immediately took to the road as an itinerant evangelist.  What was particularly new about his methods was that he opted for preaching outside of ecclesiastical settings in the open air in town and countryside.  Another innovation was his effective use of newspapers, leaflets, and pamphlets to stimulate interest in his arrival.  And, unlike the clergy in the Anglican Church, Whitefield preached without the benefit of notes, believing that extemporaneous discourse made one more open to the Spirit’s promptings and was closer in preaching style to that used by the biblical prophets and apostles.  Observers marveled at his dramatic style and rhetorical flourish: the famous English actor David Garrick is reported to have exclaimed that he “would give a hundred guineas” if he could only “say ‘oh!’ like Mr. Whitefield.”

Whitefield took his first trip to America in 1738 and there founded his famed orphanage, “Bethesda,” just outside Savannah, Georgia–subsequent preaching tours would all raise funds for this enterprise over the years.  Whitefield’s second American preaching tour of 1739-1741 was a smash success, gaining strength as he travelled from the South northwards through Philadelphia.  As he toured the towns and cities of New England in 1740 he reaped the benefits of generations of Puritan preaching and Jonathan Edwards‘ recent revivals.  Crowds estimated at ten, twenty, and more thousand flocked from all over New England to hear him preach.

Over the next thirty years Whitefield made five more trips to America, as well as numerous excursions through the English countryside and into Wales and Scotland.  By the time of his death in 1770 Whitefield could be credited with establishing evangelical Protestantism on both sides of the Atlantic through the thousands of souls who experienced the “New Birth” under his preaching, and the legion of preachers he inspired to follow in his footsteps. (VIA)

see also

John Piper – Biography of George Whitefield

I will not be a velvet mouthed preacher

see also –

The facts about George Whitefield’s preaching as an 18th-century itinerant evangelist are almost unbelievable. Can they really be true? Judging by multiple attestations of his contemporaries—and by the agreement of sympathetic and unsympathetic biographers—they seem to be so.

From his first outdoor sermon on February 17, 1739, at the age of 24 to the coalminers of Kingswood near Bristol, England, until his death 30 years later on September 30, 1770, in Newburyport, Massachusetts (where he is buried), his life was one of almost daily preaching. Sober estimates are that he spoke about 1,000 times every year for 30 years. That included at least 18,000 sermons and 12,000 talks and exhortations.

Speaking More Than Sleeping

The daily pace he kept for 30 years meant that many weeks he was speaking more than he was sleeping. Henry Venn, vicar of Huddersfield, who knew Whitefield well, expressed amazement for all us when he wrote,

Who would think it possible that a person . . . should speak in the compass of a single week (and that for years) in general forty hours, and in very many, sixty, and that to thousands; and after this labor, instead of taking any rest, should be offering up prayers and intercessions, with hymns and spiritual songs, as his manner was, in every house to which he was invited.

Make sure you hear that accurately. Many weeks he was actually speaking (not preparing to speak, which he had virtually no time to do) for sixty hours (60, not 16). That’s almost six hours a day, seven days a week, on the slower weeks, and over eight hours a day, seven days a week on the heavier weeks.

Preaching, Preaching, Preaching

I found no references in all of my reading to what we today would call vacations or days off. When he thought he needed recuperation he spoke of an ocean voyage to America. He crossed the Atlantic 13 times in his life—an odd number (not even) because he died and was buried here, not in England. The trips across the Atlantic took 8–10 weeks each. And even though he preached virtually every day on the ship, the pace was different, and he was able to read and write and rest.

But on land, the preaching pace was unremitting. Two years before he died at the age of 55, he wrote in a letter, “I love the open bracing air.” And the following year, he said, “It is good to go into the highways and hedges. Field-preaching, field-preaching forever!” Day after day all his life, he went everywhere preaching, preaching, preaching.

Speaking to Thousands

And keep in mind that most of these messages were spoken to gatherings of thousands of people—usually in difficulties of wind and competing noise. For example, in the Fall of 1740, for over a month he preached almost every day in New England to crowds up to 8,000 people. That was when the population of Boston, the largest city in the region, was not much larger than that.

He recounts that in Philadelphia that same year on Wednesday, April 6, he preached on Society Hill twice in the morning to about 6,000, and in the evening to near 8,000. On Thursday, he spoke to “upwards of ten thousand,” and it was reported at one of these events the words, “‘He opened His mouth and taught them saying,’ were distinctly heard at Gloucester point, a distance of two miles by water down the Delaware River. [Do you see why I say such things are near unbelievable?] And there were times when the crowds reached 20,000 or more.” This meant that the physical exertion to project the voice to that many people for so long, in each sermon, for so many times every week, for thirty years, was Herculean.

One Scarcely Interrupted Sermon

Add to this the fact that he was continually traveling in a day when it was done by horse or carriage or ship. He covered the length and breadth of England repeatedly. He regularly traveled and spoke throughout Wales. He visited Ireland twice, where he was almost killed by a mob from which he carried a scar on his forehead for the rest of his life. He traveled 14 times to Scotland and came to America 7 times, stopping once in Bermuda for 11 weeks—all for preaching, not resting. He preached in virtually every major town on the Eastern Seaboard of America. Michael Haykin reminds us, “What is so remarkable about all of this is Whitefield lived at a time when travel to a town but 20 miles away was a significant undertaking.”

J. C. Ryle summed up Whitefield’s life like this:

The facts of Whitefield’s history . . . are almost entirely of one complexion. One year was just like another; and to attempt to follow him would be only going repeatedly over the same ground. From 1739 to the year of his death, 1770, a period of 31 years, his life was one uniform employment. He was eminently a man of one thing, and always about his Master’s business. From Sunday mornings to Saturday nights, from 1 January to 31 December, excepting when laid aside by illness, he was almost incessantly preaching Christ and going about the world entreating men to repent and come to Christ and be saved.

Another 19th-century biographer said, “His whole life may be said to have been consumed in the delivery of one continuous, or scarcely interrupted sermon.”

A Phenomenon in Church History

He was a phenomenon not just of his age, but in the entire 2000-year history of Christian preaching. There has been nothing like the combination of his preaching pace and geographic extent and auditory scope and attention-holding effect and converting power. Ryle is right: “No preacher has ever retained his hold on his hearers so entirely as he did for thirty-four years. His popularity never waned.”

His contemporary Augustus Toplady (1740–1778) remembered him as “the apostle of the English Empire.” He was “Anglo America’s most popular eighteenth-century preacher and its first truly mass revivalist.” He was “the first colonial-American religious celebrity.” Eight years of his life were spent in America. He loved the American ethos. He was more American in his blood than he was English.

America’s First Celebrity

Harry Stout points out, “As tensions between England and America grew [Whitefield] saw he might have to choose. Wesley would remain loyal to England, and Whitefield could not. His institutional attachments and personal identification with the colonies were stronger than his loyalty to the crown.”

Estimates are that 80% of the entire population of the American colonies (this is before TV or radio) heard Whitefield at least once. Stout shows that Whitefield’s impact on America was such that

he can justly be styled America’s first cultural hero. Before Whitefield, there was no unifying inter-colonial person or event. Indeed, before Whitefield, it is doubtful any name other than royalty was known equally from Boston to Charleston. But by 1750 virtually every American loved and admired Whitefield and saw him as their champion.

William Cooper who died when Whitefield was 29 already called him “the wonder of the age.”

Preaching Was Everything

This was all the effect of the most single-minded, oratorically enthralling, thunder-voiced devotion to daily evangelistic preaching that history has ever known. Preaching was everything. I think most of his biographers would agree (to quote Stout) that Whitefield

demonstrated a callous disregard for his private self, both body and spirit. The preaching moment engulfed all, and it would continue to do so, for in fact there was nothing else he lived for. . . . The private man and the family man had long since ceased to exist. In the final scene, there was only Whitefield in his pulpit.

Natural and Spiritual Power

What shall we make of this phenomenon? What was the key to his power? At one level, his power was the natural power of eloquence, and at another it was the spiritual power of God to convert sinners and transform communities.

There is no reason to doubt that he was the instrument of God in the salvation of thousands. J. C. Ryle said,

I believe that the direct good which he did to immortal souls was enormous. I will go further—I believe it is incalculable. Credible witnesses in England, Scotland, and America have placed on record their conviction that he was the means of converting thousands of people.

Whitefield was the main international instrument of God in the first Great Awakening. No one else in the 18th century was anointed like this in America and England and Wales and Scotland and Ireland. This preaching was not a flash in the pan. Deep and lasting things happened.

His Effect on Edwards and Wilberforce

In February of 1740, Jonathan Edwards sent an invitation to Whitefield in Georgia asking him to come preach in his church. On October 19, Whitefield recorded in his journal, “Preached this morning, and good Mr. Edwards wept during the whole time of exercise. The people were equally affected.” Edwards reported that the effect of Whitefield’s ministry was more than momentary—“In about a month there was a great alteration in the town.”

The impact of Whitefield, the Wesleys, and the Great Awakening in England changed the face of the nation. William Wilberforce, who led the battle against the slave trade in England was 11 years old when Whitefield died. Wilberforce’s father had died when he was 9, and he went to live for a time with his aunt and uncle William and Hanna Wilberforce. This couple were good friends with George Whitefield.

This was the evangelical air Wilberforce breathed even before he was converted. And after his conversion, Whitefield’s vision of the gospel was the truth and the spiritual dynamic that animated Wilberforce’s lifelong battle against the slave trade. This is only one small glimpse of the lasting impact of Whitefield and the awakening he served.

So I do not doubt that Henry Venn was right when he said, “[Whitefield] no sooner opened his mouth as a preacher, than God commanded an extraordinary blessing upon his word.” So at this level, the explanation of Whitefield’s phenomenal impact was God’s exceptional anointing on his life.

His Natural Oratorical Gifts

But at another level, Whitefield held people in thrall who did not believe a single doctrinal word that he said. In other words, we have to come to terms with the natural oratorical gifts that he had. How are we to think about these in relation to his effectiveness?  Benjamin Franklin, who loved and admired Whitefield—and totally rejected his theology—said,

Every accent, every emphasis, every modulation of voice, was so perfectly well turned, and well-placed, that without being interested in the subject, one could not help being pleased with the discourse: a pleasure of much the same kind with that received from an excellent piece of music.

Virtually everyone agrees with Sarah Edwards when she wrote to her brother about Whitefield’s preaching.

He is a born orator. You have already heard of his deep-toned, yet clear and melodious voice. O it is perfect music to listen to that alone! . . . You remember that David Hume thought it worth going 20 miles to hear him speak; and Garrick [an actor who envied Whitefield’s gifts] said, ‘He could move men to tears . . . in pronouncing the word Mesopotamia.’ . . . It is truly wonderful to see what a spell this preacher often casts over an audience by proclaiming the simplest truths of the Bible.

And then she raised the question that has caused so much controversy around Whitefield in the last 15 years. She says,

A prejudiced person, I know, might say that this is all theatrical artifice and display; but not so will anyone think who has seen and known him. He is a very devout and godly man, and his only aim seems to be to reach and influence men the best way. He speaks from the heart all aglow with love, and pours out a torrent of eloquence which is almost irresistible.

Harry Stout, professor of history at Yale, is not as sure about the purity of Whitefield’s motives as Sarah Edwards was. His biography, The Divine Dramatist: George Whitfield and the Rise of Modern Evangelicalism, is the most sustained piece of historical cynicism I have ever read. In the first 100 pages of this book, I wrote the word cynical in the margin 70 times.

“The Consummate Actor”?

But the challenge needs to be faced. And I think if we face it head on, what we find is something deeper than what Stout finds. Stout contends that Whitefield never left behind his love for acting and his skill as an actor which was prominent in his youth before his conversion. Thus he says the key to understanding him is “the amalgam of preaching and acting.” Whitefield was “the consummate actor.” “The fame he sought was . . . the actor’s command performance on center stage.” “Whitefield was not content simply to talk about the New Birth; he had to sell it with all the dramatic artifice of a huckster.” “Tears became Whitefield’s . . . psychological gesture.” “Whitefield became an actor-preacher, as opposed to a scholar-preacher.”

And, of course, this last statement is true, in one sense. He was an actor-preacher as opposed to a scholar-preacher. He was not a Jonathan Edwards. He preached totally without notes, and his traveling pulpit was more of a tiny stage than it was a traditional pulpit. Unlike most of the preachers in his day he was full of action when he preached. Cornelius Winter, Whitefield’s young assistant in later years, said,

I hardly ever knew him go through a sermon without weeping . . . sometimes he exceedingly wept, stamped loudly and passionately, and was frequently so overcome, that, for a few seconds, you would suspect he never could recover; and when he did, nature required some little time to compose himself.

And another contemporary from Scotland, John Gillies, reported how Whitefield moved with “such vehemence upon his bodily frame” that his audience actually shared his exhaustion and “felt a momentary apprehension even for his life.”

Therefore, in one sense, I do not doubt that Whitefield was “acting” as he preached. That is, that he was taking the part of the characters in the drama of his sermon and pouring all his energy into making their part real. As when he takes the part of Adam in the Garden and says to God, “If thou hadst not given me this woman, I had not sinned against thee, so thou mayest thank thyself for my transgression.”

Why Was He Acting?

But the question is: Why was Whitefield “acting”? Why was he so full of action and drama? Was he, as Stout claims, “plying a religious trade”? Pursuing “spiritual fame”? Craving “respect and power”? Driven by “egotism”? Putting on “performances” and “integrating religious discourse into the emerging language of consumption”?

I think the most penetrating answer comes from something Whitefield himself said about acting in a sermon in London. In fact, I think it’s a key to understand the power of his preaching—and all preaching. James Lockington was present at this sermon and recorded this verbatim. Whitefield is speaking.

“I’ll tell you a story. The Archbishop of Canterbury in the year 1675 was acquainted with Mr. Butterton the [actor]. One day the Archbishop . . . said to Butterton . . . ‘pray inform me Mr. Butterton, what is the reason you actors on stage can affect your congregations with speaking of things imaginary, as if they were real, while we in church speak of things real, which our congregations only receive as if they were imaginary?’ ‘Why my Lord,’ says Butterton, ‘the reason is very plain. We actors on stage speak of things imaginary, as if they were real and you in the pulpit speak of things real as if they were imaginary.’”

“Therefore,” added Whitefield, ‘I will bawl [shout loudly], I will not be a velvet-mouthed preacher.”

This means that there are three ways to speak. First, you can speak of an unreal, imaginary world as if it were real—that is what actors do in a play. Second, you can speak about a real world as if it were unreal—that is what half-hearted pastors do when they preach about glorious things in a way that says they are not as terrifying and wonderful as they are. And third is: You can speak about a real spiritual world as if it were wonderfully, terrifyingly, magnificently real (because it is).

Out-Acting the Actors

So if you ask Whitefield, “Why do you preach the way you do?” he would say: “I believe what I read in the Bible is real.” So let me venture this claim: George Whitefield is not a repressed actor, driven by egotistical love of attention. Rather, he is consciously committed to out-acting the actors because he has seen what is ultimately real.

He is acting with all his might not because it takes greater gimmicks and charades to convince people of the unreal, but because he had seen something more real than actors on the London stage had ever known. For him the truths of the gospel were so real—so wonderfully, terrifyingly, magnificently real—that he could not and would not preach them as though they were unreal or merely interesting.

Acting in the Service of Reality

This was not a repressed acting. This was a released acting. It was not acting in the service of imagination. It was acting in the service of reality. This was not rendering the imaginary as real. It was rendering the super-realness of the real as sheer awesome, breathtaking real. This was not affectation. This was a passionate re-presentation—replication—of reality. This was not the mighty microscope using all its powers to make the small look impressively big. This was the desperately inadequate telescope bending every power to give some small sense of the majesty of what too many preachers saw as tiresome and unreal.

There is no disagreement that God uses natural vessels to display his supernatural reality. And there is no disagreement that George Whitefield was a stupendous natural vessel. He was driven, affable, eloquent, intelligent, empathetic, single-minded, steel-willed, venturesome, and had a voice like a trumpet that could be heard by thousands outdoors—and sometimes at a distance of two miles. All of these, I venture to say, would have been part of Whitefield’s natural gifting even if he had never been born again.

Whitefield Born Again

But something happened to Whitefield that made all these natural gifts subordinate to another reality. It made them all come into the service of another reality—the glory of Christ in the salvation of sinners. It was the spring of 1735. He was 20 years old. He was part of the Holy Club at Oxford with John and Charles Wesley, and the pursuit of God was all discipline.

I always chose the worst sort of food. . . . I fasted twice a week. My apparel was mean. . . . I wore woolen gloves, a patched gown, and dirty shoes. . . . I constantly walked out in the cold mornings till part of one of my hands was quite black. . . . I could scarce creep upstairs, I was obliged to inform my kind tutor . . . who immediately sent for a physician to me.

He took a break from school, and there came into his hands a copy of Henry Scougal’s Life of God in the Soul of Man. Here is what happened, in his own words:

I must bear testimony to my old friend Mr. Charles Wesley, he put a book into my hands, called, The Life of God and the soul of man, whereby God showed me, that I must be born again, or be damned. I know the place: it may be superstitious, perhaps, but whenever I go to Oxford, I cannot help running to that place where Jesus Christ first revealed himself to me, and gave me the new birth. [Scougal] says, a man may go to church, say his prayers, receive the sacrament, and yet, my brethren, not be a Christian. How did my heart rise, how did my heart shutter, like a poor man that is afraid to look into his account-books, lest he should find himself a bankrupt: yet shall I burn that book, shall I throw it down, shall I put it by, or shall I search into it? I did, and, holding the book in my hand, thus addressed the God of heaven and earth: Lord, if I am not a Christian, if I am not a real one, for Jesus Christ’s sake, show me what Christianity is, that I may not be damned at last. I read a little further, and the cheat was discovered; oh, says the author, they that know anything of religion know it is a vital union with the son of God, Christ formed in the heart; oh what a way of divine life did break in upon my poor soul. . . . Oh! With what joy—Joy unspeakable—even joy that was full of, and big with glory, was my soul filled.

The power and depth and the supernatural reality of that change in Whitefield is something Harry Stout does not sufficiently reckon with. What happened there was that Whitefield was given the supernatural ability to see what was real. His mind was opened to new reality. Here is the way he described it.

Above all my mind being now more opened and enlarged, I began to read the holy Scriptures upon my knees, laying aside all other books, and praying over, if possible, every line and word. This proved meat indeed and drink indeed to my soul. I daily received fresh life, light, and power from above. I got more true knowledge from reading the book of God in one month than I could ever have acquired from all the writings of men.

This means that Whitefield’s acting—his passionate, energetic, whole-souled preaching—was the fruit his new birth, because his new birth gave him eyes to see “life and light and power from above.” He saw the glorious facts of the gospel as real. Wonderfully, terrifyingly, magnificently real. This is why he cries out, “I will not be a velvet-mouthed preacher.”

None of his natural abilities vanished. They were all taken captive to obey Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). “Let my name be forgotten, let me be trodden under the feet of all men, if Jesus may thereby be glorified.”

Fighting Pride, Confessing Foolishness

Of course he fought pride. Who doesn’t fight pride—pride because we are somebody, or pride because we want to be somebody? But what the record shows is that he fought this fight valiantly, putting to death again and again the lure of the vanity of human praise. “It is difficult,” he said, “to go through the fiery trial of popularity and applause untainted.”

“Commendations,” he wrote to a friend, “or even the hinting at them, are poison to a mind addicted to pride. A nail never sinks deeper than when dipt in oil. . . . Pray for me, dear Sir, and heal the wounds you have made. To God alone give glory. To sinners nothing belongs, but shame and confusion.”

He confessed publicly the foolishness and mistakes of his earlier years. He confessed to a friend in 1741, “Our most holy thoughts are tinctured with sin, and want the atonement of the Mediator.” He cast himself on the free grace that he preached so powerfully:

I am nothing, have nothing, and can do nothing without God. What although I may, like a polished sepulcher appear a little beautiful without, yet within I am full of pride, self-love and all manner of corruption. However, by the grace of God I am what I am, and if it should please God to make me instrumental to do the least good, not unto me, but unto him, be all the glory.

Making Real Things Real

So Whitefield had a new nature. He had been born again. And this new nature enabled him to see what was real. And Whitefield knew in his soul: I will never speak of what is real as though it is imaginary. I will not be a velvet-mouthed preacher. He would not abandon acting. He would out-act the actors in his preaching, because they became actors to make imaginary things look real, and he became the preacher-actor to make real things look like what they are.

He didn’t pause in his preaching to have a little drama off to the side—like some preachers do today, a little skit, a little clip from a movie—that would have missed the whole point. Preaching was the play. Preaching was the drama. The reality of the gospel had consumed him. That was the witness. The preaching itself had become the active word of God. God was speaking. Reality was not simply being shown. Reality was happening.

Not Acting in the Theatrical Sense

What this means is that in the end, Whitefield’s “acting” was not acting in the theatrical sense at all. If a woman has a role in a movie, say, the mother of child in a burning house, and as the cameras are focused on her, she is screaming to the firemen and pointing to the window in the second floor, we all say she is acting. But if a house is on fire in your neighborhood, and you see a mother screaming to the firemen and pointing to the window in the second floor, nobody says she’s acting. Why not? They look exactly the same.

It’s because there really is a child up there in the fire. This woman really is the child’s mother. There is real danger that the child could die. Everything is real. And that’s the way it was for Whitefield. The new birth had opened his eyes to what was real, and to the magnitude of what was real: God, creation, humanity, sin, Satan, divine justice and wrath, heaven, hell, incarnation, the perfections of Christ, his death, atonement, redemption, propitiation, resurrection, the Holy Spirit, saving grace, forgiveness, justification, reconciliation with God, peace, sanctification, love, the second coming of Christ, the new heavens and the new earth, everlasting joy. These were real. Overwhelmingly real to him. He had been born again. He had eyes to see.

When he warned of wrath, and pleaded for people to escape, and lifted up Christ, he wasn’t play-acting. He was calling down the kind of emotions and actions that correspond with such realities. That’s what preaching does. It seeks to exalt Christ, and describe sin, and offer salvation, and persuade sinners with emotions and words and actions that correspond to the weight of these realities.

If you see these realities with the eyes of your heart, and if you feel the weight of them, you will know that such preaching is not play-acting. The house is burning. There are people trapped on the second floor. We love them. And there is a way of escape.

The Preciousness of “the Doctrines of Grace”

Let’s be more specific. What did George Whitefield see as real? Unlike so much preaching today, the preaching of the 18th-century awakening—including the evangelistic preaching of Whitefield and Wesley—was doctrinally specific and not vague. When you read the sermons of Whitefield, you are struck with how amazingly doctrinal they are.

What Whitefield saw within months after his conversion was the preciousness and power of the “doctrines of grace.” What was real for him was classical evangelical Calvinism. “From first to last,” Stout says, “he was a Calvinist who believed that God chose him for salvation and not the reverse.” J. I. Packer observes that “Whitefield was entirely free of doctrinal novelties.”

Embracing the Calvinistic Scheme

His guide as he read the Bible in those formative days was not John Calvin but Matthew Henry. “I embrace the Calvinistic scheme,” he said, “not because Calvin, but Jesus Christ has taught it to me.” In fact, he wrote to John Wesley in 1740, “I never read anything that Calvin wrote.”

He believed these biblical truths—which he sometimes called “the doctrines of the Reformation”—did the most to “debase man and exalt the Lord Jesus. . . . All others leave free will in man, and make him, in part at least, a Savior to himself.” And not only did that diminish the work of the Savior; it made our position in Christ insecure.

The Link Between Election and Perseverance

What Whitefield saw as real with his new eyes was the link between election and perseverance. God had chosen him unconditionally, and God would therefore keep him invincibly. This was his rock-solid confidence and a fire in his bones and the power of his obedience. He wrote in 1739 from Philadelphia,

Oh the excellency of the doctrine of election, and of the saints’ final perseverance, to those who are truly sealed by the Spirit of promise! I am persuaded, till a man comes to believe and feel these important truths, he cannot come out of himself; but when convinced of these, and assured of the application of them to his own heart, he then walks by faith indeed, not in himself but in the Son of God, who died and gave himself for him. Love, not fear, constrains him to obedience.

And a year later he wrote to John Wesley, “The doctrine of election, and the final perseverance of those that are truly in Christ, I am ten thousand times more convinced of, if possible, then when I saw you last.” He loved the assurance he had in the mighty hands of God. “Surely I am safe, because put into his almighty arms. Though I may fall, yet I shall not utterly be cast away. The Spirit of the Lord Jesus will hold, and uphold me.”

Telling the Gospel with All His Might

And he didn’t just quietly enjoy these realities for himself; he preached them with all his might in his evangelistic efforts. He said to Wesley, “I must preach the Gospel of Christ, and this I cannot now do without speaking of election.” In his sermon based on 1 Corinthians 1:30 called “Christ the Believer’s Wisdom, Righteousness, Sanctification, and Redemption,” he exults in the doctrine (remember he is lifting up his voice to thousands):

For my part I cannot see how true humbleness of mind can be attained without a knowledge of [the doctrine of election]; and though I will not say, that every one who denies election is a bad man, yet I will say, with that sweet singer, Mr. Trail, it is a very bad sign: such a one, whoever he be, I think cannot truly know himself; for, if we deny election, we must, partly at least, glory in ourselves; but our redemption is so ordered, that no flesh should glory in the Divine presence; and hence it is, that the pride of man opposes this doctrine, because, according to this doctrine, and no other, “he that glories must glory only in the Lord.”

But what shall I say? Election is a mystery that shines with such resplendent brightness, that, to make use of the words of one who has drunk deeply of electing love, it dazzles the weak eyes even of some of God’s children; however, though they know it not, all the blessing they receive, all the privileges they do or will enjoy, through Jesus Christ, flow from the everlasting love of God the Father.

Offering Jesus Freely to Every Soul

And Whitefield reminds Wesley—and us—in letter of 1741, “Though I hold particular election, yet I offer Jesus freely to every individual soul.” Indeed Whitefield does not hide his understanding of definite atonement or irresistible grace as he pleads with men to come to Christ. In a sermon on John 10:27–28 called “The Good Shepherd,” he speaks clearly of the particular sense in which Christ died for his own,

If you belong to Jesus Christ, he is speaking of you; for says he, “I know my sheep”. “I know them”; what does that mean? Why, he knows their number, he knows their names, he knows every one for whom he died; and if there were to be one missing for whom Christ died, God the Father would send him down again from heaven to fetch him.

And then he mounts his passionate plea on the basis of irresistible sovereign grace:

O come, come, see what it is to have eternal life; do not refuse it; haste, sinner, haste away: may the great, the good Shepherd, draw your souls. Oh! If you never heard his voice before, God grant you may hear it now. . . . O come! Come! Come to the Lord Jesus Christ; to him I leave you . . . . Amen.

The Prominence of Justification

Among the doctrines of the Reformation that filled his great evangelistic sermons the most prominent was the doctrine of justification. His signature sermon, if there was one, seemed to be “The Lord Our Righteousness” based on Jeremiah 23:6. He never elevated justification to the exclusion of regeneration and sanctification. In fact, he was explicit in his effort to keep them in balance:

We must not put asunder what God has joined together; we must keep the medium between the two extremes; not insist so much on the one hand upon Christ without, as to exclude Christ within, as evidence of our being his, and as a preparation for future happiness; nor on the other hand, so depend on inherent righteousness or holiness wrought in us, as to exclude the righteousness of Jesus Christ without us.

The Glory of Jesus’ Obedience Imputed

But O how jealous he is again and again to press home to the masses the particularities of this doctrine, especially the imputation of Christ’s obedience. He lamented in one sermon,

I fear they understand justification in that low sense, which I understood it in a few years ago, as implying no more than remission of sins; but it not only signifies remission of sins past, but also a federal right to all good things to come. . . . As the obedience of Christ is imputed to believers so his perseverance in that obedience is to be imputed to them also.

Never did greater or more absurdities flow from the denying any doctrine, than will flow form denying the doctrine of Christ’s imputed righteousness.

The world says, because we preach faith we deny good works; this is the usual objection against the doctrine of imputed righteousness. But it is a slander, an impudent slander.

Relentlessly Devoted to Good Deeds

And, indeed, it was a slander in the life of George Whitefield. Whitefield was relentless in his devotion to good deeds and his care for the poor—constantly raising funds for orphans and other mercy ministries. Benjamin Franklin, who enjoyed one of the warmest friendship’s Whitefield ever had, in spite of their huge religious differences, said, “[Whitefield’s] integrity, disinterestedness and indefatigable zeal in prosecuting every good work, I have never seen equaled, I shall never see excelled.”

In other words, Whitefield’s impassioned belief in the imputation of Christ’s righteousness did not hinder the practical pursuit of justice and love, it empowered it. This connection between doctrine and practical duties of love was one of the secrets of Whitefield’s power. The masses believed, and believed rightly, that he practiced what he preached. The new birth and justification by faith made a person good.

A Contradictory Figure

But it didn’t make a person perfect. It didn’t make Whitefield perfect. In fact, one of the effects of reading history, and biography in particular, is the persistent discovery of contradictions and paradoxes of sin and righteousness in the holiest people.

Whitefield is no exception and he will be more rightly honored if we are honest about his blindness as well as his doctrinal faithfulness and goodness. The most glaring blindness of his life—and there were others—was his support for the American enslavement of blacks.

Slaveholder

Before it was legal to own slaves in Georgia, Whitefield advocated for the legalization with a view to making the orphanage he built more affordable. In 1748, he wrote to the trustees of Bethesda, the name of his orphanage and settlement,

Had a Negro been allowed, I should now have had a sufficiency to support a great many orphans, without expending about half the sum which hath been laid out. . . . Georgia never can or will be a flourishing province without negroes [sic] are allowed. . . . I am as willing as ever to do all I can for Georgia and the orphan house, if either a limited use of negroes is approved of, or some more indentured servants sent over. If not, I cannot promise to keep any large family, or cultivate the plantation in any considerable manner.

In 1752 Georgia became a royal colony. Slavery was now legalized, and Whitefield joined the ranks of the slave owners that he had denounced in his earlier years.

Ardent Slave Evangelist

That in itself was not unusual. Most of the slaveholders were professing Christians. But in Whitefield’s case things were more complex. He didn’t fit the mold of wealthy, Southern plantation owner. Almost all of them resisted evangelizing an educating the slaves. They knew intuitively that education would tend toward equality, which would undermine the whole system. And evangelism would imply that slaves could be come children of God, which would mean that they were brothers and sisters to the owners, which would also undermine the whole system. That’s why the apparent New Testament tolerance of slavery is in fact a very powerful subversion of the institution.

Ironically, Whitefield did more to bring Christianity to the slave community in Georgia than anyone else. Whitefield wrote letters to newspapers defending the evangelism of slaves and arguing that to deny them this was to deny that they had souls (which many did deny). Harry Stout observes: “In fact, the letters represented the first journalistic statement on the subject of slavery. As such, they marked a precedent of awesome implications, beyond anything Whitefield could have imagined.”

Whitefield said he was willing to face the “whip” of Southern planters if they disapproved of his preaching the new birth to the slaves. He recounts one of his customary efforts among the slaves in North Carolina on his second trip to America:

I went, as my usual custom . . . among the negroes belonging to the house. One man was sick in bed, and two of his children said their prayers after me very well. This more and more convinces me that negro children, if early brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, would make as great proficiency as any among white people’s children. I do not despair, if God spares my life, of seeing a school of young negroes singing the praises of Him Who made them, in a psalm of thanksgiving. Lord, Thou has put into my heart a good design to educate them; I doubt not but Thou wilt enable me to bring it to good effect.

Gary B. Nash dates “the advent of black Christianity” in Philadelphia to Whitefield’s first preaching tour. He estimates that perhaps 1000 slaves heard Whitefield’s sermons in Philadelphia. What they heard was that they had souls just as surely as the white people. Whitefield’s work for the slaves in Philadelphia was so effective that Philadelphia’s most prominent dancing master, Robert Bolton, renounced his old vocation and turned his school over to blacks. “By summer’s end, over 50 ‘black Scholars’ had arrived at the school.”

Sowing the Seeds of Equality

From Georgia to North Carolina to Philadelphia, Whitefield sowed the seeds of equality through heartfelt evangelism and education—blind as he was to the contradiction of buying and selling slaves.

Whitefield ended his most famous sermon, “The Lord Our Righteousness” with this appeal to the blacks in the crowd:

Here, then, I conclude; but I must not forget the poor negroes: no, I must not. Jesus Christ has died for them, as well as for others. Nor do I mention you last, because I despise your souls, but because I would have what I shall say make the deeper impression upon your hearts. O that you would seek the Lord to be your righteousness! Who knows but he may be found of you? For in Jesus Christ there is neither male nor female, bond nor free; even you may be the children of God, if you believe in Jesus. . . . Christ Jesus is the same now as he was yesterday, and will wash you in his own blood. Go home then, turn the word of the text into a prayer, and entreat the Lord to be your righteousness. Even so. Come Lord Jesus, come quickly in all our souls. Amen. Lord Jesus, amen, and amen!

This kind of preaching infuriated many slave owners. One wonders if there was a rumbling in Whitefield’s own soul because he really did perceive where such radical evangelism would lead. He went public with his censures of slave owners and published words like these: “God has a quarrel with you” for treating slaves “as though they were Brutes.” If these slaves were to rise up in rebellion, “all good Men must acknowledge the judgment would be just.”

This was incendiary. But it was too early in the course of history. Apparently Whitefield did not perceive the implications of what he was saying. What was clear was that the slave population loved Whitefield. For all his imperfections and blindness to the contradiction between advocating slavery and undermining slavery, when he died it was the blacks who expressed the greatest grief in America. More than any other eighteenth century figure, Whitefield established Christian faith in the slave community. Whatever else he failed in, for this they were deeply thankful.

A Sinner Fit to Preach Free Grace

So the greatest preacher of the 18th-century, perhaps in the history of the Christian Church, was a contradictory figure. There was, as he himself so freely confessed, sin remaining in him. And that is what we have found in every human soul on this earth—except one. Which is why our lives are meant to point to him. His perfect obedience, not ours, is the foundation of our acceptance with God. If then, our sin, as well as our righteousness, can point people away from ourselves to Christ, we will rejoice even as we repent.

“I know no other reason,” Whitefield said, “why Jesus has put me into the ministry, than because I am the chief of sinners, and therefore fittest to preach free grace to a world lying in the wicked one.”

By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org

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