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Thundering the Word

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Free Grace Press

In Thundering the Word, Kurt Smith labors to unpack a fresh biography of Whitefield, fixing attention on the years 1736–1742, which S. M. Houghton described as “the most dramatic and remarkable period of Whitefield’s life.” Here we see Whitefield as the gospel awakener par excellence, preaching Christ at the center of revivals on both sides of the Atlantic, while defending gospel truth in the face of error propagated by his closest friends. Assessing this season of Whitefield’s life in honest, pastoral candor, Smith helps us appreciate who George Whitefield was and why his faith should matter as worthy of imitation but only to that degree where it points us to Christ.


Table of Contents:

Part 1: The Gospel Awakener

1. He Must Increase

2. Sleeping in Darkness

3. You Must Be Born Again

4. Setting the Foundation

5. The Calvinistic Evangelist

6. The Great Awakening and the Grand Itinerant

7. When Doctrine Divides: Catholicity, Controversy, and Calvinism

Part 2: The Lasting Fire: Whitefield’s Ever-Burning Legacy

8. Less Than the Least

9. Preach the Gospel!

10. The Already and the Not Yet

Appendix A

George Whitefield Comes to Middleton

Gospelling the Native American Indians

Charging Satan’s Citadel

Pursuing Peace

Learning to Cease from Man

Appendix B

John Wesey’s Sermon

“Free Grace” Preached at Bristol, in the year 1740

A Letter to the Rev. Mr. John Wesley in Answer to His Sermon



“In this, the 250th anniversary year of Whitefield’s death, Kurt Smith has produced a challenging, devotional, and balanced look at a man and preacher used mightily by God to call sinners to repentance.” - Sam Waldron

“I truly hope that Thundering the Word will have a wide reading to the glory of Whitefield’s God and that the Lord will use it to provoke another generation of godly men to preach the faith once for all delivered to the saints in the power of the Spirit for Jesus’ sake.” - Jerry Slate Jr.

“The life of the eighteenth century’s most celebrated evangelist and preacher is told with clarity and cultural sensitivity. The Whitefield that emerges is that of a passionate evangelist, a pragmatic entrepreneur, an astute citizen of the British Empire, and alas, a flawed, culturally compromised individual. A most valuable read.” - Derek W. H. Thomas

“The life of George Whitefield is a life worth celebrating. It is a life worth reading and knowing about. It is a life that was lived for the glory of God and accompanied by the power and authority of heaven. The clarity in which Kurt Smith speaks of the divine power behind the passionate and effectual preaching of this great evangelist is simply captivating.” - Jeffrey D. Johnson

“Kurt Smith writes as a convinced but thoughtful advocate, not blind to Whitefield’s real faults but persuaded of his gospel virtues. He has caught a little of Whitefield’s spirit, and he wants us to catch it too!” - Jeremy Walker