For all who are serious about the current state of the church and the need for revival, I would like to recommend a book that I am currently reading: George Whitefield: The Life and Times of the Great Evangelist of the 18th Century Revival. In writing this two volume biography, author Arnold Dallimore, has a mission beyond providing a great glimpse into an important part of American and British history (which he does exceedingly well). This mission is described by Dallimore in an introductory section as follows:
[This book] is written with the profound conviction that the paramount need of the twentieth century is a mighty evangelical revival such as that which was experienced two hundred years ago. Thus, I have sought to show what were the doctrines used of God in the eighteenth-century Revival, and to display the extraordinary fervour which characterized the men whom God raised up in that blessed work. Yea, this book is written in the desire – perhaps in a measure of inner certainty – that we shall see the great Head of the Church once more bring into being His special instruments of revival, that He will again raise up unto Himself certain young men whom He may use in ths glorious employ. And what manner of men will they be? Men mighty in the Scriptures, their lives dominated by a sense of the greatness, the majesty and holiness of God, and their minds and hearts aglow with the great truths of the doctrines of grace. They will be men who have learned what it is to die to self, to human aims and personal ambitions; men who are willing to be ‘fools for Christ’s sake’, who will bear reproach and falsehood, who will labour and suffer, and whose supreme desire will be, not to gain earth’s accolades, but to win the Master’s approbation when they appear before His awesome judgment seat. They will be men who will preach with broken hearts and tear-filled eyes, and upon whose ministries God will grant an extraordinary effusion of the Holy Spirit, and who will witness ‘signs and wonders following’ in the transformation of multitudes of human lives. Indeed, this book goes forth with the earnest prayer that, amidst the rampant iniquity and glaring apostasy of the twentieth century God will use it toward the raising up of such men and toward the granting of a mighty revival such as was witnessed two hundred years ago.
The great need which Dallimore saw at the end of the twentieth century is unfortunately just as alive and well in the twenty-first century. For this reason, this book’s mission is as much needed today as when it was first written thirty-five years ago.