Wednesday 22 July 2015

David Ceri Jones on the Evangelical Revival

David Ceri Jones, The Fire Divine: An Introduction to the Evangelical Revival (Nottingham: IVP, 2015), 184pp., ISBN 978-1-78359-290-6.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this overview of the eighteenth-century evangelical revival. I’ve been trying to read more Church history and Christian biography recently, so this was enormously helpful for putting in place a slightly bigger picture of the period covered. It focuses particularly on John Wesley, George Whitefield, and (though to a lesser degree) Jonathan Edwards, and the revivals in Britain and America associated with their ministries – all of which have left their legacy on evangelicalism today. 

The posture of the work suited me well; it’s courteous about its subject matter, but keeps enough distance in its account to allow me to make my own value judgments. I particularly appreciated its transparency around the evident ‘flaws’ of those whose work is described. It’s respectful, but far from hagiographical, and (I think) the better for it.

I had been wondering whether to buy and read Thomas S. Kidd’s recently-published Yale biography on George Whitefield. This book persuaded me it would be a good next step to do so.


Freeborng said...

If you interest in a more narrative approach to 18th-century Evangelical movement in England please visit the website for the book series, The Asbury Triptych Series. The trilogy based on Francis Asbury opens with the book, Black Country, detailing the movement started by John Wesley and its influence on a young Francis Asbury. The website for the book series is

Antony said...

Thanks a lot! I will check that out.

stevebishop said...

Thanks for pointing out this book Antony. I bought it on the strength of your review and really enjoyed it. I thought it was an excellent introduction to the period.

I'd be interested in what you make of Kidd's Whitefield.



Antony said...

Thanks Steve. Glad you liked it. I’m still working my way up to Kidd (currently reading something of a bit more introductory/overview nature on Whitefield), but will try to post something if and when I get to it.