Men of One Book: A Comparison of Two Methodist Preachers, John Wesley and George Whitefield

By Ian J. Maddock

An examination of the lives and practices of the two most prominent preachers of the 18th-century evangelical revival, emphasising their affinities.

ISBN: 9780718892616


In this notable contribution to the study of John Wesley and George Whitefield, Ian Maddock discovers the affinity between two preachers often contrasted as enemies. The controversial Free Grace episode of the early eighteenth century, which highlighted the theological divisions between Wesley’s Arminianism and Whitefield’s Calvinism, has influenced the scholarly division of these forerunners of the Eighteenth Century Revival, resulting in a polarised critical heritage.

In a critical assessment of John Wesley, the ‘scholar preacher’, and George Whitefield, the ‘actor preacher’, Maddock gives due attention to their differences but unifies them in their commitment to the authority of the Bible, their rhetorical devices and their thematic similarities, showing how they often explicated different theories with the same evidence. Men of One Book explains how these contemporaries, who each knew of the other at Oxford University and as preachers, each faced ecclesiastical opposition and social stigma, but sought for a print-and-preach ministry in which the spoken and written word would spread the Gospel throughout the transatlantic world.

Men of One Book will interest anyone concerned with the Eighteenth Century Revival, the rise of Methodism or the history of evangelicalism.

Additional information

Dimensions 229 × 153 mm
Pages 270

Trade Information LPOD

About the Author

Ian J. Maddock is Lecturer in Theology at Sydney Missionary and Bible College, and received his PhD from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland.


Foreword by Andrew T.B. McGowan

1. Introduction
2. A Comparison of the Itinerant Field-Preaching Ministries of George Whitefield
     and John Wesley
3. A Comparison of the Delivery, Style, and Description of Sermons Preached
     by George Whitefield and John Wesley
4. A Comparison of the Use, Interpretation, and Application of the Inspired Word
     in the Printed Words of George Whitefield and John Wesley
5. A Comparison of the Core Doctrines Proclaimed by George Whitefield
     and John Wesley
6. Conclusion



Endorsements and Reviews

A wonderful comparative treatment of the two most dominant preachers of the first Great Awakening. Maddock is equally sure-footed working meticulously through the voluminous manuscript sermons of Wesley and Whitefield as if painting the details of their complex and interwoven leadership of the evangelical revivals. There is no other work that so faithfully renders portraits of these two on their own terms as well as in relation to each other.
Richard Lints, Andrew Mutch Distinguished Professor of Theology, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

… [A] cogent, lucid and eirenic book.
Martin Wellings, in Wesley and Methodist Studies, Vol 5, 2013

What is refreshing about this work is its utter objectivity. The ministries of Whitefield and Wesley are carefully compared, but without using the comparison to promote the one or the other’s theological distinctives … [Men of One Book] helps us to appreciate both the evangelists in a better way, to understand their differences of approach, but also to rejoice in their many glorious similarities. Both were men of one book and both taught total depravity, justification by faith and the necessity of the new birth.
Pastor Peter Simpson, in British Church Newspaper, November 2012

Maddock produces a text that works on a scholarly level, as well as providing helpful insights as to how both characters engaged with Scripture.
Stephen Skuce, in MET Connexion, 2013

Men of One Book is a valuable contribution to both Wesley and Whitefieldian studies. The author strikes a fair balance in his evaluations, emphasizing points of similarity between his subjects, while also carefully demonstrating nuances and divergences in their respective theologies and practices. He is careful to avoid polarizing ideology and remains objective in his comparisons. This book will be of particular value to those interested in eighteenth-century church reform, homiletics, and doctrine.
Isaac N. Hopper, in Reviews in Religion & Theology, Vol 20, Issue 4

… a thorough and helpful investigation. … this is an eirenic and thoughtful study, drawing together a considerable body of material, and its author may be well satisfied with the result.
Martin Wellings, in Ecclesiology: The Journal for Ministry, Mission and Unity, September 2013

Ian Maddock here offers another analysis of their ministry as preachers, seeking to identify commonalities without obscuring the differences.
Andrew Atherstone, in Journal of Theological Studies, Vol 64, No 2

A thorough and accessible work, with excellent use of sources … This is an important study in bringing a much-needed comparison of two of the most significant preachers in the history of the Church. It is rare that a writer treats both figures with equal measure, criticism and honour.
Aaron Edwards, University of Aberdeen, in Theological Book Review, Vol 25, No 1

Maddock attempts to move beyond the ‘polarized and partisan’ (p. 2) nature of much of the historical writing on the more obvious personality and theological differences that set them apart … Through a discussion of their itinerant ministries, and an examination of their attitudes towards the Bible in their printed sermons, Maddock sees many commonalities …
David Ceri Jones, in Proceedings of the Wesley Historical Society, Vol 59, No 5

John Wesley and George Whitefield are often contrasted with each other as opponents. Ian Maddok argues in Men of One Book that the two had more in common than is usually thought, especially in their desire to live by scripture.
Henry Wansbrough, in Church Times, 15 August 2014