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

  • Ian Jules Maddock

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy (awarded by OU/Aberdeen)


This thesis compares various aspects of the preaching ministries conducted by two Methodist contemporaries, preachers, and professed ‘men of one book,’ John Wesley and George Whitefield. One of the principal ways in which Wesley and Whitefield manifested their desire to be ‘men of one book’ was through a life-long commitment to itinerant preaching. Indeed, it was especially in their capacity as ‘preachers of one book’ that Wesley and Whitefield featured so prominently in an evangelical revival that spanned not only England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland and the American colonies, but also included Calvinists and Arminians. But even though itinerant preaching occupied a privileged place in the efforts of Wesley and Whitefield to further evangelical revival, their public ministries did not consist wholly of spoken sermons. Instead, both deliberately pursued a ‘print and preach’ ministry, where their published sermons
complemented and reinforced the sermons they preached. In order to remain sensitive to their dual commitment to the spoken and printed word, and in response to the conspicuous paucity of intentionally comparative studies that focus on the full-orbed preaching ministries conducted by these two Church of England clergymen, this thesis compares Wesley’s and Whitefield’s style, delivery and rationale for field-preaching, paying particular attention to the influence of Scripture on these facets of their spoken sermons. In addition, various aspects of their sermons as they appear in printed form are compared. This includes a comparison of the function of their published sermons
within their wider public ministries, how their printed sermons reflected the way they used, applied and interpreted the Bible, and also how they understood its prominent doctrines. Ultimately, Wesley and Whitefield manifested their singular desire to be men of one book through preaching ministries that were by no means identical, yet equally committed to the spread of the gospel throughout the transatlantic world.
Date of Award4 Mar 2009
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Edinburgh
SupervisorAndrew McGowan (Supervisor) & Hector Morrison (Supervisor)

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