[PW] How many Americans did George Whitefield preach to

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com
Thu Mar 29 10:55:28 PDT 2018

Here is an excerpt from a book that contains the assertion being
examined. The book contains a footnote that points to another book
containing the assertion.

Year: 2012 (2011 Copyright)
Title: Men of One Book: A Comparison of Two Methodist Preachers,
John Wesley and George Whitefield
Author: Ian Maddock
Foreword by: Andrew T. B. McGowan
Publisher: The Lutterworth Press (Reprint edition)
Database: Google Books Preview

[Begin excerpt]
Whitefield's preaching record was no less impressive. Throughout his
35 year public ministry as a transatlantic evangelical revivalist, he
preached 18,000 formal sermons, often to audiences exceeding 20,000
people. As Packer observes, "Preaching the grace of God in Christ was
Whitefield's life, both metaphorically and literally." [9]
[End excerpt]

[Begin footnote]
[9] Packer, "Spirit with the Word," 167. Packer continues, “It has
been estimated that during his ministry he preached to combined
audiences of over ten million, and that four-fifths of America's
colonists, from Georgia to New Hampshire, heard him at least
once—something that could be said of no other person." Packer, "Spirit
with the Word," 167-68.
[End footnote]

The item below seems to be the reference that contains the claim. I
have not examined it, and the excerpt above used the phrase "It has
been estimated"; hence, the claim in the reference is also indirect.
Maybe there is a supporting citation within the reference? In any
case, it might be a useful lead for you.

"The Spirit with the Word: The Reformational Revivalism of George
Whitefield", in The Bible, the Reformation and the Church: Essays in
Honour of James Atkinson, edited by William P. Stephens, 166-189,
Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1995.

Garson O'Toole

On Thu, Mar 29, 2018 at 10:21 AM, Brett Spencer
<legolasbow1212 at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hello,
> We are attempting to figure out how many Americans George Whitefield
> preached to during his lifetime.
> There is a widely-used statistic around the internet that Whitefield
> preached to about 80% (sometimes phrased as four-fifths) of the American
> colonists.  However, we can't find the original source of this estimate or
> how it was compiled.  Can anyone offer suggestions?  Many thanks
> Best,
> Brett Spencer
> Reference Librarian
> Thun Library
> Penn State Berks
> Reading PA 19610
> 610-396-6261
> _______________________________________________
> Project Wombat - Project-wombat
> list at project-wombat.org
> http://www.project-wombat.org/

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