Being something of one of his many modern incarnations, it is little wonder John Piper gushes as he does over George Whitefield. Oh! the tempatations celebrity affords. Apparently, popularity really is important. Me and my silly admonitions to my children to avoid, as the kids call it, “the cliques” on the playground.
However unintended, the post here does give me another title to my nurture-your-inner-confessionalist reading list:
“Harry Stout, professor of history at Yale, is not as sure about the purity of Whitefield’s motives as Sarah Edwards was. His biography, The Divine Dramatist: George Whitfield and the Rise of Modern Evangelicalism, is the most sustained piece of historical cynicism I have ever read. In the first 100 pages of this book, I wrote the word cynical in the margin 70 times.”
If Stout’s work is the most sustained piece of historical cynicism Piper has ever read then I wonder if his sketch here could be said to be one of the most sustained pieces of religious naiveté ever written. After all, as I read Piper’s thumbnail I wrote the word naïve, well, I lost count. But I don’t think it was a nice, round number like Piper’s.