Gospel Ministers: Slandered, Reviled, and Maligned

By Dr, Robert Morey

Faithful men of God have always been the object of vicious attacks from hateful and malicious people. They have always been maligned, slandered, denounced, called every evil name in the book, and accused of all wickedness. Yet, biblical history and Church history remembers these great men of God while their critics are forgotten forever.

In the same way, modern men of God who stand solidly for the truth of the Gospel against liberalism, Islam, the cults, the occult, and, yea, against all unbelief, are maligned and slander on every hand. But the foundation of God remains secure. The gates of Hell will never prevail against the Church or her faithful ministers of the gospel.

Whitefield is remembered today as a man mightily used by God in one of the greatest times of Revival in English history. His ministry is credited with saving England from suffering a bloody revolution like the French Revolution.    

While George Whitefield is praised today, he was often maligned and persecuted in his own generation. Rev. Reeves wrote an insightful article on the abuse heaped upon Whitefield during his ministry.

Let all true ministers of the gospel take note that if Whitefield, Spurgeon, and, indeed, our Lord himself, did not escape slanderous abuse and malicious attacks, they why should we think that we shall escape persecution.

The following is part of the Dudley Reeves’ article “George Whitefield in Scotland” (Banner of Truth, no. 162, March 1977, pgs. 27-28)

A third valuable lesson that Whitefield taught Scots was to receive personal abuse and spiritual opposition with patience and humility.

In 1742, Whitefield suffered an onslaught of pamphlets aimed against him. This was no new experience to him, for in the six years he had been a minister there had possible been as many as 160 pamphlets directed at him in England and America, in addition to the sermons, magazine articles and news reports attacking him and his work. The Scots Magazine itself had joined in the jibes before Whitefield became known to Scotland I person. Many of the 160 pamphlets were written by fellow ministers, many contained scurrilous personal abuse and some had descended to the indecent and the obscene.

In 1742 the Secedes’ understandable anger towards Whitefield turned into inexcusable abuse. In June, Adam Gib, one of their ministers, published his 75 page pamphlet against Whitefield. Part of the title reads:

“A WARNING against Countenancing the Ministrations of Mr. George Whitefield…Wherein are shown, that Mr. Whitefield is no minister of Jesus Christ; that his Call and Coming to Scotland are scandalous; that his Practice is disorderly and fertile of Disorder; that his whole Doctrine is, and his Success must be diabolical; so that People ought to avoid him from Dutyto God, to the Church, to themselves, to Fellow-men, to Posterity, and tohim.”

In 1744 a Seceder accused Whitefield of “dreadful Error, flagrant Enthusiasm, gross Delusion, and horrid Blasphemies” and making “filthy lucre” his chief aim.

Though Whitefield continued to be the object of abuse elsewhere, in Scotland there was less criticism after 1750…In a letter to Lady Huntington, Whitefield was able to write,

God be praised for the many strippings I have met! It is good for me that I have been supplanted, despised, censured, maligned, and separated form my nearest, dearest friend. By this, I have found the faithfulness of Him, who is the Friend of friends.

Whitefield’s patience and humility while under fire from several quarters must have been a good example to many Scots. Surely others felt as one Aberdeen minister wrote of Whitefield in 1741,

His calmness and serenity under all he meets with, yea his joy in tribulation is to me so surprising, that often think, the Lord sent him to this place, in particular, to teach me how to preach and especially how to suffer. 


Let us all learn from Whitefield to embrace slander and gossip as proof of our ministry. Rejoice for great will be our reward in heaven when men revile you and say all manner of evil against you falsely.