Wherein do evangelical Churchmen fall short of their great predecessors in the last [18th] century? Let us look this question fairly in the face. Let us come to particulars.
They fall short in doctrine. They are neither so full nor so distinct, nor so bold, nor so uncompromising. They are afraid of strong statements. They are too ready to fence, and guard, and qualify all their teaching, as if Christ's gospel was a little baby, and could not be trusted to walk alone.
They fall short as preachers. They have neither the fervour, nor fire, nor thought, nor illustration, nor directness, nor holy boldness, nor grand simplicity of language which characterized the last century.
Above all, they fall short in life. They are not men of one thing, separate from the world, unmistakable men of God, ministers of Christ everywhere, indifferent to man's opinion, regardless who is offended, if they only preach truth, always about their Father's business. They do not make the world feel that a prophet is among them, and carry about with them their Master's presence, as Moses when he came down from the mount.
I write these things with sorrow. I desire to take my full share of blame. But I do believe I am speaking the truth.
J.C. Ryle's reflections on the life of George Whitefield