The Bold Evangelist: The Life and Ministry of Selina Hastings, Countess of Huntingdon
By Priscilla Wong
Many associate the names George Whitefield and John Wesley with the eighteenth-century Evangelical Revival, while the name Selina Hastings, the Countess of Huntingdon, is less familiar. But this remarkable woman played a crucial role in the revival in Europe, interacting and forming friendships with many of its key players. The Countess leveraged her wealth and high position in English society to widen the evangelistic impact of the revival. Her sacrifices would ultimately see, among her many efforts, the establishment of over 60 chapels and a college for training ministers.
Readers will be encouraged not only by how steadfastly Selina laboured but also by how she persevered in the face of illness, the deaths of her husband and children, and devastating setbacks in her gospel ministry. Yet trusting wholeheartedly in Christ her Saviour—and not the vanity and riches prized by her aristocratic peers—Selina lived out a faith characterized by boldness, zeal, and love. One evangelical leader described her influence: “I feel from Lady Huntingdon’s example an increasing desire both for myself and for you and all our friends that we may be active and eminent in the life of grace.”
- Author Interview
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“Selina Hastings, Countess of Huntingdon, was one of the most influential evangelical figures of the eighteenth century, yet she remains relatively unknown today. I am happy to recommend this sympathetic and informative spiritual biography of Hastings.”
Thomas S. Kidd Author, George Whitefield: America’s Spiritual Founding Father
“When I took the standard seminary two-term survey of Church History (known as Church History I & II) at the Toronto School of Theology in the mid-1970s during my masters studies, the central role of women in the life of the church was not a prominent highlight. I suspect that this was typical of many such survey courses at that time. Thankfully, church historians today know better and have been seeking to remedy this lacuna in various types of historical and biographical studies. This new biography by Priscilla Wong of a central, though oft-neglected, figure of the revivals of the eighteenth century, Selina Hastings, is a good example of what is needed: accessible, yet grounded in solid research; sympathetic, yet without being hagiographical; and sensitive to the lessons that can be derived from the way that God worked through this notable woman’s life.”
Michael A.G. Haykin Chair & professor of church history, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Professor of church history, Heritage Seminary, Cambridge, Ontario.
“Priscilla Wong skillfully demonstrates why Selina Hastings, the Countess of Huntingdon was one of the most significant women of the eighteenth–century Evangelical Revival. This valuable introduction reveals the boldness and creativity of Lady Huntingdon’s inspiring life and ministry.”
Tom Schwanda Associate professor, emeritus of Christian Formation and Ministry, Wheaton College
“It’s almost impossible to read an account of eighteenth-century Christianity without encountering the name of Selina Hastings. While her greatest influence was in England, her desire to see the gospel spread to every nation brought her in contact with Christians in many continents. Many well-known preachers acknowledged a debt of gratitude to the countess for the extent of their ministry. And yet, today, her story is still not widely known. In this fascinating biography, Priscilla Wong explores primary sources to unveil many facets of the countess’ life, helping readers to understand her faith, dreams, and challenges as a woman, wife, mother, friend, evangelist, church planter, and benefactor. Readers will form a close bond with this exceptional woman and be inspired to set their eyes on the same Christ that had captivated her life.”
Simonetta Carr Author, Questions Women Asked and the Christian Biographies for Young Readers series