Jonathan Edwards has been recognized as the most influential evangelical theologian of all time. Before his death at the age of fifty-four, he had sparked a new movement of Reformed evangelicals who played a major role in fueling the rise of modern missions, preaching revivals far and wide, and wielding the cutting edge of American theology. He has never gone out of print, and Christians today continue to flock to seminars and conferences on him. In this biography of the great preacher and teacher, historian Douglas Sweeney locates for us the core and key to Edwards' enduring impact. Sweeney finds that Edwards' profound and meticulous study of the Bible securely anchored his powerful preaching, his lively theological passions and his discerning pastoral work. Beyond introducing you to Edwards' life and times, this book will provide you with a model of Christian faith, thought and ministry.
"Jonathan Edwards (1703-58) is widely regarded not only as America's greatest theologian and philosopher, but also as one of her greatest preachers. It is a remarkable fact, however, that his preaching has been somewhat neglected, both in academic circles and in the Reformed churches. Published in the year that marks the two hundred and fiftieth anniversary of his death, this book straddles the church's and the academy's interest in Edwards and supplies that omission." "Dr. Carrick demonstrates that Edwards was preaching and writing at a unique moment in history when the Puritan spirit and the spirit of the Enlightenment intersected; he traces the remarkable fall and rise of interest in the great American preacher-theologian in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries; he interacts, both positively and critically, with the now complete Yale edition of Edwards' Works and also with the ever-burgeoning field of Edwards scholarship; and he cites extensively from Edwards' sermons, treatises, and Miscellanies in order to demonstrate the power and the profundity of his preaching and thought."--BOOK JACKET.
This volume argues that the notion of "affections†? discussed by Jonathan Edwards (and Christian theologians before him) means something very different from what contemporary English speakers now call "emotions.†? and that Edwards's notions of affections came almost entirely from traditional Christian theology in general and the Reformed tradition in particular. Ryan J. Martin demonstrates that Christian theologians for centuries emphasized affection for God, associated affections with the will, and distinguished affections from passions; generally explaining affections and passions to be inclinations and aversions of the soul. This was Edwards's own view, and he held it throughout his entire ministry. Martin further argues that Edwards's view came not as a result of his reading of John Locke, or the pressures of the Great Awakening (as many Edwardsean scholars argue), but from his own biblical interpretation and theological education. By analysing patristic, medieval and post-medieval thought and the journey of Edwards's psychology, Martin shows how, on their own terms, pre-modern Christians historically defined and described human psychology.
Jonathan Edwards’ theologically sophisticated psychology of grace remains one of the deepest and most fertile theological psychologies in the Protestant tradition. The heart of his account lies in his foundational doctrine of spiritual perception where he locates the psychological core of the engraced Christian life. This work revisits Edwards’ doctrine from the perspective of recent work in the philosophy of emotions and other related philosophical sub-disciplines. The aim is to recover this often neglected theme in contemporary theology and renew it by bringing Edwards’ theological insights into conversation with various spheres of contemporary philosophical discussion. The account of spiritual perception that emerges from this interdisciplinary dialogue is one that seeks to revise, update and deepen Edwards’ own thinking on the matter in five major ways. The book concludes by arguing that the capacity for spiritual and emotional perception of the supreme good is grounded upon a wisdom-like seminal virtue centred upon the incarnate Christ (i.e., Christocentric wisdom). Such wisdom, on the renewed account, is considered the psychological core of transforming grace and the foundational basis upon which all other Christian virtues are formed.
Jonathan Edwards and Scripture
Author: David P. Barshinger, Douglas A. Sweeney
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Jonathan Edwards and Scripture provides a fresh look at the important, burgeoning field of Edwards and the Bible. For too long, Edwards scholars have published new research on Edwards without paying due attention to the work he took most seriously: biblical exegesis. Edwards is recognized asan innovative theologian who wielded tremendous influence on revivalism, evangelicalism, and New England theology, but what is often missed is how much time he devoted to studying and understanding the Bible. He kept voluminous notebooks on Christian Scripture and had plans for major treatises onthe Bible before he died. Edwards scholars need to take stock of the place of the Bible in his thought to do justice to his theology and legacy. In fact, more and more experts are recognizing how important this aspect of his life is, and this book brings together the insights of leading Edwards scholars on this topic. Thisvolume seeks to increase our understanding of Edwards' engagement with Scripture by setting it in the context of seventeenth-century Protestant exegesis and eighteenth-century colonial interpretation. It provides case studies of Edwards' exegesis in varying genres of the Bible, and probes his use ofScripture to develop theology. It also sets his biblical interpretation in perspective by comparing it with that of other exegetes. This book advances our understanding of the nature and significance of Edwards' work with Scripture and opens new lines of inquiry for students of early modern Westernhistory.
The question of the afterlife is, for many today, one of preference. Christians trained to evangelize unsaved people with the query, “If you were to die today, do you know where you would go – heaven or hell?” have grown befuddled when met with the response, “I don’t believe in heaven or hell.” Something in our culture has changed. The ground has shifted beneath our feet. We did not feel it. But change has come, just the same. We must reacquaint modern Christians with the eschatologically driven preaching and teaching of Edwards. This word “eschatological” may trip some readers up at first encounter, but it refers simply to “last things”, things of eternity and ultimate significance. We exhume Edwards' scripturally fired material on the reality of the afterlife, the terror of hell, the glories of heaven, and the shape life must take in light of these realities. If we accept the Word as our authority, and if we will allow Edwards to serve as our faithful and imaginative guide, we will find that God is alive. He is Lord of heaven and earth, the sovereign ruler of all Creation. He is not small. He can be found. He is not silent on the afterlife, and His testimony calls for our attention, our concern, and our whole-hearted worship and trust. Easily accessible and readable, you do not need to be a scholar to enjoy these insights about Jonathan Edwards and his writings.
The field of Jonathan Edwards studies is only beginning to wrestle with his vast corpus of writings on the Bible, and David Barshinger addresses this gap by providing a close study of his engagement with the book of Psalms. Barshinger explores materials that have received little attention to date, including Edwards's notebooks on the Bible and dozens of handwritten sermon manuscripts. Barshinger shows that Edwards approached the Psalms not merely from a typological or Christological viewpoint, but that the history of redemption provided the theological framework within which he interpreted, preached, and sang the Psalms. At a time of increasing attacks on the Bible, Edwards appropriated the book of Psalms as a divinely inspired anchor to proclaim the gospel. In his reading of the Psalms Edwards treated various theological themes, including God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, revelation, humanity, sin, the gospel, Christian piety, the church corporate, and the eternal dwellings of allpeople, connecting all of these themes through the redemptive-historical framework that guided his vision of the Bible.
What is a true Christian? What is the church? Though these are fundamental questions they often go unanswered in our current evangelical context. Far too many pastors and thinkers celebrate the trappings of faith and the mere benefits of Christianity, ignoring the biblical testimony on true conversion that shouts from countless texts from Scripture. This has fed an age-old problem: nominal Christianity. Though Edwards is sometimes presented as a scourge, a mean-hearted parson who lived to belt out thunderous damnations, a careful study of the historical record and of Edwards’ writings shows that he was in fact a Christian man devoted to the cultivation of true and saving faith in a spiritually fickle people he tenaciously loved. The problem of noncommittal Christianity did not end with Edwards. It not only survives but thrives in the current day. In studying it then, we are studying ourselves. We see that nominal Christianity, a considerable challenge today, has historic roots. We need not face this problem alone, growing more discouraged by the day, flailing as we try method after method to address the problem. Instead, we can find solace, instruction, and encouragement from the biblically saturated life and ministry of Jonathan Edwards. Easily accessible and readable, you do not need to be a scholar to enjoy these insights about Jonathan Edwards and his writings.
Edwards the Exegete
Author: Douglas A. Sweeney
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Scholars have long recognized that Jonathan Edwards loved the Bible, but preoccupation with his roles in Western "public" life and letters has eclipsed the significance of his biblical exegesis. In Edwards the Exegete, Douglas A. Sweeney fills this lacuna, exploring Edwards' exegesis and its significance for Christian thought and intellectual history. As Sweeney shows, throughout Edwards' life the lion's share of his time was spent wrestling with the words of holy writ. After reconstructing Edwards' lost exegetical world and describing his place within it, Sweeney summarizes his four main approaches to the Bible-canonical, Christological, redemptive-historical, and pedagogical-and analyzes his work on selected biblical themes that illustrate these four approaches, focusing on material emblematic of Edwards' larger interests as a scholar. Sweeney compares Edwards' work to that of his most frequent interlocutors and places it in the context of the history of exegesis, challenging commonly held notions about the state of Christianity in the age of the Enlightenment. Edwards the Exegete offers a novel guide to the theologian's exegetical work, clearing a path that other specialists are sure to follow. Sweeney's significant reassessment of Edwards' place in the Enlightenment makes a major contribution to Edwards studies, eighteenth-century studies, the history of exegesis, the theological interpretation of Scripture, and homiletics.
Josh Moody has assembled a team of internationally reputed Edwards scholars to ask and answer the question: What is Jonathan Edwards’s doctrine of Justification? The contributors also examine the extent to which Edwards’s view was Reformational while addressing some of the contemporary discussions on justification. This volume helps us look at justification through the eyes of one of America’s greatest theologians, and speaks credibly and winsomely to the needs of the church and the academy today.
"Useful men are some of the greatest blessings of a people. To have many such is more for a people's happiness than almost anything, unless it be God's own gracious, spiritual presence amongst them; they are precious gifts of heaven." Certainly one of the most useful men in evangelical history was the man who preached those words, pastor and theologian Jonathan Edwards. Commemorating his 300th birthday, general editors John Piper and Justin Taylor chose ten essays that highlight different aspects of Edwards's life and legacy and show how his teachings are just as relevant today as they were three centuries ago. Even within the church, many people know little more about Edwards than what is printed in American history textbooks-most often, excerpts from his best-known sermon, "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God." They unjustly envision Edwards preaching only fire and brimstone to frightened listeners. But he knew and preached God's heaven as much as Satan's hell. He was a humble and joyful servant, striving to glorify God in his personal life and public ministry. This book's contributors investigate the character and teachings of the man who preached from a deep concern for the unsaved and a passionate desire for God. Studying the life and works of this dynamic Great Awakening figure will rouse slumbering Christians, prompting them to view the world through Edwards's God-centered lens.
Jonathan Edwards on Beauty
Author: Owen Strachan, Douglas Allen Sweeney
Publisher: Moody Publishers
Beauty is hard to describe, but easy to identify. It resides in expected and unexpected places in our world. Beauty is present in our world in a variety of forms. Yet while the average person might think about the reality of beauty from time to time, few people would think about the source of beauty. Where does beauty come from? Why is it here? Several hundred years ago Jonathan Edwards did some thinking of his own on this difficult subject. This volume explores his meditation on the subject and lays out a Christian framework for understanding and experiencing the beauty God has planted in His world. Edwards found in the study of beauty the person of God. Where Edwards saw beautiful images and acts, he saw a representation, a small picture, of a reality too great to comprehend, a God too majestic to adequately adore. He sets in motion a path of glory that begins with the Lord, moves to creation, continues to the incarnation of Christ, moves to the church, and ascends to the glory of heaven, where the Holy Trinity dwells. Easily accessible and readable, you do not need to be a scholar to enjoy these insights about Jonathan Edwards and his writings.
Author: George M. Marsden
Publisher: Yale University Press
"Superb and engrossing" ("The Washington Post Book World"), the definitive biography of Jonathan Edwards, America's most important religious figure, draws on newly available sources to reveal how he was shaped by the cultural and religious battles of his time. 30 illustrations.
Scholars and laypersons alike regard Jonathan Edwards (1703-58) as North America's greatest theologian. The Theology of Jonathan Edwards is the most comprehensive survey of his theology yet produced and the first study to make full use of the recently-completed seventy-three-volume online edition of the Works of Jonathan Edwards. The book's forty-five chapters examine all major aspects of Edwards's thought and include in-depth discussions of the extensive secondary literature on Edwards as well as Edwards's own writings. Its opening chapters set out Edwards's historical and personal theological contexts. The next thirty chapters connect Edwards's theological loci in the temporally-ordered way in which he conceptualized the theological enterprise-beginning with the triune God in eternity with his angels to the history of redemption as an expression of God's inner reality ad extra, and then back to God in eschatological glory.The authors analyze such themes as aesthetics, metaphysics, typology, history of redemption, revival, and true virtue. They also take up such rarely-explored topics as Edwards's missiology, treatment of heaven and angels, sacramental thought, public theology, and views of non-Christian religions. Running throughout the volume are what the authors identify as five basic theological constituents: trinitarian communication, creaturely participation, necessitarian dispositionalism, divine priority, and harmonious constitutionalism. Later chapters trace his influence on and connections with later theologies and philosophies in America and Europe. The result is a multi-layered analysis that treats Edwards as a theologian for the twenty-first-century global Christian community, and a bridge between the Christian West and East, Protestantism and Catholicism, conservatism and liberalism, and charismatic and non-charismatic churches.
The Power of God
Author: Jonathan Edwards, David S. Lovi, Benjamin Westerhoff
Publisher: Casemate Publishers
Paul's epistle to the Romans is one of the most beloved writings in the entire biblical canon, especially for Augustinians and Protestants. It is the subject of thousands of commentaries, many by the most important doctors of the church: Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin, Hodge, and Barth, to name a few. It offers the doctrines of sin, the gospel, and salvation in a nutshell. It is the basis for the structure of the first Protestant textbook in what later came to be categorized as systematic theology, Philip Melanchthon's Loci Communes (1521). It is a frequently-cited sourcebook of the Reformation solas, which teach that salvation comes by grace alone through faith alone because of the work of God through Christ alone. It is the site of the "Romans road," a standard tool for sharing the gospel used by myriad evangelists in the evangelical movement. It is a central text of scripture, in short, employed by many readers as a key to the whole Bible. Jonathan Edwards never published a major commentary on Romans. He did, however, preach about and write about Romans at numerous times throughout his life. Though he is highly regarded today as a great literary artist, natural scientist, philosopher and psychologist of religion, he was chiefly a biblical thinker, a minister of the Word. And inasmuch as he remains one of the most important thought leaders in all of Christian history, this new work, bringing together a major collection of his writings on the biblical book of Romans, will be a welcome one for many.