Concluding my church history series at The Harbor, I choose to do the final message on Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758). I didn’t have time to read Marsden’s 600+ definitive biography on Edwards, but I was delighted to see that he wrote this much shorter (152 pages) biography which was also available instantly via kindle download (I did read several other articles and sections of books, as well as listened to several other lectures and sermons as well).
Like most people today, the image that I had formed of Jonathan Edwards growing up was that of the old Puritan, no fun, all hellfire and brimstone, “Sinners in the Hand of an Angry God” picture in my minds-eye. Like most caricatures, the real Jonathan Edwards is very different. As it turns out, he is quite a different person with quite a wide and vast impact on philosophy, theology, church history, and American history.
Marsden does a great job of capturing the depth of Edward’s story, his advanced intellect, dogged persistence, theological and philosophical contributions, his home-life, study habits (13 hours a day), his preaching as the catalyst for the first Great Awakening, and his affect on America and Christian world missions for the past 300 years.
Edwards’ consuming and singular passion was to delight in the beauty and glory of God. He was a towering intellect, but he also saw the necessity and role of one’s affections in a person’s relationship with and pursuit of God – Edwards connected the head with the heart.
If you really want me to unpack all that I learned in this book and my other studies, you’ll need to listen to my message here when I post it. If you’re looking for a brief overview of his life, this book is a great start.
In the meantime, go order this t-shirt (and get me one while you’re at it – XL)
For the ultimate resource on all things Jonathan Edwards, go to the Jonathan Edwards portal at Yale University here – http://edwards.yale.edu/