Wednesday, March 04, 2009

The Unwavering Resolve of Jonathan Edwards...The face of true Christianty?

The Unwavering Resolve of Jonathan Edwards is the second in the series of 'a long line of Godly men' profiles by Steven J. Lawson. The first was of Calvin, and more are promised in this spin off from the 'Foundations of Grace' series he's also working on. As far as design goes it's really hard to beat these books. They are fit. Well illustrated covers, nice sized readable fonts, endnotes at the end of the chapter rather than the end of the book. There's really no excuse for poorly designed Christian books.

'Unwavering Resolve' is a brief introduction and autobiography of it's subject. Rather than deal with a chronological overview of Edwards' life Lawson helps us to see him through the lense of several of his Resolutions. each chapter focuses in on four or five Resolutions grouped thematically, and tries to shed light on a different aspect on Edwards' life, be it his devotion to study, his discipline, his love for others or his God's glory orientated theology. It was these chapters that really gripped me.

Edwards was the last of the Puritians, and since then it's hard to find a Christian who has thought about life 'from the ground up,' in relation to the Gospel. We view Edwards as the Elizabethans viewed people from the new World, we view him as we might today view societies on Mars; odd, removed from us not so much by time and distance as by category. We hear about him, thirteen hours a day in the study, regulating his diet to the glory of God, losing a good pastorate over who can and can not take the Lord's Supper, and we think he's very strange. A quirk of a great mind and a devoted spirit. The exception.

But what if he's not supposed to be the exception. Lloyd-Jones described him as the man most like Paul. In Resolution 63 Edwards wrote that if there was to be just one true Christian found in his generation that he would have it be him. So what if Edwards is that? What if we only view him as a quirk because we are so far from Biblical Christianity today.

'Unwavering Resolve' is a great overview of the life of the finest mind America has ever produced, but it is a better challenge of what a man deeply affected by the truth of the Gospel should look like...

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