Thursday, September 27, 2007


Monday, September 24, 2007

J.E. at the ETS

JEC Hires Adriaan Neele

There are big changes afoot at the Jonathan Edwards Center. Caleb Maskell, who has been the Associate Director of the JEC since August 2004 is resigning his post to begin a PhD in Religion in America at Princeton University. Maskell will be replaced by Dr. Adriaan Neele.

Adriaan Neele comes to the JEC from the University of Pretoria where he was a professor on the Faculty of Theology. A scholar of post-reformation studies, Neele has written a book entitled The Art of Living to God: A Study of Method and Piety in the Theoretica-practica theologia of Petrus van Mastricht.

We are very excited to have Adriaan Neele come on board with us. We will be posting an interview with him on our site in the near future. Also, Caleb Maskell will remain on board at the JEC as a research editor. All of his contact information remains the same.

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John MacArthur

also likes Jonathan Edwards. Here.

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Saturday, September 15, 2007

Sovereign Grace

'Edwards cherished the Calvinist doctrine of the sovereignty of grace. He agreed that Christ died only for the elect and that they alone would experience the supernatural and sovereign "divine influence and operation, by which saving grace is obtained.'

E. Brooks Holifield in 'Edwards as Theologian' in The Cambridge Companion to Jonathan Edwards, 149.

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Thursday, September 13, 2007


Thanks for the email containing this link. An article on Edwards view of Mary. It is a polemical piece!

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Al Mohler's Advice

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Federal Vision

I am a curious bystander observing the ongoing debates within some Protestant circles in the USA over the doctrine of the covenants, the nature of sacraments, and other issues. The debate normally surfaces under the heading 'The Federal Vision.' On one side, Douglas Wilson, Peter Leithart, Rich Lusk, Steve Wilkins and numerous others. On the other side a host of OPC, PCA, and other Reformed pastors. Clear so far? If not don't worry. I just want to highlight something in a book called 'The Federal Vision and Covenant Theology' by someone called Guy Prentiss Waters.

The thing that intrigues me is that Prof Waters claims that his anti-Federal Vision position is the position held by Jonathan Edwards. So in the preface I read that Mr Waters 'daughters are, through my wife, descended from the ministries of Solomon Stoddard and Jonathan Edwards. It is my fervent hope that the biblical doctrine preached from that pulpit in Northampton will, by the blessing of the Holy Spirit, thrive in the Reformed churches of my own and my young daughters' generations.' (xv-xvi)

Edwards only gets a couple of mentions in the book. Once where Waters picks up on Leithart's use of Edwards' trinitarianism. The second reference is to Qualifications for Communion (p.289) where JE reflects on sacramental eligibility.

Does this signal the beginning of a new interest in Edwards and the sacraments?

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Thursday, September 06, 2007

'the public good': ministers and magistrates

Edwards' preaching frequently addressed public issues and those with public roles - no shy pietism from Jonathan! Gerald McDermott tracks all sorts of aspects of this in his book One Holy and Happy Society: The Public Theology of Jonathan Edwards (The Pennsylvania State University Press, 1992). In particular, he notes that:

'Edwards did not shrink from telling rulers how they ought to behave. In a 1738 sermon, the pastor-turned-political theorist lectured the handful of magistrates in the congregation (and the voters who elected them) that good rulers would serve the public good, not their own private interests.' (122)

Here is the section from Charity and Its Fruits:

'Especially will a Christian spirit dispose those who stand in a public capacity, such as ministers and magistrates and all public officers, to seek the public good. It will dispose magistrates to act as the fathers of the commonwealth with that care and concern for the public good that the father of a family has for the family, watchful against any public dangers, forward to improve their power to promote the public benefit, not being governed by selfish views in their administrations, seeking only or mainly to enrich themselves, or make themselves great, and advance themselves on the spoils of others as wicked rulers very often do. A Christian spirit will dispose ministers not to seek their own, not merely to seek a maintenance, aiming to get what they can out of their people to enrich themselves and their families, and to clothe themselves with the fleeces of their flock. But a Christian spirit will dispose them mainly to seek the good of their flock, to feed their souls as a good shepherd feeds his flock, and carefully watches over it, to lead it to good pasture, and defend it from wolves and other beasts of prey.' Works, 8, 261-262.

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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Human Nature

'Jonathan Edwards is sometimes criticized for having too dim a view of human nature, but it may be helpful to be reminded that his grandmother was an incorrigible profligate, his great-aunt committed infanticide, and his great-uncle was an ax-murderer.'

George Marsden, Jonathan Edwards: A Life (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003), 22.

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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Discovering Jonathan Edwards 1929

I'm very glad that Edwards' works are widely available now along with several excellent biographies:

"The necessity of constant study for the work of the ministry remained one of Dr Lloyd-Jones' deepest convictions and was one of the main features of his own daily living. Next to his Bible it was probably Jonathan Edwards' Works which provided the greatest stimulus to him at this date. While still in London he had asked a Welsh Presbyterian Minister for the name of books which would help him prepare for the ministry. One recommendation he received was Protestant Thought Before Kant, written by A.C. McGiffert. Although the book did not live up to his expectation, while reading it he came across the name of Jonathan Edwards for the first time. His interest aroused, Dr Lloyd-Jones relates: 'I then questioned my ministerial adviser on Edwards, but he knew nothing about him. After much searching I at length called at John Evans' bookshop in Cardiff in 1929, having time available as I waited for a train. There, down on my knees in my overcoat in a corner of the shop, I found the two volume 1834 edition of Edwards which I bought for five shillings. I devoured these volumes and literally just read and read them. It is certainly true that they helped me more than anything else.'"

Iain Murray, D. Martyn Lloyd Jones: The First Forty Years 1899-1939 (Edinburgh, 1982), 253-254.

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Monday, September 03, 2007

Advice for a Young Preacher

In 1973 D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones wrote to a 'young preacher':

'With regard to books that have meant a great deal to me, I think I would have to put at the very top of my list the works of Jonathan Edwards.'

Iain Murray, D. Martyn Lloyd Jones: The Fight of Faith 1939-1981 (Edinburgh, 1990), 420.

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Lloyd-Jones at the Beinecke

'In this crowded trip in the summer of 1967 I think there was nothing which ML-J personally enjoyed so much as the initial weeks of relaxation in New England. It was his longest visit to that part of the States, and he had the leisure to explore the parts of its history and literature which interested him most. He was fascinated by the new Beinecke Library at Yale, and especially by the room housing the Jonathan Edwards manuscripts where he was welcomed by two of the men responsible for the new Yale edition of Edwards' Works. He spent an afternoon with them in conversation and in examining the preacher's letters and sermon notes. No less memorable was a day spent in Stockbridge - the outpost among the Indians where Edwards went after his dismissal from Northampton. ('I always remember that if Edwards could be ejected by his congregation anyone could!' he was to say at the 'At Home' in September.)

Iain Murray, D. Martyn Lloyd Jones: The Fight of Faith 1939-1981 (Edinburgh, 1990), 575-576.

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Saturday, September 01, 2007

David Martyn Lloyd-Jones: Edwards for Preachers?

"I can simply testify that in my experience the help that I derived in my early years in the ministry from reading the sermons of Jonathan Edwards was immeasurable. And, of course not only his sermons, but also his account of that Great Awakening, that great religious Revival that took place in America in the eighteenth century, and his great The Religious Affections. All that was invaluable because Edwards was an expert in dealing with the states and conditions of the soul. He dealt in a very practical manner with problems arising in a pastoral ministry among people who were passing through the various phases of spiritual experience. This is invaluable to the preacher."

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Preaching and Preachers (Hodder & Stoughton, 1971) 176.

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