From the JEC Blog

Archive for March, 2010

Welcome to the JEC at TEDS Blog

On behalf of the staff and associates of the Jonathan Edwards Center at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, welcome to the JEC at TEDS blog.  We’re glad you’ve come, and we hope that you’ll check back often for updates, live-blogs, special excerpts, featured interviews, and more.

Please take note of a special feature of this blog: Director Doug Sweeney’s “Book Notes”, short interactions with recent texts relating to Edwards studies.  These will not be published anywhere else, so readers wanting to benefit from Dr. Sweeney’s scholarly insight will need to make the JEC at TEDS blog a regular destination.  Our fellows and staff will join in on this effort as well.

In the future, we intend for this blog to be a hub for church people and scholars who are drawn to study the unique life, ministry, and thought of Jonathan Edwards.  We hope that you will comment frequently and help us fulfill this mission.

Sweeney’s BookNotes: Grigg on Brainerd

John A. Grigg, The Lives of David Brainerd: The Making of an American Evangelical Icon, Religion in America Series (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009).

We all know something of the legend of David Brainerd, but few of us know much about the man. This new book by John Grigg is better than anything before it on the life and work of Brainerd, and on the real history of his legendary influence on evangelicalism and modern missions.

It begins with two complaints: “First, Brainerd’s life is often irrevocably bifurcated between events that precede [his] expulsion [from Yale College] and those that follow it, and second, he is understood only within the context either of the Great Awakening or of Indian missions. Because of this, the bulk of his life, the first twenty years or so, is erased, effectively cutting Brainerd loose from the culture in which he grew up. Any sense of continuity, of heritage, disappears and Brainerd becomes a fragmented abstraction, an example of discrete aspects of colonial America.”

Grigg succeeds at situating Brainerd back in his own culture, reintegrating our view of his person and work. For anyone interested in understanding Brainerd and his world, the lives of Brainerd by Edwards and Wesley, or the uses to which those lives have been put by modern evangelicals, this book is a must read.

–Composed by Douglas Sweeney, Director of the Jonathan Edwards Center at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

Just Released: The Essential Edwards Collection

The staff of the JEC at TEDS has just released a five-volume series entitled The Essential Edwards Collection (Moody, February 2010).

Coauthored by Owen Strachan and Doug Sweeney, this brand-new series distills the essential thought of America’s greatest pastor-theologian.  It is written to be of help to all kinds of people–those who know little about Edwards and haven’t had time to read him, those familiar with Edwards who could benefit from short resource guides offering important quotations and critical but deeply appreciative analysis, and those who love Edwards and want to work through the searching material he authored.

The books are short (160 pages), readable, and include application sections. The following is the list of books:

Jonathan Edwards, Lover of God
Jonathan Edwards on Beauty
Jonathan Edwards on the Good Life
Jonathan Edwards on True Christianity
Jonathan Edwards on Heaven and Hell

The Essential Edwards Collection is not an anthology of Edwards’s writings, but a guide to his thought.  It includes the most important passages from his corpus along with commentary designed to illumine them and application intended to fire the heart and mind of the reader.

In the end, however, Strachan and Sweeney intend for this collection to not simply help people learn about America’s great theologian, but to enlarge the modern church’s understanding of God and the life of joy and excitement He offers us through His Son.

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Select Endorsements

“an excellent glimpse into a life lived unto God” Thabiti Anyabwile

“the kernel of much of Edwards’s thought in eminently accessible form” D. A. Carson

a “splendid library of volumes” David Dockery

“a fantastic introduction to the heart, mind, and ministry of the greatest theologian America has ever produced” Mark Driscoll

“I’ve read no better introduction to Jonathan Edwards” C. J. Mahaney

“five excellent and accessible introductions”…”a great achievement and a tremendous resource” Al Mohler

“Pure gold” Josh Moody

“This winsome and accessible introduction is now the first thing I’d recommend for those who want to know more about America’s greatest pastor-theologian” Justin Taylor

“a wide-ranging and representative sample of his work published in an attractive, accessible and, most important of all, readable form” Carl Trueman