From the JEC Blog

Archive for November, 2011

Mark Noll on Edwards’ Use of Scripture

Mark Noll is the Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame.

He gave a stimulating lecture in the New Directions in Edwards Studies series, titled “Jonathan Edwards’ Use of the Bible:  A Case Study with Comparisons.” The lecture was held on November 9, 2011 at 1pm in ATO Chapel on the campus of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.

We are happy to announce that the lecture is now available as a free audio: Noll on Edwards and Scripture

Sweeney’s Booknotes: Jonathan Edwards and God’s Grand Design

Sean Michael Lucas, God’s Grand Design: The Theological Vision of Jonathan Edwards (Wheaton: Crossway, 2011).

Sean Lucas is a friend. He acknowledges me in this book, for which I wrote a glowing endorsement. Lest this booknote seem an exercise in bibliographical favoritism, I’ll keep it short and sweet.

This is a book written for Christians, both to inform them of the major themes of Edwards’s theology and to encourage faith and piety.

There have been many attempts to identify the core of Edwards’s thought—its modernity, its rationalism, its focus on experience, its doctrine of saving faith, to name a few of the leading candidates. But Lucas contends that none of these things was quite the most important. It is “striking,” he says, “that Edwards spent the greatest amount of his time thinking about the Christian life, both for himself and then for his parishioners” (p. 12). This “major preoccupation” yielded a comprehensive “theology and history of the Christian life, beginning in eternity past with the mutual delight that God had in himself and extending . . . into the future in which heaven would be a ‘world of love’” (p. 13). This vision of the Christian life proved most important to Edwards, which is why Lucas has selected it as the subject of his book.

The book has two main parts. In part one, Lucas limns Edwards’s view of redemptive history, describing his view of creation, fall, salvation, and heavenly consummation. In part two, he recounts what Edwards said of the application of redemption in the daily lives of Christians, discussing divine light, affections, virtue, the church, and growth in grace. He offers a helpful bibliography and concludes with an appendix using Edwards’s early life as a model for the spiritual formation of clergy.

All in all, this is a fine book. I recommend it highly, especially to Christian ministry leaders.

–By Douglas Sweeney, Director of the JEC at TEDS

Mark Noll on Jonathan Edwards’ Use of the Bible (TEDS chapel, Nov 9)

Mark Noll is the Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame. He will be at TEDS on Nov 9, 1pm, lecturing on: “Jonathan Edwards’ Use of the Bible:  A Case Study with Comparisons.”

This lecture will be in the ATO chapel and is hosted by the Jonathan Edwards Center as part of the New Directions in Edwards Studies.

A brief synopsis of his lecture: This paper takes advantage of the splendid “Works of Jonathan Edwards,” including the recent volume for Edwards’ interleaved Bible, to look more closely at how Edwards interpreted specific passages of Scripture.  One of the great contributions of recent Edwards scholarship has been to document how much he was a student of Scripture as well as a painstaking theologian, conscientious pastor, and discerning promoter of revival.  By comparing one or two of Edwards’ specific biblical interpretations with interpretations offered by near contemporaries like Matthew Henry, Philip Doddridge, or John Wesley, it should be possible to say more about where Edwards’ approach to Scripture was distinctive and where it reflected the wider perspectives of his age.