Jonathan Edwards and the Ministry of the Word by Douglas A. Sweeney is a superb overview of America’s greatest evangelical and intellectual.  Sweeney summarizes his life, pastoral ministry and theological framework.

Sweeney reminds readers that Edwards opposed Arminian theology at every juncture.  For Edwards, Arminianism meant opposition to “the Reformation and its glorious doctrines of grace, opposed to the biblical truth that sinners are saved supernaturally – and only supernaturally – by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone” (p. 115).

The author includes seven theses for discussion; proposals that intend to “spark reflection about what we can learn from Edwards.”  Sweeney rightly argues: “Edwards shows us that theology can and should be done primarily in the church, by pastors, for the sake of the people of God.”

Jonathan Edwards reminds us of the importance of loving God with the mind.  Sweeney points to the reason for his ongoing influence: “He invested prayer, sweat and tears in the life of the mind.”  Instead of belittling the role of the mind like many contemporary evangelicals, we ought to follow the example of Edwards, who cherished Christ and had a holy relish for his gospel.

4 stars

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