Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758)
Jonathan Edwards, often called America’s greatest theologian and philosopher and the last Puritan, was a powerful force behind the First Great Awakening, as well as a champion of Christian zeal and spirituality. Both Christian and secular scholarship concur on his importance in American history. The treasures from Edwards’s pen have been mined, pondered, and evaluated to the present day. His famous sermon, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” is still being read and studied in America’s public schools as a specimen of eighteenth-century literature. Students of American history pay much attention to Edwards’s scientific, philosophical, and psychological writings; theologians and church historians regard Edwards’s work on revivals as unexcelled in analysis and scope. Christians continue to read his sermons with great appreciation for their rich doctrine, clear and forceful style, and powerful depiction of the majesty of God, the sinfulness of sin, and Christ’s power to save.
Still, not everyone agrees about Edwards’s place in the history of Christian thought. Scholars continue to debate his philosophical musings, his fidelity to certain historic Calvinist doctrines, and his influence upon subsequent generations. As Iain H. Murray notes, “Edwards divided men in his lifetime and to no less degree he continues to divide his biographers” (Jonathan Edwards: A New Biography, p. xix). read more....
Excerpt from Meet the Puritans by Dr. Joel Beeke and Randall J. Pederson