Posted tagged ‘Jonathan Edwards’

Get Entire Essential Edwards Collection 50% Off

July 27, 2010

For those well-acquainted with Jonathan Edwards and those who have not ready any of his works, the Essential Edwards collection is a must-read.  These five books, written by Owen Strachan and Doug Sweeney are excellent pieces devotional in nature and sure to challenge you in your affectionate pursuit of Christ and understanding of His truth.

For the next week, you can get all five books for 50% off the retail price ($44.95) through Westminster Bookstore.  That is all five books for $22.50.  The five books are:

For an overview of this series, check out the following videos.  Remember, the 50% sale ends August 2, so be sure to take advantage of it when you can!

Universally His, Subject to His Will, Devoted to His Ends

January 3, 2010

In his book, Religious Affections, Jonathan Edwards argues that the chief of all distinguishing signs of true and saving grace is Christian practice.  In a list of supporting reasons why he believes this to be the case, he speaks of the practical exercise of holy affections in making a “full choice” of God.  Starting off 2010, I thought these convicting words of Edwards would be well worth our attention:

“[T]he holy Scriptures do abundantly place sincerity and soundness in religion in making a full choice of God as our only Lord and portion, forsaking all for him, and, in a full determination of the will for God and Christ, on counting the cost; in our heart’s closing and complying with the religion of Jesus Christ, with all that belongs to it, embracing it with all its difficulties, as it were hating our dearest earthly enjoyments and even our own lives, for Christ; giving up ourselves, with all that we have, wholly and for ever, unto Christ, without keeping back anything, or making any reserve; or in one word, the great duty of self-denial for Christ; or in denying, i.e., as it were, disowning and renouncing ourselves for Him, making ourselves nothing that He may be all.

[…] A having a heart to deny ourselves for Christ tends to a denying ourselves indeed, when Christ and self-interest stand in competition.  A giving up of ourselves, with all that we have, in our hearts, without making any reserve there, tends to our behaving ourselves universally as His, as subject to His will, and devoted to His ends.  Our heart’s entirely closing with the religion of Jesus, with all that belongs to it, and as attended with all its difficulties, upon a deliberate counting the cost, tends to a universal closing with the same in act and deed, and actually going through all the difficulties that we meet with in the way of religion, and so holding out with patience and perseverance.”

– Jonathan Edwards, Religious Affections, 319-20 (emphasis mine).

We ought to be ashamed we are no more affected with the gospel.

November 9, 2009

One of the most sobering and soul-stirring quotes from the pen of Jonathan Edwards:

If true religion lies much in the affections, hence we may learn what great cause we have to be ashamed and confounded before God, that we are no more affected with the great things of religion.

God has given to mankind affections . . . that they might be subservient to man’s chief end, and the great business for which God has created him, that is, the business of religion.  And yet how common is it among mankind, that their affections are much more exercised and engaged in other matters than in religion!  In things which concern men’s worldly interest, their outward delights, their honour and reputation, and their natural relations, they have their desires eager, their appetites vehement, their love warm and affectionate, their zeal ardent; in these things their hearts are tender and sensible, easily moved, deeply impressed, much concerned, very sensibly affected, and greatly engaged; much depressed with grief at losses, and highly raised with joy at worldly successes and prosperity.

But how insensible and unmoved are most men about the great things of another world!  How dull are their affections!  How heavy and hard their hearts in these matters!  Here their love is cold, their desires languid, their zeal low, and their gratitude small.

How they can sit and hear of the infinite height, and depth, and length, and breadth of the love of God in Christ Jesus, of His giving His infinitely dear Son, to be offered up a sacrifice for the sins of men, and of the unparalleled love of the innocent, and holy, and tender Lamb of God, manifested in His dying agonies, His bloody sweat, His loud and bitter cries, and bleeding heart, and all this for enemies, to redeem them from deserved, eternal burnings, and to bring to unspeakable and everlasting joy and glory–and yet be so cold and heavy, insensible and regardless!

Where are the exercises of our affections proper, if not here?. . . Is there anything which Christians can find in heaven or earth so worthy to be the objects of our admiration and love, their earnest and longing desires, their hope, and their rejoicing, and their fervent zeal, as those things that are held forth to us in the gospel of Jesus Christ?

[ . . .] God has so disposed things in the affair of our redemption, and in His glorious dispensations, revealed to us in the gospel, as though every thing were purposely contrived in such a manner as to have the greatest possible tendency to reach our hearts in the most tender part, and move our affections most sensibly and strongly.  How great cause have we therefore to be humbled to the dust that we are no more affected!

– Jonathan Edwards, Religious Affections, 51-53.

Jonathan Edwards on Continued Transformation and Renewal

August 7, 2009

In his book Religious Affections, Jonathan Edwards argued that one way distinguish truly gracious affections from others is that they are attended with a change of nature.  When the soul has a spiritual understanding of the excellency and glory of divine things, such understanding brings the supernatural effect of transformation, or a change of nature.  Because this conversion not only imparts “light from the Sun of Righteousness” but also becomes “a luminous thing” by partaking of the nature of the Fountain of their light.  To put it another way, Edwards says “the saints not only drink of the water of life that flows from the original fountain, but this water becomes a fountain of water in them, springing up there and flowing out of them.” What Edwards is illustrating is the continual renewal that comes from participating in the glory of divine things through the transforming power of the gospel.

As I have been developing a theology of renewal in recent weeks, I want to post the following excerpt from Edwards quite pertinent to the discussion.  Check it out.

“As it is with spiritual discoveries and affections given at first conversion, so it is in all subsequent illuminations and affections of this kind; they are all transforming.  There is a like divine power and energy in them as in the first discoveries; they still reach the bottom of the heart, and affect and alter the very nature of the soul, in proportion to the degree in which they are given.  And a transformation of nature is continued and carried on by them to the end of life, until it is brought to perfection in glory.  Hence the progress of the work of grace in the hearts of the saints is represented in Scripture as a continued conversion and renovation of nature” (270).

Finney and the Regulative Principle

December 13, 2007

We are down to the final hours of the “Ask Anything” deal, and my question on the Regulative Principle is hanging tough (NKOTB style). I appreciate the interest level and thousands of votes that have come in over the past week.

Many of you know that I have been reading a lot of Finney this semester. I have written about some new “new measures” as well as Finney the controversialist. In this post, I want to share Finney’s view of methodology which is an out and out rejection of the Regulative Principle. Historically speaking, the regulative principle has been understood to mean that nothing must be required as essential to public worship except which is commanded by the word of God.[1] Derek Thomas argues that one of the reasons for holding to the RP is to understand that “what makes worship different is that is cultural ethos is determined by scriptural commands and principles rather than personal or collective tastes and mores.”[2] It is important to note that, historically, the RP was not to bind or impose upon worshipers regarding what they can or cannot do; rather, it was quite the contrary. For Luther, Calvin, and the Westminster Divines, it was about the liberty of conscience and freedom of the Christian.

Charles Finney grew up being taught the Westminster Confession of Faith, eventually publicly consenting to it when ordained in the Presbyterian Church. One would think, then, that Finney would be at least sympathetic towards a Scripture-governed view of the church. However, much like his soteriological departure, his view of the church manifested a clear rejection of the authority and priority of Scripture in worship and practice. For us, it is a lesson that theology indeed does drive methodology.


He was God-dominated.

October 21, 2007

More from D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones on Jonathan Edwards, this time focusing on “the secret of this man.”

“What then was the secret of this man?  I have no hesitation in saying this: the spiritual always controlled the intellectual in him.  I believe he must have had a great struggle with his towering intellect, and his original thinking. . . . But as they put it, theology kept breaking in.  But that constitutes the special glory of this man–and this is what explains him–that he always kept his philosophy and his speculations subservient to the Bible and regarded them as mere servants.  Whatever he might be tempted to think, the Bible was supreme: everything was subordinate to the Word of God.  All his rich and brilliant gifts were not only held to be subservient, but were used as servants.  In other words he was God-dominated.”

– D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, The Puritans: Their Origins and Successors (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1987), 356.

Lloyd-Jones to Church Members: Read Jonathan Edwards.

October 19, 2007

In his book, The Puritans: Their Origins and Successors, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones wrote about “Jonathan Edwards and the Crucial Importance of Revival.” Needless to say, the church in the 21st century is in need of revival. The answer many churches are resorting to is the path of Charles Finney with protracted meetings (revival meetings) and anxious seats (altar calls). Lloyd-Jones offers an alternative for those church members seeking revival. He writes:

“My advice to you is: Read Jonathan Edwards. Stop going to so many meetings; stop craving for the various forms of entertainment which are so popular in evangelical circles at the present time. Learn to stay at home. Learn to read again, and do not merely read the exciting stories of certain modern people. Go back to something solid and deep and real. Are we losing the art of reading? Revivals have often started as the result of people reading volumes such as these two volumes of Edwards’ works. So read this man. Decide to do so. Read his sermons; read his practical treatises, and then go on to the great discourses on theological subjects. But above all, let all of us, preachers and listeners, having read this man, try to capture and to lay hold upon his greatest emphasis of all – the glory of God.”

– D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, The Puritans: Their Origins and Successors (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1987), 369-70.

The Glorious Work of Redemption

October 18, 2007

In his Thoughts on the New England Revival: Vindicating the Great Awakening, Jonathan Edwards shares how the work of redemption is “the most glorious work of God whatseover.”  Edwards writes,

“It is the work of redemption (the great end of all other works of God, and of which the work of creation was but a shadow) in the event, success and end of it.  It is the work of new creation, that is infinitely more glorious than the old.  I am bold to say that the work of God in the conversion of one soul considered together with the source, foundation and purchase of it and also the benefit, end and eternal issue of it, is a more glorious work of God than the creation of the whole material universe.  It is the most glorious of God’s works, as it above all others manifests the glory of God.  It is spoken of in Scripture as that which shows the exceeding greatness of God’s power, and the glory and riches of divine grace,  and wherein Christ has the most glorious triumph over his enemies, and wherein God is mightily exalted: and it is a work above all others glorious, as it concerns the happiness of mankind; more happiness and a greater benefit to man is the fruit of each single drop of such a shower than all the temporal good of the most happy revolution in a land or nation amounts to, or all that a people could gain by the conquest of the world.”

– Jonathan Edwards, Thoughts on the New England Revival: Vindicating the Great Awakening (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 2005), 62-63.

That is a meaty paragraph to chew on!  Should meditating on such a thought not cause us to desire to spend every waking moment of our lives experiencing and being a part of such a glorious work?  More than the whole material universe is the glory of conversion of one soul.  Greater than the conquest of the world is one single drop the happiness wrought in the work of redemption.  Has such glories enraptured our affections?