Two hundred years ago at Princeton, the ministry of Jonathan Edwards ended (March 22, 1758) in untimely death. He was and is considered to be one of the outstanding minds of American history. He stands out as a philosopher, theologian, man of letters, and revivalist. His reputation has been maligned for many years because of false judgment against a certain sermon and a particular emphasis in preaching. The time has come to revalue Jonathan Edwards and his ministry in the light of the eighteenth century, the Great Awakening, and our present age. During his lifetime (1703–1758) he lived and labored under the eye of the divine Taskmaster. The several lives of Edwards give the details of his life of dedication and devotion.
New knowledge about Edwards indicates that he was primarily a pastoral preacher who did the work of an evangelist. Puritan in life and ideal, he followed well defined models of Puritan homiletics and hermeneutics. Study filled most of the day, and a well-disciplined mind was lighted by the Holy Spirit for his ministry.
Election And Decision
The manuscripts at Yale and Andover throw new light upon his inner convictions and the emphases he made in preaching. These suggest that in Edwards there is a paradox. How was it that he, a Calvinist convinced of the sovereignty of God, could at the same time act as a persuasive Arminianist in storming the will of man and urging man to press in to the Kingdom of God? This is most enlightening, especially as we are witnessing in our day a revival of preaching closely akin to this. Modern evangelism raises afresh the question concerning the stress in preaching which brings people to repentance and faith.
Is there any difference between revival preaching and evangelistic ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 65+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more