Douglas A. Sweeney, Jonathan Edwards and the Ministry of the Word: A Model of Faith and Thought (InterVarsity, 2009)

Douglas Sweeney, who teaches church history at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, has written a most helpful book on the life, theology, and impact of Jonathan Edwards—as well as on the encouragement that Edwards can be for Christian believers today. Everyone who remained even semi-alert in high school knows about Edwards for his famous (and hair-raising) sermon, "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God." Those who have been paying a little more attention know that Edwards was a major figure in the colonial American revivals that are called "the Great Awakening" and also that he was a major thinker who forcefully defended traditional Christianity against secularizing forces associated with the Enlightenment. An increasing number also know of Jonathan Edwards as an extraordinary theologian and Christian philosopher because of landmark scholarly books like George Marsden's prize-winning biography, Jonathan Edwards: A Life (Yale University Press, 2003); the great edition of Jonathan Edwards' writing overseen by Harry Stout and Kenneth Minkema that for many years has been issuing from Yale University Press; or popular presentations in many books by John Piper, such as God's Passion for His Glory: Living the Vision of Jonathan Edwards (Crossway, 2006).

Sweeney, who worked for several years at Yale on the Edwards edition, offers a distinctive perspective on Edwards with this study. It combines two approaches that, at first, might seem disharmonious. The book's extensive notes and other scholarly apparatus offer learned commentary on very detailed aspects of Edwards's career, particular questions involving Edwards's ...

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