Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Great Tragedy

On today’s date in 1750, Jonathan Edwards was dismissed as pastor of the Congregational Church in Northampton, Massachusetts. He received only a 10 % vote to retain him in what Steven Lawson calls “truly one of the great tragedies of church history” (The Unwavering Resolve of Jonathan Edwards). Lawson cites Edwards own letter to John Erskine, written in 1749 when Edwards began to see the writing on the wall: 
A very great difficulty has arisen between me and my people, relating to qualifications for communion at the Lord’s table. My honored grandfather Stoddard, my predecessor in the ministry over this church, strenuously maintained the Lord’s Supper to be a converting ordinance, and urged all to come who were not of scandalous life, though they knew themselves to be unconverted. I formerly conformed to this practice, but I have had difficulties with respect to it, which have been long increasing; till I dared no longer in the former way: which has occasioned great uneasiness among my people, and has filled all the country with noise; which has obliged me to write something on the subject, which is now in the press. I know not but this affair will issue in a separation between me and my people. I desire your prayers that God would guide me in every step in this affair.

No comments: