Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Unwavering Resolve of Jonathan Edwards

In The Unwavering Resolve of Jonathan Edwards Steve Lawson has contributed a welcome addition to the growing body of literature concerning America's foremost pastor/theolologian. This is the second book in Reformation Trust’s A Long Line of Godly Men Series, all authored by Lawson. What distinguishes this title from similar works on Edwards is: (1) It was presented in its original form as a series of Adult Bible Study lessons highlighting the lives of significant characters in Christian history; (2) The focus of this book narrows to a survey of Edward’s resolutions.

Jonathan Edwards completed his “resolutions” just before his 20th birthday. They show remarkable maturity, seriousness, and passion for godliness in one so young. And while Edwards would go on to write other works that would gain more scholarly notoriety, his “resolutions” stand as one of his most memorable compositions. If anyone would see a disconnect between deep scholarly insight and deep devotion, Edwards dispels the idea. Of Edwards, Lawson observes:
“Perhaps none so intellectually endowed has been as firmly determined in the pursuit of holiness as Edwards.”

Lawson discusses the “resolutions” thematically and gives evidence from Edward’s subsequent writings showing that these resolutions formed the foundation upon which Edwards would construct his Christian walk. Dr. Lawson leans heavily upon Edward’s own journal and cites freely from other works on Edwards, such as George Mardsen’s great biography, Jonathan Edwards, A Life, John Piper and Justin Taylor’s compilation A God-Entranced Vision of All Things: The Legacy of Jonathan Edwards, and Ian Murray’s Jonathan Edwards: A New Biography.

Lawson endeavors to show the value of these “resolutions” to our own Christian culture. He notes; “We live in a day of spiritual laxity. Many who confess Christ are pampering themselves to death rather than pushing themselves to holiness. Their spiritual muscles are untrained and unfit. Their wills are soft and unresolved.”

This book is very readable and will serve to introduce Jonathan Edwards to a generation who may be largely unfamiliar with America’s premier theologian.

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