Beyond Books: “Come, Lord Jesus, Be Our Guest”

Chris Gehrz continues his series on types of Christian writing other than books by reflecting on table graces like “Come, Lord Jesus, Be Our Guest” [Read more…]

Histories of the Future

Has anyone ever collected predictions of the future of religion, whether in a book or a website? The most famous are those that predict the vast growth or decline of some faith, projections that prove to be hilariously inaccurate – eg Thomas Jefferson’s view from 1822 that Unitarians would become the dominant religion in the [Read More…]

Was Jonathan Edwards Wrong About Interpreting God’s Providence?

This post is gratefully re-shared from Reformation 21, where it originally ran. Like many eighteenth-century Reformed pastors, Jonathan Edwards was confident in his ability to discern God’s purposes in earthly events. For example, during a 1736 drought, he explained that God was chastising New Englanders for the “corruption in our hearts.” Similarly, during a plague [Read More…]

Jonathan Edwards and the Sanctified Emotions

A recent e-mail conversation with Lauren Winner raised an important question – in the view of Jonathan Edwards and similar eighteenth-century evangelicals, do the emotions become more, or less, central to the Christian life as the believer proceeds in sanctification? After the resurrection, and during the millennial reign of Christ, will believers’ emotions be “engaged and [Read More…]

The Biographers and Jonathan Edwards

Today’s post is an excerpt from my essay on George Marsden, Jonathan Edwards, and the Art of Religious Biography, from the recently-released book American Evangelicalism: George Marsden and the State of American Religious History (Univ. of Notre Dame Press), which I co-edited with Darren Dochuk and Kurt Peterson. Biographers have put Jonathan Edwards’s thought and life [Read More…]

Jonathan Edwards’s Scottish Connection

In his magisterial biography of Jonathan Edwards, George Marsden reminds us that there was a time, in the decades after his death, when Jonathan Edwards was more popular in Scotland than in America. Indeed, there was a fleeting moment, after the Northampton church dismissed Edwards in 1750, when Edwards might have moved his family to Scotland. [Read More…]

“An Index to Books”: John Erskine and The Evangelical Disseminators

I recently read Jonathan Yeager’s excellent Enlightened Evangelicalism: The Life and Thought of John Erskine (Oxford, 2011), and am struck by Yeager’s thesis that Erskine, one of the leading evangelical pastors in eighteenth-century Scotland, was especially significant as a “disseminator of enlightened evangelicalism.” Of course, Erskine was also an important theologian and preacher, but where he [Read More…]

Slavery, Historical Heroes, and “Precious Puritans”

A fascinating controversy has erupted between the worlds of modern rap music and the early American Puritans, because of a song, “Precious Puritans,” by Christian rapper Propaganda. For brevity’s sake, I won’t explore all the commentaries on the controversy, but to catch the flow of it, pastor and blogger Joe Thorn discusses the song here with [Read More…]

Jonathan Edwards on True Christianity

Our church recently hosted a presentation by Owen Strachan, who teaches theology and church history at Boyce College in Louisville, Ky. Strachan is the co-author, with Douglas Sweeney (Strachan’s doctoral mentor), of the five-volume Essential Edwards Collection (2010). I happily came away from the session with a copy of one of these volumes, Jonathan Edwards on True Christianity. [Read More…]

Hell: Who Goes There, and For How Long?

Evangelical Christians have engaged in a robust, rancorous debate about hell in the past year. As I wrote in USA Today shortly after Osama Bin Laden’s death, this debate was precipitated partly by indiscreet comments about Bin Laden’s eternal destiny, and, more importantly, by the publication of Rob Bell’s Love Wins. Bell’s book strongly implied that because of [Read More…]