The other day, in Church History class, we looked at the Great Awakenings in New England with a special focus on Jonathan Edwards. After this class a few things about Jonathan Edwards stood out to me:
1. Yes, Jonathan Edwards was America’s first and greatest theologian. But he was not in fact American as he considered himself a life-long Englishman. America was just his postcode. Edwards was in fact England’s greatest Puritan theologian.
2. He was harshly critical of New Englanders who stole land from native Americans, but he was also owned a slave.
3. If Jonathan Edwards were here today he wouldn’t be Presbyterian, he’d probably groove more with Calvinist Pentecostals with their focus on charismatic experience.
4. Preaching like Jonathan Edwards can caused revival … but only if you live in the 1730’s, preaching that way today will sound snobbish, dull, and very boring.
5. I doubt very much that Jonathan Edwards wanted to be anybody’s “homeboy.”
6. I’m not a Jonathan Edwards expert, but the first thing to read of his is his Resolutions.
See Roger Olson’s recent remarks on Why is Jonathan Edwards considered so great? for an Arminian critique/appreciation.
For those who don’t know, there is also a Jonathan Edwards Center located at Ridley College in Melbourne partnered with the JEC in Yale University.