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TitleThe Essential Jonathan Edwards: An Introduction to the Life and Teaching of America’s Greatest Theologian

Authors– Owen Strachan & Douglas A. Sweeney

Publisher– Moody Publishers (May 1, 2018)

Pages– 448

Genre– Church History, Theology

Rating– 5/5


I am on a Jonathan Edwards kick this year. In case you missed my earlier post on another book about Edwards: Book Review: The Jonathan Edwards Encyclopedia.

“Whether or not you’re in ministry, whether or not you ever enter the pulpit, every believer can emulate him [Edwards] in this respect as he emulated Christ. The Essential Jonathan Edwards is written with just that in mind: not to shoot over people’s heads with lofty academic discussion, but to fire the heart and mind to embrace the thrilling experience of a God-centered existence.” –Preface to The Essential Jonathan Edwards

This really is the heartbeat of The Essential Jonathan Edwards. From cover to cover, this book co-authored by Owen Strachan and Douglas A. Sweeney is a masterpiece written for anyone. You don’t need an MDiv. or even a B.S. Theology to understand the easy flowing language of this soon to be released book (May 1st, 2018). What you do need though is a mind willing to examine the life, work, and faith of a godly man who lived in America in the 1700s before the formation of the United States of America. What you will find is a faithful servant who is worth emulating.

The Essential Jonathan Edwards is divided into five parts.

  • Lover of God

In the chapters included in part one, you can read a brief sketch of Edwards. It’s a wonderful introduction to the life of Edwards.

  • Beauty

In five chapters, this second part discusses central doctrines that touched Jonathan Edwards life and ministry. An extremely beneficial chapter in this part is chapter 11: The Beauty of Christ.

  • The Good Life

What does a “good life” look like as a Christian? Part three of The Essential Edwards expounds how Edwards experienced the “good life” despite the assumptions that Puritans didn’t approve of anything “fun”.

  • True Christianity

This fourth part discusses the problem of nominal Christians. People who say they are a Christian but don’t live like one. What does a devout Christian look like?

  • Heaven and Hell

Presented in the final part is Edward’s eschatological views. Here you will find his view of the afterlife and a mind that must be set on the things of Heaven.

Again, you don’t need a college or seminary degree to read this work. The authors have done a great job making the life and ministry of Jonathan Edwards accessible and understandable. It is a book that will not collect any dust on my shelf and if you purchase your own copy, I bet it won’t gather any dust either.

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