Title– The 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)
Genre– Church History, Theology
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.
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.