Book Reviews

The Unwavering Resolve of Jonathan Edwards

Steven J. Lawson Orlando 2008-12-10

Jonathan Edwards’s pursuit of intimacy with God is as remarkable as his extraordinary life and ministry. If God is altogether beautiful and the goal of the Christian life is to proclaim and revel in that beauty through meditative delight, conduct, and duty, then conformity to God is a necessity. Edwards pursued that goal with an intellectual and disciplined rigor. This little work is a window into the great Puritan’s endeavor to experience the presence of God, to enjoy Him now and forever.

The book attempts to access three of Edwards’s personal writings: (a) his seventy resolutions or guidelines for spiritual development composed in the earliest years of his ministry, (b) his personal diary that comes from the same era, and (c) a biographical narrative composed in the early 1740s. The two latter sources are used to explain and illustrate data derived from the resolutions. Lawson selected thirty of the seventy resolutions and divided them into six categories with each topic being discussed in a separate chapter. Each chapter is organized around the glory of God, mortification of sin, time and eternity, the rigors of a disciplined life, charity, and self-examination. Edwards viewed each of these as an important ingredient in the life of godliness.

The work is a delight to read and a challenge for those who understand that spiritual growth is more than passive trust; it is an active, assiduous, life-long endeavor. It would be a wonderful discussion starter for small groups. Edwards is a positive model for many factors in one’s life and ministry, not the least of which is the spiritual life.

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John D. Hannah
Dr. John D. Hannah is a frequent and popular speaker at home and abroad. His teaching interests include the general history of the Christian church, with particular interest in the works of  Jonathan Edwards and John Owen. Among his published works are a history of DTS and a general history of the Christian church.
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