Saturday, July 21, 2018

Review: The Essential Jonathan Edwards by Owen Strachan

4 Stars out of 5 Essential Jonathan Edwards is a must-have if you are already a Jonathan Edwards fan. I have read and loved some of his works, so I was excited to receive a free advanced copy of it in exchange for an honest review via netgalley. Jonathan Edwards epitomized the pastor/theologian title. His knowledge of God had a direct effect in his heart and life. And it is to our spiritual benefit to learn from his example.
It truly is a comprehensive book that summarizes Edwards’ biography and writings. The authors didn’t shy away from including even his shameful stance on slavery. I thoroughly enjoyed the first third that covers his life story. I breezed through this part.

I didn’t get as engrossed in the last two-thirds that covers Edwards’ published works. The authors quote him extensively and add their explanation to Edwards’ points. This is especially helpful for many of us who are not used to reading colloquial English. I have tried many times to read Puritan works, but end up giving up part of the way. I love the wisdom I can glean from them, but they are not easy reads.

There were some questionable things that Edwards believed that I have to research further. For example, as mentioned earlier, Edwards believed that slavery was not incompatible with his faith. He also made a distinction between the OT church being Christ’s mother and the NT church as His wife.

I would not recommend reading this book cover to cover, but it is excellent to have in your library as a reference book if you want to know Edwards’ beliefs in certain topics. The book is written for the purpose of introducing its readers not just to the scholarly approach to Scripture, “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.” I believe the author succeeded in doing what they set out to do.

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