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The Many Faces of Jonathan Edwards

Millinerd has a nice little write up on Jonathan Edwards:

Funny thing about the Princeton Plato, Jonathan Edwards, is how he transcends all later American denominational stereotypes. He promotes revival like the most enthusiastic Charismatic, accommodates secular learning like the most worldly Episcopalian, preaches hellfire like the stoutest Baptist, celebrates beauty like an Orthodox iconographer, subscribes to sovereignty like an uncompromising Presbyterian, and practices personal piety like the most earnest of Methodists. Best of all, he typologizes like a Catholic, and the way he uses nature to extrapolate about the character of God makes him thoroughly guilty of the (Christologically grounded) analogia entis. Edwards is, as Perry Miller put it, a Puritan Saint. . . .

Later American denominations have divided up the Edwards patrimony like so much cake, each content with a portion, some satisfied with the cellophane container, some getting excited enough about a corner piece with extra frosting to think they have it all. The downside to this is that few there are who think as largely as Edwards did; the upside is that not only the ultra Reformed get to claim him.

2 Comments

  1. roger flyer wrote:

    YES! Well thought out. What was this guy about?

    Thursday, October 1, 2009 at 4:12 pm | Permalink
  2. Brad A. wrote:

    Very well said. I was fascinated by Marsden’s biography of him, and preparing to present on Edwards one day in class, I was struck by some similarities (at the surface, at least) between his aesthetic theology and that of von Balthasar.

    Monday, October 5, 2009 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

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