Skip to main content

Jonathan Edwards by Simonetta Carr







Jonathan Edwards by Simonetta Carr (Christian Biographies for Young Readers)

Simonetta Carr has once again outdone herself in this beautifully written book on Jonathan Edwards.  Most children going through school get only a negative impression from Edwards as they barely get past his sermon entitled ‘Sermon in the Hands of an Angry God,’ yet there is so much more to his life than one sermon.  Simonetta notes in the opening lines that “he lived in a time where people were questioning long-accepted ideas about the world, life, and God (5).”  Yet, he continually spoke truth about God’s world and His world in a changing time. 

Instead of placing Edwards on such a high pedestal as often he is by biographers, Simonetta lets us get a glimpse of his humanity, his emotional toils and also his radiant joys.  She has this to say about young Jonathan, “He and his friends also built a shed by an isolated swamp where they could pray and read the Bible together.  After a while, however, he found it difficult to keep with such great efforts.  Feeling discouraged, he stopped trying for a while (8).”  It is truly amazing that he built a shed at age nine to pray and read the Bible.  Yet, his humanity shines forth here, for he went through a period of dryness, of being discouraged much as we all face in our spiritual lives.  We get another glimpse of the emotional weight Jonathan felt as he was leaving his temporary pastorate in New York.  Simonetta writes, “In April 1723, his temporary pastorate came to an end, and, with great sadness, Edwards had to say good-bye to his landlady and her family (19).”  These glimpses into the interior of Edwards’ life reveal to his readers that he was not unlike many he preached to, although he sure did have a mighty intellect. 

Another point that is worth mentioning is that Simonetta brings out Edwards position on the Lord’s Supper very clearly in the book.  She evidences the fact that Solomon Stoddard furthered the tradition that allowed all who were baptized in the church to receive the Lord’s Supper, whether or not they had publicly professed their faith in Christ.  Edwards thought this ran counter to the Bible, quoting 1 Cor. 11:27 for his support.  He ‘finally decided he could not go back on his convictions,’ and eventually 230 out of 253 members voted to ouster Edwards (37-38).  Firm convictions don’t always come with agreement among believers, but Edwards maintained his convictions even when it cost him livelihood.

The pictures in the book are marvelous, including the early paintings of Sarah and Jonathan.  Simonetta has grasped the spirit of Edwards, his matchless intellect, gospel vision, and love for God’s creation in very accessible and beautiful manner.


Thanks to Reformation Heritage Books and Cross Focused Reviews for the copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

the great spiritual migration

The Great Spiritual Migration by Brian D McLaren

Brian McLaren and his own pithy way brings to the foreground and emphasis on a new kind of Christianity. The kind of faith that Brian envisions is a kind of migration not been set in the bedrock of beliefs that is unmoving but rather shifting with both culture and with faith. His new book the great spiritual migration is exactly that, a pointed work that encapsulates a vision towards the future where Christianity is changing and its peoples lives are changed as well.

Brian states in the introduction, "but we also know that for a lot of people Christianity is malfunctioning, seriously so, and it's not pretty. This kind of frustration with conventional Christianity is what McLaren gets gets to at the heart of this message is concerned with a number of different clusters unbelief. One, namely that Christianity has been stuck in a set of propositions or beliefs that has controlled churches in the faith, rather then a spirit of love t…

Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning

Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning by Timothy Snyder
Misperceptions, misconnections, and missed observations are just some of the issues that Timothy Snyder raises in his book, Black Earth, concerning the Holocaust.  Snyder, no stranger to the frontlines of scholarship on the Holocaust, with his previous book Bloodlands, that concerns the land from Hitler to Stalin, takes a look at the Holocaust from new sources and new avenues of thought.  How did some nation-states survive relatively unscathed from Nazi persecution while others, notably Jewish populations, succumb to a wave of killings?  Also, what was the role of the Soviet Union in the war and how did Stalin effect changes in the Final Solution?  These questions are only two of the many that Snyder answers in his detailed account of the Holocaust.
One of the best chapters was entitled The Auschwitz Paradox.  Generally when the public thinks about the Holocaust, we think of Auschwitz first or at the top of our mental m…

NKJV Study Bible by Thomas Nelson

NKJV Study Bible by Thomas Nelson Publishers
Growing up with the NIV, the NKJV was not a bible I was familiar with.  This new NKJV Study Bible takes all of the features of the Thomas Nelson Study Bible and makes them better.  Right out of the box I noticed that the Bible was considerably lighter than most study bibles I have read.  Further, the text font was much larger than most study editions, although I’m not quite sure of the size. The aquamarine color was a great touch and the Bible was finely put together, enduring the wear of many coming years of use.
Why is this Bible worth the purchase?  First, the study notes were great for extra handling of particular confusing and messy areas of Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments.  Yet, the study notes aren’t an obstruction to the reading of the biblical text.  Clearly, the editors have taken great care in making the text stand out and the notes illuminate certain themes and areas of Scripture.  Second, the NKJV takes into account all t…