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.


Popular posts from this blog

My Favorite Color is Blue. Sometimes.: A Journey Through Loss with Art and Color

My Favorite Color is Blue. Sometimes by Roger Hutchison

Taking a look at the digital copy of this book allowed me to look at the striking art inside the book, and its connection to the words of the page that were focusing on loss.  Looking at the physical copy of the book even brings to life more the staggering similarity that the words and pain have together on the page.  The focus here is how certain colors express the sentiments of those who have lost a loved one.  I did not think that I would relate too well to this book until two days ago, as we lost our little boy, who was only 17 weeks old.  The pain is palpable and yet the pages of this book give me good reason to think of my son with a sense of pride and hope.

Roger writes, "You are a shooting star. Your light trails across the heavens.  I blinked and you were gone."  We were full of anticipation at the first and second ultrasounds, and there was the picture of our little boy Jackson, his developing face and little …

The Catholic Novelist in the Protestant South

Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose by Flannery O’Connor
A profound simplicity of thought, a penetrating vision of what it means to be human, Flannery O’Connor embodies the spirit of bringing fictional stories to life.  Others might call her fiction ‘grotesque’ in a rather unflattering manner, but O’Connor was not content to live up to their criticisms.  In this short book of collected essay and lectures, Mystery and Manners, editors and friends of Flannery, Robert and Sally Fitzgerald have given us a glimpse into the vision of her faith, style and life as a writer.   A lifelong Catholic, Flannery O’Connor sought to wed together the moral integrity of her faith with the character of her craft in writing.  Specifically, fiction for her was an exploration in imitation.
In a rather illuminating statement in the chapter entitled, “A Catholic Novelist in the Protestant South, “ O’Connor writes,
“I am specifically concerned with fiction because that is what I write.  There is a certain em…