In The Unwavering Resolve of Jonathan Edwards (A Long Line of Godly Men) Dr. Steven J. Lawson provides an insightful look at Jonathan Edwards through the lens of Edwards’s famous resolutions. This is one of the many biographical studies Lawson has provided in the Long Line of Godly Men series published by Reformation Trust.
Lawson first traces through the life of Edwards drawing primarily from the biographies of Edwards written by George Marsden and Iain Murray as well as many other secondary sources. In the second chapter Lawson traces out the immediate and greater historical context surround Edwards’ Resolutions demonstrating their reflection of Puritan spirituality and Reformed confessional doctrine. The third chapter makes clear that what Edwards aimed for was not a personal self-improvement project, but rather a grace enabled pursuit of God himself. All believers should take note of Edwards’s intentionality in constantly reviewing his Resolutions and where he had fallen short in his duty to God. Edwards was one who clearly kept short accounts with God. Chapter four explores the resolutions and how they reflect Edwards priority of seeking God’s glory above all else, a reality clearly evident throughout the course of his life. Chapters five and six involve battling sin and having a readiness for eternity. Chapter seven reflects on who Edwards pursued his resolution to live with all his might, and how that was practically reflected in his highly disciplined life. Chapter eight serves a good corrective to a popular misconception surrounding Edwards, many look unfavorably upon him as one who was loveless. This could not be farther from the truth as Lawson demonstrates Edwards’s pursuit of practicing love not just to God but to others as well. The final chapter addresses how he went about his practice of self-examination. He sought to expose hidden sin, and pursue greater levels of living to God’s glory laying aside the good for the best.
Lawson provides a view of Edwards that is helpful for any Christian. For those who have never been introduced to Edwards this to would serve as a wonderful introduction for them. Lawson is true to who Edwards was, and clearly reflects the aims and priorities of his life, aims and priorities all would do well to imitate. Lawson demonstrates a deep level of interaction with primary and secondary sources on Edwards, which will help readers to decide what to read next after this. If you are seeking to be challenged and convicted this book will do it.
Disclosure: I will receive this book free from Reformation Trust for providing this review. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html.