Wednesday, April 6, 2016

My Edwards?

A couple of weeks ago I was perusing twitter as I normally do at various times throughout the day. Most of the time I find myself clicking on a Crying Jordan meme or retweeing Burk Parsons (man that guy convicts me). But this time I found a tweet from a friend of mine, Kyle Strobel. While Kyle isn't the most active twitter user, when he does post it's usually worth reading.

I call this the Edwards death stare, likely
captured immediately following his delivery of Sinners
in the Hands of an Angry God.
In this case it was simply a speech he gave at Westminster Seminary on Jonathan Edwards. For those who don't know, Kyle is a deeply devoted scholar focusing much of his studies, and has written several books on the intrigue and insights of Edwards. Being a big proponent of Edwards, I rendered it dutiful to spend 45 minutes listening to Strobel on the topic.

About 5 minutes in I found a very [positively] peculiar subject matter where Strobel speaks to the adoption of Edwards by sundry Christian groups to forge a particular agenda. For example, he speaks of individuals using Edwards to "epitomize a denomination or school of thought" and often when reading up on the contemporary corpus of Edwards writings he finds it "full of individuals seeking to use Edwards to their own ends." Much like the way pastors and scholars like use other titans of the faith, Strobel notes that using "Edwards to defend a position gives it in a sense an air of legitimacy." And to this I'd agree. But what he makes special note of is that many times those same individuals aren't reading Edwards in light of the majority of his writings. Rather, selectivity is placed on areas that assist in making ones agenda seem more, shall we say, authoritative. Interesting, to say the least.

Strobel goes on to speak to how this is handled and he seeks to broaden the viewpoint of who Edwards was and what his conviction truly were. Additional insights into who Edwards was and how he constructed his doctrine of justification and how it relates to the Reformed tradition are also highlighted. I commend the lecture to you and have linked it below for your convenience.

Also, if you're deeply interested in Edwards thought, do check out this site by Matthew Everhard called Edwards Studies. Fascinating stuff.

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