Edwards the Preacher
Edwards is often thought of as a more stern and rigid preacher. Yet Edwards’ theology is drastically shaped by having a heart of love towards God.
He pastored a church at North Hampton, Massachusets from 1737-1812. Miniature winds of revival were taking place all over as England confronted a casual, social Christianity rather than a true and vibrant Christianity. Christianity is about heart transformation. This was a very spiritually cool time in American history.
Edwards had a highly integrated view of all creation pointing to God. This was especially emphasized in Edwards’ writing of creation pointing to Gospel truths. His preaching is known to have the ability to reach the heart of the listener rather than simple, practical application. Without a heart-change, there is no life change.
His church ultimately voted him out of the pastorate based on how he handled the issue of church membership – who could and could not be a member. He was expelled because of his own pastoral mishandling – perhaps too aggressive. Yet God used this mess of his own making to give him the time to write books that would impact Christians for centuries, do mission work, and be the founding member of a university.
To get past a simple cognitive comprehension level to understanding how one’s heart and life are formed in such a way that there are true religious affections towards God. This is not emotionalism, but the result of a true encounter with a living God. Change happens at the base level in our will and desires. Affections determine what we desire.
God used Edwards in an incredible way that is still influencing Christians today. God is not limited by our failings but delights to use weak vessels to proclaim the gospel.
Recommended Resources Jonathan Edwards On Revival
Brittany Proffitt lives in Dallas and is a writer and content manager for So We Speak.