George_Marsden_A_Short_Life_Of_Jonathan_Edwards_sm Part of my TV and Internet free life has meant time for books.  I’ve just finished (took me a little under a week) this book about Jonathan Edwards.  There were a few reasons I wanted to read about him.  Firstly, he has inspired John Piper and I’ve heard Piper talk about Edwards many times.  So I wanted to get a better understanding of the man who has influenced Piper so much, as Piper has influenced me.  Secondly, Ridley is about to have some sort of Jonathan Edwards partnership with Yale going on, so I figured I was probably going to end up learning something about him in the future.

The book is pretty good.  It’s engaging and interesting and very easy to read.  The only real criticism I have is that it implied way to much knowledge of colonial America and the American Revolution.  I knew nothing really of these events and so it was obvious as I was reading I wasn’t getting a full picture of some of the important things that Edwards did.  (For example the book talks a lot about Edwards in contrast to Benjamin Franklin, I really don’t know much about Franklin at all, except that he is some important old American dude).  So I’m at least inspired from this book to go out and read some more on the history of Colonial America and Franklin.

Edwards himself was a very interesting person.  He was involved in revivals (aka Awakenings) that sounded to be very much like some of the more Pentecostal gatherings (eg. Toronto or Lakeland) we hear about, lots of physical and deep emotional response to the Gospel.  Edwards recognised that these big displays of emotion could be used for ill, but defended them in general because it was a big deal for someone to realise that God had saved them a terrible sinner and why shouldn’t they feel a weight of emotion?  I thought there was probably a rebuff to many of us who can tend to be hard nosed no emotion evangelicals.  Edwards lived by his convictions and never apologised for that.  Even if, as it did, cost him his job and therefore his security.  I felt sad when Jonathan Edwards died in this book.  It was like my new friend had just died, and all too soon.  Edwards died in is 50s not long after becoming Principal of Princeton.

If you’re interested in famous smart old Christians (like I seem to be) then I would definitely recommend reading this book.  There is a bigger longer one by the same authour (Marsden) called Jonathan Edwards: A Life, which is probably also worth reading, though I haven’t.