What is a true Christian? What is the church? Though these are fundamental questions they often go unanswered in our current evangelical context. Far too many pastors and thinkers celebrate the trappings of faith and the mere benefits of Christianity, ignoring the biblical testimony on true conversion that shouts from countless texts from Scripture.
This has fed an age-old problem: nominal Christianity. Though Edwards is sometimes presented as a scourge, a mean-hearted parson who lived to belt out thunderous damnations, a careful study of the historical record and of Edwards' writings shows that he was in fact a Christian man devoted to the cultivation of true and saving faith in a spiritually fickle people he tenaciously loved.
The problem of noncommittal Christianity did not end with Edwards. It not only survives but thrives in the current day. In studying it then, we are studying ourselves. We see that nominal Christianity, a considerable challenge today, has historic roots. We need not face this problem alone, growing more discouraged by the day, flailing as we try method after method to address the problem. Instead, we can find solace, instruction, and encouragement from the biblically saturated life and ministry of Jonathan Edwards.
Easily accessible and readable, you do not need to be a scholar to enjoy these insights about Jonathan Edwards and his writings.
OWEN STRACHAN is Associate Professor of Christian Theology at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is also the Director for the Center on Public Theology at MBTS. He holds a PhD from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, an MDiv from Southern Seminary, and an AB from Bowdoin College. Strachan has published fourteen books and writes regularly for The Gospel Coalition, the Christian Post, and Thoughtlife, his Patheos blog. He is married and is the father of three children. Strachan hosts the City of God podcast available at https: //cpt.mbts.edu. DOUGLAS A. SWEENEY is Professor of Church History and the History of Christian Thought and Director of the Carl F. H. Henry Center for Theological Understanding at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He formerly served as a lecturer at Yale University, as an adjunct professor as Aquinas College, and as a visiting professor at both Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Reformed Theological Seminary. Sweeney is the author of a number of books and articles about religious history and the American theologian, Jonathan Edwards. He resides with his wife, Wilma, and their son in Lindenhurst, Illinois.