Book Review – The Unwavering Resolve of Jonathan Edwards

July 12, 2010 at 11:07 am | Posted in Book Reviews | Leave a comment
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Lawson, Steven J. The Unwavering Resolve of Jonathan Edwards. Lake Mary, FL: Reformation Trust Publishing. 2008. 168pp.

Introduction

Here is a book about one of the best known personalities in American church history. It focuses on Edwards’ “Resolutions” and how he practically lived them out. The author presents a lot of research through many citations of works on Edwards.  Some of the books referenced look like interesting reads also.

The book covers most of Edwards life and gives insight into his thinking. I learned some things about Edwards’ accomplishments that I did not know before. Even thought there are numerous references the book is an interesting read. It flows well and keeps the readers interest.

Summary

The “Resolutions” and how they came about and shaped Edwards’ life are the basis of the book. Lawson does a good job of breaking up and combining the “Resolutions” into groups that have a similar theme. They provided the basis for Edwards’ quest for practical holiness. As chapter 2 states, they were the compass for his soul.

From the Preface we read that Edwards thought the pursuit of holiness was the key to his spiritual growth and that he disciplined himself for the purpose of godliness.  Edwards was also an intellectual genius. He graduated from college at a younger than normal age (I won’t say how old, so you can read the book) and then went on to earn a master’s degree.

As a recent convert at the age of 18 he began to write his “Resolutions” and they took him approximately a year to complete. Edwards sought to diligently pursue practical holiness, but in complete dependence on God. As I read the book I was struck by Edwards’ resolve to do what God expected of him and to trust God to do only what He can do. Edwards was determined to live for the glory of God.

Critical Evaluation

There were so many citations that at times I wondered what the author thought about Edwards. I wondered if there were too many references. Even with that personal feeling the book was an interesting read. The book made good use of the “Resolutions” and how they impacted his life.

From Chapter 4, The Priority of God’s Glory: The first resolution sets the tone for all that follow. In this statement, Edwards declared that the glory of God would be his chief aim and the factor that would guide all his actions and decisions (p. 65).  This thought or aim would be good for any Christian to follow.

Chapter 6, The Precipice of Eternity is very good. It covers both his use of time and the anticipation of Christ’s return. Edwards believed procrastination to be an obstacle to God’s glory. Delayed obedience is no obedience. Slowness to carry out a task dishonors Him. Thus Edwards felt he must do his duties as quickly as possible. But he candidly admitted that he struggled with procrastination (p. 99).

The book is fairly balanced regarding both Edwards’ diligence and struggles. Edwards does not come off as a super saint but as committed to grow in spite of himself. He was not afraid of self-examination as Chapter 9, The Posture of Self-Examination shows us. He sought to trust God’s Word more than his own feelings.

Each chapter ends with a challenge to the reader to put into practice what the chapter taught. I found the authors closing remarks encouraging and challenging. The closing words of each chapter were a good summary and challenge to the reader. I appreciated these words from the author.

Conclusion

Edwards was not presented as a super saint but as a wholly committed child of God. His personal struggles and self-doubts were presented well and balanced with the presentation of his strength of will to persevere. What if Edwards is simply a model of what a normal Christian life should look and sound like? What if any of us could resolve to live completely dedicated to the glory of God?

This book would be a good addition to any Christian’s personal library. It will help you learn about Jonathan Edwards and yourself. It will also help you learn about how God helps those who are completely dedicated to Him and don’t make excuses for their shortcomings. I highly recommend this book to any Christian who needs some encouragement on how to live completely dedicated to the glory of God.

I received a pdf of this book and will receive a free hardback copy for this review. You can purchase the book at: www.ligonier.org/reformation-trust.

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