"My heart I give Thee, Lord, eagerly and earnestly." - John Calvin
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
The Prosperity of the Gospel in the Theology of Jonathan Edwards
Jonathan Edwards is probably the most famous theologian ever produced by the United States. Even though he died about twenty years before our independence, his preaching has been credited with beginning the great revival which inspired the colonials to resist British tyranny. I seek here to focus attention on Edwards' eschatological view, now called postmillennialism. It is seen especially plainly in his most famous sermon, "An Humble Attempt to Promote Prayer for Revival." Since Edwards' view is explained better than I can do in the article linked above, I will not attempt to do so. I wish here merely to list the Scriptures that Edwards believed taught the successful spread of the Gospel in this age.
In Genesis: 12:3, 18:18, 22:18, 26:4, and 28:14
In the Psalms: 2:6-8 (cf Hebrews 1:2 and 2:8), 22:27, 65:5, 65:8, 67:7, 72:11, 72:17, 98:3, 113:3
In Isaiah: 2:2, 11:9, 54:1-2, 54:5, 60:12
In Jeremiah: 3:17, 10:11, 10:15
Romans 11:12 and 25
In "Taking Hold of God," Editor Joel Beeke comments, "In typical Puritan fashion, Edwards urged believers to turn these promises into prayers, calling upon the Lord to extend the kingdom of His Son. Christ's victorious position at God's right hand should move us to pray to God to establish Christ's royal dominion ('the rod of thy strength') in the very midst of His enemies (Psalm 110)."
Further information on the Puritan view of last things and its impact on missions can be found in "The Puritan Hope"," by Iain Murray. Other books on postmillenialism can be found here.
My name is Chris Cole. I have lived in the Charlotte, NC, area for over thirty years, and have been an active Presbyterian during most of that time. I love the Westminster Confession of Faith as a beautiful expression of my own personal beliefs.
You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I prefer the English Standard Version of the Bible, and all quotations are from the ESV, unless otherwise stated.
I have a number of reviews of Reformed books on Amazon. There is a link to them in the Reformed links below.
"Seeing [that] the Lord of lords, the Lord Jesus, is so ready (never was there king so ready to hear a subject as Jesus is), [even] if thou wert the vilest body that goes, a thief, a harlot, etc., yet if thou wilt say this, 'Lord, remember on me, and give me a part of thy kingdom'; - if thou prayest to him from a penitent heart, with confidence and assurance, I promise unto thee, heaven and earth shall go [fall] together ere thou wantest [lack] thine asking. Seeing [that] our Lord Jesus is so liberal [free-giving], then seek more than enough, more than a kingdom, and thou shalt get more. The only cause why we want [lack] is in us: we have no hearts to seek it." - Rev. Robert Rollock, Scottish Presbyterian minister, about 1590, in a commentary on Luke 23:42-43