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

Malachi 1:11

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.

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