19 August 2009

Sweeney: Edwards and Losing our Lives

Along with Steve Nichols' and George Marsden's (the small 2008 one), Doug Sweeney's new introduction to Edwards is another short, accessible entre into Edwards' life and thought, and is cause for rejoicing. Each has its own thrust; Sweeney's is the way Edwards' life was built around the Bible (though this is not as pervasive a theme as the title indicates). But like Nichols and Marsden, Sweeney understands the power of the vision of God Edwards preached and wrote about. These are books we read and find ourselves strangely stabilized.

My favorite passage came in the midst of Sweeney's seven 'theses for discussion' in light of Edwards' life.

Edwards shows us how God uses those who lose their lives for Christ. Those who live for themselves will lose themselves (Mt 10:39). But those who live for Christ, who die to themselves and cling to the cross, find themselves and their fulfillment in the One who loves them most. Edwards lived as a real martyr--a literal witness to his Lord--not a man with a martyr complex. He lived 'with all his might' for 'God's glory' while he lived. He shows us how to get over ourselves. . . . [H]e tried to let the Scriptures set the agenda for his daily life and ministry, refusing to make decisions out of inordinate self-concern.

--Douglas Sweeney, Jonathan Edwards and the Ministry of the Word: A Model of Faith and Thought (InterVarsity 2009), 198

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