Tag Archives | Jonathan Edwards

Are the Father, Son, and Spirit Equally Persons?

Here’s Karl Barth’s answer:

. . . even if the Father and the Son might be called “person” (in the modern sense of the term), the Holy Spirit could not possibly be regarded as the third “person.” In a particularly clear way the Holy Spirit is what the Father and the Son also are. He is not a third spiritual Subject, a third I, a third Lord side by side with two others. He is a third mode of being of the one divine Subject or Lord.

. . .

He is the common element, or, better, the fellowship, the act of communion, of the Father and the Son. He is the act in which the Father is the Father of the Son or the Speaker of the Word and the Son is the Son of the Father or the Word of the Speaker. (CD I,1, 469)

This sounds on the surface like a denial of full trinitarianism (and I am a little uncomfortable with it), but it shares much in common with the views of Augustine and Jonathan Edwards, both of whom tended to talk about the Spirit in ways that seem less than fully personal.

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Edwards on Faith and Works in Justification

Justification by Faith Alone by Jonathan EdwardsIn my estimation, Jonathan Edwards’s Justification by Faith Alone contains one of the most important and misunderstood1 evangelical discussions on the relationship between faith and works as they pertain to justification and salvation. Delivered in 1734 and first published in 1738, it may be found in 1:622–54 of his two-volume Works (Worcester rev. ed.),2 4:64–132 of his four-volume Works (Worcester ed.), 5:351–452 of his ten-volume Works (Dwight ed.), 19:147–2423 of his twenty-six volume Works, as an individual volume, and online in as many as seven different places.

As I continue my discussion on whether evangelicals, who affirm sola fide, are forced to sweep the passages that insist on holiness and good works under the rug, I turn to Jonathan Edwards, against whom no informed person would make such an accusation, as you can see for yourself in the quotations below. Except for the first, all of these selections come from his third and fourth sections, which discuss evangelical obedience and answer objections. I’ve bolded the most relevant portions.

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  1. If you’re concerned about Edwards’s view on sola fide, Don Kistler’s post on the Puritan Board is a helpful clarification.
  2. Cf. Amazon, CBD, Logos, and WTS Books.
  3. Or 19:143–242 including the editor’s preface.

A Case of Major Plagiarism

The weekend before Christmas I was doing some reading and research on the Trinity (which is what I spend most of my weekends doing), and I stumbled across something in a journal article that sounded very much like something I had read in a systematic theology book. So I opened the book to compare, and sure enough it was verbatim (the only difference being a single word missing the italics from the original source).

So I turned back to the article expecting to see that the author was quoting a large portion from the theology book and that I was simply reading somewhere in the middle of the quote, but I saw no quotation marks and no mention of the author’s work. Perplexed I started comparing further, wondering if perhaps this was just a very long extended quotation. To my shock I discovered the the author of the journal article had reproduced without quotation marks nearly verbatim (somewhere between 95% and 99% identical content) the entirety of his 24-page article from the other individual’s theology book—almost a complete copy and paste with just a handful of very minor cosmetic changes. The only credit he gave to the author of the content was a mention in his first footnote where he listed a few sources on the doctrine of the Trinity. At the end of the footnote, he mentioned his particular indebtedness to the author whose content he plagiarized. (Most readers have no idea how indebted he really was!)

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The Second Best Book in the World

A Treatise on RegenerationI read an endorsement recently that really grabbed my attention. A well-known individual described a book that is not very well known in these terms:

This book is much better than any other book in the world, excepting the Bible, in my opinion.

The individual was Jonathan Edwards.

The book was Peter Van Mastricht’s A Treatise on Regeneration, which was published by Soli Deo Gloria, now a part of Reformation Heritage Books.

Wow! I want to read that book. I wonder how it compares with John Piper’s Finally Alive.

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Intratrinitarian Reconciliation?

The Theology of ReconciliationJenson, Robert W. “Reconciliation in God.” In The Theology of Reconciliation, edited by Colin E. Gunton, 158–66. London: T&T Clark, 2003.1

Jenson’s opening lines set the stage for his main thesis:

When I am invited to speak at a conference, I know I am supposed to indulge in the sort of trinitarian and christological speculation that skirts the edge of the sayable. So I have posed the question to myself: is there anything in God himself that might plausibly be called “reconciliation”? (158)

He goes on to argue that the traditional understanding of the Father begetting the Son and spirating the Spirit is inadequate because incomplete. He posits that the Spirit liberates the Father for the Son and reconciles the Son to the Father (158).

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  1. Cf. Amazon.

The Life of David Brainerd

life-of-brainerd.jpgThis month’s free audiobook download from ChristianAudio.com is Jonathan Edwards’s The Life of David Brainerd. This is one you’ll definitely want to pick up. It’s a classic, and its reflective, devotional nature will make for great listening. Make sure to use the code OCT2007.

It’s read by Nick Cordileone, has a runtime of 9 hours and 55 minutes, and consists of nine MP3s totaling 273.3 MBs.