Jonathan Edwards and the Ministry of the Word: A Model of Faith and Thought, By Douglas A. Sweeney

Jonathan Edwards and the Ministry of the Word

A Model of Faith and Thought

by Douglas A. Sweeney

Jonathan Edwards and the Ministry of the Word
  • Length: 208 pages
  • Published: May 22, 2009
  • Imprint: IVP Academic
  • Item Code: 3851
  • ISBN: 9780830838516

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Jonathan Edwards has been recognized as the most influential evangelical theologian of all time. Before his death at the age of fifty-four, he had sparked a new movement of Reformed evangelicals who played a major role in fueling the rise of modern missions, preaching revivals far and wide, and wielding the cutting edge of American theology. He has never gone out of print, and Christians today continue to flock to seminars and conferences on him.

In this biography of the great preacher and teacher, historian Douglas Sweeney locates for us the core and key to Edwards' enduring impact. Sweeney finds that Edwards' profound and meticulous study of the Bible securely anchored his powerful preaching, his lively theological passions and his discerning pastoral work. Beyond introducing you to Edwards' life and times, this book will provide you with a model of Christian faith, thought and ministry.

"Douglas Sweeney has written an admirable 'Jonathan Edwards for Christians.' It is at once authoritative and addressed to the practical concerns of evangelicals in the pews."

George Marsden, author of Jonathan Edwards: A Life and A Short Life of Jonathan Edwards

"Doug Sweeney gives us a nourishing and tasty introduction to the real Edwards, and focuses in this brief but substantial volume on Edwards' ministry of the Word. He provides a fascinating entrée to the life and career of Edwards, and then zeroes in on Edwards' multifaceted understanding of Scripture. Sweeney gives us enough detail to stimulate new insights into Edwards, Scripture and its Author. But his writing is not so technical that the general reader would not be abundantly rewarded by perusing this slim but informative and illuminating volume."

Gerald McDermott, professor of religion, Roanoke College, Salem, Virginia

"I love this book! Doug Sweeney not only demonstrates the central role of Scripture in the theology and pastoral ministry of Jonathan Edwards but also provides us with a vibrant portrayal of his life and the many brilliant insights that have rightly contributed to his global reputation. Combining clarity and ease of style with a remarkable breadth of research, Sweeney has given us a treatment of Edwards that may well prove to be the standard against which all future contributions are judged. I highly recommend it!"

Sam Storms, Ph.D., senior pastor, Bridgeway Church, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

"Doug Sweeney has written a fine introduction to Jonathan Edwards' life and theology. Accessible and accurate, this introduction is a good place to start in trying to understand Edwards as a man, a Christian, a theologian and a pastor."

Mark Dever, senior pastor, Capitol Hill Baptist Church, Washington, D.C.

"Strangely, it has taken nearly three centuries for us to realize the obvious: that Jonathan Edwards had a lifelong love affair with the Bible. Doug Sweeney has been at the forefront of elucidating Edwards the exegete and the biblical foundations of his theology. In this new work, Sweeney shows the vital, reflective and informed connections between Edwards' Biblicism and his calling as a 'faithful minister of the Word.' Even more, Sweeney points out the extent to which Edwards' more formal theological formulations arose directly out of his local pastoral experience. This study will be a blessing to pastors, preachers and spiritual leaders, who can learn from Edwards' faith, thought and experience."

Dr. Kenneth P. Minkema, executive director, Jonathan Edwards Center, and adjunct assistant professor of American religious history, Yale University

"A lively, intimate portrait of a man many have found distant and intimidating. Douglas Sweeney reveals Jonathan Edwards to be the flesh-and-blood Christian we should have suspected he was, in a way that neither patronizes nor idealizes him. As importantly, we have here for the first time an account of Edwards' life that rightly places the Bible at the center of his intellectual and pastoral genius."

Robert E. Brown, assistant professor, Department of Philosophy and Religion, James Madison University, and author of Jonathan Edwards and the Bible

"With the exception of George Marsden and Kenneth Minkema, it is hard to find someone more knowledgeable about Jonathan Edwards than Douglas Sweeney. In focusing his book on Edwards as minister, Sweeney offers academic and clerical readers a treasure trove of insight and elegant prose. If not Luther's Ninety-Five Theses, the inclusion of seven 'theses' for discussion at the end is a stroke of genius and will certainly enhance the reading experience for church groups of all levels. For anyone interested in getting to know America's greatest theologian in greater detail, this masterful analysis is must-reading."

Harry S. Stout, Jonathan Edwards Professor of American Religious History, Yale University

"Sweeney deftly weaves considerations of Edwards's spiritual development, his study and preaching of Scripture, and his intellectual efforts into an elegant telling of Edwards's life. . . This book will not disappoint the non-Christian or Christian reader who wants an authoritative and spiritually oriented reflection on an enduring figure in American religious history."

Brian K. Sholl, The Review of Politics

"Sweeney presents an image of Edwards as a boldly evangelical and pious Protestant intellectual who fruitfully combined powerful preaching and intellectual rigor that changed his world and continues to influence the world today. Highly recommended."

R. Ward, Choice, December 2009

"Writing in clear and nontechnical language, Sweeney makes the story of Edwards's life an engrossing one."

John Jaeger, Library Journal, September 1, 2009

"Sweeney hits an unmitigated home run. If I had only one recent book to give to seminarians to read about Edwards' work, it would be this one."

Bill Schweitzer, History and Sociology of Religion


Timetable: Landmarks in the History of Edwards' Development as a Minister
Edwards' Family Members
Map of Edwards' World

Introduction: The Word in Edwards' World
1 Study to Shew Thyself Approved
2 Preach the Word
3 Search the Scriptures
4 Try the Spirits
5 With All Thy Mind
6 As the Waters Cover the Sea
7 The Word of the Lord Endureth For Ever

Name and Subject Index
Scripture Index


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Douglas A. Sweeney is professor of church history and the history of Christian thought and director of the Carl F. H. Henry Center for Theological Understanding at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He has written numerous books and articles about religious history and Jonathan Edwards. He is the coeditor of The Sermons of Jonathan Edwards: A Reader(Yale University Press) and Nathaniel Taylor, New Haven Theology, and the Legacy of Jonathan Edwards (Oxford University Press).