Christian Knowledge

In 1739, at the brink of the Great Awakening in Northampton, Jonathan Edwards preached a sermon in which he challenged his congregation with regard to their own commitment to a careful and thorough study of divine truth. Appealing to the words of the writer of the epistle to the Hebrews (Heb. 5:12), Edwards’ develops his exhortation on the foundation of the biblical and systematic theological truth of this text. In addition to the theological foundation Edwards gives a careful philosophical discussion of the difference between speculative and spiritual knowledge. In this episode, the panelists give consideration to Jonathan Edwards’ sermon “The Importance and Advantage of a Thorough Knowledge of Divine Truth,” also known as “Christian Knowledge.”

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The Excellency of Christ

Preached as a sacrament service sermon in August 1736 and later included as the fifth and final sermon in Discourses on Various Important Subjects, “The Excellency of Christ” is based upon Revelation 5:5–6 where Christ is described as both the Lion of the tribe of Judah and the Lamb slain. Jonathan Edwards focuses on how in Jesus Christ we find the “admirable conjunction of diverse excellencies.”

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Christ’s Agony

Originally preached sometime in 1739, Jonathan Edwards’ sermon Christ’s Agony provides a deep analysis of Luke 22:44 and Christ’s agonizing prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. Edwards notes that Christ could not suffer in his divine nature, but most assuredly did so in his human nature. There is profound theological and pastoral insight as well as practical application in this moving message. Christ’s saw what was coming with regard to his crucifixion and wrestled with the taking on himself of sin and the consequent break in fellowship with the Father. Christ went to the cross with eyes wide open.

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The Jonathan Edwards Center

In this episode we interview Dr. Ken Minkema, the executive editor at the Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale University, with regard to the formation of the Center and the resources available there. We also briefly spoke with Dr. Minkema about his doctoral dissertation on the history of the Edwards’ family, The Edwardses: A Ministerial Family in 18th Century New England. We hope that this will wet our listeners’ appetite with regard to pursuing further studies in Edwards’ history and corpus of writings.

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The Most High: A Prayer Hearing God

Originally preached in Northampton in 1735, and then preached again in 1752, The Most High, a Prayer Hearing God was preached on a fast appointed on the account of epidemical sickness at the eastward of Boston. In this sermon, Edwards focuses on the benefit of prayer as a blessing of the redemption that we have in Christ. Edwards develops the idea that God delights to hear and answer prayer.

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God Glorified in Man’s Dependence

Originally preached in Northampton in the fall of 1730, and later preached at Boston for the Harvard convocation week Thursday lecture on 8 July 1731, God Glorified in Man’s Dependence was Jonathan Edwards’ first published writing. In it, Edwards issued a clarion call for a biblical and Calvinistic understanding of redemption. Specifically Edwards shows the Trinitarian basis of salvation. Man depends upon God the Father for the initiation of redemption, on the Son for the accomplishment of redemption, and on the Holy Spirit as the one who works faith in him, thereby uniting him to Christ. In other words, believers have all their salvific good from God, through God, and in God.

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East of Eden (Genesis 3:24)

The podcast East of Eden: The Biblical and Systematic Theology of Jonathan Edwards inaugurates the series with a close reading of the sermon “East of Eden” which Edwards preached in the summer of 1731 to his congregation in Northampton, MA. In this sermon Edwards expounds on Adam, the covenant of works, and the Fall. Here we see Edwards the covenant and biblical theologian at his best. Notable is the clear presence of the idea, later expressed by Geerhardus Vos, that “eschatology precedes soteriology.” God offered to Adam a glorious Sabbath rest of confirmed righteousness if only he would be obedient to God’s command that he and Eve not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Especially memorable is the conclusion that the only way back into paradise with God would be for the second Adam to pass under the flaming sword God set to bar the way of the first Adam from gaining access to the tree of life.

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