Just got an e-mail from the Edwards Center at Yale promoting a summer course on Edwards as missionary to the Stockbridge Indians. I've put the course description at the bottom of this post. It looks like an interesting course.
Edwards's move from Northampton to Stockbridge is one of the things I respect most about Edwards. For the love of God and His sheep, he stood against the Halfway Covenant and tried to discipline the Covenant children of Northampton. Inevitably, this resulted in the ruling elite kicking him out of Northampton. Edwards knew it was a large risk to warn his flock, but he trusted in God and stood firm for the protection of the souls under his care. After he was exiled from Northampton, he moved to a very small church in a very small village serving a few ruling elite and the Indians. There too, his commitment to the souls under his care caused conflict with the ruling elite.
Then he died.
Reformed academics and the pastors they train are dismissive of Edwards for a number of reasons...
Edwards was a proponent of the Great Awakening (which they see as indistinguishable from the Second Great Awakening). Edwards preached heart religion rather than the objectivity of the Covenant. Edwards's friends sometimes violated parish boundaries when they preached. Edwards called his flock to examine themselves to see if they were in the faith. Edwards believed in the power of the Holy Spirit.
The list is long. Sometimes I wish Reformed academics and their disciples were more public with their dislike of Edwards and more honest with their reasons. Then simple souls could see Reformed academics today more clearly for who they are and what they love and what they oppose. And putting all that up next to who Edwards was and what he loved and what he opposed, the choice would be easy for them. Edwards every last time.
Anyhow, we're left with two major forces promoting Edwards today: John Piper and the Academy. Yale.
So three cheers for the Academy, and three cheers for Yale's seminar on the missionary method of Jonathan Edwards in Stockbridge.
Summer Course 2014, “Jonathan Edwards and Missions.” The Jonathan Edwards Centre is please to announce the Summer Course 2014, “Jonathan Edwards and Missions.” Date: June 9-13, 2014 Location: Yale Divinity School, New Haven, CT Teaching staff: Kenneth P. Minkema, Adriaan C. Neele Using primary and secondary readings, multimedia presentations, and student discussions, this course will focus on Jonathan Edwards as missionary, examining his work at the mission post of Stockbridge, Massachusetts, during the 1750s, where he ministered to Mohawks, Mahicans, and Tuscaroras. Edwards composed sermons specifically for the natives, wrote copious correspondence to provincial and imperial officials on their behalf, and dealt with native spirituality and social life. To help understand Edwards' role and methods, we will place his work in the context of New World comparative missions by the Portuguese, Spanish, French, and British, with particular emphasis on the evolution of British missions in New England, the founding of the Stockbridge mission, and competition from other agencies such as those of the SPG and the Moravians. Included in the readings will be selections from one of Edwards' most important works, and a key text in the history of American and English missions, The Life of David Brainerd. In addition, attention will be given to the reception of some of Edwards works in the history of missions, including but not limited to the Baptist Missionary Society, London Missionary Society, and the French Paris Evangelical Missionary Society.