A Baptist and Yale are left promoting Edwards...

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.

 

Tim Bayly

Tim serves Clearnote Church, Bloomington, Indiana. He and Mary Lee have five children and fifteen grandchildren.

Comments

When my kids studied the American Indians in their school curriculum, one of their assigned reading books tried to give the idea that the Indians were Christians already and there was no need for the colonists to evangelize. A passage from Edwards' Life of David Brainerd was helpful to me in showing the kids how far from the truth this was.

This Reformed pastor has Edwards' Resolutions prominently displayed in his church.

As a life-long admirer of Edwards and a persistent student of his disciplines, in life and in preaching, I take some comfort that his career didn't end after the big church fired him and the good theology was now available to natives and naive alike; while some of his best writing was yet to come. MJC.

If you want to see just how "Christian" the American Indians were not read Pulitzer Prize nominated Empire of the Summer Moon. Of course, the things that were done by my Comanche ancestors were so brutal that it is not suitable for young readers.

Why the surprise that a Baptist is promoting Edwards? xD The evangicults were always admirers that he could put the fear of God into men with his "Sinners in the hands..." while the RBs have always considered you Paedos to be brothers--beloved: that's why the LCBF (1 & 2) were written, to show (a) they weren't anabaptists and (b) they weren't divisive, but largely in accord, and (c) their distinctives are within the bounds of orthodoxy. They were "Puritans", but we have to clarify that word; it's like "Protestant" is used by Roman Catholics to mean anything that's not Catholic (as though they're the center of attention) though we use it for theological descendants of the insistence of Luther that the elements faithful to the gospel within Christian Europe be ascendant and the others called heresy as they were, especially justification by faith (as many know, it wasn't so much they were totally unknown, but rather dissimulated through a morass of other voices, there were earlier lights but none so effective as he to stir the controversy up as it should have been); the English used "Puritan" for "anyone not Anglican/Established Church", from the wacky to the Reformed/Presbyterian (who attempted establishment under Cromwell themselves); the early Baptists seem to have been the Presbyterians of the serious-life/puritan variety, but not in a spirit of divisiveness--e.g. some of those stricter in their RB orthodoxy who want to withhold communion from Presbyterians unbaptized offend me, do they love Christ and are they repentant? are the questions I want to know.

You're just a little deficient on baptism ;) but then again, it's the baptism that Christ brings in the Holy Spirit that matters most--the thing signified: e.g. baptists in Asian prisons sometimes only get the head in a bucket (or a toilet), and neither party involved is ashamed that's all they can get. Guess I'm following Augustine here: it's not the breaking of bread in remembrance, but anyone who looks upon Christ to be saved has already eaten His flesh and drunk His blood by that faith. I know there's the "but God has commanded it" yet in the things written for our example, before Christ himself was lifted up to be seen the Jews were taken into babylon and the temple destroyed such that there was no sacrifice of blood, and against His command the prophets said it was not blood that God desired but repentance because all the cattle in the world could not cover their sins, and so we can ponder this meaning for our concern for baptism and covenants and inclusion therein...

Love to you brothers fighting the good fight so openly--not to mention taking-on the "Reformed" community: before coming to like convictions on many things btw, or as I began to do so, I (and others like me) already looked at, say, the CRC and others as "liberals" theologically: put another way, not out of some baptist bigotry, but out of seeing the same things that destroyed the mainlines and which are destroying evangsmelldom through transformation into ethical-christendom worldliness, already within those groups (women preachers, "openness", and other compromises), we (I) avoided them: we have the fundamentalistic insistence on separatism from mixture after all.

Love again,
--JB

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