Jonathan Edwards on the Necessity of Good Preaching

Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758) had a brilliant mind, an abiding love for hot chocolate, a less-than-booming voice, was kicked out of his church (only to be asked to guest preach until a replacement could be appointed), went on mission to the Indian tribes in Stockbridge, and succeeded his son-in-law as president of Princeton University (then, the College of New Jersey). He is most well know for his 1741 sermon Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God—an American literary classic—which is, as biographer George Marsden explained, “the most famous episode in Edwards’ career.”[1]

Edwards is also commonly associated with the First Great Awakening, in which he was an undeniably integral figure. Nevertheless, even in the midst of such evangelistic fervor, Edwards longed for the hearts of people to be everlastingly set on God. Still in the shadows of the awakening that seemed to involve nearly every person in the Connecticut-valley region, Edwards looked on disconcertingly as the people reverted to old ways. He wondered whether the awakenings had truly impacted the people. Continue reading “Jonathan Edwards on the Necessity of Good Preaching”

John Calvin on God’s Spirit and God’s Word

On July 10, 1909, the four-hundredth anniversary of the birth of John Calvin, B.B. Warfield declared Calvin as, “pre-eminently the theologian of the Holy Spirit.”[1] How could Calvin, a theologian and pastor whose commitment to Scripture was as precise as a surgeon’s knife, be the preeminent example of a theologian of the untamable Spirit God? Was Warfield being far-fetched on a day of fanfare? If not, how did Calvin maintain unfettered commitment to the Holy Spirit and the Word of God in his writing, teaching, and preaching? Continue reading “John Calvin on God’s Spirit and God’s Word”