©2007 Jonathan Edwards; (P)2007 christianaudio.com
The density and balance of Edward's thought stuck me as both beautiful and challenging. As an Anglican reader I found his Biblical fidelity deeply satisfying with very few cited passages on which I might question his approach. In other words, there was a time or two in which I thought his theology or his present purpose might have skewed his understanding of the text rather than having the text support that purpose or theological tack, but none so egregious that specifics come to mind.
He speaks very clearly and captured very well what seemed to be Edward's sentiments in the subtleties of his inflection.
Frankly, the Puritans (and their progeny) are a difficult read for those in our culture who are accustomed to sound bites and 30-second blasts of information. Following the lines of reason can be arduous as Edwards has no problem developing a matter from his or someone else's standpoint for several minutes at a time. While Vance is superbly clear, his quick cadence mixed with the density of the material, not to mention his U.K. accent (I'm a New Englander living in the Mid-Atlantic US) made it so that it took me nearly half of the work to really get into the presentation as a whole. I love Vance in Chesterton's Orthodoxy, though. I attribute my difficulty more to the material than the read, but a slower pace seems like it would have made the product a little more accessible.
It's hard to follow the writing itself seems to make hard work of things by being really thick, but the content therein is challenging and good for Christians who are keen not to be deceived in their own heart. I read the first part of this audiobook and went to a bible study, and their found I was picking up on things that were esteemed as a sign or imprint or imparting of God and his grace in our eyes, but this book explains how it is not always the case.
James states that "pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world" (chapter 01, v. 27). Jonathan Edwards, in this well grounded essay, shows the biblical concept about true religion. The Scripture is his object of work. The christians are his audience. His argument gives emphasis in the fruits produced by a christian whose life belongs to Jesus. In order to recognize this, one has to be aware of the false prophets and must not trust in his feelings. "The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?" (Jeremias, chapter 17, v. 9) Man has to search and develop the wisdom from above, with "is first pure, than peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hipocrisy" ( James chapter 3, v. 17). The author's exposition definitely suceeds in showing the meaning of true religion.
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