A Jonathan Edwards Warning Label
Many of our readers may know that some in the new Calvinist movement are huge fans of Jonathan Edwards. For example, John Piper constantly refers to Edwards and was very much influenced by his writings. However brilliant and helpful Edwards is, there are some troublesome spots in his theology and philosophy. We can benefit from Edwards’ writings, but we also need to remember that Edwards had his flaws and is not the best example of solid, Reformed confessional theology. On this topic, here’s a blog post I wrote back in 2012:
Near the end of Josiah Bull’s biography of John Newton, there’s a quote by Newton that is somewhat critical of the great American theologian Jonathan Edwards. Here it is: “Mr. Edwards was an excellent man, but some of his writings are too metaphysical, and particularly that book [The Freedom of the Will]. If I understand it, I think it rather establishes fatalism and necessity than Calvinism in the sober sense. I could object likewise to his book on Original Sin, though there are many excellent things in it” (p. 328). These statements really made me want to hear more from Newton on Edwards, since I too am somewhat critical of Edwards’ theology.
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