The Unwavering Resolve of Jonathan Edwards (Long Line of Godly Men Profile) Review

The Unwavering Resolve of Jonathan Edwards (Long Line of Godly Men Profile)
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Steven J. Lawson was unknown to me until about 2 years ago. I then heard a message he preached at MacArthur's Pastor's Conference. Since that time I've picked up a few of his books. I have finished a couple of them and enjoyed them. That being so, when I read that he had written a book about Jonathan Edwards I knew that I wanted to read it.
This book is the second in a series titled The Long Line of
Godly Men Profiles. The first volume being The Expository Genius of
John Calvin.
From the beginning, as soon as one reads the table of contents, it is obvious that Lawson is convinced that Edwards' resolve was the result of his Biblical convictions. Indeed, in the preface, Lawson says "Godliness is a lifelong study..." And again, "Here is the key to his spiritual growth--Edwards disciplined himself for the purpose of godliness." The emphasis of the book is Edwards' pursuit of holiness through his resolutions, and use him as an example to prod us to walk in the same pursuit of holiness.
Lawson begins with a chapter that chronicle the high points of Edwards' life. From there he proceeds to show us how Edwards maintained his resolve to wholly follow Christ even in the most difficult of times.
Next, Lawson takes us to the time of Edwards' making his resolutions and writing his personal narrative. He points us to the background and influences that promoted his pursuit of holiness and led Edwards in this direction. This then leads us to learn the distinctive features of his resolutions, which features ultimately show the heart of one who has purposed to be godly by the grace of God. We are then directed to his personal narrative which again shows that his heart, through all of his life, was the heart of one who was pursuing God with an "all out" passion.
As we continue in the book Lawson points out that which is extremely important to us all; the fact that personal holiness requires faith. Edward's resolutions were not simply moral rules, or a guide to self-reformation. They were only possible through faith in Christ. To this end Edwards not only refused to rely upon himself, but trusted Christ to empower him to perform these resolutions. He also realized the tendency to stray, so he regularly reviewed his resolutions and his adherence to them that he might recognize his failures, correct them, and better glorify God.
The glory of God in everything was the goal of Edwards' life, Lawson tells us. "Edwards wrote:
`1. Resolved, that I will do whatsoever I think to be
most to God's glory, and my own good, profit and
pleasure, in the whole of my duration, without any
consideration of the time, whether now, or never so
many myriads of ages hence. Resolved to do whatever
I think to be my duty, and most for the good and
advantage of mankind in general. Resolved to do this,
whatever difficulties I meet with, how many and how
great soever.'"
Glorifying God was Edwards' passion, and this passion is manifest throughout his resolutions and personal narrative. This passion called for frequent self-examination, just as it will for you and for me.
To avoid giving away the whole book, let it suffice us to say that the following chapters deal with Edwards' means of pursuing the glory of God in personal holiness.
Finally, it must be said that this book is well written, well researched, and well done. The average reader who is seeking a biography of Edwards may do well to look elsewhere. The purpose of this book is to lead the reader to look into the heart of Edwards so that we might learn what made him tick. Neither is this book written simply to entertain. This book was written for the purpose of being a blessing to those who want to walk closer to the Lord Jesus Christ. It is not to be read casually, though it is easy to read. It is to be read with ones "thinking cap on" so that the reader can gain benefit from the observation of a life lived unto the glory of God.

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To present an example of intentional, faithful, and passionate Christian living, Dr. Steven J. Lawson paints a portrait of eighteenth-century pastor and theologian Jonathan Edwards, who structured his relationship with God by composing and following seventy heart-searching resolutions. The ultimate goal of this book is to challenge a new generation of believers to pursue holiness in their daily lives. Steven J. Lawson Edwards, often remembered for his sermon Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, is revealed here as a man with a heart for God s glory above all things. To help himself pursue that goal, he composed a set of resolutions to guide his conduct in all areas, from his battle against sin to his use of time. In Edwards singleminded pursuit of God, Dr. Lawson sees an unparalleled example for modern Christians.

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