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Jonathan Edwards and the church /
Rhys S. Bezzant.
Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2014.
xii, 314 pages ; 25 cm
9780199890309 (cloth : alk. paper)
More Details
Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2014.
9780199890309 (cloth : alk. paper)
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references (pages 261-285) and index.
A Look Inside
Review Quotes
"Rhys Bezzant's work is truly pioneering, sensitive, and encompassing, unique in over a century of scholarship on Edwards, being the first systematic study devoted to Edwards's ecclesiology-and not just the 'Qualifications Controversy'. It is distinctive in its 'reading' across Edwards's publications for ecclesiological meaning, demonstrating that Edwards's interest in the nature of the church was not merely episodic or a distraction, but of central and sustained interest." --Kenneth P. Minkema, Jonathan Edwards Center, Yale University "It's sad but true: among the hundreds of books on Edwards, nary a one has been published on his view of the Christian church, a doctrine Edwards preached and wrote about throughout his pastoral ministry (despite what you may have heard from other leading scholars). We have needed Rhys Bezzant's book for a very long time. It is far and away the best, most systematic and comprehensive work on the subject ever written." --Douglas A. Sweeney, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School "Jonathan Edwards's revivalist sensibilities are considered to be at the heart of modern evangelicalism's push for emotional and personal experiences of God, often at the cost of a high view of the Church. In this well-sourced book Rhys Bezzant conclusively shows Edwards holding together traditional ecclesial confessionalism inside a new modern framework constructed around the individual. This is a must read for any fan or critic of Jonathan Edwards." --The Rev. Michael Keller, Pastor, Reformed University Fellowship of New York
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Main Description
This book seeks to shed new light on the development of the ecclesiology of Jonathan Edwards from the writings of his youth until his Stockbridge treatises, setting this within the context of Reformation and Puritan debates, and his experience of the revivals during his Northampton ministry. Bezzant contends that Edwards repristinated an ossified New England ecclesiology by acknowledging the church's dynamic relationship with the created order, history and the nations, and by advocating renewal in ecclesial life through revivals, itinerancy, Concerts of Prayer, missionary initiatives outside of the local congregation, and doctrinal clarification. Bezzant shows that Edwards accommodated the Christendom model of ecclesiology to the new philosophical, political and social realities of the mid-eighteenth-century British Atlantic world. His ecclesiology can be aptly summarized as prophetic, in as far as the church makes identification with its social context, while yet providing an alternative millennial vision for human flourishing. Edwards's Gospel is preached within a larger vision of transformed society and the glory of God, for whom the church is an orderly but not ordinary instrument to promote visible union between believers and Christ.
Main Description
Though Edwards spent most of his life working in local churches, and saw himself primarily as a pastor, his own views on the theology of the church have never been explored in depth. This book presents Edwards's views on ecclesiology by tracking the development of his convictions during the course of his tumultuous career. Drawing on Reformation foundations and the Puritan background of his ministry, Edwards refreshes our understanding of the church by connecting it to a nuanced interpretation of revival, allowing a dynamic view of the place of church in history and new thinking about its institutional structure. Indeed in Edwards's writing the church has an exalted status as the bride of Christ, joined to him forever. Building on the recent completion of the works of Jonathan Edwards, and material newly published online, this book, the first ever on Edwards's ecclesiology, demonstrates his commitment to corporate Christian experience shaped by theological convictions and his aspirations towards the visibility and unity of the Christian church. In a final section, Bezzant discusses topics relating to ecclesiology (such as hymnody, discipline, and polity), that occupied Edwards throughout his ministry. Edwards preached a Gospel concerned with God's purposes for the world, so it is the growth of the church, not merely the conversion of individuals, that is the necessary fruit of his preaching. The church in the West is rediscovering the importance of ecclesiology as it emerges from its Christendom constraints. Edwards's struggle to understand the church and its place within God's cosmic design is a case study that helps us to appreciate the church in the modern world.

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