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God's Grand Design: The Theological Vision of Jonathan Edwards Paperback – October 5, 2011


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God's Grand Design: The Theological Vision of Jonathan Edwards + The Sermons of Jonathan Edwards: A Reader + A Jonathan Edwards Reader (Yale Nota Bene)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Crossway (October 5, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1433514451
  • ISBN-13: 978-1433514456
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 5.2 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #423,887 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Those of us trundling through the complete works of Jonathan Edwards in the recent Yale edition are grateful for experts like Sean Lucas who, with a single lucid paragraph, are able to unravel the most complex of Edwardian thought. The study of Edwards has become something of a ‘rite of passage’ in recent days and some of us have some catching up to do. Dr. Lucas, a well-respected Edwards scholar in his own right, has given us a comprehensive summary of Edwards’s understanding of the Christian life that does for Edwards what Sinclair Ferguson did for John Owen. An essential and most welcome companion to any serious study of Edwards.”
Derek W. H. Thomas, John E. Richards Professor of Systematic and Practical Theology, Reformed Theological Seminary; Minister of Teaching, First Presbyterian Church, Jackson, MS

“This is an edifying book on a most edifying person, one who became the most important pastor in all of American history. By focusing our attention on what mattered most to Edwards—authentic Christian living that derives from God’s grace and reflects God’s glory—Sean Lucas has written a book that can draw you nearer to God, even make you a better person. Good theology, well presented, leads to passionate, godly piety. Edwards and Lucas know this well. I pray that you will know it too.”
Douglas A. Sweeney, Professor of Church History, Director of the Jonathan Edwards Center, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

“Sean Michael Lucas analyzes the ways that Jonathan Edwards understood the Christian life as both inconceivably vast and intensely personal and practical, demonstrating that there is still much to be learned from America's greatest philosopher-theologian. From his Introduction to the two invaluable Appendices, Lucas offers an eminently useful volume that reminds one of much of Edwards's own writing—technical yet accessible, scholarly yet pastoral.”
Richard A. Bailey

“It is good for the church—and the heart—to see Sean Lucas, a modern pastor-theologian, working with such depth and clarity in the corpus of Jonathan Edwards, America's preeminent pastor-theologian. Lucas shows a mastery of the vast secondary and primary sources on and by Edwards, yet writes to be understood and to bless the church. If there is a better way to honor the New Light minister, I am not aware of it.”
Owen Strachan, Assistant Professor of Christian Theology and Church History, Boyce College; President, The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood

About the Author

SEAN MICHAEL LUCAS (PhD, Westminster Theological Seminary) is senior minister at First Presbyterian Church in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and the author of three books. He previously taught at Covenant Theological Seminary for five years, serving as chief academic officer and associate professor of church history.


More About the Author

Sean Michael Lucas is senior minister at the historic First Presbyterian Church, Hattiesburg, Mississippi, where he has served since 2009. In addition, he is associate professor of church history at Reformed Theological Seminary/Jackson.

Previously, he served as Chief Academic Officer and associate professor of church history at Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, MO. He holds the PhD degree from Westminster Theological Seminary. He is the co-editor of the American Reformed Biography series (with D. G. Hart) and the editor of the Basics of the Faith series, both with P&R Publishing.

Customer Reviews

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When I first started reading this book I was bored.
Beth DeRoos
By Sean Michael Lucas This book is a superb overview of Jonathan Edwards' life and theology.
Bror Erickson
This book is a great, well written introduction to the theology of Jonathan Edwards.
Tory

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Sheep23 on November 16, 2011
Format: Paperback
Rev. Sean Michael Lucas, pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Hattiesburg, Mississippi has written a timely, well-researched and edifying book on New England's greatest theologian, Jonathan Edwards. Before I go on, I must divulge that I cut my teeth on the work of Jonathan Edwards in Lucas' class at seminary (Edwards was not an easy read then, nor is he now). Yet, the vision that Lucas casts concerning the life and work of Edwards is full in scope and touches upon both the life, ministry, and vision of Edwards. Reminiscent of John Murray's book title, Lucas' book is divided into two sections, the first being on redemption history (Edwards' biblical theology from creation to consummation), and the second is Redemption Applied (how does the fact of God's sovereign glory and grace through redemption apply to the workings and lives of the church and its people). Instead of a dry, arid and scholastic work, Lucas displays the essential elements of Edwards theological vision (reflection of God's glory back to himself, 40, and the great care Edwards takes to impart to his people an experiential grace of finding fullness in Christ).

One surprising note that came across in reading the book was regarding Edwards' view of creation. In chapter two, Lucas writes, "The most striking thing about Jonathan Edwards's sermon series "A History of the Work of Redemption" is that in his desire to present "divinity in an entire new method" ...he slighted the importance of God's work of creation" (35). Lucas goes on to quote Edwards again saying that "All other works of providence may be looked upon as appendages to this great work (the work of redemption" (36). Creation points to the point of redemption, yet it is not to be displayed as preeminent in importance.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Erik Raymond on September 20, 2012
Format: Paperback
I would suspect the only thing more challenging than trying to read Jonathan Edwards is to write about him. This has not stopped people from taking up the challenge however. Jonathan Edwards is arguably the greatest mind America has ever produced. Consequently there is significant intrigue into his life and thought. Myself, I have read many books on the great pastor but my appetite is never satiated. I always want more. Whenever I hear of a new book on Edwards it seems to find its way to my Amazon wish list.

God's Grand Design by Sean Michael Lucas was no different. I was eager to get my hands on this book because it endeavored to tackle the what Edwards believed and how he applied it. In other words, the theological vision of Edwards.

The book breaks into two easy sections: Redemption History and Redemption Applied.

Throughout the course of the book you will be guided carefully by a pastor-theologian who has lectured for many years on this very subject. This fact should not scare you off, instead, it should encourage you. The author takes a glacier and puts it in a tea cup. It is accessible, understandable, and simple. Lucas is a careful teacher, working hard to make difficult concepts clear. As an example, you have the whole business of religious affections. Edwards wrote this to think through and parse out was was truly wrought by God and what was spurious in the days of the Great Awakening. In this Lucas carefully guides you through the writing in light of history, other writers, and what Edwards himself wrote in other places. As someone who has enjoyed but not fully profited from Religious Affections, I was greatly aided here.

The two appendices are excellent. One serves as a reminder of the fact that Edwards was a normal guy (helpful).
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By H. Gerety VINE VOICE on February 16, 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
There is a vast world of literature by and about Jonathan Edwards out there, which makes any book on a topic so large and comprehensive as his theological vision difficult. While I haven't read any other books solely dedicated to the study of Edwards before, I have to admit that Lucas seems to have done a good job on pulling together a comprehensive view of Edwards' theological view of the world's purpose, even if I don't agree that it is, as the Amazon summary suggests, terribly "accessible."

I feel like this book would benefit from a second read, but I don't think I have the time and the personal priorities to read this particular book again. I found parts of it quite beautiful -- I really enjoyed Lucas' summation in the final chapter, "The Christian Life as a Journey to Heaven." However, while Lucas insists that Edwards' ideas were "far from... a dry, theological schema," I felt like much of the book was just that -- dry, and quite abstract. That could just be because I'm a very concrete thinker and appreciate solid applications of theory, but it made most of the reading quite honestly drudgery rather than inspiration.

One point of difficulty for me personally was also Edwards' staunch rejection of other denominations and Christian groups. While I certainly don't view every single Christian or Christian-related group as theologically equal (especially considering the vast variations that that encompasses), it was a stumbling block to me to hear Edwards align the Roman Catholic Church with Satan (even though I am not a Catholic, and differ on many points of theology), and call Anabaptists "raving enthusiasts" and a tool of Satan. While I don't view all Christian groups as alike, our loyalty should be to God, and our faith in Him -- not our denomination.
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