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A History of the Work of Redemption Hardcover – November 1, 2003
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What we do have is breathtaking. It is the biblical counterpart to his philosophical The End for Which God Created the World. Where the latter is a tightly woven argument showing that God's own glory is the ultimate end in the creation of the world, this work shows how that purpose has been worked out throughout all of history. Where the former shows Edwards's unparalleled analytic and theological abilities, this work puts on display how thoroughly biblical his mind was. He was much more than America's greatest philosopher; his mind was saturated with scripture to a degree that most will never experience.
The book is split into 3 sections: "From the Fall of Man to the Incarnation of Christ," "From the Incarnation to His Resurrection," and "From the Resurrection to the End of the World." I found all three parts to be enlightening, but particularly the first two which deal specifically with Biblical history.
The book reads much more easily than his philosophical works. He simply moves from one event to another: "next we notice," "here we observe," etc. What he notices and observes, from start to finish, is how every single event in history relates to God's great purpose of redemption in Christ Jesus. It is the original Jesus on Every Page. There is no overt hermeutic on display, covenant or otherwise. Edwards simply shows how every single event in history either prepares the world for Christ's first or second comings, and the great purposes He accomplished and will accomplish in them.
If you want to see the big picture of the Bible, the unifying thread that runs through every page of Scripture you need to read this book. If you want a framework from which to understand the events of history, biblical or otherwise, and the way God orchestrates everything for his purposes, this is the book for you. Those interested in Biblical Theology ought to read this book.
I found myself exulting in the wonder that is the Bible, in the glorious person of Christ, in the love of our sovereign God who works all things after the counsel of His own will. I found myself greatly encouraged and filled with confidence to serve a God like this who's plan cannot fail. This may be my favorite work of Edwards's yet. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
Author: Jonathan Edwards
Publisher: The Banner of Truth Trust
First Copyright: 1774
First Banner of Truth Trust Copyright: 2003
Type of Book: Hardback
General Subject Matter: Redemptive work of God in history
The purpose of this book comes from rational deduction. Although the body of work is attributed to Jonathan Edwards, and the chapters are actually sermons preached by Jonathan Edwards, he did not write this "book." This "book" is a composition of thirty (30) sermons preached by Edwards to his Northampton congregation in 1739. Edwards desired to write a book on the redemptive work of God in history from the fall of man to the consummation of all things by God. Unfortunately Edwards died before he could achieve his goal. Jonathan Edwards, Jr. in 1773 helped see these sermons brought together in a single publication.
Edward's original purpose, deduced from the sermons which serve as an outline for the book he did not write was to give a clear and concise working of God through this atoning work. Edwards purposed to give a clear rendition of God's work from the fall of man until the beginning of eternity and beyond.
It was Edward's contention that everything that every transpired in human history was totally subservient to God's work of redemption. He also contended that nothing could ever thwart that work of God and regardless of any instance referenced actually furthered the work of God.
The theme of this book is the redemptive work of God in this world throughout history.
The thesis of this book is that the righteousness of God is tied to his faithfulness in fulfilling his covenantal promises to his church and his faithfulness towards his church in bestowing the covenants of grace upon his people.
Edwards develops his thesis by the way of exposition. He supplies analysis of both the topic and the scripture to support his topic and uses explanation to clarify his ideas. Edwards explains scripture in an effort to support his thesis.
This is the hardest review this reviewer has ever written. I love Jonathan Edwards and I have learned much from him. However, I have always been able to separate his error of being a covenant theologian from his exegesis on subjects other than those which are related to covenant theology. This time I cannot. He addresses his topic "straight on" with his theology.
The next step in a book review is to evaluate the book on interest, accuracy, objectivity, importance, thoroughness and usefulness to its intended audience. At this point the review responds to the author's opinions.
As much as I am whole-heartedly committed to the doctrines of grace I do not and cannot equate covenant theology with biblical doctrines. I found myself unable to enjoy this book and forced myself to read it in order to satisfy the agreement that I have with Banner of Truth Trust to read and review books that they provide me free of charge.
I found this book uninteresting. More importantly I cannot suggest that Edwards was accurate and objective in his exposition. Edwards intended to present in this sermon series and his future book the history of God's redemption throughout history beginning with the fall of man. Had he stuck to that as his thesis and dealt with it objectively and accurately he might have written something that would be useful to his readers.
Edwards did not do that. In accordance with his commitment to "covenant theology" he ascribed the history of salvation or redemption as the history of the church. Edwards, as most covenant theologians confused God's remnant of Israel with the church. He "read" the church into place and role of God's chosen people and the Jewish nation.
Fortunately Edwards has written on a vast myriad of subjects. He has written accurately of the glorious nature of our majestic God for example. Edwards has much to offer both the church and individual believers. Unfortunately this book has nothing to offer the church or the people of God.