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God's Grand Design: The Theological Vision of Jonathan Edwards based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
God's Grand Design is an outstanding introduction to the theology that mid 18th century Congregational pastor, Jonathan Edwards wrestled with and taught over his career. The value of this short book (about 190 pages), is that it introduces the reader to the often complex development of Edwards' teaching and demonstrates its value and worthiness, even to people in the early 21st century. Lucas, a PCA pastor and seminary lecturer on the works of Edwards, is well equipped for this task, for he is able to critique and summarize Edwards, while using secondary sources to place him in context. While not a work a spiritual devotion, because so much of Edwards writing speaks to the heart of a Christian, Lucas writing does a fine job of letting the original text encourage today's Christian to greater heights of spiritual maturity and understanding. Much of Edwards teaching was centered on the role of God's sovereignty over his creation, and for the Christian, the growth of affection and love towards Christ driving greater and greater maturity and expectation of Christ's rule. Like many day to day pastors, Edwards had the complex task of relating the work of universal redemption and God's rule to individual listeners, in his case the individuals at his small, New England churches (at that time the edge of the Christian world). Lucas divides his work into two sections: Redemption History and Redemption Applied, and ties Edwards teaching together, in as close to a short, systematic way, as I think is likely. Lucas' writing on how Edwards wanted to help people understand and deal with false and genuine religious affections leading to false and genuine religious virtues is especially valuable. He barely, but in an interesting way, touch on how Edwards was beginning to confront the coming challenge from Enlightened Deism and the Biblical Higher Criticism that came in the generation or so, after Edwards death in his mid 50's. For the general reader, the challenge will be early on in this book, to reorient their mind towards how an 18th century pastor / scholar handled with some weighty, but very common spiritual concerns. Once that transition is made, however, the reader should get a lot of value from this work and even find it has some serious devotional value, to consider their own life in Christ. As an introduction to the theology and teaching of Edwards, this book is highly recommended.