jonathan edwards and justification

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Five renowned Edwards scholars make a credible case for Jonathan Edwards’s doctrine of justification to be solidly Reformational, while also addressing some of the contemporary discussions on justification.

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  • osh Moody has assembled a team of internationally reputed Edwards scholars to ask and answer the question: What is Jonathan Edwardss doctrine of justification? The contributors also examine the extent to which Edwardss view was Reformational while addressing some of the contemporary discussions on justification.

    This volume helps us look at justification through the eyes of one of Americas greatest theologians, and speaks credibly and winsomely to the needs of the church and the academy today.

    Provides insight and guidance not only for understanding the thought of Jonathan Edwards in his historical context, but also for wrestling with the current debate regarding the doctrine of justification by faith. This volume will prove to be richly rewarding, theologically engaging, and spiritually edifying for students and scholars alike. David S. Dockery, President, Union University

    This volume considers Edwards responsibly and correctly. A balanced as-sessment of Edwards as an orthodox thinker, yet one with creativity, spice, and derring-do. Kenneth P. Minkema, Executive Editor and Director, Jonathan Edwards Center

    at Yale University

    A significant work that advances the growing scholarship on Jonathan Edwards and contributes to the current debates on justification. Dennis P. Hollinger, President and the Colman M. Mockler Distinguished Professor

    of Christian Ethics, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

    Josh Moody (PhD, Cambridge University) is senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, Illinois. He is the author of several books, including The God-Centered Life: Insights from Jonathan Edwards.

    * Contributors include Josh Moody, Kyle Strobel,Rhys Bezzant, Samuel T. Logan Jr., and Douglas A. Sweeney.

    Theology / JusTificaTion

    U.S.

    $1

    7.99

  • Jonathan Edwards and JustificationCopyright 2012 by Josh MoodyPublished by Crossway

    1300 Crescent Street Wheaton, Illinois 60187

    All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or otherwise, without the prior permis-sion of the publisher, except as provided for by USA copyright law.Cover design: Dual Identity inc.First printing 2012Printed in the United States of AmericaUnless otherwise indicated Scripture quotations are from the ESV Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version), copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved.Scripture quotations marked kjv are from the King James Version of the Bible.Trade paperback ISBN:978-1-4335-3293-1 PDF ISBN:978-1-4335-3294-8 Mobipocket ISBN:978-1-4335-3295-5 ePub ISBN:978-1-4335-3296-2

    Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

    Jonathan Edwards and justification / edited by Josh Moody. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978-1-4335-3293-1 (tp) 1. Edwards, Jonathan, 17031758. 2. Justification (Christian theology). I. Moody, Josh.BX7260.E3J64 2012234'.7dc23 2012001373

    Crossway is a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.VP 21 20 19 18 17 16 15 14 13 12

    15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

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  • Contents

    Editors Preface 9

    Introduction by Josh Moody 11

    1 Edwards and Justification Today 17 by Josh Moody

    2 By Word and Spirit: Jonathan Edwards on 45 Redemption, Justification, and Regeneration by Kyle Strobel

    3 The Gospel of Justification and 71 Edwardss Social Vision by Rhys Bezzant

    4 Justification and Evangelical Obedience 95 by Samuel T. Logan Jr.

    5 Justification by Faith Alone? 129 A Fuller Picture of Edwardss Doctrine by Douglas A. Sweeney

    Index 155

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  • 9Editors Preface

    Writing a book with collaboration adds its share of joys, and potential stresses, but I can say clearly that writing with these colleagues has been entirely joyful and not stressful in the least. I am glad to have been able to work together on this project and to be able to see the fruit of so much expertise brought forward for this common cause of examining Edwardss view of justification.

    As always when I write on Edwards I am personally conscious of several particular debts of gratitude. I remember with ongoing fondness and appreciation the support, friendship, and collegial counsel of one of the maestros of contemporary Edwards schol-ars, Kenneth Minkema. His work at Yale University over the years has gone a long way to reviving our interest in Edwards as well as providing the forum for exploring that interest through the expert publication of the Yale volumes on Edwards. I am grateful for his suggestions regarding this volume and his support of it as we got nearer to completion. There are also several friends who many years ago encouraged me to consider Edwards as a serious intellectual sparring partner, and I want to mention, if not all by name at least by group, this relatively large collection of friends and contemporaneous scholars who encouraged me to delve into technical Edwards scholarship. The Whitefield Institute, as it then was, provided much of the showing the ropes expertise for my initial forays into this world. And my supervisor at Cambridge, Dr. Thompson, mentored me in the world of accurate, deliberate, and first-rate theological history.

    Specifically for this book I wish to thank Lane Dennis at Crossway for his support of this volumes publication. It is a trea-sure to have such a strong theological vision behind Crossway, and I rejoice with his ministry. Thank you, too, to Tara Davis for her hard work in copyediting the manuscript for Crossway. I also

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  • 10 Editors Preface

    wish to thank Pauline Epps. As I am writing, Pauline is just a few days away from retiring. She has served as executive assistant for my predecessor at College Church, Kent Hughes, and before him Erwin Lutzer at Moody Church. Pauline has provided support for many years for preaching and writing ministries of many in fairly prominent roles of public ministry, and I know that I speak for all who have benefited from her service to the Lord when I say that her work has been appreciated immensely, and has borne much fruit. Thank you, Pauline, and thank you to her husband Dick whose ministry at Moody Bible Institute was massively influen-tial, too. I also wish to thank Carolyn Litfin, my executive assis-tant, who is such an example of ministry excellence, and whose assistance on this book was invaluable.

    No preface would be complete without the traditional men-tion of the authors (or in this case the editors) family. Rochelle is a gift beyond compare in this world, and we rejoice together with ministries such as this book and other opportunities to serve Jesus. I want specifically to dedicate this book to one of my chil-dren: Sophia. I will dedicate the next book to one of our other children, and somehow manage to keep the whole thing in strict rotation!

    On behalf of all those who have contributed to this book, I wish to say simply may we receive the commendation of Jesus: well done, good and faithful servant(s). It has been a great joy working together withyou.

    Before you now you have quite a treat. We have put together a small team of internationally reputed Edwards scholars simply to ask and answer the question, what is Edwardss doctrine of justification? Getting justification right has proven to be difficult, for some more than others, over the last decade or so, and what Edwards thinks, or would have thought about, is not a matter with small significance for the preaching of the gospel or the health of the church. So prepare to look at justification through the eyes of Americas greatest theologian, and by that means reengage with the biblical story about how we are made right withGod.

    JM

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  • 11

    Introduction

    Josh Moody

    You will find much of what I want to say specifically about jus-tification, and Edwardss view of it, in chapter 1, Edwards and Justification Today. The purpose then of this introductory chap-ter is twofold. First, I introduce you to the contributors in this volume, if they are not already familiar to you, and prepare the way for their chapters to shine on their own merits. Second, I wish to make it clear in the most general terms why Edwards must still be considered today by all who take the life of the con-temporary church seriously, and why in particular we must grasp his view on justification as we preach the gospel, study it, and seek to live by it.

    So because I aim to be a thorough nontraditionalist in this book, let me begin in reverse order and start by explaining why Edwards must still be studied today and why in particular his relation to justification is important.

    There has been a fair glut of Edwards work recently, it must be acknowledged. In fact, not all works on Edwards are so recent, but because of the prominent ministries of well-known American Christian leaders who look to Edwards for inspiration, the expo-sure to Edwards at a popular level is more obvious recently. If you examine bibliographies of Edwards scholarship, you will see that ever since Perry Millers landmark biography at the middle of the last century there has been an upswing of interest in Edwards, as Miller rescued him from the caricature of the backwards bigot (though in so doing he also painted a picture of Edwards that may not have been entirely fair to his unashamed Pur

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