This is an unusual book. Josh Moody (senior pastor at Trinity Baptist Church, New Haven, Connecticut) seeks to bring home to today’s Christian what he believes are key lessons from the writings of Jonathan Edwards, the great eighteenth-century preacher and theologian.
This book is part of a fully justified resurgence of interest in the writings of Edwards – who well deserves the accolade of America’s greatest thinker and theologian, and who is today claimed as their champion by a wide variety of Evangelicals, and even Charismatics.
In this very accessible volume, Josh Moody introduces a wide spectrum of Edwards’ thinking. He deals with revival; true experience of God; assessing new Christian movements; the vital need to be God-centred; how to discern what issues are truly important; Christian leadership; family life; and even areas where Edwards had feet of clay.
There is much insightful and relevant application of Edwards’ biblical thinking to today’s confused and sadly powerless evangelical scene. Some chapters are weaker than others, and there are some places where we learn more about Moody’s concern than Edwards’.
Furthermore, the whole book does, almost inevitably, lack some cohesion. However, overall it is a helpful corrective to many of the weaknesses of today’s Evangelical churches, including those of the Reformed wing. It cannot fail to benefit those who read it.
Clearly, one of Moody’s aims is to give his readers an appetite to read Edwards for themselves – a very laudable ambition. By writing on such a large range of issues, Moody may actually make that less likely – simply because we do not get enough of Edwards to overcome the prejudice that he is difficult to understand.
I hope I am wrong, for Moody is certainly right in believing that Edwards can offer help that we desperately need today – especially in his awe of (and hunger for) God, and his preoccupation with eternity and its concerns.